Home Emotional aspects of sexuality Non-sexual intimacy Understanding the value of non-sexual intimacy

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 eroticism, many people also look for emotional rewards. If we grow up within a family, we have a sense of connection with those around us. Children need their parents to care for them and to take an interest in them. As adults, when we love another person, that sense of emotional connection has to be generated from zero. Sexual activity can cause us to feel emotionally close to a lover.

Everyone has emotions but the sexes express their feelings in different ways. For many men, facing fear can be exhilarating because of the adrenaline rush. Women are paralysed by fear rather than propelled into action. Most women cry when they are upset, angry or frustrated. Women tend to avoid danger. Female responses are considered weak or effeminate and so they are disapproved of in a man. Women are thought to be more emotional than men because of the debilitating effect their emotions have on them.

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. Most 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, sport and women (as objects of arousal). Women talk about family, fashion and relationship issues. 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 many women, communicating about their feelings is natural when they are intimate with someone. But men’s instincts prevent them from showing weakness and thereby opening themselves up to attack. Many heterosexual men dislike discussing their emotions. A man is often uncomfortable about sharing his feelings. This is an instinct based on competition between men.

Men tend to put work priorities before the demands of a relationship. In women’s eyes, this is not love. To a woman, love means wanting to spend every moment with someone. But women accept men’s different priorities because of the need to support the family. To men, work represents a means of competing with other men for status as well as a means of attracting a woman (as a result of his ability to support a family). A man feels justified in working all day or all week before turning up at home and expecting his wife to be amenable to sex. A man’s emotional needs are satisfied within a few minutes. Men mistakenly assume that by satisfying their own sexual needs, they have also satisfied a woman’s emotional needs.

Sex may not be the only reason men seek relationships with women, but it is the key reason. Men’s sex drive focuses their minds on obtaining opportunities for intercourse. Given male complaints about low intercourse frequencies, sex is clearly much less important to women. A woman may be motivated to offer sex if a man demonstrates genuine caring behaviours.

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 difficult to understand because their responsiveness means they want a lover to stimulate them.

In a new relationship a woman enjoys the novelty of being admired through sex. Women naturally respond with affection (hugging and kissing) when they love someone. When a woman is in love, she enjoys the emotional sensations of dancing with a lover. But men are easily aroused when in close physical contact with an attractive partner. Their state of erotic arousal prevents men from appreciating these more romantic aspects of attraction.

Women do talk to their male partners about issues they care about in the wider relationship. Women are concerned with non-sexual intimacy, which develops as couples spend time together. Women assume that men have the same emotional needs. Men’s all-consuming fascination and self-absorbed obsession with sex, means that they rarely relate to these aspects of relationships because their sexual needs swamp all other concerns.

Women’s emotional needs are rarely appreciated by men because they are much subtler than having a sex drive. A woman needs on-going interaction to feel the emotional connection that makes it natural for her to offer sex. Men tend to translate any show of affection into a sexual invitation. Women come to resent this if a man is unloving. Sex acts like a barometer in relationships because, if a woman feels loved and appreciated, she may offer a man the sex he needs. Women look for communication and support as well as the opportunity to share conversation, humour and friendship.

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)