The New Intimacy


What About Sex?

When a man approaches a woman with wanting to be sexual friends, does he think poorly of himself or the woman?


Dear Anonymous,

We chose your question because it gives us the chance to talk about the inordinate power sex has in our culture.

In our culture, sex is very probably the most abused aspect of human existence.

On the one hand we see it everywhere, and usually in distorted forms. On the other we are told that sex is the devil's snare, and can only lead to perdition if we are not extremely careful.

Sex is used as an advertising/sales tool and, because we, as a culture, worship money as though it were a god, that abuse of sex for commercial purposes is tolerated because it yields the golden bottom line.

Yet when sex is used directly to make money, as in prostitution, we relegate it and those who practice sex-for-money exchanges to the outcast regions of who and what we like to think we are, and pity, persecute, or prosecute them.

In romance, sex is supposed to be the ultimate experience and we assume that just because we are driven by and to sex we will know what to do to make a sexual encounter that ultimate experience. Then we fall short of the hype we've believed about what to expect and sex takes the rap.

Currently, the clerical underbelly of the abuse of sex is slithering into the light via the abuse scandals that are rocking the Catholic Church.Celibacy, the denunciation of sex as a supposed source of transcendence, is being sanctified again by some and vilified by others, and sex is left in the shuffle, instead of being integrated into a respectful and humility-based acceptance of how the Creator created this experience of life.

And finally, you ask "When a man approaches a woman with wanting to be sexual friends, does he think poorly of himself or the woman?" Why would that even come to mind? Why would a desire for a sexual relationship reduce someone's self-esteem?

We agree that purely sexual encounters that extend over a period of time most often end up in pain. Because there is a profound exchange that occurs between lovers even if they've been together only once. And yes, that power is barely understood by most if understood at all. But that is not a fault of sex but of the fact that we resist an honest, openhearted, sincere and spirit-based discussion that would enlighten people and prepare them for what they are getting into when they agree to have sex with one another. Sex is not a plaything, but it also not a monster. It is a primaeval force that can lead to the creation of the most precious outcome, another human being. In that way, sex is a glimpse we get to have onto the awesome grandeur and potential of what it means to be the Creator.

© 2005, The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf


Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at

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