Exercises to Overcome Fear of Intimacy

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A couple sitting together on the couch making a heart shape with their hands. (Image: View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images)

The fear of intimacy can be rooted in a variety of emotions. You may have had your trust violated in the past, or be nervous about certain physical intimacies. A fear of intimacy can drive a wedge between yourself and your partner, making it impossible for you to get closer or past a certain point of trust in your relationship. Some exercises can help you to overcome a fear of intimacy and help you to feel more comfortable in getting closer to another person, whether it's physically or emotionally.

Write a Letter

Your fears are often hard to vocalize. You might feel silly, or simply unable to express yourself when talking face-to-cafe with another person. Writing a letter can help you feel more in control as you express yourself in a way that is editable. First, write a letter to yourself about your fears, where they stem from and what you'd like to accomplish. Then, write a letter to your partner about how you feel, your desire to be closer, and the things you fear the most. Give him the letter to read and consider, and allow it to open the gateway to mature conversation about your fears.

Be Curious

Intimacy doesn't only mean physical relations. It could mean how close you feel to a person emotionally, says Aurora Health Care. The only way to feel close to someone is to get to know her better. Set up an activity with your significant other that will allow you to find out more about her. A hike or cooking class is low-key and doesn't have as much pressure as a romantic dinner. Ask lots of questions, and answer truthfully when she asks you questions. Sharing experiences together can help you feel closer and more open to intimacy.

Sensate Focus

Sensate focus is an activity recommended by the Stanford School of Medicine as a way to ease into intimacy without fear of rejection or embarrassment. It is a six-week process. The first two weeks, both subjects are to focus on exploring the body and face, avoiding erogenous zones like the breasts or genitalia. Become closer through touch without the pressure of intercourse or orgasm. During weeks two to four, non-intercourse stimulation is permitted. It is recommended that you're vocal about what you like and dislike as you become more comfortable with your partner. Finally, in the last two weeks, intercourse is permitted, as you likely are ready to take intimacy to another level.

Relax

Relaxation activities can help you to feel less stressed about the potential for intimacy. Meditation, yoga or prayer can help you feel more prepared and comfortable, especially when done with your partner. Spend time in an area that is quite and without distraction. Think about what you want to achieve in your relationship and acknowledge that you're in a safe place. If you still don't feel ready, talk to your partner about taking it slowly and perhaps undergoing therapy to discover the roots of your fear of intimacy.

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