What is the difference between sex and intimacy?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,353
    Relationship expert Chris Wright explains the difference between sex and intimacy.

    Chris Wright

    Chris Wright is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.  He sees clients in the Washington, D.C. area and has telephone clients from all over the world.  He also has over 35 years of experience as a trainer and workshop leader in human and organizational development across the U.S. and Canada.   Chris was founder and director of the Human Relations Institute in Houston, Texas.  He was also the Director of PAIRS International -- training psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in couple’s skills programs.     As an innovator in the field, he has developed a unique blend of tools that increase the effectiveness in relationships -- for couples and in the workplace.  He has Masters Degrees from the University of Arizona and Antioch University in Los Angeles.

    Host: What is the difference between sex and intimacy?

    Chris Wright: Basically sex comes from -- really the focus is on getting each other turned on and sexually excited, comes from your head. Lovemaking is really more about connecting to your heart, connecting to your body, unleashing, attuning to these more fundamental love energies so that love directs the whole experience. Here is what happens, in the relationship as lovemaking starts to become more like sex, men typically it does not have to be the men but it is typically the men, they start to substitute sexual excitement for love, they start to equate the sexual excitement that is what is love, that is what intimacy.

    Why not, there s is a sense that it feels so wonderful, it feels so great when I am sexually excited, maybe that is love, maybe that is intimacy. So for man not knowing how to tap into, how to attune to these more vulnerable love energies, how to open the couple up to these energies, his whole focus shifts now to trying to get the woman sexually excited, trying to get her turned on and that becomes the whole goal that determines everything that goes on, sexually in the experience, trying to get her turned on.

    In fact that goal, that orientation has permeated the whole culture, all the media represents sex that way, the couple come in to their apartment and slam the door, he throws her up against the wall, she tears open his shirts, they just -- this hot, passionate turned on sex is the image that we grow up expecting that is what we are trying to do, get the partner turned on, get her sexually excited that is what makes me a good lover. So everybody expects that most people do that is what they assume is good sex, is getting people to really turned on together.

    Even in religious communities and spiritual communities they maintain this sense that there is a difference between sex and lovemaking and that it is one that does require the bond of love to generate lovemaking and usually for most of them, it requires the bond of marriage. So there really is a framework of emotional safety to really surrender your heart, to ravel in these energies but I dare say that from many of these religious couples, once they get married, being brought up in this culture, they merely jump in and have sex and they start focusing again about trying to turn each other on.

    The woman is trying to be a turn on for the man and please him and so the whole focus devolves into again, just having sex and then trying to call that love. That can be difficult in the culture particularly for woman or those who have the lot of feminine side, they recognize that the feminine side is really wired; sex is wired into the heart, into intimacy, into lovemaking. So it is really, they have a hard time finding this thing where it is just about sex, just about getting turned on, just about sexual excitement.

    That that is meaningful, that that is the whole thing, that that is what it is all about. For a woman truly her whole sexual motivation is about wanting to be with her man and open her heart, surrender every part of herself and welcome him in to her depths of her being, take every bit of him inside of herself and in response releasing all that she is and complete surrender of love. Her whole sexual motivation is to make the spiritual connection together and release these feminine divine energies.

    That is her nature, trying to get her turned on, trying for her to be culturally conditioned, the cultures try to persuade woman that by being a turn on for a man is the highest form of sexual expression and that may indeed be love. Well, it is confusing for a girl emerging into woman or for a lady because she starts to question herself, she start to have a sense that well, he does desire me and he is saying these wonderful things and romancing me and that feels so wonderful to be wanted, to feel that he cares and so she starts saying, this must be love and it is nice to be held by him, it is nice to be close to him and this must indeed be intimacy.

    So, for women there is a sense that this must be all there is but deep inside in their souls they know better, they know that there is something missing, that there is something richer that is available that we are not tapping in to by simply focusing on turning each other on and getting sexually excited and that missing piece makes all the difference. So when sex starts becoming focused, goal oriented towards getting the person sexually excited, getting turned on triggering these Turn On s, that it immediately takes you out of the possibility of something far more powerful, far richer moving to even more ecstatic realms of lovemaking.