Sex and love can coincide with one another. However, two people having relations don’t always have a close, intimate emotional bond. In some cases, one person might have stronger romantic feelings for the other, and that often causes hurt, confusion and bitterness. Why is that?
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Is It Love or Hormones?
That exciting feeling of being “in love” with someone you either want to have sex with or did have sex with most likely is infatuation. It’s a “high,” also known as euphoria, caused by dopamine signaling to the brain. Sex, especially if you do feel some romantic feelings for a person, can also raise “oxytocin” levels, which is the hormone in the body people often mistake for love.
The love hormone you experience when you really like someone that you have quite a bit in common with can turn into love. However, developing healthy love and true intimacy takes time – not usually something that happens within a few months but rather after maybe a year or longer. Developing a deep connection with another person usually takes time, and sex is not the only type of intimacy they share.
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Four Types of Intimacy
A romantic relationship in which two people feel the same way about one another may or may not include sex. Two people who happen to be fond of one another as more than friends can share one or more of four types of bonds, three of which are forms of non-sexual intimacy.
- Bonding over a common experience – People experience a form of intimacy when they share activities they have in common. For instance, maybe they both like to work in the garden or coordinate community “feed-the-hungry” projects together. Some also might even share similar vocational interests.
- Stimulating intellectual conversations – People might learn from one another as they share each other’s points of view about a variety of issues. They might not always agree, but they do feel safe enough to tell the other their perspective on any issue, including supposed taboo ones like religion or politics. Intellectual intimacy where two people can share their differences without hurt feelings doesn’t happen often, but it’s possible.
- Emotional attachment – This often comes with sharing feelings such as expressions of love or being honest with another person about feeling angry or when they don’t feel good about themselves. It also includes bonding over experiences that might have caused pain in a person’s life. This can help two people have a mutual understanding that makes them feel close to one another.
- Engagement in sexual activity – Some people consider any type of sexual act as intimate. It depends on the perspective. However, physical intimacy that involves “just sex” and no emotional attachment often lasts only about as long as it takes to satisfy sexual urges. Most people prefer sex in a relationship because it gives them the motivation to please not only themselves but also their partners.
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Sex and Addictions
Having sex just for the enjoyment of it doesn’t automatically denote a sexual addiction. However, if a person starts to experience feelings of guilt and shame along with fear of abandonment, it might not be healthy sexual activity. If someone has sex when desperate, which is where the hurt and confusion often happens, that might also be classified as addict behavior.
Is sex a healthy expression of love and a form of stress release, or is it an addiction?
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