Thursday, March 4, 2010

Love and Sex - Still a Mystery to Many

I remember when a friend told me, “Last week I met this guy. The chemistry was so wild we made love the first night. I feel something special with him. I think this is serious.” She isn’t a naive teenager. She has an amazing amount of life experience. 

I gave her a friendly smile. Inside, I felt like holding my head in my hands and rocking back and forth. Later, I found out the guy is no longer in the picture.

There's a vast difference between love and sex, and it amazes me that a lot of people who have been around the block a couple dozen times still don’t get it.

Relationship intimacy, when it happens, is a gradual coming together between two people. The more of themselves that people share with each other, the more intimate the relationship becomes. People have to trust each other to open themselves up to each other. It takes time together to achieve intimacy in a relationship.

I like to envision two selves as two circles. As strangers, the circles are apart. When strangers become acquaintances, the circles touch. When acquaintances become friends, the circles begin to overlap. If friends become close friends, there is greater overlap. Ideally, the self-circles of life partners are almost completely overlapped as they share their lives together. The two circles may never completely overlap. It’s probably healthy to keep some part of yourself totally private.

This concept of the merging of selves has helped me assess where I am in a relationship. It reminds me that the trust and affection of friends is earned. Relationships are constantly changing. They require attention, communication, giving and taking.

Sexual intercourse is only physical intimacy. The problem is that sex is often so physically exciting that it produces powerful emotions that can be mistaken for the love and affection of relationship intimacy.

And so it goes...

People are fooled, and we have the comedy and tragedy of love stories.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., , Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

Edie Galley said...

You make a very important point here Denny. One that should be read over and over before assuming "great sex" makes the relationship after short circuiting the circles and having only the sparks of initial attraction.
Interesting thing is if you relax and give yourself and the relationship time to fill the circles the intimacy can be long term mind blowing rather than short term fireworks.
If it is that "great" be with it while it grows, it is worth it. You never know what you might miss by lighting the fire too fast.