Sex, Intimacy and Relationship and Consciousness

About a month ago I conducted a workshop with my dear friend, Nekole Shapiro about Sex, Intimacy and Relationship. We talked about how people have a tendency to conflate sex, intimacy and relationship into one sticky mass, when in reality they are all three very different things. We invited the attendees to examine where they would place different physical and emotional acts in the sex, intimacy and relationship Venn Diagram we designed. It was an amazing workshop and everyone went away with lots to think about.   Last weekend I conducted one of my Poly workshops for a group down in San Diego. Because of the work we did in January, I added a piece to my workshop about sex, intimacy and relationship. I proposed that one of the amazing parts of being poly is that we didn’t need to get all three from the same person. Many people resonated with that and I got great feedback from the attendees.

sex intimacy and relationship 2

These two events have had me thinking a lot lately about sex, intimacy and relationship (I think I’ll call them SIR from now on…no that sounds too kinky. haha )

We really do conflate them and even get them mixed up. We decide that the sex we had with guy we just met last week was intimacy and that if we were intimate with someone then we should be in relationship with them and then . . . well can you see how that could be a problem?

It’s important that we enter into our encounters with others as consciously as possible. That means that we suss out whether we want intimacy with someone we want sex with (they are very different) or do we just want a sexual encounter that fulfills our current physical needs. And if that’s so, do we make sure to communicate that to the person we are with.

Which brings me to my word of the year: Conscious .   The best way to traverse the landmines in relationships, balance sex and intimacy healthfully, or just have a great fuck, is to be conscious.   And in our current world, that is usually not the case. From the time we are young we just “fall” into relationships. All of a sudden we have a boyfriend or girlfriend and how in the hell did we suddenly start going steady? We add alcohol to the mix when we’re teens and then we have sex with zero consciousness. And intimacy gets lost in the shuffle.   And relationships suffer and never have a chance to fully form.

Conscious means having a conversation about what you mean when you say “ I practice safer sex.” Conscious means knowing how to differentiate between a desire for intimacy and a desire for sex. Conscious means knowing that you can have intimacy without having to use sex as the tool to get the intimacy you need. Conscious means that you can make clear your needs, wants and dreams when you are forging a new relationship. Conscious means have the difficult conversations that come up in all relationships and not avoiding them or become passive/aggressive. Conscious means not getting shit-faced drunk at the frat house party. Conscious means not taking advantage of the person who got shit-faced drunk at the party. Conscious means understanding what on-going consent means. It really isn’t that hard. It just means you need to be awake and aware and willing to communicate. That’s really all it takes to be conscious.

My amazing friend and co-conspirator Nekole and I will be presenting a class on Conscious Relationships March 7th at The Center for Sex Positive Culture and this Sunday she’s presenting Increasing Intimacy this Sunday. Come and join us. We want to continue the conversation about Sex, Intimacy, Relationships and Consciousness.

Nekole has a great blog at

You can also check out our Facebook Page Raising Kids Without Sexual Shame.

Have a great weekend!


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