Based on my personal views on sex (that it shouldn't treated lightly or casually, and it's something that affects our mind, body and spirit—both the Bible and science will back that up; more on that in a sec), there used to be a time when I thought penning something like this would not be necessary. Yet, if you live long enough, life will teach you some things and expose you to a world of people who think totally different than you do. Between once working with a ministry that got people out of the sex industry and free from porn addiction, being a pregnant teen director for the local chapter of a national non-profit and then becoming a marriage life coach, I have met many (MANY) people who are kind, loving, generous—and also love the act of sex while pretty close to loathing the thought of engaging in physical intimacy.
For the record here, I'm not speaking of commitment-phobes. Those are a horse of a whole 'nother color, chile. No, I'm referring to those who are all about gettin' it in, as much as possible; however, when it comes to a ton of foreplay and definitely when it comes to any afterplay (or honestly, even when it comes to much physical intimacy in between romps), they are more than happy to take a pass. Oh, and before some of you roll your eyes and say to yourself, "Hmph. Sounds just like a dude", actually, who has shared this perspective with me the most have been women. So many, in fact, that I thought there had to be at least a handful of our readers who also can relate on some level.
So, let's do this. Let's dig into the polka dotted unicorns known as folks who love to have sex but can actually do without all of the physical intimacy stuff—whether in the bed or out. Is that problematic or not? Let's explore.
Is There Really Such a Thing as Sex Without ANY Kind of Intimacy?
As someone who grew up being taught that the Bible was to be the foundation for the choices I make, sex has always been seen as being pretty sacred to me. I'm pretty sure that anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Good Book knows that it says that sex is for married couples, period. Hmph. Come to think of it, I don't know of any holy books that say otherwise (definitely not the Qur'an or the Torah). And when it comes to Scripture, specifically, the verse that I've always adored is this:
"There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another."—I Corinthians 6:16-20(Message)
Now here's the thing. As a woman who's never been married before (by choice, not by circumstance. I'm pretty sure many of you can say the same), you can read articles I've penned for the site like, "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners" and "Why I Named The Children I Aborted" to know that I am certainly NOT the posterchild for abstinence (check out "I've Been Abstinent For 12 Years. Here's How."). I think that a part of it is because, although I do think that sex is absolutely best in a long-term relationship, the physical pleasure that comes from the act can make it REALLY HARD to turn it down, even if you're not "officially" with someone. That's why, I totally get it, when one of my married friends says to me, every time I hit another year of abstinence milestone, "It might be biblical, but it sure as hell ain't natural." Understood.
So why I am even approaching the topic of what sex is from this angle? Mostly it's because, when it comes to sex making two people one, whether you try and apply a holy book to your life or not, this is one area where religion and science are largely on the same page. Why do I say that? In walks, oxytocin.
"The human body releases powerful hormones in the brains of men and women during sexual activity, including the neurohormones oxytocin and vasopressin. Women are more sensitive to the effect of oxytocin, a hormone that is also found to be a bonding hormone released during childbirth and nursing. During sexual activity, as oxytocin is released, it 'acts as emotional super glue between partners'. Men, on the other hand, are more affected by vasopressin, which similarly 'helps a man bond to his partner and instills a protective instinct toward his partner and children'."—"How Are The Hormones Released During Sex Like Human Super Glue?"
"Oxytocin was also correlated with the longevity of a relationship. Couples with the highest levels were the ones still together six months later. They were also more attuned to each other than the low-oxytocin couples when Feldman asked them to talk about a shared positive experience. The high-oxytocin couples finished each other's sentences, laughed together and touched each other more often."—"Be Mine Forever: Oxytocin May Help Build Long-Lasting Love"
Say that you don't subscribe to any particular faith or that you don't believe in God at all—science is still out here, making it abundantly clear, that there are hormones in your body that are designed to bond you to the person or people you have sex with.
That's why I've written articles on here like, "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner" and "We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'"; while physical pleasure is certainly a benefit of sex, it's important that you don't overlook the fact that sex can mentally and emotionally bond you to someone too. Don't believe me? Think about the guys you've dated who you didn't have sex with vs. the ones you did. 9 times outta 10, who was harder to shake? Be honest…with yourself.
You can Google articles about who has better sex—married people or single people (it's married folks). You can poll your friends about when they thought sex was better—in a long-term commitment or not. At the end of the day, it's kind of hard to get around the fact that while the mechanics of sex can be enjoyable, whether you're with your sexual partner or not, when the emotional intimacy component is in place, it's simply bar none better. And here's the thing—to a certain extent, oxytocin is gonna make damn sure that some level of attachment is cultivated…whether we want it to happen or not.
That's why, it's my personal belief that people who say that they like sex but hate intimacy may be in a bit of denial about the intimacy that transpires during the act, regardless of what they think is happening (or not happening). Yet when it comes to things like kissing and cuddling and them being semi-disgusted, let's pull back the curtain on that psyche, just a little bit more.
