Is There Anything Wrong With Loving Sex But Hating Intimacy?

Is There Anything Wrong With Loving Sex But Hating Intimacy?

So, what if you like coitus but not cuddling?


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

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Featured image by Shutterstock

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

December is a powerful month for the world and a month where love, power, and connection are all coming together as one. With the Astrological transits that are happening this month, true gifts are appearing to tap in to, and the possibilities are truly endless right now. Sagittarius Season is always a time when there is more hope and excitement in the air, and December is no different. There are a lot of opportunities this month if you open your heart to receiving them.

Keep reading...Show less
Here's The Real-Life Story Behind Netflix's 'From Scratch'

If you’ve recently heard the loud sobbing of women across social media, you can thank Netflix’s new romantic drama From Scratch for that. The series, based loosely on the memoir of the same name, which was written by Tembi Locke, centers on the story of a Black woman named Amy (Zoe Saldaña) who leaves behind her life and budding law career to move to Italy to study art. While there, she meets a local professional chef named Lino, and the two begin a romance that brings together two different cultures.

Keep reading...Show less

Hair porosity is a puzzle constantly making its rounds on every social media platform from YouTube to TikTok. And it's for a good reason. Knowing your hair type is essential. Most hair gurus will tell you your hair porosity is a key component in the products you use and how you layer them.

Keep reading...Show less
Real-Life Teachers Share Their 'Abbott Elementary' Experiences

There’s an embarrassment of riches that comes with being a fan of ABC’s hit comedy Abbott Elementary. The show, which stars Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard, Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, and Janelle James as Principal Ava Coleman, is about a group of mostly Black educators at a predominately Black elementary school in Philadelphia and has captured audiences for its tender, hilarious, and lighthearted depiction of what it's like to be a Black teacher to young Black students.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts