Let’s face it we are a visually and sexually charged society. Everything we do is contingent upon our physical reaction to people, places and things. Very rarely is our perception of something or someone impacted by how we feel and it’s sad to say that marriage is no different. In a perfect world every marriage would be filled with love, honesty and the willingness to grow and compromise. But since that’s not the case let’s dive in to the core of what most marriages have a problem with.
It is sad to realize that in this day and age many adults don’t know the difference between sex and intimacy. Many have been led to believe that sex and intimacy are one in the same and that is furthest from the truth. Sex and intimacy are markedly different and the sooner we understand that the happier we as human beings can be.
The reason that I say sex and intimacy are two different things is due in part to the fact that sex is a physical act nothing more nothing less and conversely intimacy takes place on a physical and emotional level. This is why individuals can have sex with someone they don’t like, someone they are not attracted to and/or someone they have no intention of reproducing with or building a future with.
Let’s take a moment to look at the two and how they differ…
Sex is defined as “either the male or female division of a species especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions; the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another or it’s manifestation in life and conduct.” Now that is the most basic definition of sex but to delve a little deeper and look at it as a verb and/or action sex is defined as “to arouse sexually; to increase the appeal of, to make more interesting, attractive or exciting.” Those two different definitions come from the English dictionary but to look further at the British dictionary’s definition for sex it is defined as “feelings or behavior resulting from the urge to gratify the sexual instinct.” This would be the more accurate definition for what we are talking about.
In discussing a physical act one must take a moment to look at what the act is. When looking at sex in the physical form it is just that, it is a physical act taking place between two entities; and since we are humans we are looking at sex between humans regardless of gender sex is an act that can, does and will continue to take place until this world is no longer in existence.
Most problems in a marriage arise with sex at the forefront when both parties don’t have a clear understanding of what sex really is. Notice in all the definitions listed there is not one reference to feelings and/or emotion and that is solely because the active sexual intercourse has nothing to do with either.
Once you strip away all the bullshit and propaganda surrounding sex and sexuality you will see that sex was created so that the human race can reproduce and continue the cycle of life that was it…nothing more.
Now intimacy on the other hand is a whole other ball game; it is something that many of us have yet to fully understand and/or master.
Intimacy is defined as the state of being intimate; a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person; and act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection or the like; the quality of being comfortable, warm or familiar. In looking at all those definitions notice that there is no mention of physicality; all of those definitions are indicative of something that you feel.
Therein lies our quandary…
Believe it or not a relationship can survive without sex but conversely will wither and die without intimacy. Sex is something we as human beings do because it feels good, because we are trying to have a child or because we are attempting to connect with another human being on a deeper level. Intimacy on the other hand is not something we strive to do and/or accomplish it is simply something that we experience like a moment in time.
Within a marriage many individuals hit a wall when they cannot find a healthy balance between sex and intimacy. Married couples have to first understand each parties views on sex and intimacy. Too many in today’s society tend to believe that sex is everything when in fact it is a minuscule portion of a relationship. We have been so desensitized to feeling and embracing real emotion that we tend to only lend credence to those things that are tangible meaning we can feel them immediately and/or touch them within the moment. And that my friends is exactly what the definition of sex is; it is physical. Due to a lack of misunderstanding and miseducation we no longer look at the emotional and psychological aspects of our relationships. Intimacy occurs within a marriage when the parties connect on a deeper level. It occurs within the moments of the marriage; the loving gazes, the handholding for no reason at all, the slight touches and caresses that happen out of the blue completely unprovoked, the sitting in the bed watching television, the reading of a novel together. Those were just examples of intimate moments but they happen in some marriages all day every day with no immediate sexual gratification being reached; that is true intimacy.
The sooner we begin to understand the differences that exist between physical and psychological the sooner we will be able to find peace within the confines of marriage.
When two people have two completely different views on what they want and need from their mate there will always be dissension and unhappiness. Know the difference. Embrace and understand them both. Communicate your view points to your partner. And fully understand your needs.
When all those things are done; that is where you will find a healthy and happy correlation between sex and intimacy because though they are very different they are also very complementary to one another.