Sex Talk

Men and Intimacy

Q from a woman at the University of Maine: Why is it that men have a harder time being close? Why isn't intimacy as important to them as it is to women?

Dr. Caron's Answer: I think it is just as important, but for some men it is more difficult to show or express. Keep in mind that, even today, many men do not get the opportunity to build "intimacy skills" while growing up. Women tend to have more practice in this area. Little girls are allowed to stay close and connected to their mothers - while boys are "pushed out of the nest" so to speak. Girls are allowed to touch each other - while men can touch only in specific situations (for example, during sports or during sex). Research has indicated that women are more likely to call a friend "just to catch up" - while men talk to each other about doing things. It's more acceptable for women to share feelings; many men are still being raised to think it's "unmanly" to cry or say they feel hurt. It takes time to unlearn some of these messages and to recognize the benefit of feeling free to express yourself and feel close to someone. Developing intimacy takes time. Fortunately, more and more men are recognizing their desire to develop this ability.

© 2010, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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