Understanding the value of non-sexual intimacy

Sexuality is about our emotions and how we feel loved in our relationships with others. Although sex is often described in terms of the eroticism, many people also look for emotional rewards from sex. Sex is rarely about producing children. Sex can cause us to feel emotionally close to a lover.

When we grow up within a family, we have a sense of connection to those around us. Children need their parents to care for them and take an interest in them. When we grow up and love another adult we have to generate that feeling of connection from zero. Men enter relationships focused on satisfying their sexual needs. Women hope to enjoy loving companionship.

When we talk about emotions, we tend to think of laughing and crying. So we assume that women are more emotional than men. Everyone has emotions but the sexes express their feelings in different ways. Men feel emotions just as much as women do and their emotional responses are often stronger than women’s. Women express anger or frustration by crying. Men are more likely to express the same emotions with aggression.

Men can live quite happily in functional environments devoid of emotional attachments. Men focus on doing physical activities. But women’s lives focus on their relationships. Women like to have emotional attachments to the people they spend their lives with. Women want to talk and share their lives with people they care about. This is one of the reasons why women are often less motivated to work in paid employment than men tend to be.

Men talk about work, women and sport. Women talk about their own attractiveness, relationships and family. Men talk for strategic reasons. Men meet up to network, create business contacts and opportunities and to find out information. Of course, some women also do this but most women get together for emotional reasons. They look for reassurance from others, comfort and support. Men do not relate to this form of communication.

To women, communicating about their feelings is very natural when they are intimate with someone. But men’s instincts prevent them from showing weakness and thereby opening themselves up to attack. Men dislike or are incapable of discussing emotions. A man feels uncomfortable showing or sharing his feelings. This is an instinctive need to compete with other men.

A man focuses on his work as his main priority. Work represents a man’s means of competing with his fellow man for status as well as his ability to attract a woman because of his ability to support a family. A man feels justified in working all day and sometimes all week before turning up at home and expecting his wife to be amenable to sex. A man’s emotional needs are apparently easily satisfied within a few minutes. A man assumes that by satisfying his own needs, he is also satisfying a woman’s needs.

Men don’t want tokens of affection such as flowers. Men never complain that their partners are insensitive or unloving. Sex may not be the only reason men seek relationships with women but it is the key reason. Clearly sex does not have the same significance for women because men are always complaining that they don’t get enough sex. But men never give a thought to what they need to give in return.

Sex involves an exchange but not the exchange that men assume (which would be very convenient for all concerned but too good to be true). Men assume that intercourse must involve the same pleasure for a woman as it does for a man. But women do not experience erotic pleasure from intercourse. They only feel emotional pleasure, which relies on a man showing a woman that he cares about her. He needs to make her feel special and appreciated, which takes considerably longer than a few minutes.

Men assume women’s role is simple. Women just need to open their legs and let men do the rest. Reproductive risk means that sex is a much more emotional experience for a woman than it ever is for a man. Women want autonomy over their own bodies. This is about personal privacy because women are not aroused with a lover. Men find this hard to understand because their responsiveness means they want a lover to stimulate them.

A woman also has emotional needs and these are not generally appreciated by men because they are subtler than male sex drive. Women are more concerned with the non-sexual intimacy, which develops as couples spend time together sharing conversation, humour and friendship. Women enjoy the emotional sensations of dancing with a man they love. Men’s arousal prevents them appreciating these more romantic aspects of attraction.

Women naturally respond with affection (hugging and kissing) when they love someone. Men translate any show of affection into a sexual invitation. Women come to resent this if a man is not an affectionate companion. Sex acts like a barometer in relationships. When a woman obtains the emotional rewards she needs (based on affectionate companionship) then she is often willing to satisfy a man’s sexual needs by offering intercourse.

If a person is not prepared to embrace the needs and genuine desires of their partner, then they shouldn’t get into a relationship. People have to understand and be willing to provide what their partner needs more of in their relationship. (Stephan Labossiere 2012)