Sex, Love, and Intimacy as a Young Adult
Navigating a world of love, lust and intimacy as a young adult.
Sex does not always guarantee love, and love does not always come with intimacy; all three of these things can be isolated into separate feelings and relationships, or if combined, and done correctly, can become the greatest love of your lifetime.
As a 21-year-old young adult who was in a relationship with her high school sweetheart for four years, I can confidently say I still have not experienced romantic love. A lot of people in my position would probably argue a different case, but personally I think that what I felt throughout those four years was not love, it was not pure and innocent and beautiful… it was toxic, unhealthy, and most of the time lead to tears, and not happy ones.
As teenagers in their first serious relationship, there was no absence of sex but no trace of intimacy. The only closeness we experienced was in bed; outside of it was filled with sarcastic mean jokes and rude comments. I was young and thought that because we slept together, we were in love… that, my friends, was not the case.
I know plenty of people who span across the board; some have been with their significant other for years and are super happy, some are in a rut, some have never been in a serious relationship, some have never had sex, and some have had tons of it.
Sex and relationships are all personal preference; you can be in a relationship and not have sex, you can have sex and not be in a relationship, and either or is perfectly fine as long as you’re being safe and using protection.
In fact, I see more people staying single and working on their careers and life and just hooking up and having sex when they feel like it. Honestly, I have been that person before. There is no problem knowing what you want!
Although everyones preferences and situations are different, something my generation struggles with is intimacy. It is so easy to push a button and have a person ready to hook up on the other side. It's easy to meet people and make friends because social media controls our lives. It is a lot harder to make an emotional connection with someone when your first judgement of them is made by their appearance online. Texting and messaging has become so widely accepted that some people don’t even know how to carry on a conversation in person.
After high school and throughout college you’re still learning so much about yourself, it is hard to give that to someone else, so a lot of relationships end up just scratching the surface of romance and intimacy.
If you can find that person who makes your heart jump with one touch, or misses you when you’re apart and makes sure you know it, thats amazing and rare, don’t lose that.
When people think of intimacy they normally think of sex, and although sex and intimacy can go hand in hand, the sexual part isn’t all of it. Intimacy is defined as a closeness, emotionally and physically; it can range from sharing parts of your day with the other person and listening intently while they share theirs, to just sitting in comfortable silence with another person.
The first part to experiencing more intimacy is learning about yourself, what you like and what you don’t, things you take pride within yourself and things you’d rather change. Once you are content with the person you are, you will be more able to give yourself to another person.
Everyone has a different love language (I’ll get more into that in another post) and everyone perceives love differently. In order to support someone else’s love language wholly, you must understand your own; along with that you must also be open to patiently learning what theirs may be.
The point of love is to share yourself with another person who helps you grow, so that you can both grow within yourselves and in turn grow together in your relationship.
Your early twenties are hard enough without bringing love, sex, and intimacy into the equation. So take everything with a grain of salt. You’ll experience so much over the next few years and your opinions on all three will probably change. Just sit back and enjoy the ride because you’re only young once.