Sex is a slave to pleasure, Intimacy a freedom to desire.
Lately when someone asked me what is the difference between no flings attached sex popularly know as a one night stand and Intimacy between two lovers I was quite shocked to realize that the two might seem the same but are actually quite different from each other. Passion is common in both of them though the form of passion itself might be different. The fine line that separates the two is in itself a highly subjective form of separation or measurement.
Intimacy can be about sex, but sex isn’t necessarily about intimacy.
The thing about intimacy is that it can encompass not just the physical but the emotional as well. You can be intimate with someone without being physical. Sharing in your inner most thoughts and feelings with a person is just as deep an act of intimacy as baring your entire body to someone you trust.
Then again, what is sex? The act of it? It can be about control as much as it is the sharing and trust between two people? It can be non-consensual, it can be forced, it can be a whole lot of other things that have nothing to do with intimacy of two people, or it could simply be a form of expression to the intimacy two people share physically, spiritually and personally.
I am reminded of a scene from a movie, where the actor has sex with a prostitute without being aware of the fact that she is a sex worker, after the act of sex he sits on the sofa and stares at her body which is bathing under the orange lamp, he sits and admires the beauty of it, of how her body is moving rhythmically to the rapid breathing, at this moment there is Intimacy without any physical contact or any act of love making, though the intimacy turns to just raw passion when eventually he discovers that the woman he has been sharing the bed with does it for a living.
A state of intimacy is achieved when the two parties are “naked” to each other. I don’t mean we open up our clothes to reveal our bodies. Intimacy is where we open up our heart, our soul, our authentic self and, being totally vulnerable, share that part of us not shared with others. The more intimate we are the closer we get to the core of this kind of sharing, and the closer we get to our personal authentic core. Intimacy requires trust in the person we are sharing with. Intimacy can happen both in and out of bed but it seems that intimacy, in a loving relationship, would naturally move toward sex.
Sex on the other hand, is a sharing of the body. Our mind and heart can be turned off or re-tuned to another channel during sex. In our mind we might not even be having sex with the actual person pawing our body. We may be using this surrogate to mentally be with the one we really desire. Sex is an act of the body.
When the two overlap, there is oneness, there is spirituality, there is creation, there is purity. Where sex and intimacy overlap, there is an abandon of self, a surrender to the act, both in giving and receiving, that brings sex into the spiritual realm of making love. In this, trust accompanies vulnerability, a vulnerability that is cherished and safely treated with warmth, acceptance, and loving tenderness. Making love is a different thing than sex. Making love is an intimate, sexual expression of heart, soul, and body, between a man, a woman, and their God. It is an act of worship.
Intimacy, in the end, is what each partner desires most. Defining that ‘end point’, I submit, differs for each individual, regardless of gender. What one persons finds intimate may be just the start for one person, or too far for another. On the other hand well SEX is just SEX…
So where do you draw the line ????