What’s the difference between sex and intimacy? Sex is a behavior that, when broken down, includes the relationship we have with our sexuality and the way we express it. It includes flirting, foreplay, methods for attracting desired partners, different stages of arousal, and acts. There are emotional, cognitive, biological, behavioral, and sociological implications of sex and how we choose to express our sexuality.
Intimacy is a very close familiarity one shares with others. Most of us share intimate relationships with friends, family, and or partners. When we have intimacy in relationship we share our desires, dreams, feel safer exposing our flaws, and allow ourselves to be more vulnerable n that relationship. We allow ourselves to be seen more fully than our relationships in which we experience less intimacy or our more peripheral relationships.
Often, when we share intimacy with someone, our sexual relationship with that person improves. Likewise, when we have a quality sexual relationship with someone, we experience a higher level of intimacy with our partners. As both of these aspects of our relationship improve, we experience a bolstered bond that we find more nourishing, satisfying, and reliable.
Many of the clients I see, both couples and individuals, tell me that they are experiencing less intimacy in their relationship than they find satisfactory and or that their sexual relationship isn’t what they want it to be. Some feel hopeless because they feel they’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to be working. Others dread sharing their level of dissatisfaction with their partner out of a multitude of fears. The most common fears I hear are related to fear of rejection- that their partner will judge them, experience their requests as needy, too kinky for their comfort level, or hear these requests as some judgment.
When these problems show themselves in our relationships, it’s easy to remain quiet about or needs due to these fears. We become frustrated, resentful, and hopeless that our relationship will ever change. In a desperate effort to counteract their genuine desire, some people begin to look outside the relationship in various ways to treat these symptoms or completely cut themselves off from them. Many of my clients come in telling me that they think these aspects of a relationship should come easily and naturally and are confused about why they’re experiencing these problems in the first place. I reassure them that the presence of these problems does not translate into a doomed relationship, a lifetime of bad sex, or a connection capable of stunted intimacy; relationships, sex, and intimacy are not unlike many of the things we want in our lives. They take commitment both, to ourselves and our authenticity, hard work, and risk. And it’s worth the investment.
People who take the plunge and begin to explore their need for better sex and intimacy (both with themselves and with their partners) find a deepened confidence in themselves, in their relationship, and in the rest of their lives. Stick around to find out how and why.
Love and Be Loved,