Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Is Intimacy the Same as Sex?
The answer is no.
In my years of experience, I have known many people that confuse these two things. But, sex and intimacy aren’t the same thing. There’s intimate sex and un-intimate sex. There’s intimacy without sex and sex without intimacy.
For some, especially young people and those less experienced with sex (though not only), sex can come with intense feelings and can feel like intimacy. If we see it this way, we make assumptions that some of the tasks developing intimacy like trust, getting to know each other, feeling safe, exploring vulnerability and awkwardness, etc. In assuming this, crucial parts of these needs can go unmet and one or both partners are less likely to feel as close as they could.
That being said, sex can be an expression of intimacy and can exist during intimacy. Being intimate with someone could draw you into wanting to be sexually closer and having sex might encourage feelings of intimacy. However, it’s a mistake to confuse the two and just assume that intimacy is the driver of sexual attraction or sex automatically creates intimacy.
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