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Below the Belt

Below the Belt: Sex with a side of intimacy

Media, culture, personality, and biology all play a role in our sexual experiences, but none more so than intimacy: a gratifying emotional bond between two people.

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By Advice Mallard (Sexpert) – Email

Print Edition: May 21, 2014

A relationship with real intimacy isn’t something you get overnight. (Image: VitorAntunes/Flickr)

A relationship with real intimacy isn’t something you get overnight. (Image: VitorAntunes/Flickr)

Media, culture, personality, and biology all play a role in our sexual experiences, but none more so than intimacy: a gratifying emotional bond between two people. It is the ultimate goal of any sexual or non-sexual relationship to achieve an intense connection between you and another person. A nexus, if you will.

The quest for intimacy is highly overlooked. It may be seen as too much hassle because it is something a person must work toward if they want to receive or reciprocate it. Having no-strings-attached sex is a lot easier. However, the media does not represent our fundamental need for interpersonal intimacy as much it does so bluntly with purely physical encounters. We connect in private and personal connections, not simply in physical pleasure.

I understand why the intensity of a one-night stand may be appealing, or even preferred. There are zero obligations, putting the fear-of-commitment-but-not-hormones folks at ease, if only temporarily. Once sweat and self-esteem have both dried up, a one-night stand turns into nothing more than two people eager to find out who will be which spoon.

Only during the infamous “walk of shame” the next morning will you realize that you have left without what you were actually looking for. Rather than being at ease and content, a person is more distraught than before. One too many drinks, poor judgement, or quick decisions have now left them with the emotional stability of a blimp.

This behaviour is not healthy in the long run, nor is it for the faint of heart. An extensive list of one-timers is only going to cut your self-esteem short, causing frustrations to fly, never fully understanding why you never go away completely satisfied — not to mention the days of self-interrogation questioning your morals.

Perhaps it is obvious that people want intimacy in a romantic relationship. Wanting to be heated by a lover’s body and not just blankets is common. A one-night stand is a quick fix, not an equivalent alternative. Those with experience should know it only leaves you wanting more. Hazardous hip-thrusting will not cater to the hunger of your psyche the same way the calm serenity of another person’s chest raising and lowering itself with each breath will. 

Sex in a relationship is the most intimate thing couples can do. Hitting a home run with a significant other is the physical representation of the bond that is shared. However, we all know truly healthy relationships do not revolve around sex. They come with perks: the feeling of getting to wake up next to that certain someone, being in the same room and not having to say anything, or making dinner for two. Not for sex on command, a sandwich-maker, or a new emergency contact. The acts of sheer intimacy highlight any relationship, rather than simple physical contact.

Sex with intimacy is as good as it gets. It is trusting somebody with your deepest physical secrets (no pun intended). It is letting someone who was once a stranger see you in your most vulnerable state.

If we are to save ourselves from living lives without intimacy, honesty with ourselves holds the utmost importance. Recognize what it is you desire the most for yourself and understand that someone else wants the exact same thing. 

Be sure not to cut yourself short; having things in common with a person is not to be confused with achieving intimacy. It is a two-way causal link. This near-phenomenon cannot be rushed — after all, it is best not to rush something you want to last forever.

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