So, About Hating Physical Acts of Intimacy. What’s Up with That?
Some of y'all might remember, a few months back, when I wrote, "Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?". It was pretty enlightening, even to me, and I've been writing about sex for a couple of decades at this point. One woman I interviewed for the article said that her husband's tongue always feels awkward. A guy said that mouths feel wet and weird to him. What I found to be fascinating is, the people I spoke with didn't give me the impression that they had issues with physical intimacy, in general, so much as the mechanics of kissing itself. Got it. But what about physical intimacy overall? I decided to ask Melissa and Eric from that same article for their hot takes on that.
Melissa. Married. 29. "Funny that you would ask me this because I'm weird when it comes to physical intimacy. While I do like to hug my husband and I enjoy being close to him while we're watching television or something, during sex, I'll pass. Like cuddling after intercourse? All I can think about is that wet spot and how I want to get out of it. I don't know.
"The sex is good but once it's over, I enjoy my personal space. I'm just now thinking that it might be because, once you've been that open with another person, you need to retreat to gain your bearings a bit. Does that make sense? I wouldn't say that I hate physical intimacy so much as, to me, it's just not all that necessary."
Eric. Single. 25. "I'm not even used to a woman separating sex and intimacy, so this question has caught me off-guard. Anyway, I like physical intimacy if it's with a woman I'm emotionally intimate with. Otherwise, physical intimacy before or after sex feels like we're trying to make the relationship something that it's not—or something that it's not yet. A lot of cuddling and stuff like that is way more sentimental to me than just intercourse, so if we're not together, I'm not the biggest fan."
Just to round this out a little bit, I decided to ask someone else I know who happens to love sex and loathe physical intimacy. Let's call her "Sheryl".
Sheryl. Married. 39. "I definitely have a higher sex drive than my husband and I absolutely am not a fan of physical intimacy. Meanwhile, he can't get enough of it. It just feels hot, awkward, and like you're invading my personal space. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I grew up in a home that was loving but definitely not big on the PDA. So, I got used to not needing a lot of physical touching. Plus, my husband is the exact opposite, which feels clingy and needy more than anything else. I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with me. I just think I process that a lot of touching comes with sex and outside of that, I'm cool. Who said that everyone needs to get kissed and cuddled all of the time, in order to feel loved, anyway?"
Sheryl has a point. Who did say that physical intimacy must come before and after sex is a cardinal rule? I will say that as someone who is a words-of-affirmation-and-physical-touch-love-languages kind of girl, I can't even imagine the two not going hand in hand, but after speaking with these individuals and also other clients, I get it. You can very much enjoy sex and not need all of the foreplay or afterplay that comes with it for so many people. It doesn't mean that anything is "wrong with you". It's just not your personal preference.
Still, how do you know when your preference might be linked to something deeper or if it has a great potential to become highly problematic in your relationship?
If your avoiding physical intimacy is costing you your relationship. Relationships are about compromise. And you know what? In many ways, so is sexual fulfillment. Even if physical intimacy is not really your thing if it is something that your partner needs or enjoys, find ways to meet him halfway. Again, as a physical touch person myself, to simply clam up after sex feels like rejection. If your partner feels the same way, that can start to build a wedge between the two of you, even if that's not anywhere close to being your intention. By the way, it's also a good idea to bring how you're feeling up to your partner. Even though it might seem a little odd to them, knowing where you're coming from can help him to be more patient as the two of you work to figure out what will work, well, for you both.
If compromising causes you to feel violated. There is a caveat to what I just said. If compromising in this realm makes you somehow feel physically or even emotionally violated, don't push past that. Instead, do some sex journaling or even consider seeing a reputable therapist, counselor, or life coach about what's going on. I know someone who used to hate kissing in the mouth. After seeing a therapist, come to find out, it was because she had been molested by a cousin who used to force their tongue in her mouth when she was little. While it can't be said enough that not preferring physical intimacy "just because" isn't a red flag, if you're someone who clams up or lashes out when someone attempts to be physically affectionate with you, that could be a sign that you're suppressing something. It can never hurt to work with a professional, just to see if that could possibly be the case.
If you "fear" physical intimacy. Not needing a hug vs. being terrified of one are two totally different things. If you fall into the latter category, it very well could be that you are dealing with some level of philophobia which is basically being afraid of emotionally attaching to another individual.
I know we covered a lot of ground here, but as I draw all of this to a close, let's get back to the title of the article. Is there anything wrong with loving sex and hating physical intimacy? In short, no. There's not. Just make sure that feeling this way isn't harming your relationship or that the "hate" isn't tied to something deeper. Other than that, feel OK with being this way. It takes all kinds to make the world go-'round and being different isn't automatically wrong. Enjoy your sex—and well, your dry spot too, sis. #wink
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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