Sex isn’t intimacy, though physical/sexual expression can replicate the feeling of intimacy. We’ve long heard it said, “Love, and sex, are different.” If we didn’t know it before, we certainly know it know. As the sexual mores have loosened, society in now embracing tremendous sexual freedom. No, you don’t have to be married first, as was the (supposed) case only a century ago. No, you don’t have to be “in a relationship.” And no, you don’t have to know each other before-hand.

The union of sexuality and valid partnership dates back to the beginnings of formal religion. Much has changed in the last 50 years, let alone the last 10 years. Because of the historical basis of sex being an exclusive part of the marriage archetype, many today still connect the idea of sex being intimacy. It is confusing. Sex brings people to the highest form of physical union. It creates a sense of closeness that is known to be the expression of those in love. But sex isn’t intimacy, in and of itself. It can be. But all that depends on the people involved, what they bring to this form of connection, and their level and desire beyond the obvious.

Sexuality can be the gateway to opening the heart. It can also be a vehicle for closing the heart. Many of the women I know who are sexually active, keep their heart closed for fear of being hurt. Understandable, considering sex isn’t a promise of love, or even a phone call the next day. It is a powerful form of shared experience, one that can liberate or imprison. Given the disposition to combine its merits for transformation, it can be utilized as a tool to develop intimacy if handled properly.