How Important is Sex to Intimacy?

sex and intimacy

How can a couple have sex with a greaterdegree of intimacy? Much sex is not intimate at all, other than the fact that the couple is doing the most physically intimate act they can do.

You see, there is a vast difference between "having sex" -- even with someone you love deeply -- and having intimate sex. Intimate sex is where couples achieve a true and deeply felt intimate connection with each other through their sensual lovemaking.

Ultimately, the most important part of sex, that seems most likely to be missing, is the element of intimacy.

Did I Catch Your Attention?

"Sexual" and "sex" are selling words. They arouse the interest of the average person. But the term "intimacy" or "intimate" is usually not a term that grabs attention, especially with men. To prove my point, last month one search engine reported that the word "sex" was searched for 3,305,663 times, while the term "intimacy" was searched for only 659 times. Quite a contrast in demand.

Males tend to see intimacy as a "squishy-feely" concept. Yet if a relationship loses intimacy (or never attains it at all), this loss will eventually break down the emotional connection between the couple and may result in its final destruction.

Now some might reason that all sex is intimate. In fact, we talk about "getting intimate" with each other as a euphemism for lovemaking. In the beginning of most relationships, even a guy wants intimacy. He thinks: She wants to be intimate with me; she wants to have sex! When a guy thinks about intimacy, he usually thinks about having sex. For most men, sex is a barometer of the health of his relationship. If there is little or no sex, he concludes there is no love.

Of course, it's possible to have an enjoyable sexual encounter with someone we don't love or even care for. Two people do a little flirting, get turned on, and end up in bed together; but when that one night stand is over, they have usually developed nothing permanent or truly intimate between them. While sexual intercourse is probably the most intimate physical activity a couple can do together, it is no guarantee that the couple will create any intimacy between them.

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Crying Out For Intimacy

Sex is quite often a cry for intimacy and without it, emotional devastation may be the result. Actually, this is one of the biggest blunders first-time lovers often make. They naively believe that giving their virginity to someone will create a "forever" relationship. They fantasize that their lover will be so excited about them because of the intimate nature of their gift that they picture themselves remaining lovers for life.

Of course, when the rude awakening dawns on her that her partner had no such fantasy, it can be devastating. This sexual disappointment can be the start of a lifetime of unfulfilled sexual connections and expectations, leading to the false assumption that sex is best with no commitment.

A man does want to feel a connection with the woman of his dreams. He wants to look deeply within her eyes and see passion there. He hopes that she will always desire him from the bottom of her heart above everyone else. In this sense, he very much wants to be intimate with her.

But if intimacy does not exist in a relationship, that lack can become a never-ending cycle. When a woman who does not feel an intimate/emotional bond with her husband, she may begin to cool down towards him, even withholding sex completely. This, of course, causes him to be less willing to communicate love for her. And their problem grows.

"Generally speaking," says author John Gray of Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus fame, "when a man's emotional and passionate needs for love are not satisfied, he becomes entranced with sex, while a woman tends to become captivated with romance."

A Lot of Sex, Little Intimacy

Unfortunately, so much sexual activity, even in marriage, takes place with little or no intimacy. So many men end up jumping into pornography or affairs because they are not experiencing sensual intimacy in their relationships with their wives. I believe that when you participate in intimate sex, your need for outside stimulation will often be dramatically lessened.

Sex and intimacy can and should be connected together. Even though a man might not be as motivated by intimacy, women are usually motivated to increase their intimacy with the man they love. To a woman, intimacy usually tops her list of "wants" and "needs." When intimacy is missing in the relationship, a woman will feel a great void in her heart and soul.

But when intimacy is present she will find it quite easy to become passionate and loving towards her spouse. In fact, the more intimacy she feels, the more sexual passion she will be able to express. By focusing upon building sensual intimacy, both partners can achieve what they most desire. He obtains a sensual woman and she obtains an intimate man.

The Importance of Sensual Intimacy

It is important to work at achieving sensual intimacy as a couple. These things must happen between both of you, emotionally, physically and spiritually for true sensual intimacy to take place.

How a couple feels about each other on an emotional level is the foundation of intimacy (this is especially true for women as their sex lives are much more thoroughly controlled by their emotions). So a great long-lasting sex life inevitably springs out of deep intimacy.

Men, your lovemaking skills will also have a great deal to do with how easy it will be for your partner to respond to you. Now I don't just mean your techniques. How you treat your spouse (or lover) in the midst of your touching, kissing and stimulation will have so much to do with her responsiveness.

Connecting on a Spiritual Level

When you have connected on the emotional and sensual level, you will be ready to connect on the spiritual level. By "spiritual", I do not mean "religious". A man must connect to a woman's spirit if he wants her to feel he is worthy of being followed. By making a connection on this level, the two of you will find that your intimacy can easily approach "awesome" on the pleasure scale.

When a couple achieves intimate sex, they'll discover that they can have an incredibly deep love life with their partner beyond sex.

You may have feelings for him (or her) unlike anything you first experienced in the early days of courtship. You may find yourself thinking about your lover just as you did when you were first dating. In short, you may feel that your love life is ignited by practicing these principles.

Most of us really don't how much we don't know much about sex.

next: Understanding Intimacy

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 30). How Important is Sex to Intimacy?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: August 18, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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