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                                            INTIMACY AND DATING

Sex and Dating

Nowadays, the question on a high school student’s mind is: Not whether he or she is going to kiss each other on the first date, but whether he or she is going to have sex?

So, dating has now become only secondary. But dating has many benefits: developing self-confidence and social skills; finding out who you really are in relation to the opposite sex; having a better understanding of the differences in sex; learning how to assess the character and integrity of an individual.

According to experts, sex drive initiates an emotional bonding that further enhances the sex drive in an individual. But, on the other hand, without much emotional attachment (often a result of casual sex), that individual’s sex drive will soon decrease, making that individual then begin to seek his or her sex drive from others as well, and thus creating the vicious circle of casual sex without the emotional attachment. The truth of the matter is that promiscuity in sex is linked to low self-esteem and unhappiness in subsequent sexual intimacy, and even ultimate dissatisfaction in eventual marriages.

The bottom line

Too early and too much casual sex without a strong emotional attachment or relationship has long-term undesirable and unpleasant side effects on an individual. Just beware!

Remember, sexual promiscuity isn’t sexual freedom. The price to pay is exposure to many sexually transmitted diseases and emotional scars further down the road.

So, teens shouldn’t easily and readily succumb to peer-group pressure to have early and casual sex. Pursue abstinence as a God-given human dignity to follow the moral law.

The truth of the matter is that casual sex has become more prevalent these days.  But, according to several studies on “sexually active teenagers,” casual sex has the propensity to make them more prone to depression and even suicide. According to one study, 72 percent of girls and 55 percent of boys not only expressed regret over their early casual sex, but also wished that they had waited longer to begin having sex.

Yes, sex is “a big deal,” especially in a marriage.

Surprisingly, some couples may have more sexual intimacy after several years of marriage. The explanation is that by then they may have much reduced level of stress: better financial environment; children growing up; less worry about conceiving a child. In short, sex can even get better as years go by in a good and healthy marriage.

However, some couples may also cease their sexual intimacy due to: childbirth; pursuing a career; midlife crisis; an out-of-marriage affair. That, unfortunately, is also the reality.

Living together without love or physical intimacy is “living separate lives”-- it may also be due to pornography, which is addictive, pervasive, and destructive to the addicts and their respective relationships.

Nurturing Intimacy

Sensual and sexual intimacy plays a pivotal role in the success and the survival of a marriage.

Sensual intimacy is instrumental in making your marriage partner feel more loved and less alone. In addition to providing trust, sensual intimacy may also overcome fear -- fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of loss of independence, and even fear of memories of past sexual abuse.

To nurture trust and to overcome fear, express and nurture sensual intimacy:

·Holding hands together while walking, or as often as possible.

·Affectionately touching different parts of each other’s body.

·Hugging each other more often.

·Saying: “I love you” and kissing each other as much as possible.

Sensual intimacy should be expressed not just in the beginning of a love relationship, but throughout the whole journey of marriage. Sensual intimacy is always genuine; if not, it can’t and won’t be expressed continuously for the years to come.

Sexual intimacy, on the other hand, is the engagement of two lovers in foreplay to rekindle the sexual chemistry for sex performance. The truth of the matter is that without sensual intimacy, there won’t be sexual intimacy; even if there is, the sexual intimacy won’t last too long. The reality is that many still seek sex without intimacy. But that’s not living in reality due to the lack of accountability; with no accountability, sexual crimes become prevalent, destroying marriages and love-relationships.

The truth of the matter is that sensual intimacy may still survive and thrive without the sexual intimacy -- the explanation is that the sexual intimacy may mitigate due to health issues and hormonal changes.

So, to nurture your intimacy or that of your marriage partner, whether sensual or sexual, it’s important that you do the following:

·Acknowledge the importance of emotions and personalities in intimacy, while respecting their differences in each other. Try to bring about some balance and compromise.

·Initiate mental transformation of what’s wrong and what can be done to address it, that is, the feelings and the needs of each other.

·Give up your control of your marriage partner. Also, show your own vulnerability with honesty and openness.

·Avoid your criticism and stop blaming your marriage partner. Remember, criticism only leads to defensiveness, while aggressiveness to distancing. So, stop saying: “That’s annoying!” to your marriage partner all the time.

The reality

Given the importance of intimacy in marriage, especially over the long haul, you and your marriage partner should work together to nurture each other’s intimacy, both sensual and sexual. The effort should be joint and continuous for the rest of the marriage journey.
                                               
Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

GETTING MARRIED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY?

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