Intimacy is not a one size fits all concept: What you need to know about intimacy

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

While sex is part of intimate expression, it is not all there is to intimacy. It is a very close connection with another person.  This bond is a result of having experience with and an in-depth knowledge of the other person.

Tania Goncalves-Da Conceicao, Brand Manager at Durex  says our personal definition of intimacy is informed and influenced by our human experience. "The golden thread through the concept of intimacy is that it is part of the human experience. However, not solely driven by emotion. Physical, emotional, intellectual intimacy work together to manifest at its’ ultimate level. Intellectual intimacy speaks to the meeting of the minds where people enjoy sharing and exchanging thoughts in an intellectual space. Physical and emotional intimacy especially in sexual relationships requires deep trust."

Intimacy is not just tender kisses

According to Durex Global Sex Survey 2017, 59% of the 68% sexually active persons in South Africa say sex is important to them, 55% are satisfied with the physical aspect and 63% are satisfied with the emotional aspect of sex. These statistics dispel the notion that intimacy is the driven by emotion alone, both aspects work in unison to create a healthy sex life. Intimacy requires lovers to be emotionally and physically present and is not only about tender kisses and whispering sweet nothings to your lover.

Intimacy in human relationships requires people to openly engage without fear that their vulnerability will be weakness. According to the survey, almost three quarters of the 68% sexually active persons in South Africa say sex makes them feel confident and a better husband/wife/partner.3 Is confidence in your partner to engage in uninhibited sex with you not intimate? Intimacy requires you to understand every aspect of your lover

Condoms are not a barrier to intimacy

A misconception is that sexual intimacy is diminished by using a condom and distances you from your lover. However, intimacy doesn’t mean skin on skin sex. If sex is driven by a deep sense of physical and emotional closeness, it is intimate and using a condom doesn’t make you lose that closeness.

Intimacy allows you to be comfortable in your own sexuality and express your inner most feelings for the other person, which doesn’t mean that sex must be unprotected. Believe it or not, it is possible to have safe sex that is fulfilling. The safety of protected sex gives you the confidence to enjoy unbridled, uninhibited sexual pleasure. Using a condom during sex creates strong emotional attachments and security. To protect oneself is also to protect your lover. Protection intensifies mutual commitment, mutual caring and emotional security.

Enhance your sexual pleasure and have fun

Today, there are condoms and other sex enhancers that cater to all types of lovers, with different views of what intimacy is and how to express that. For those seeking the intimacy of skin on skin, you can find a condom that feels like you are not wearing one. Ultra-thin condoms are designed to provide greater sensitivity that can heighten your sexual pleasure.

The survey also found that 88% find sex fun, and fun shouldn’t have a ‘cheap’ connotation. Having fun is intimate because it means that you are comfortable enough with your lover to try new things in bed. Using sex toys ranks top of the list with 68% South Africans saying they want to try the devices.

To heighten sexual pleasure, condoms with different textures that create various sensations.  Wearing sex lingerie, massage oils, lubricants, erotic materials and vibrators are common with sexually active South Africa, which could mean that using these items during sex brings lovers closer and that is their view of intimacy. A further 51% say their partner surprises them in bed while 65% say they like to surprise their partner in bed.

Understand what works for both of you

Intimate sex based on physical attraction can be intense and explorative of your lover’s body, getting to know every inch of it. Intimate sex driven by emotion deals with the way you feel before, during and after sex. When these meet, true intimacy can be realised and condoms.

For lovers, it fulfils the desire to love and be loved with intense closeness, knowing and understanding each other’s sexual needs and wanting to experience the depth of their lover’s body.

Most importantly, intimacy means understanding yours and your lover’s view of intimacy.

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