Wake Up or
Break Up

Do You Prefer Intimacy or Sex?

In casual conversations, I've found that most men say they would prefer just uncomplicated sex with a partner. But when men truly get honest during a counseling session or even when a colleague or friend discusses his personal life in a deeper conversation, I often find that most men actually long for intimacy.

What's the difference? Here are some clues to help you sort it out and decide which one you would like to make happen in your life: Sex is when you're performing and worrying about whether you're good enough.

Intimacy is when you and your partner care about one another at such a deep level that all sorts of awkward and graceful, bold and wonderful things can happen during your sensual moments with each other and neither person is judgmental or impatient.

Sex is when you're trying hard to get to the finish line.

Intimacy is when you surprise yourself and you surprise each other by all the exquisite detours, quiet moments, noisy moments, and caring gestures that show up along the way.

Sex is when you're turned on by a specific body part that seems detached from the whole person.

Intimacy is when you're amazed that you can connect so deeply with another human being and have so much pleasure from just being with each other.

Sex is when you feel finished and ready to shut the other person out immediately after you're done with the heavy breathing.

Intimacy is when you feel like lingering or embracing or talking or resting in each other's arms because the outside world has disappeared.

Sex is when you feel like a conqueror and you've "gotten some."

Intimacy is when you feel as though you checked your ego at the door and you've entered a whole different level of existence where you are no longer separate or alone, but rather at one for at least a few moments with someone whose soul and your soul have a mysterious connection.

Sex is when you keep score of who's doing what to whom.

Intimacy is when you can't keep track of who's doing what to whom because you both receive as much from giving as you do from receiving.

Sex is when your hormones are flowing but your heart isn't fully open.

Intimacy is when your heart is flowing and each breath opens you up even further.

For many people, sex is safe because you know all your moves and how to stay in control. But intimacy is more risky because you finally allow yourself to be fully present and vulnerable and real with another human being.

Sex will sometimes leave the two of you feeling distant and removed afterward, which can eventually drive you toward a breakup.

Intimacy will often leave the two of you feeling amazed and grateful afterward, that two unique individuals can become so close and build up so much trust and mutual respect.

Sex is what a 15 year old longs for.

Intimacy is what you realize at a certain age has been missing from your life and you are finally willing to make it happen.

Which have you been choosing lately--sex or intimacy? Which would you like in the future?

©2008, Leonard Felder

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Leonard Felder is a licensed psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles. As a popular lecturer and recognized expert on how to improve personal relationships, his books have sold more than 1 million copies. His latest book is Wake Up or Break Up: The 8 Crucial Steps to Strengthening Your Relationship He has appeared on more than 200 teleivsion and radio programs, including Oprah, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, AM Canada, NPR, and ABC Talkradio. He and his wife, Linda, have been together since 1980, and they hare the parents of a 12-year-old son, Steven. E-Mail or www.wakeuporbreakup.com

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