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Untangling Love, Sex & Intimacy

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the difference is between love, sex, and intimacy?

There seems to be mischief wrought by their entanglement. Things arise like jealousy, cheating, blame, supposed to, resentment, shame… The list is endless with assumptions, wishes, and limits.

Love is an emotion, stronger than attraction, tied to how we feel about someone, but beyond that, love can mean many different things. The English language has only one word for all types of love. Maternal love, love of friends/family, romantic love, love from afar, etc. I assert love lives on a continuum and by each person defines it differently .

Love is separate and distinct from sex, which itself is subjective. As a noun, sex it is a distinction between male and female in a binary world based on genitalia. Used as a verb it often restricted to intercourse. In my world sex lives on a continuum from flirting thru aftercare. With that in mind, it blows me away that in some societies virginity is tied to family honor. Virginity is never having sex (vaginal intercourse) but anal sex is fine. CRAZY.

Love and sex can both be experienced alone but intimacy involves sharing yourself with another. Sharing deep, private thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Being emotionally available and vulnerable. It’s about being known on a profound level, accepted, and safe.

The mischief comes when we merge these three together in a relationship and expect the other person to provide all this over time. How is that even possible? Each aspect is important on its own and powerful when combined. However, in relationships, if there is no distinction between the three, the lines get blurred. There may a missing piece that you can’t quite put your finger on.

Sex and love may be there, but missing intimacy. Maybe love and intimacy exist but the sex is dead. How can we truly be fulfilled in life if something is missing, and we don’t know what it is?

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