It's CRUCIAL to know the difference.
We've all been there before: You meet a really great person — you love their personality, find it easy to open up to them and even feel butterflies when you're with them. You know you're meant to be together.
Eventually (or maybe even quicker than that) you let your passionate, romantic feelings get in the way of clear thinking, and you have sex.
You have an unforgettable night. But the next day, you're left with feelings of attachment, overwhelming remorse and disappointment. The reality is, this amazing person doesn't feel the same way about you.
Different standards and beliefs about sex are to blame for these harsh feelings.
Founder of DateLikeAGrownup.com and dating coach Bobbi Palmer says this "sex-is-intimacy" mentality started when you were younger. She says, "I have women who have been attracting men through sex for so many years when they're younger. And now, they're in their 50s and 60s, and it's not 'working the same,' but they're still jumping into bed because that's all they know. It's their behavior pattern."
Are you constantly in this same heartache fiasco?
Founder and CEO of YourTango Andrea Miller, biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, author and psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker-Holstein, counselor and therapist Carole H. Spivack along with Bobbi Palmer can't emphasize this enough: Sex and intimacy are two very different things!
Here are two eye-opening ways to understand the difference and avoid another unwanted one-night stand:
1. Understand Your Emotions (And Make Them Known)
Look at this relationship retrospectively and your attached emotions — is this just physical attraction or true, intimate feelings? Once you know what your feelings are, make them known to your lover.
"The most important things are that you have your goals clearly in mind, you know what you want and don't want and that you're true to yourself," Carole H. Spivack notes. With these in mind, you'll leave no room for assumptions and soften the blow of disappointment BEFORE you make a regretful decision.
2. Set A List Of Sex Standards
If you're sure you want to start a serious relationship with your lover, he or she MUST meet these standards before sex. This will save you a lot of time and and heartache once all your emotions are expressed and out in the open.
Bobbie Palmer says that standards are important in order for you to "take personal responsibility ... [and] care of yourself " before you get hurt.
She suggests the following set of standards that will pin-point exactly what you expect from this person prior to sex: "[You] have to be able to talk about safe sex. You have to be able to talk about the relationship — what's going to happen tomorrow morning, right? And you have to talk about what's comfortable for you and what you need in order to feel good about it. And if you can't have those three conversations, don't jump into bed with him because you will be attached like you said. That oxytocin is going to grab on, and you're going to be in love with that guy."
The Expert panel above suggest some more helpful insight to prevent you from confusing sex and intimacy. Scroll up to the video above for more intimacy advice!