This is one of those phrases from a horrible movie (The Love Guru) that has stuck with me. Most of what Mike Meyers spews out as the Love Guru is hokey touchy-feely gibberish… except this one idea: in order to be intimate with another, you must know thyself… In to me I see.
Let me start by making this distinction: Sex is not intimacy. Intimacy is selfless, it is safe, and it is honest. Intimacy gives you confidence, it gives strength, and it gives you security. However, sometimes you just need to get your rocks off. Sex does not come free, by any sense of the word. There are risks, and there is a bond that happens when you have sex with just anyone. Whenever you allow yourself to be open and vulnerable with another, there is a bond that happens. No matter how hard you try, you can only ignore for so long.
The reasons behind sex can have a drastic effect on the level of intimacy you experience (I should mention that abuse distorts and perverts intimacy; leaving people broken). If you are just in need of relieving pressure so that you don’t wet-your-dreams, then there’s other ways to go about it that do not require your partner’s obligatory planking position. With the exception of kids, you get out of sex exactly what you put in.
The intimacy I speak of is something that is different from sex. Sex may be involved in the process, but it is not the source of the intimate bond. I would even argue that sex, in and of itself, is not an act of intimacy, but of vulnerability. You have let yourself lose control (even if for a fleeting moment), and allowed someone else in during that state. Whether for the sake of conquest, giving in to peer pressure, for procreation, or because of a series of bad drunken decisions, sex on these levels is not intimate.
True intimacy is being close to the one you have chosen to always be closest to… forsaking all others. This is a closeness of minds, of hearts, and of bodies. This is someone who knows what you’ve been through, what you want from life, and what you’re capable of. You cannot find this level of intimacy with someone if you are a false representation of yourself. This is why Angry-Sex is so much better than “normal” sex; you’ve let your true colors show, and that person still accepts you.
I leave you with this thought: Sex is a basic level of physically connecting to another person, but intimacy is a deeper connection.