First, we need to understand the definition of sex and the definition of intimacy.
What is sex? For the purposes of this article, when we say “sex” we mean the act of sexual desire and interest in another. The word sex is a complex word with many meanings. Sex can be with a partner, it can be accomplished alone, it can mean gender or sexual identity. But today, we’re going to talk about the act of being sexual with a partner or alone.
What is intimacy? Intimacy can be defined as the feelings of closeness one has towards another. Intimacy can occur between friends, partners, or relatives. Intimacy is allowing an openness of communication that creates space for vulnerability.
Anyone can have sex. Not everyone has intimacy. Intimacy might look different from couple to couple or person to person. Ask yourself, am I able to express vulnerability with myself or my partner? If the answer is no, we should talk about ways of accomplishing that if it’s something you feel is missing. If the answer is yes, congratulations. You’re on track for a most extraordinary sexual relationship.
Society does a lot to mess with our heads, trying to get us to believe sex and intimacy are the same when clearly they are not. Society also does a great job of making us feeling broken or inadequate. I’m here to tell you that society is wrong. YOU, my beautiful friend, are NOT broken, nor are you inadequate. There’s a secret going around that is dying to get out. Here it is: You are capable of experiencing life on your terms in any sexual or intimate context you desire. It’s true. Whatever negativity your brain is telling you about your sexual and intimate experiences, is wrong.
Everyone has their own story. Maybe yours is a prostatectomy and you don’t think you can ever have an erection again. Maybe it’s true, but maybe you can enjoy sex and intimacy better than before. Maybe you just had a mastectomy, or maybe you had it years ago, and you feel broken because society tells you that being a woman means you must have breasts. I’m here to tell you it’s bullshit. All of it. I’m not suggesting the journey is easy, but damn, it’s worth it. Sex and intimacy can work together. They only will when you can understand what it means to be intimate and to be sexual, and not society’s definition, but YOUR definition.
Sex does not equal intimacy, and intimacy does not equal sex. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.