The major challenge with how men and women relate is in the realization that intimacy and sex are not the same thing. Sex is the physical expression of the desire, lust and love we feel for another. It lasts, on average, seven minutes. The question is what we are doing the rest of the time to truly connect on a deeper level. Intimacy, on the other hand, is the foundation of relationship, including affection, bonding, care, nurturing, passion, respect and sex, among others.
The breakdown lies in how we express intimacy. Men are more physical; operating on facts, individual accomplishments and the desire to compete. Women, operating on emotions, are community accomplishment-motivated and need to bond. For a women, intimacy is an emotional connection. They feel intimacy when they feel closeness with their partner.
Men express intimacy as time alone with their lover; ability to communicate and understand both physical needs; holding hands/hugging/kissing/foreplay; and deep physical connection. Women express intimacy as daily sharing of conversation and affection; a sensitivity to emotional pain and ability to show emotions; understanding each other’s dreams and goals; and deep emotional/heart/soul connection.
Love is not challenging. It’s the relating that requires understanding and collaboration, and when we learn to navigate within the ABCs of Intimacy, we can weave a loving, lasting and passionate relationship with those we love.
Doctor of Human Sexuality Kat Smith is an Intimalogist (intimacy expert), author and speaker in Dallas. For more information, visit DrKatSmith.com.
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