Do You Miss Intimacy More Than Sex?

A friend said something to me a few weeks ago that really got me thinking about intimacy.
He said that “sex is everywhere- if you truly wanted to just have sex- you could find it.”
At first I thought- nooooo…. because I DO want to have sex..every day! 
Then I began to think about it rationally and discovered he was right. If I wanted one-time anonymous sex, there are plenty of ways to find that.  A bit too risky for me and unfulfilling, but it would scratch the itch.
Then, I thought, if I wanted sex with someone I care about, know and trust – this is also very do-able. I could call any number of male friends who would be happy to accommodate me – today! No risk involved, mutual physical satisfaction and our friendship would still be solid.
So why have I not done this?
What is missing is the emotional intimacy, the desire to be closer, to know more, to share everything.  Obviously for me sex isn’t just a physical act then. I want to be free to express myself fully and explore my partners desires, and for me this requires an intimate relationship.
I began reading about emotional intimacy and found some very interesting and telling articles that I sincerely wish I had read YEARS ago. Here are a few snippits:
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Emotional intimacy involves talking about who you are, what you need, and expressing yourself honestly.
Creating emotional intimacy when you're in love takes time and effort, especially if you've been hurt in the past.
When you’re truly intimate with your partner you can talk about who you really are, say what you need and want, and be heard by him/her. Emotionally intimate relationships have a sense of mutuality, which means you’re as concerned with your partner’s satisfaction and happiness as with your own. You want to see your partner emotionally, intellectually, socially, physically and professionally fulfilled. Creating intimacy doesn't mean you'll make all that happen, of course, but your partner’s satisfaction is equally important to you.
Intimacy is the freedom to be yourself. Creating emotional intimacy is expressing yourself more and more in your relationship.
Emotionally intimate relationships are risky for several reasons (which is why some people are afraid of intimacy). When you're trying to create intimacy, you could be:

  • Misunderstood

  • Rejected

  • Ridiculed

  • Faced with the fact that you're with the wrong person

OK. WOW! That last one on the list hit me like a ton of bricks.
So, since I have obviously chosen a spouse who is not capable of this type of intimate relationship- and it is clearly what I need- what now?
Now comes the hard work. I will share these articles with him and tell him that this is what I need in a relationship. I have known ours wasn’t a good marriage for awhile, and I think this will be the beginning of the end for him. I will continue my path of honesty and being genuine – I am learning each day and growing stronger in being able to express what I need and want.  And just as importantly, I have a clearer understanding of what I want and how to get there from here. One baby step at a time...
smilin61 smilin61
51-55, F
27 Responses Nov 10, 2011

I'm a strong believer in the Dan Savage concept of being GGG - Good, Giving, and Game (within reason). I would also add a fourth G - Grateful. You cannot be GGG without also being intimately honest.

I would recommend reading Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel. She makes the arguement that too much intimacy kills sexual expression. Good sex requires excitement, surprise, and a continual refresh to remain vital and fun. Any thoughts?

I would argue that "good sex" has different requirements for each individual. For someone who's past experiences with excitement and surprise have been negative, this wouldn't be the case.

Intimacy Is sex and the true foundation of love and caring.I will never understand how a person could go without it.

Well-said and thanks for posting. I believe I read this last year when I was struggling with my SM. I ended up leaving in search of that emotional intimacy that I truly missed.

Is there such a relationship,of coarse it's going to take time.Any long term relationship is going to have it's ups and downs and it really wouldn't be wise to spill your guts right a way.I must admit that I don't want to know a womans every need and desire before we have sex.And I have had short term relations that I felt was very fulfilling.

There is nothing more savory than deep sensual sex laced with intimacy. The rich velvet taste of passion waiting for you, watching your approach, reaching out and pulling you deep down into it's craving arms.<br />
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But the reality to the above is, this is not my spouse I'm talking about... It's my lover. I knew from the first moment I felt her touch what I was missing. I learned from that moment that the life I was living, I could not live any more. Life time is too precious to waste after you pass the forty mark. Just sitting and watching it pass by, wishing you were like others that have what you don't. Watching love/sex scenes wishing it was you.<br />
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Your line in your posting "because I DO want to have sex..every day!" those words would never come from my spouse. The sheer thought of that much sex would put her into a comma. <br />
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We are separated now. As bitter sweet as it was for us to face the reality that we were in a "Roommate Marriage", it took the courage to say the words... "Do we really want to live like this for the rest of our lives? I don't"<br />
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Great post Smilin'. As you can see from the amount of responses, it really struck a nerve with a lot of folks. We meet when we are young, for most of us, and we never want that initial rush to leave us. But it does, it always does. Then we grow and inevitably we all change. And we hope that our partners change with us. But that does not always happen. Leaving a "cruel and abusive" partmer is easy. But what does one do when they wake up one day with a nice enough person, but just not for them?

