Friday, March 25, 2011

Which Came First. . .

So this is an obvious departure from some of the themes we have explored together thus far, but a worthy one, nonetheless. Let's talk about sex.

Sexual health is an important part of one's overall wellbeing. It directly correlates with emotional health as well as physical health.

Now don't freak out. This blog isn't about to turn X rated. Rather, I want us to explore together the ideas of sexuality and intimacy in a very curious, honest, and respectful way. I invite your participation and feedback, as always!

The first thought I want to explore with you is "which comes first?" In a romantic partnership, do we start with sexual attraction or do we start with intimacy (aka trust, love, closeness, etc.)? Some camps say that you can't create physical or sexual attraction, that either it's there or it's not, that it's kind of an intuitive thing, and that if it's not present between two people, there is nothing you can do to change that and the relationship is pretty much doomed to failure before it starts. (If that's not a run on sentence, I don't know what is.)

Others say that sexual and physical attraction can be cultivated over time as respect and trust grows between two people. We hear this line of thinking a lot in as it relates to long term, committed relationships like marriage. We often hear how much work it is to keep a long term relationship "alive." Perhaps what is commonly referred to as "work' is the act of creating and cultivating the emotional closeness that naturally lends towards sexual desire and attraction.

Clearly sexual attraction and intimacy don't always go hand in hand. We can certainly have one without the other. But when we have both, as in the case of a romantic relationship, which comes first? Do we start with sexual attraction and cultivate intimacy? Or do we start with intimacy and cultivate sexual attraction? Can both happen? Does this changes based on the stage of the relationship?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!