The Difference Between Sex And Intimacy Is So Simple It's Stupid

One is physical, and the other is emotional.

Couple discovers the reasons why sex and intimacy are not the same thing. PeopleImages | Canva

We've all been there before: You meet a 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 are intimate. 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 physical intimacy are to blame for these harsh feelings because, believe it or not, physical intimacy and intimacy aren't the same things.


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Dating coach Bobbi Palmer says this mentality started when you were younger. She says, "I have women who have been attracting men through physical intimacy 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: Physical intimacy and intimacy aren't the same things. Here are two eye-opening ways to understand the difference and avoid another unwanted one-night stand.


RELATED: 5 Critical Ways To Fix A Lack Of Intimacy In Your Marriage Before It's Too Late

Here are 2 reasons why sex and intimacy aren't the same thing:

1. Your emotions react differently to each

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," 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.

RELATED: The Critical Difference Between Intimacy And Closeness


2. A list of standards will help you differentiate 

If you're sure you want to start a serious relationship with your lover, he or she must meet these standards before being physically intimate. This will save you a lot of time and heartache once all your emotions are expressed and out in the open. Bobbie Palmer says that standards are important for you to "take personal responsibility... and care of yourself" before you get hurt. She suggests the following set of standards that will pinpoint exactly what you expect from this person before being with them: "You have to be able to talk about safe intimacy. You have to be able to talk about the relationship and your level of intimacy — what's going to happen tomorrow morning, right? And you have to talk about what's comfortable for you and what you need 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 as you said. That oxytocin is going to grab on, and you're going to be in love with that guy."

@florianejovenin What high standards mean for me. Note that all of these “rules” are something I am ALSO committed to myself. It wouldn’t be fair to expect something from your partner that you are not able to bring to the table yourself! #highstandardswomen #highstandards #highvaluewoman ♬ original sound - Floriane

RELATED: 14 Must-Dos To Deepen Emotional Intimacy With Your Partner

Andrea Miller is the founder and CEO of YourTango; host of the podcast “Open Relationships: Transforming Together;” and award-winning author of Radical Acceptance, The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love; a passionate relationship catalyst.  Helen Fisher Ph.D., is a biological anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and Chief Scientific Advisor to the dating site Match. She is the author of the book The Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray, among other titles. Bobbi Palmer, founder of Date Like A Grownup, is an internationally recognized expert helping women over 40 find grownup, lasting, passionate love with the right man. Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is a positive psychologist, a best-selling author, and an award-winning Selfie Filmmaker focusing on coming-of-age issues for girls and women. She is also a noted podcaster. Carole H. Spivack is a therapist who helps couples struggling in their relationships with conflict, anger management issues, communication, and even depression.