Posted by: Mary Jo Rapini on Jun 14, 2010
Women have a concept of men wanting only one thing…SEX. It appears this way. We see it on TV and hear about it on the radio. We read about it in magazines, books, and on the Internet. It's true, and to deny it would be silly. However, there is more to it than just sex. I know because I counsel and listen to men every day. In fact many of my patients are men, and they have taught me things, which I hope to pass on to you (it is important to remember this is NOT every man, just as it is NOT every woman. You may be the exception to the rule.) Even men tire of sex for sex's sake. No matter how beautiful the woman, a man cannot be satisfied with one if there is no emotional attachment. What bonds a man with one woman in a long-term relationship is the intimacy they share. When women speak of intimacy, we are talking about being able to talk to the guy, being able to feel heard, being cuddled, and held. These things may or may not lead to sex, and we often resent when our man talks with us only to have sex. Intimacy to women is our words, and the ability to express and feel close to our man by using words. Men like this also, and it makes them feel good. However, men are physical. They need physical intimacy to secure themselves with their partner.
When women talk about men only wanting sex, the talk seems to present men in a shallow light. Men often times don't know how to respond so they agree or consent to this view. When they do this, the myth is continued of what men really want and what they need to feel connected. We (women) devalue their feelings and make light of the physical needs to bond. Women see their own needs and somehow elevate these as being more important than men's needs. This is unfair to both genders and it severs our ability to understand and meet each other's needs lovingly. To create a security within a relationship, focus on both men's and women's needs for intimacy.
For women (and many men), emotional intimacy depends primarily on trust, and frequently involves individuals discussing their feelings. Sex must begin on an emotional level for women. There are exceptions with this and the first one that comes to mind is the case of sexually abused women. Sex is more of a matter of control for these women, and they may not want to be vulnerable with emotions. When a woman says, "Let's talk first," she is not being coy or playing hard to get. A woman needs to feel an emotional bond before sex begins. We cannot help it. This is how we are wired. We need men to let down their guard, and to be vulnerable with us. We need men to share their feelings and dreams. Along with this, we need their touch, but we don't always need sex to be intimate.
For men, intimacy generally means physical intimacy. That is how they feel close to their partner. That does not mean they do not have an emotional connection, because for a lasting relationship, this is required. However, aside from sex as simply sex, men need the physical intimacy to feel loved. Sex alone is not enough, but it is more valued by them than words. Performing sex without feeling will not meet a man's needs for intimacy (unless he suffers from an addiction or psychological trauma in the past). Men do need to be touched, they need to be held. They need to be spoken to softly. Men are competitive with each other. Have you ever watched guys touch? It is usually a slap on the back, or a punch when they are laughing. They are “soft” with women, and they need this softness with women. Their cardiovascular health is improved with touch.
I think both sexes would be able to love each other much more effectively if we just quit thinking we understandd and began to listen. Male bashing or talking about women in trashy terms will never lead to healthy relationships or loving marriages. It will eventually destroy our families as well as ourselves. All changes begin with you and me. Here are a few more tips to build intimacy in your relationship:
- Make a pact with your partner that for today you are going to judge less and listen more. A pact is a written agreement. Choose two behaviors you are no longer going to judge and let go.
- Watch your partner. When you watch your partner, you learn to lecture less and appreciate the things they do that you never noticed before.
- Teach your partner what you need. If you don't know what makes you feel close to your partner, how do you think they will know? We need to understand what makes us feel loved before another person can. Women who hint, never get what they need.
- Take turns with talking and physical intimacy. If you need talking and he needs to hold you, change it up so that one time you begin intimacy by talking and one time you begin with physical holding or kissing.
The key with all great relationships is sharing a common vision. Whether it is doing mission work in Haiti or planning a flower garden, the vision must be shared and both people must invest effort. If you make intimacy a vision to share, you will be successful at having a long, loving relationship.