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When it comes to matters of intimacy and sex, some people just don’t get it. Many tend to believe that the two are interchangeable, but they are distinctly different.

Sex is simply the act of intercourse; the physical gratification you obtain from enjoying a good sexual experience and orgasm with your mate. And while good sex is essential for many in a relationship, it is, of course, temporary. The feeling you get from it can be fleeting. This would explain why you can have an amazing sexual experience with someone but still leave the situation feeling empty and longing for more. (If this is something that you’re experiencing, maybe the act of sex is not something you can handle emotionally.)

Intimacy, on the other hand, is more heartfelt. In a nutshell, intimacy is a space that is created between two people who don’t mind being naked either, but in a different type of way. It’s when you can share personal things with someone and those admissions create a bond. In a romantic setting, intimacy is that feeling you get when you feel heard and validated by your partner after a vulnerable experience. You feel that you are able to rely on them in a very delicate way. You can talk about practically anything. No judgment. Instead, just support and affection. Intimacy doesn’t always have to lead to sex, but it is still a fulfilling aspect of a relationship. In fact, some of my fondest memories with a romantic partner have had more to do with intimacy than with sex.

While intimacy is a beautiful thing, it doesn’t mean that everyone can handle this level of closeness. Perhaps you’re fragile and already hurting from a previous situation. Would you take a leap of faith and still go for the intimacy instead of just sex? Could you be open to trusting someone in order to do so? When you’re in processing mode, it’s easy to emotionally shut people out of your life while still offering them the one thing that you think they can’t hurt – your body. You may be intimidated by the wholeness of a relationship but you still have needs, so you think casual sex is the way to go. As sad as this sounds, many are willing to throw their bodies on the craps table and gamble with them (while gambling against their heart). That’s why it’s so important to heal the wounds from any negative experience before trying your hand at anything new.

Healing is important, and it is also important to get back out there to eventually trust and love again. To be able to do that, you need to be willing and ready to be intimate. Intimacy is an intricate, woven path that leads to your heart. With it, life is more full, more colorful, more inspiring and more alive.

When you think about it, who could ever choose sex over something so substantial?

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