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Sex vs. Intimacy


Sex Researcher. Sex Nerd. Sex, Sex, Sex...

My academic credentials are misleading. Although I have a doctoral degree in Human Sexuality and have spent many years more deeply engrained in the study of sex than most people I know, I cringe at the idea of being considered a “sex expert.” It’s not that I have a problem with being associated with sex topics, per se, it’s that my true passion isn’t sex... it’s intimacy.

I'm not the Cosmo writer who will give you “10 Steps to Mind-blowing Sex,” not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to. I’d rather get at what’s below the surface, beyond the techniques for physical pleasure, to work with why we seek pleasure in the first place: connection. Vulnerable, authentic, mask-less seeing and being seen by another.

I’ve seen the term “intimacy” broken down into the phrase “into-me-I-see,” and this makes sense to me. Intimacy requires looking into, beneath the surface, into the sometimes dark and scary places that we’re most comfortable avoiding... and to be intimate with others means sharing that place with someone else. We can perform sex; we can’t perform intimacy.

I am also particularly fond of tools. Not hammers and drills, but life tools: things that help us move in a meaningful direction. Sex can be a great tool for intimacy, but it’s not the only one. So for me, to say that I’m a “sex researcher” or a “sex nerd” would be like saying that I’m preoccupied with hammers and nails, even though my true passion is really the desk or shelf they’re being used to create.

Let’s talk about secrets... feelings... desire... acceptance... struggle... self-worth... communication... purpose... vulnerability... bonding... boundaries... sharing... showing... receiving... non-judgment... growth... expansion... This is the realm of intimacy, and even though you won’t find these topics on the front cover of Cosmo, they’re what fuel my fire.


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© 2014 by Antoinette Izzo