The plain fact is that the last item on the list is the truth for many of us. I was asked if I would want to renew my wedding vows in Hawaii like some friends recently did. <br />
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Nope, I would not do that again... with you. I held my tongue.

to me...real love without can say what you need to say..and your comfortable saying it..<br />
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I was in fear for years about having to deal with how unhappy i was..and so that is not love..Having to pray for the right moment, and courage etc to finally speak up, is not a loving relationship....A person that loves you..truly loves you..will be understanding and concerned with your concerns..and so the intimacy is just there. The freedom to speak and share is there.<br />
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.and the other half of that...being willing to listen to what your partner is saying and sharing, and to do that without fear...that is intimacy..and to welcome your partner into your life on a daily basis, is real care about what he/she is feeling and thinking and wanting and sharing that is intimacy...<br />
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In my marriage...I never really had any of that...i spoke and shared cautiously..because i was never really sure how that information would be received..and reacted to.

I am with you neuilly. This is a concept I am trying to explain to my husband, and he just doesn't understand. My 'trying' days are numbered now. I have experienced what it feels like to have this kind of freeing it is, and how wonderful. It is a worthy goal, I think.

Actually they should go together, one without the other is meaningless to me. There are probably times where one or the other might be the priority but in general I need both for total satisfaction. So in answer to the question I would miss both equally if I had neither.

I agree with you mach. Neither sex nor intimacy is complete without the other. So, not only should they go together, to be satisfying they must go hand in hand.

I would simply answer you, with. . . I miss intimacy more than sex.

I have to say that your answer is completely understandable, and certainly it has the ring of truth. But I would be willing to bet that, if you were to achieve emotional intimacy without sex, you would change your point of view and begin to miss sex more.

Now that I've been paying close attention, I have found that when I have not been having sex, I also have not been enjoying much intimacy either. I've also noticed that during the times I've had sex without enjoying it, there was little intimacy during the sex - it was like she wasn't really present.

Heck yes.<br />
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Sex is not what I miss the most. It is the emotional connection, the affection, the passion, the caring about each others feelings and desires, an authentic passion to explore and satisfy those desires for one another. To fully complete one another other, our minds, our souls, our spirits, dancing together in perfect harmony, then the amazing pleasure to experience our bodies together in skin tingling, heart pounding, toe curling passion. Mmmmm…..<br />
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Yes, I want it all.

Well, sex is a form of intimacy. It's a good sign in a relationship. However, alone I would probably have to choose the other form of intimacy. Sex alone is an addictive pleasure, love is more important. Put it this way i'd rather have weed than sex. Guys just can't control their sexual desires aswell as women.<br />

I agree with you 1000%. I wrote in another post recently that when I come out of this SM, I am not looking to just hook up with someone. I do want it to meaningful. I want the love and passion. That is what I miss and want most. It's not sex, but making love. Connecting with someone. <br />
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I wrote more, but I think it might be more appropriate in a separate post because I do not want to get off topic here.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

i actually enjoyed reading ur post. ur friend actually asked a great question...i asked myself the same thing and wow it does make a differnce w/ my H i have neither emotional or physical and yet wit AG i was having the emotional and then a tease of physical but now its more phsical and i guess thats why im started to feel as if its fizzling..... thanks i needed to think about all that

Another interesting perspective to think about.<br />
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I am of the view that such thinking about such subjects is best done at distance from the dysfunctional situation one might be in, and in retrospect.<br />
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In other words, vacating the dysfunctional situation needs to be the primary focus. Ruminate about the "why" and / or the "how" later, when you are out of it. You'll see it a whole lot clearer then. <br />
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Tread your own path.

I have observed that with my wife, lately, I've been raising the flag much earlier in the process when things have slipped off track, before they even get to a crisis stage with sex - which is where I used to notice the tipping point. Now, I notice that the canary in the coal mine is kissing, eye contact, casual physical touch, and attention. They always correlate with the sex talk that will happen a week or two down the road, as we continue to course correct. I've begun to step up the point where I raise it with her as an issue and get her feelings on it or what might be causing it. the last two discussions on the matter have happened when I wasn't even particularly feeling much desire myself. <br />
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I'm likely afraid of that last point more than most things - losing my desire for her as the result of continued rejection. I've seen it happen to several people on this board, and that is a particularly difficult situation to turn around, because it saps motivation. I'd rather the wakeup call be sounded before it gets there.

