There is intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical
intimacy. Physical intimacy can be subdivided into sexual and non-sexual.
Actually I could argue sex is in a different category than intimacy, but for
this discussion I will assume it is intimate sex. Sex can be just mechanical
"getting off" or can be very intimate, caring and loving, even with a sexworker
when its paid of and if a one time experience with someone!
Most people need or desire all types of intimacy. Each kind of intimacy can be fulfilled with different people. You may have strong intellectual or spiritual intimacy with someone, but not be interested in them physical. Or, you may seek more physical intimacy from like a sexworker, but don't share deep emotional intimacy like you hopefully do with a spouse.
The best of all of course is to find all levels of deep intimacy with the same person, but often that just doesn't happen, or the levels or types of intimacy change over time.
Many men including myself enjoy the physical intimacy (not just sex and sometimes doesn't even include sex) with a variety of women. Even sexworkers.
I have had tremendous physical "intimacy" experiences with different types of sexworkers all over the world. I also enjoy sharing what I consider "love" even in a brief one-time sharing experience. It is a universal type love for the person as a unique soul, with emotions and feelings I enjoy relating to. I enjoy expressing this "love" by sensual, caring, loving, touch which so many women (even sexworkers) respond to so favorably since they seldom experience it even in marriage.
I think relationships "even for the moment" and "universal love" and "caring physical intimacy" can even be found in sexwork, polyamory and swinging. These activities are more honest than an "affair" since either there is no deep emotional intimacy (sexwork) or no cheating (polyamory or swinging).
In swinging honesty and communication is vital so I've lead Liberated Christians couple workshops about different types of intimacy and the honesty has resulted in some very interesting results. Not always good for the relationship, but good in that couples were finally being honest with each other, perhaps for the first time. But in an environment of caring and support by others.
As an example of non-sexual intimacy, I just returned from Los Angeles and posted on sexwork.com my latest update on LA Hostess Clubs with the emphasis on intimacy not sex. I also get a huge number of E-mails from like-minded men who also seek physical intimacy but don't have much or any of it with their wife, or can't find it in the typical dating games, especially with American women.
Asian, Latin, European women seem much more interested and open to warm intimacy early, perhaps since their cultures are not as sexually negative as ours. In the U.S. we have lots of tease and titillation and using women as sex objects, but little experience in meaningful physical intimacy and sensual sexuality since certain groups consider sex so dirty. This is not the case in many other cultures.
Our culture is too full of tease and titillation, using womens bodies to sell all kinds of goods, but we have (other than most men on this newsgroup or list) few men that have a clue about loving physical intimacy or women pleasing sexuality. No wonder American women are so frustrated. Studies show most women don't orgasm by intercourse alone, but most men don't have a clue about womens sexuality (except of course men reading this !).. Sexworkers should be an honorable profession that could teach men better physical intimacy skills.
Again, there is no excuse for cheating when one partner doesn't know of the others activities. But there are many men very frustrated in their marriages by the lack of physical intimacy (most often sexual) that they seek it outside the marriage when their partner isn't willing to provide it, or they simply enjoy variety in physical intimacy.
Many men don't want to cheat, but know they can't be honest with their wives about their desires. They may have great intimacy and truly love their partner but lack the physical and/or sexual fulfillment that they naturally desire as sexual humans. I use men as the example, but often I hear from women that are very unsatisfied with their husbands lack of intimacy/sexuality and seek outside relationships, but can't be honest about it with their partners.
More often however, the cheating is the result of a relationship that has gone bad in other ways as well. The cheating becomes the excuse to get divorced but isn't the real factor. In a culture where we look at sex so differently than most other cultures, cheating becomes the big issue, not the other underlying relationship factors that may be the more serious real cause of the cheating.
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