Can Men and Women be Friends?

Can Men and Women be Friends?

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Experts suggest that men seek intimacy through sexual relationships and women seek sexual relationships when they feel intimate. It seems like a perfect fit if it goes well. When sex and intimacy are connected, they improve the connection. It’s like ying and yang or salt and pepper.

Without a sexual connection, a loving couple is just friends. To have an intimate relationship without sex would usually suggest that the couple is plagued by illness or one partner isn’t romantically interested. Even elderly couples can have a strong sexual relationship.

We often misunderstand what sex means. Unlike what President Clinton asserted, sex includes each physical connection from romantic kissing to sexual intercourse. It is a way of expressing our emotions to the other person.

Don’t ignore the fact we are sexual by nature. If it was not for the need for physical intimacy, companionship and procreation we would stay single and our species would have already died out. Even for the very religious among us, it was God who created us in a way that made sexual intimacy very pleasurable.

Sexual intimacy goes far beyond meeting someone and having sex. It includes taking the time to know your partner’s interests and needs. This includes physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual connection.

Answering these questions helps you consider your priorities in a relationship:

  • What are your needs when you connect?
  • Do you like someone who is kind or intense?
  • Someone who is funny or athletic?
  • Are you interested in a person who has a career or who is close to his/her family?

Sexual intimacy starts with physical touch. Foreplay or Sexplay includes a series of behaviors designed to prepare our body and our mind for physical pleasure. Intimate sexplay begins with verbal and non-verbal communication that allows you to know this can be a great time to connect.

It also includes being sensitive to your partner’s needs and desires. Saying, “Do you want to get your freak on” gets your desire for physical intimacy, but it is neither intimate nor caring. Knowing when and how to approach your partner is part of becoming sexual intimate.

Sharing a glass of wine in a romantic setting, complimenting the person, putting your hand on their shoulder, leg or arm are intimate ways of beginning sex. It also gives the other person a chance to reciprocate. This way you know if you have mutual interest. If this beginning leads to caressing and hugging it might not be long before you both have your clothes off.

How do you know the difference between sex and sexual intimacy? Consider the following questions:

  • Do I enjoy this person’s company inside and outside of the "bedroom"?
  • Do I feel like this person reciprocates pleasure?
  • Do I feel like this person knows and likes me?
  • Do I feel like I know and like this person?
  • Do I feel like we have a connection emotionally?
  • Do we have things in common beyond sexual attraction?
  • Could I enjoy a week with this person without sex?
  • Do I believe that my partner could enjoy a week with me even if there was no sexual intimacy?
  • Is this a mutually exclusive relationship when it comes to sexual intimacy?
  • Do I feel like I can trust this person with my feelings?

These 10 questions should help you to know if you are in a sexually intimate relationship. If you answered "no" to any question, you are not in an intimate relationship.

Sex without intimacy will be not more successful than intimacy without sex. If you want a long term, health sexually intimate relationship, you need both. To be able to sustain both in a relationship you must find mutual values and respect plus other components that will be addressed in a later article.

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Lifestyle Design Center
Models: Chris Saunders, Regan Coomer