Therapist Blog

Intimacy and Sex

Sex can be intimate; talking can be intimate. Talking can also be a lie. Sex can be a shield. For adults dating, often times if they haven’t had sex by the third date, then “something is wrong,” or, “it’s not going anywhere.” Because we give sex has a unique status in the continuum of actions we can take in our life, it is easy to assume intimacy where there really is none at all. In my practice, I often meet couples that have been married for a long time that are not intimate; sometimes they are having sex and sometimes they are not.

Intimacy is a mutual vulnerability; some crave being held close as if in a primal cradle while others like to be rocked as if released from the chains that bind that have always bound them. Sexual intimacy is animal and angelic at once, intuitive, yet studied. When one takes the time to be curious of the other’s particular desire and makes them vulnerable enough to try to please their partner (with no guarantee that they will), that can be a very big part of intimacy. Sometimes sexual intimacy ends in laughter, sometimes in tears, sometimes in a sigh of relief or the moans of release. Sometimes they end in a cuddle and sometimes in a run around the block. Intimacy is a conversation that is open and openness sometimes invites discomfort. But, when we are intimate with another person, be it in conversation, in the actions of our life, or behind closed doors on the bed or the floor or, to bring back our youth, in the back of the car … when we are intimate with another, it is an experience that leaves us different than we were before.

Intimacy and Sex

To expect this on a third date in most cases, is to invite one person’s projection of who they’d like us to be and for them to invite our projection of who we’d like them to be and for each of these projections to engage in gymnastics of the sexual variety. In most cases, it’s much too much to ask, not only that we know them well enough, but even more, that we trust enough to let down our guard, thus even making it impossible for the other to find us even if they would.

We’ve all been wounded, and have trauma of our own. Sentinels stand guard, maybe not of our genitals, but of our souls, where others, not knowing or caring to know, or too immature to know, have made such a mess. But we are determined to be free, before we really are and sometimes it would be better to converse for a while, get to know the lighter and darker reaches of each other’s soul before we attempt intimacy which is really an act of trust, of letting go before the sentinels will leave their post, we’re going to need to know more than just our projection of the person before us, but actually see them, as they are. Intimacy; a conversation, a word, an act … of trust.