Finding Intimate Sex - It's A Bit Like Finding Nemo

Last Updated 17.02.2022
11 min read

Sex - it's not overrated, that's for sure. Think of all the health benefits it brings - reduced stress, improved cardiovascular health, improved mood/mental health, a general sense of well-being, physical satisfaction, reduced anxiety - the list could go on.

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The point is this: people who have a fulfilling and active sex life seem to have better physical and mental health and are more content, productive, and optimistic. The health benefits cannot be denied.

Intimacy. Now here's a term that is often tied to a sexual relationship. It goes beyond just the basic physical sexual experience and desires and adds an emotional connection that brings partners into a deeper relationship than only their sexual activities. 

Which Do You Prefer?

So, we are all sexual beings. And having intercourse brings us physical pleasure. An orgasm gives us release from those desires, no matter who the partner or what type of connection we may have with them. Pure sex is, after all, a physical act. 

There are actually two different types of sex. And both are "right" for the goals you may have when you get a partner into the bedroom. If your sexual desires are purely physical and you are into temporary hookups, then you have no focus on intimate sex. You enjoy the temporary attachment, but it is not long-term. You may experiment with new things; you may enjoy the present moment; you may have multiple sexual partners. But there is no emotional closeness beyond that sexual desire and fulfillment. If this is where you are right now, it's all good. Sexual intimacy is not for everyone at all times of their life and may never be for some.

The other form is intimate sex. Now, any encounter involves some type of closeness - kissing, holding, and even what is known as "afterglow." But if it is just a casual encounter, then that mental attachment doesn't linger once that sexual partner is no longer around. True intimate sex is long-term with a single partner and is developed over time, as romantic partners explore and come to know and understand one another, their needs and desires in the bedroom and elsewhere. It results in an emotional connection that adds another layer to the event. Having an emotionally intimate relationship means you are in it for the long haul.

And here's where the connection with the movie, "Finding Nemo" comes in. If you know anything about the plot, you know that Marlin is the father to Nemo, a young fish who lives for the present moment, and his seeking excitement and pleasure ultimately gets him caught by a diver. Marlin now has a single goal - finding Nemo. He doesn't give up, even though many challenges must be met and overcome. Finding sexual intimacy is a lot like that. It takes time, perseverance, and commitment.

What Sexual Intimacy Looks Like 

Partners who have emotional intimacy exhibit both public and private signs of their emotionally intimate relationship. In public, partners will:

  • hold hands as they are walking
  • make eye contact as they talk to each other
  • show outward signs of their feelings - an arm around a shoulder, short kissing, smiling at each other
  • engage in real talk rather than using cell phones while eating

In private, sexual intimacy will involve:

  • talking about what brings sexual pleasure to each other
  • scheduling time for sex but also engaging in a spontaneous, unplanned encounter at unusual times
  • Making sure that each partner has an orgasm and has gotten pleasure from the activity
  • Being honest about what they need in the bedroom
  • Making sure that each partner will feel comfortable with new positions or types of foreplay
  • Expressing feelings during intimate intercourse
  • Showing support for the emotional issues a partner may have with such things as oral sex or other non-traditional forms and taking it slow until a comfort level is reached

What An Intimate Sex Act Looks Like

While this is not meant to be a recipe for everyone, there are certain common characteristics to intimate sex. 

Foreplay - It's Critical

Mentally "connected" sex must involve the key factors of foreplay. This may begin far outside of the bedroom and involve everything from words to small gestures, to suggestive dancing, to stronger body contact, all of which promote feelings of sexual pleasure and anticipation. 

Foreplay does not end there. As the partners move to a more private environment, the foreplay generally continues. This may include the couples undressing one another, taking a shower together, sexual kissing, and caressing one another's body, in order to stimulate more arousal. These sensual forms of sex play are normal for partners who have closeness at the heart of their relationship. 

Once ready for the actual sex, which may occur in bed or not, the mental connection continues, slow or more rapid depending on individual preferences but with continued sensual forms of caressing.

Words Matter

Closeness and intimacy during sexual acts require that each partner voices their innermost feelings about the other, and there should be clear communication about what feels great and what additional gestures and moves they want. If you want oral sex, for example, speak up. Honest talk shows that sexual couples are connected at a strong emotional level - a sure sign of intimacy. 

The Afterglow 

Intimate sex does not end with the climax. During this period of time, attached sexual partners will reinforce their closeness with continued touching and caressing, as well as expressions of their intimate feelings about the experience and toward each other. This period reinforces and increases the closeness and emotional connection that intimate couples share. 

In all, sexual satisfaction for couples who want or already have intimacy involves sexual pleasure that goes beyond just the sex itself. But what if couples don't have intimacy? Chances are their relationship will suffer at least some during the course of the partnership. If emotional intimacy is lacking, it's time to do something about that.

