Hump Day Crush: Intmacy vs. Sex

Sticking with the whole “lusty month of May” theme, let’s talk a little this week about intimacy and sex.

As you may have guessed from last week’s post, I think sex is more than a little over-rated. Too many people focus on it and miss out on what I think are the better things in a relationship. One of those things is intimacy.

Unfortunately, intimacy is too often confused with sex. Some people seem to think (and some of our entertainment would like us to believe) that sex is the most intimate thing you can do with someone. That sex has some intrinsic meaning to it.

Well, let me tell you that it most certainly does not.

What sex has intrinsically is the chance for reproduction of the species. That’s about it.

Everything else–all the deep meaning and romance and fun–comes from how we look at it and how we approach it. Even then, when we do everything “right”, sex can still come up short of filling some deeper need.

Sure, there’s biological needs and pressures that sex fulfills and relieves, and that would be all good and fine if we were just physical critters. We have an emotional side that needs to be fulfilled, too. And a spiritual side that needs energy of its own to feel whole.

Sex can fill all those needs, but only if it’s connected with intimacy.

What we’re not told enough is that, even without sex, most of those needs can be taken care of. (And, with a little self-love, all of those needs can get worked out.)

But what is intimacy? How can sex not have to be intimate?

Intimacy is that connection you feel with another person. That feeling of perfect trust and quiet comfort. It’s that feeling that’s often there after some really good sex… but if it’s a good relationship, it’s there long before you’re thrashing about in the bed (or the back seat).

Intimacy comes from being open and honest with someone who’s being equally open and honest with you. It is give and take–and you have to be willing to do both.

Sex can be a very mechanical thing. It can even be emotionless. I’ve seen enough interviews with sex workers over the years to accept that, for some, it’s just a job. Sex can be no different than your most boring day on the job.

But when sex is an expression of intimacy–when it comes from a natural progression of emotion (and not just a flash of hormones)–it can be a beautiful and invigorating thing.

Not to say that sex “just for fun” doesn’t have it’s place, but if you’re in it for the long-haul, it will be better than that one night stand.

Intimacy is what makes sex a part of a relationship and not just an end in itself. Intimacy is what adds the depth to the romance, making it more than just a hollow gesture. It’s what adds that “something more” to the biological urges that lets you choose to not bend to them until the time is right.

The only way to get it all right, is to know yourself and be willing to really know someone else.

Next week, we’re going to keep on this theme and talk a little about the ever-interesting concept of a fantasy life and how that ties in to intimacy, creativity and self-knowledge.

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