As an adult, it shouldn’t be breaking news to you that intimacy and sex are far from the same thing. We all know it’s possible to have sex with someone and yet feel a million miles removed from them, just as it’s possible to be intimate with another person without ever taking off our clothes.
When people talk of needing to feel closer to a partner or craving real intimacy with a lover, there are a myriad of emotional and mental possibilities they may be asking for. Unsurprisingly, our minds go straight to the physical options because they’re the most obvious, but here we really want you to delve much deeper. We want you to recognise all the colourful and exciting layers that you may be missing.
Knowing the difference
As we touched upon above, if your wish is to really get to know your partner and have a genuinely rounded love life, then one of the best moves you can make is to acknowledge them as the multifaceted human being they are. Everyone you date will have aspects of their personality that you’re drawn to and quickly become familiar with, but that doesn’t mean it stops there. How well do you truly connect with them physically, mentally and emotionally?
Let’s start with the physical. Do you know what sort of touch, outside of the bedroom, that most helps your partner to feel secure with you? Is it a gentle hand on the base of his spine, the tucking of her hair behind her ear, or your soft impromptu hugs in the supermarket?
Mentally, what do know of your partner that separates you from other people? It could be a particular story they share, that they’ve told you from a more honest and vulnerable perspective. Do you know whether their key to self-confidence is verbal encouragement, as opposed to tasks being done for them? And is it long conversations at midnight that they value, during that quiet time when the rest of the world is sleeping, and they finally feel free?
Emotionally, and this is a big one, how open are you to receiving and giving outside of the bedroom? It’s very little use knowing the entire karma sutra, if you can’t tell the difference between when she’s distracted or when he’d prefer to have his ego stroked more than anything else.
If you truly want to be intimate, on all levels, there must be some kind of synchronicity in the way you interact with and perceive one another.
Often in relationships where there is infidelity, we assume that it’s all about the sex. If we find out there may also have been an emotional or mental connection, this can make the pain one hundred times worse. This is how important intimacy is and how much we value it.
A healthy dialogue around sex is essential to both enhancing and maintaining your closeness within a relationship. Some conversations may be hard and some of them eye-opening, but your aim is overall balance, so make sure to look at the bigger picture of what you’re trying to achieve. Whether you find yourself in the world of marriage or dating, it’s absolutely a two-way street and both of you need to be equally committed to exploration and honesty.
All areas of our lives need a little revamping from time to time and sex and intimacy are no different. Don’t assume that just because you’ve always done something one way, with your current or old partner, that it’s perfect as it is.