Infinite Intimacy Helps Couples Reconnect

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Infinite Intimacy Provides Holistic Counseling To Help Couples Reconnect

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema loves using her writing skills to tell stories that matter. Her time as an English student at Emory University molded her into a detailed writer with a knack for the relatable. Chloë is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she endeavors to write material that is both truthful and helpful. She has previously worked as lead campaign writer for an animal advocacy group and now brings her passion for engaging and actionable content to DatingAdvice.com.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

The Short Version: Keeping healthy and strong relationships is one of the best things we can do for our overall health and life satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Rachel Smith is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Sex Therapist, and she helps couples gain the skills and tools they need to grow in intimacy. Rachel talked to us about what holistic sex therapy looks like at her practice, Infinite Intimacy, why she’s passionate about sexual education, and what couples often struggle with when it comes to handling sex and intimacy. 

It’s no secret that the quality of our relationships is one of the most significant indicators of life satisfaction. Healthy and secure relationships are what make our lives full and wonderful. But that doesn’t mean relationships are easy, and it definitely doesn’t mean relationships are always fun.

Maintaining a meaningful relationship is also the most complicated, painful, and challenging thing a person will do in their life. Humans and the connections we make are messy, and while all kinds of relationships always come with rough patches, real intimacy is found in facing and working through the challenges. 

A healthy and fulfilling relationship isn’t one that never encounters an obstacle or argument. It’s one that can empathetically overcome obstacles when they undoubtedly arrive. 

Rachel Smith is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Sex Therapist. Through her therapy practice, Infinite Intimacy, Rachel helps couples overcome obstacles with a supportive and empowering holistic approach. Rachel talked to us about some of the common struggles she sees couples experiencing, along with how communication is at the root of all types of intimacy.

“When I think about holistic care, I think about the combination of our mind, body, and soul,” Rachel said. “When it comes to sex therapy, sexuality, sensuality, intimacy, it’s really a whole mind, body, soul experience, or at least it can be.”

Experiencing Relationships: Mind, Body, and Spirit

Rachel was an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida studying psychology when she began volunteering at a center for sexually abused children. During her time in this position, Rachel witnessed how important it is for silenced populations to have resources and support to find healing, and she knew what her next career step was.

Rachel earned her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and soon after completed a state certification in Sex Therapy. Rachel has worked as a therapist since 2013 and said she finds joy in helping individuals and couples achieve deeper connections with themselves, each other, and the world around them.

The concept of holistic care is essential to Rachel’s therapy approach. She explained, “As a traditional talk therapist, we can work through the things that are coming up mentally and emotionally, but we can’t deny our experiences. We must attend to the connection between our mind and body.” 

rachel smith LMFT and certified sex therapists
Rachel takes a holistic therapeutic approach that considers the whole self.

Rachel attends to the connection between the mind and body by bringing her clients into mindful observance of their bodies, from the way they’re breathing to where they’re holding tightness in their muscles. She guides them to better understand the connection between their emotions and embodied experiences in a safe and controlled environment.

“Our mind is paying attention to our body, and our body is paying attention to our mind,” Rachel said. “It’s this incredible feedback loop that goes back and forth. I was introduced to the spiritual side of sexuality, like Tantra, and realized that the spiritual side is also what helps connect mind and body.”

Rachel teaches her clients to access and explore their own sense of spirituality as the bridge to strengthen the connection between the mind and body. Strengthening this connection with the self is especially important for couples. Couples can’t connect with each other on a deep, intimate level if they can’t attain that sort of intimacy with themselves. 

“When we’re talking about true intimacy, the more present we can be, the more available we are for pleasure and connection,” Rachel said. 

Finding Sexual Connection Through Emotional Intimacy

Rachel said one of the most common challenges she sees couples facing is discrepancies in sexual desire.

“Couples are coming in with differences in desire,” she said. “One partner is saying they’re not interested in sex at all, but their partner is, and there’s often this feeling of confusion and guilt and shame.”

Nearly all couples will encounter desire discrepancies at some point in their relationship. Rachel said her clients often find this discrepancy distressing due to the lack of educational resources they have about sex and sexuality. 

“We don’t have a real education around our sexual self,” she said. “I mean, sex education in schools is about learning about anatomy and birth control and STIs, but not really looking at the full structure of sexuality.”

communication issues threaten intimacy between couples
Communication breakdowns cause discord in all areas of intimacy, not just sexual intimacy.

Rachel often begins couples’ sex therapy with a few educational sessions. “A lot of my work is in psychosexual education because you really have to understand the different dynamics that are at play in the different ways our bodies and minds respond sexually.”

This educational foundation gives couples the knowledge and vocabulary to understand and express their sexual experiences. “If we’re not taking the time to really get to know ourselves, our bodies, and likewise our partners, then that’s where we’re going to experience the disconnect,” Rachel said.

Communication is another major challenge Rachel sees her clients facing. Intimacy of any sort relies on clear and open communication, and as with many problems couples face, many sexual problems find their root in a communication breakdown.

“It tends to be a very, very major challenge within relationships all around,” she said. “I tell my couples that what’s going on in their sexual relationship is often mirroring what’s going on in their everyday relationship. If they’re struggling to communicate in their everyday relationship, they’re not going to be able to access the central sexual or intimate space fully.”

Infinite Intimacy Empowers Couples

Every aspect of a relationship affects every other aspect of a relationship, meaning that shallow emotional intimacy will make truly connective sexual experiences nearly impossible. “It’s all interconnected,” Rachel said. “All parts feed into the other parts, and many people don’t take those key components of emotional intimacy into consideration.”

Couples struggling to find a healthy way to communicate or just aren’t connecting like they used to sexually have a variety of resources at their fingertips. Rachel said she knows many individuals and couples may not be able to access or afford counseling services, but in the meantime, there are plenty of resources available they can start engaging with now.

“There are so many resources available, it’s just about sorting through what’s science-backed and what is an everyday person sharing their own experience,” Rachel said. When it comes to the science-backed and trusted resources, Rachel pointed couples toward a couple of big names in the relationship and sexuality space. 

infinite intimacy therapy
Rachel’s practice, Infinite Intimacy, serves individuals and couples in the Miami area.

Dr. Emily Nagoski is a sex educator, and she wrote a book called ‘Come As You Are’ that I really love,” Rachel said. “She’s taken the breadth of research that’s been done over the last several years and put it into this really comprehensive book to help people understand their sexual responses and the different mechanisms at play.”

The Gottman Institute was Rachel’s next suggestion. Dr. John and Julie Gottman founded the Gottman Institute, and the organization offers some of the highest quality resources for couples and families. Rachel said she particularly loves the Gottman Institute because all of its materials are developed based on years of the Gottmans’ research and experience working with couples and families.

Relationship challenges are difficult to experience, but it’s worth remembering that when you and your partner lovingly and healthily work through a disagreement, you’re growing closer in intimacy and stronger in your partnership. 

“It’s important for partners to realize they aren’t neglecting themselves by meeting their partner’s needs as long as their partner is also doing the same for them,” Rachel said. “When both partners are willing to take that uncomfortable step toward the other’s needs, that’s where that building that bridge and reestablishing that connection can happen.”