Watching Stanley Kubrick’s movie Eyes Wide Shut, I did not comprehend why after the sudden death of her ailing father, did Marion Nathanson (Marie Richardson) plant a big kiss on visiting doctor WB Hartford (Tom Cruise). My very talented friend told me, “After you witness something as incomprehensible as death, you need to (psychologically) reinforce your connection with life. Marion kisses Dr Hartford as he is the only living person present in that dark hour of her life.”
Fast forward eighteen years since. People need people. They huddle together in nests called families. Contemporary families are mostly nuclear. Ardent bonds of affinity between husband and wife hold it together. But the lack of intimacy is becoming the usual state of affairs.
Enter Dr Mehak Nagpal, Consultant Sexologist and Psychiatrist at Centre for Sexual and Mental Health. She says, “Intimacy between couples is waning. It is a worrisome situation. There is a considerable gap in communication between couples. So much so that they eventually turn into strangers for each other. Partners complain of not having time for each other while they remain happily glued to their digital, Netflix or Instagram commitments.”
“Child-raising is another reason that couples cite for not having time for a partner. On hindsight, I see parenthood becoming a socially-fixated straight jacketed role which, at times, parents want to live out of. They want to wing their identities as individuals, first,” says the Psychiatrist.
A neglected partner is emotionally aloof. Emotional distance translates into a lack of physical closeness in the bedroom too. Rekindle the fire in a loveless marriage one has to begin with communication. “Communications, kinky or otherwise is the best way to connect. It can arouse passion in between the sheets too,” says New Delhi based Sexologist,
Of course, a balancing act is not an easy one to pull off. However, “If bonding is important, partners will take time out for intimacy. Now, intimacy means different things to different people. It ranges from eye-contact to holding hands, cuddling or partnering during the act of sexual intercourse to going on date nights or second honeymoons. Couple’s therapy and sex therapy are also useful.”
Act of love and its ways of expression lead to positive affirmations and an enhanced sense of belongingness for couples. “It releases neurotransmitters oxytocin and dopamine that buttress feelings of closeness. At the physiological level, it lowers blood pressure, cortisol and de-stresses brain, promotes sleep,” says an unequivocal Dr Mehak.
The idea of love germinating in our subconscious finds an outlet through the physical. When consenting adults enter into ties of intimacy it liberates them in ways impossible to decipher in theory.