Finding More Intimate Sex

If a couple is not experiencing intimate sex, and if they want more intimacy in their sexual relationship, they have to take certain steps - figure out the causes of the problem, reduce or eliminate the negative effects of their lack of intimacy, practice intimate behaviors, or get professional help from a therapist or licensed clinical psychologist if that seems necessary. 

Causes of Intimacy Issues

There are many, among them the following:

  • An adult may never have had intimacy modeled for them by their parents
  • A partner has had a bad previous sexual experience and is hesitant to dive into a new closer relationship.
  • Couples may have disagreements and argue over issues not related to sex
  • A person may have low self-esteem related to body image
  • One or both people in the relationship experience stressors from work or family members that require lots of time apart
  • Someone has not had intimate sexual experiences (perhaps only wanting short hookups) and doesn't know how to build intimacy when they find "the one."

Consequences of Lack of Intimacy

When at least one person in a partnership wants intimacy and the other does not, or if their lifestyle has tension or stress, the results can run from negative to disastrous. 

  • Sex becomes perfunctory without true pleasure - it's just a release from being horny
  • One, the other, or both lose interest, even preferring masturbation
  • The couple begin to avoid one another in order to avoid sex
  • One or both will look for relationships outside of the partnership to get the intimacy they want and need. Ultimately, this can lead to a full breakup or divorce - never a pleasant experience.

It's important to also know this: If you decide that you do not want intimacy with your current partner, you need to be honest and open and move on. It's not fair to keep someone else in limbo, hoping for an emotional connection that will never happen.

Steps to Take to Get that Intimacy

If you and your partner make a conscious decision that you want more intimate sex, then there are steps you can take to achieve this on your own. Here is a solid list of actions to take right now:

  1.  Start with an open discussion of your attitudes about sex. These are the result of your past experiences, and you need to reveal these to each other.
  2.  Explain what would give you more intimate sex and be more emotionally satisfying, maybe more cuddling after or instead of sex?
  3.  What will bring more fun into your bedroom - new positions, some toys, nudity around the house?
  4.  Have romantic dates - walks, intimate dinners, and such - times when you can hold hands, kiss, and develop a feeling of closeness. Intimacy does not have to happen only in bed
  5.  Have a non-sexual intimate moment once in a while. This may be giving strong support if a partner is having an issue at work or giving extra attention when they are not feeling well. These overtures can translate to more sexual desire in bed.
  6.  Build trust with a focus on listening. Relationships are strengthened when couples actively listen to one another. This does not have to be about sexual matters but listening can translate to more physically satisfying events in bed. Sexual desire is increased when a partner feels that their ideas, issues, and priorities matter to their mate.
  7.  Focus on reduced stress in the relationship. Long work hours, financial troubles, disagreements about outside responsibilities or activities, too much drinking, or too many happy hours with friends, on the part of either partner (or both), take their toll on sex life and sexual desire. 
  8.  Focus on personal mental health. Sexual desire is seriously impacted if either partner suffers from even minor emotional issues - anxiety or mild depression, for example. These can lead to a general lack of happiness which in turn lowers the sex drive of a partner. When that happens, couples feel less connected and have less fun, in and outside of the bedroom. And a partner suffering from emotional issues may also suffer sexual dysfunction

Calling in the Big Guns

So much of a great sex life is between the ears as much as it is between the legs. And healthy relationships come from each partner being both mentally and physically attached to the other. Getting and staying there can be tricky and a process that can break down. Sometimes, if either partner has just lost that sense of attachment, a mental health expert who specializes in relationships counseling can give therapy and support to turn things around. 

Going to a professional, though, is not a miracle cure. Each partner has to go into this solution determined to fix the relationship and to make informed choices to change things in their life that may be hindering both closeness and lovemaking. Easier said than done.

The Wrap

World peace is built on relationships. And that is why it is impossible to achieve. There are just too many players with too many agendas, and conflicts can break out at any moment. 

In a romantic relationship, there are only two players, but their agendas can also be different, they bring baggage to the table, and their concepts of an ideal relationship may not jibe. They may have different desires for what should happen in the bedroom; they may have conflicting ideas of what brings fun to a relationship. 

Resolving these differences and reaching common ground about what would please one another, along with acting on that common ground, is the stuff that creates mental attachment and a relationship that will stand the "test of time." 

If you want the closeness and attachment that brings about a lasting, long-term relationship, then you have to be willing to listen, to learn, and then act on that. Your partner has to be willing to do the same. This is how mental attachment happens. And when that happens, what occurs between the legs becomes part of a larger picture of mental commitment.

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