I think the line between these two things gets more and more blurred every day. Each generation gets increasingly bombarded with messages and images that say being sexy and having sex are what it’s all about and that having sex with someone is THE one and only real way to express love. On the other hand, we are also bombarded with the message that you don’t need to have feelings for someone to have sex with them. As long as you are physically attracted to someone, that’s all that matters. My teenage daughter tells me that most of the people she knows who are having sex are just doing it because it’s something to do. I’m sure many of them believe that’s what they need to do to let the other person know how they feel. And of course, there are plain old hormones coming into play. It is hard enough to fight those off without the messages I just mentioned thrown in there too.
So there are obviously a lot of purely physical relationships going on, as well as plenty of loving relationships where physical intimacy is involved. The problem I see is that not enough people know how to have a loving relationship WITHOUT being physically intimate or even think that it’s possible to do so. There’s this expectation that shortly into a relationship it will move in the direction of being sexual, and if it doesn’t, then there’s something wrong. It’s almost as if reaching the point where you’re intimate is the goal. The problem with that is where do you go once you get there? And the quality of relationship is then judged on how frequently you are intimate. Once things start to wane a little, one or both people may begin to question the relationship.
There are so many other ways to show someone that they really mean something to you, that you value them as a person, that you have strong feelings for them, that they are your one and only, that you can’t imagine your life without them, or whatever other message you wish to convey to that special someone. It can be done with words, kind gestures, smiles, eye contact, affection, gifts, and so on. And if you don’t understand that these things need to be part of a relationship whether it is an intimate one or not, then it may not last. Meaningful relationships cannot be built on intimacy alone. In fact, they should be sustainable without the intimacy, in my opinion. If you know the other person respects and admires you and will always have your back and find ways to remind you how special you are to them, then the intimacy is just the icing on the cake because it will only be that much more meaningful and special.
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