If you watch most television shows, you would think that the most important part of any relationship is sex! But when it comes to what matters most in a relationship, it’s not the sex. And if we focus only on sex, the relationship won’t sustain.
Biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher, discovered that people who fall in love view sex as secondary to other factors defining their relationship.
And even though sex therapists will tell you that mismatches in sexual desires are the number one complaint they receive from couples, the complaint is often based in mismatches of intimacy needs.
Couples are looking for intimacy. Intimacy is less about 50 Shades of Gray and more about what happens outside the bedroom. Great sex grows from intimacy. And intimacy can grow great sex when two become one.
Intimacy is about being known and cared for by the other. I’ve heard intimacy defined as” in-to-me-see!” It’s that feeling that we are in sync with another emotionally, spiritually and physically. It’s being accepted and loved by another-emotionally exposed, but unconditionally loved.
Intimacy is something we all crave, both with God and another person. When you hold the hand of your partner or when he holds open a door, it’s not so much a sexual act as an intimate one. Intimate acts like touching elevate oxytocin levels and increase your feelings of attachment to another. Intimacy allows you to expose yourself and develop a closeness that culminates in sexual expression.
So while great sex is the media emphasis, most of us crave to be known by another in such a way that sex is just one more way to express our love. Without intimacy, sex is reduced to a physical act that might feel good at the moment but leaves you wanting something more. And that something more is the trust and intimacy of a committed relationship, ordained by God.
Sources: W.D. Johnson, “What is the Difference Between Falling In Love and Physical Attraction?” December 13, 2013, http://www.ehow.com/info_8622015_difference-falling-love-physical-attraction.html#ixzz2fwLWCzc2
K.J. Prager, K. J., The Psychology of Intimacy. (New York: Guilford Press., 1995).
K.J. Prager, and D. Buhrmester, D, “Intimacy and Need Fulfillment in Couple Relationships,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 15 (1998): 435–469.