It may come as a surprise to some people (probably the men) that sex and intimacy are not the same thing. While sex may be a form of intimacy they are not necessarily synonymous. There can be sex without intimacy and intimacy without sex.

Intimacy is defined as “the state of being intimate, familiarity; something of a personal or private nature”. To be familiar with someone is to know and be known by that person. Let’s face it, when it comes to sex men are much simpler than women. Their genitalia is external and it’s right there ready to go at the drop of a hat (or pants). For women though, it’s much less simple. I have the conviction that men compartmentalise everything but sex and that women only compartmentalise sex. That means that a man can be doing anything during the day and sex can be on his mind. For women though, they have to stop and think about it. It’s just the way our brains work.

So men, you have to realise that while you could be thinking about sex at any point during the day, during any activity, a woman simply does not think the same way as you. And women, know and realise the way that your husband thinks. Knowing the way each other have been created and embracing the differences in each other, is a step in the direction of intimacy. As husband and wife you need to know and celebrate the things that make you different, not disparage each other because you’re not the same.

For women, sometimes a romantic massage can be just as satisfying as intercourse. Women need that tender caress and touch. When I counsel men I warn them that if they’re not prepared to give that kind of affection there is always someone else who is willing to do it. Make sure that you know each other’s wants and needs and are willing to give each other what is needed.

While sex is not synonymous with intimacy, your sex life is a good indicator of your intimacy. It shows that you are both giving and receiving what you need from each other. It comes down to the law of reciprocity. You get back what you put in, no pun intended. If you are both giving each other what you need on an intimate level, knowing each other’s needs, then you are more likely to be satisfied. And a satisfied person is more willing to go out of their way to satisfy someone else than someone who is unsatisfied.

Intimacy is knowing what each other need in the moment. Sometimes it’s not sex, sometimes it is. But by being aware of each other you can increase the intimacy between yourselves.

Here’s to Intentional Intimacy.