Intimacy Issues

Intimacy is one of those things that can be both coveted and feared at the same time. As human beings, we desire connection and want to be seen, understood, and known.

However, for many clients that I see, true intimacy can be terrifying, as many people fear emotional vulnerability and have challenges with sexual intimacy. People who experience this fear do not usually wish to avoid intimacy, but frequently push others away or even sabotage relationships.

If you fear losing someone you love or you fear losing yourself in the relationship, these fears are often enough to paralyze you as soon as you experience a real romantic connection. Overcoming this can take time, both to explore and understand the contributing issues, and to practice allowing greater vulnerability.

What are intimacy issues?

Types of intimacy issues include:

Prevalence of intimacy issues

Sex and intimacy problems are incredibly common.

Sometimes, the same problem persists through every relationship we enter, which can be highly frustrating – and indicates that professional help might be needed to understand the origins or the pattern.  

Symptoms of intimacy issues

Causes of intimacy issues

Fears of abandonment and engulfment, or fear of losing yourself in the relationship are at the heart of a fear of intimacy for many people, and these two fears may often coexist. These fears are generally rooted in past childhood experiences and triggered by the present adult relationships.

Problems can arise from issues including:

How to overcome intimacy issues

With patience, understanding, and the proper treatment for your situation, you can overcome intimacy issues. Here are ways to get started:

Treatment options for intimacy issues

When working on overcoming your intimacy issues, you can either see an individual therapist (more on therapy types under this umbrella below), or work with your partner to help resolve your intimacy issues as a team.

Here are benefits and what to expect from both:

Find couples counselors: NYC | Providence | Chicago |Boston

Therapy types for intimacy issues:

Related: Learn more about sex therapy

Related: Learn more about EMDR

Related: Learn more about psychodynamic therapy

Related: Learn more about mindfulness practices in therapy

What to look for in a therapist for intimacy issues

It’s important to see a therapist that allows you to feel safe, understood, and valued, so that you can share your deepest thoughts and feelings without fear of rejection.

With effort, many people have overcome their intimacy issues and developed the understanding and tools needed to create long-term intimate relationships.

Find therapists for intimacy issues

The therapist you decide to see for your particular set of intimacy issues depends on what you need! Here are a few options:

Therapists for couples counseling

Therapists for relationships

Therapists for domestic violence

Therapists for self-esteem