Relationship experts Kanya Daley and Stuart Fensterheim seek to explore these issues as they respond to a question posted by Ask YourTango user serenityhere. The question: Which is better; sex free from emotional attachment or taking the time to create a lasting bond and then having mind blowing sex?
What's the question all about? Serenityhere states two different wants and needs that are at odds with each other. She talks about her frustration of wanting a relationship but pushing it away. Later she talks about wanting to learn to let go of emotional baggage so she can be unencumbered by the need for a relationship. It is a fine line that many of us walk; being in a relationship while still maintaining our individuality.
The most difficult part of a relationship is often the beginning when we aren't quite sure how things are going to turn out. It is hard to open up and share emotional vulnerability when there is a chance you may be hurt or rejected. Being uncomfortable with that stage of the relationship often leads people to move too quickly into a sexual relationship before emotional intimacy has been established.
However, without taking risks you aren't able to receive the benefits of building a relationship with someone. Being significant, special, and sharing a deep sexual relationship is a very different experience than what you share with your 'friends with benefits.'
It may be hard to understand, but the sexual experiences you are having are really the tip of the iceberg in terms of the level of sexual satisfaction you can experience in a committed relationship. Feeling safe, knowing your lover is going to be there for you when you have other needs, not just for sex, allows your heart and body to respond in deeper, more satisfying ways. It gives you the option of having may different experiences during sex; intense passion, love, playfulness, and all the adventures you can imagine. Just for the record, you can be a 'good girl' and still be naughty in bed.
It's very difficult for women to have sex and not get attached to the guy they are having sex with based on the brain chemistry differences in men and women. Women do get attached more quickly so what you are experiencing when you start to feel close to a guy is totally normal. It’s not emotional baggage and we don’t want to encourage you to turn that off. Rather, we suggest you slow down so you can be more aware of your emotions and make decisions that really address your needs for connection and closeness.
At some point in the 80s, the Third Date Rule was born, which means that men need to sleep with a woman by the third date or they would move on. More recently, this became a milestone for both men and women. In our experience, the third date is way too early to know if the guy you are dating is worthy of being let into your life let alone your body. Having a healthy sex drive is great but what would happen if you just got to know someone first before the complications of sex? You need time to build not just the emotional connection but sexual tension.
You share you are a 'hopeless romantic.’ Why not build romance when you are dating as a hopeless romantic would? Date a guy who will be romantic and try to win you over. Young women underestimate a man’s need to win you over in order for his love and desire to grow. We aren’t talking about playing games, but paying attention to the differences between men and women is important. We aren’t all the same and we aren’t meant to be.
Relationship expert John Grey explains that woman fall in love based on what men do for them and men fall in love based on how women respond to what they do for women. You have to give them a chance to prove themselves to you or else HE won't be interested in more.
Go for the guy who walks to the door when he picks you up. The guy that offers to help you move, the guy that listens to you talk about your day or something that is bothering you. Say no to the midnight booty calls and the guys that prefer to meet you somewhere versus pick you up.
One of the things we see a lot of is woman who end up regretting that they didn't listen to their gut about a guy. If your gut is saying no, trust it over any promises he is making to you. If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, he's a duck. Do you really want to have sex with a duck or have an incredible sexually passionate romantic relationship with a prince that makes you tingle all over. Princess do exist in real life, not just fairy tales. We just have to define what makes one man a prince and another a frog. Yes, building a relationship takes time and will sometimes make you want to run but the message of your letter is that is what you really want something real but have an inner struggle happening.
As we read your letter we found ourselves wondering if you've experienced a major hurt or disappointment in the past with someone you really cared about. Don't let the past cloud the future or your ability to have your life be filled with love and healthy emotional attachment. Rather than focusing on "getting rid of emotional attachments" we encourage you to learn to build emotional attachments a little at a time. They don't actually weigh you down, they uplift you and help you be your best self in all areas of your life.
Kanya is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Private Practice in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She specializes in coaching single woman who are ready to create meaningful romantic relationships and helping couples deepen their levels of intimacy and closeness throughout the course of their relationships. She is the author of the book, 4 Secrets to Dating That Will Change Your Life.
Stuart Fensterheim LCSW is a Marriage and Family counselor and relationship with a private practice in Scottsdale Arizona. Stuarts practice is exclusive to individuals, couples and families who are having relationship difficulties. Stuart has advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy helping families who are having difficulty feeling close and connected to one another.
He assists families in finding ways to deepen their relationship by understanding what each persons needs in the relationship. He helps families develop a pathway to establishing a closeness where everyone feels important and special. For more information on his practice go to www.thecouplesexpertscottsdale.com Signup to get his Newsletter, and you'll receive relationship tips, articles and suggestions that can help you today!