I have tooled around with variations of these notions, sex and intimacy. Perhaps it is a product of going without for so long, but for me, right now, the core that runs through all my fantasies, including those with my own wife, is that it is about feeling desired. It's about feeling that I'm the right person there, that I'm the one who is wanted, or who has proven his worth in this arena. While intimacy is certainly an enhancer (or can be) and I do absolutely want that as well, with my wife, I set the bar lower when I'm considering other offers. Desire, is probably where it lands - note - it's not so much my desire, but the feeling from being DESIRED. And I'm going cheap right now, if someone makes an offer.

I'm with you 100%. I long to be desired, and have never felt so in 38 years! Sad old fart that I am.

Our hopeless SM notwithstanding we are very intimate, if I understand anything about that word. We communicate well, often non-verbally, we share culture and interests, and we keep no secrets from each other. We honor and respect each other, more as colleagues than mates, but we do not find each other physically attractive, although there's nothing wrong with our bodies. We are not skilled in bed and we do not like to have sex with each other. So my answer is no --- I do miss sex more than I miss intimacy. Or more accurately, I used to miss sex. Now I am just sad my best years have passed by. I am sad for her too, but perhaps a little less than for myself.

I'm facing the exact dilenma. I have been having good sex with my wife. It was a sexless marraige for 6 months or so. It's not after the actual act of divorce filing, Very long and deep discussion about where we are going that the sex came back slowly and than regularly. Still, the intimacy, the trust, the Love are not quite there. It feel more of a physical needs than an emotional need. The actual act was intense and erotic, yet feel hollow. A marriage should be a combination of both and not just one. WIll it last? I don't know. She think of it as FWB of a relationship. Of course, I view of it differently. Yes, my physical needs are fulfilled. My emotional need haven't. The artical is dead on!! Creating the emotional intimacies are much more challenging than the physical intimacies. Sex can be had anywhere anytime, making love can only happen when both party are in sync as one.

Nice set of comments, smilin.<br />
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There are 3 general categories per my observations here and in other groups oriented toward sexuality and relationships, those for whom:<br />
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1. sex is like vacationing. Something enjoyed when it's good and accompanied by all the emotional satisfaction that you say is required, but which can be deferred or omitted without affecting health<br />
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2. sex is like eating. A necessity that is nonetheless better enjoyed gourmet, when well prepared and accompanied with emotional satisfaction, but nonetheless can be sated with physical sex like fast food sates hunger. I count myself in this category.<br />
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3. sex is like money. The more the better, regardless of the source, but always needed for survival. Many of these populate the "adult" groups of EP.<br />
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Then, of course, there is the strange case of the asexual. They could be category 1 people that are either in denial or don't have the emotional requirements satisfied for the physical to be enjoyed. Or they could just have no sex drive.

Great post - helps makes me feel better about my recent decision to leave my wife.

Thank you, I must copy that exact piece and send it to DW

Sexless marriage is a symptom of a larger issue. Yes, intimacy the cuddling, careing, hugging, kissing that we are missing as well. These are just as important as the act of sex as well, which is why I think an affair while have happened for many are not a solution, as we are the type of people who want to give our all to our partners, which we can not do since part of our all is with our current spouses.<br />
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Sometimes I feel the urge to find someone to fulfill the physical, but I know I would become attached as I need all the items I described above, not the no strings attached mentality that I would need to have to have.<br />
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LOL I guess I want it all. Maybe one day we will be able to find that all with one person.<br />
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Good luck.

The best definition of intimacy I have seen - In_To_Me_See! <br />
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You are sooo right. Sex of and unto itself is great, if that's all you need and expect. But taking it to the next level and beyond requires honour and commitment. That oh so difficult step of allowing yourself to be vulnerable can be just so difficult, unless you're with the right person! And that ladies and gentleman, is the crux of the problem. We often find ourselves, sometimes after many, many years, attached to the wrong person. We search our souls, we theorise, we try to understand and sympathise, we try to find out the 'why'. But at the end of the day, it's just the simple fact that we got hitched to the wrong person who, in the long term, just isn't/wasn't right for us and is pretty much incapable of meeting our needs, no matter how good or bad they are, they just aren't the best fit. Do you stay or do you go? Don't ask me, I'm still here after 38 years, so how the fxxk should I know?