Sex stuffed but intimacy starved?


We seem to be experiencing an intimacy shortage to rival the electricity, writes Bruce J. Little

I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for many gay guys I know, sex isn’t all that hard to find if you’re on the ‘Grind’ or have the ‘Tind’ on your phone.

Certainly, there are places like The Rec Room in Randburg, where gay men can meet for casual encounters or simply to socialise, potentially providing a safer option than visiting a stranger’s house with unknown risks. Although it might be exciting, it’s essential to recognise the potential dangers involved.

While this may be a generalisation, I acknowledge that there are exceptions to the rule. However, it appears that sex is abundantly available, while genuine intimacy is as rare as a rainbow flag sticker in a church in Orania.

Seems to me you can easily shag someone without any intimacy at all. Hell, you don’t even have to look the person in the eye if you’re partial to certain canine-inspired positioning. Woof. But what about cuddles for real and not the euphemistic use of the word we so often use in our messages on the dating apps?

What’s the diff?

According to Sex and Intimacy Coach, Wayne Flemming, there are very definite differences between intimacy and sex, although they can overlap.

“[Intimacy is] about closeness, belonging and acceptance. The more deeply you can connect and accept who you are, the more you can connect and accept others for who they are. And it doesn’t always have to be physical. Intimacy spans personal, emotional, erotic and relational layers. You can be intimate through a deep conversation, a hug or a shared experience,” explains Wayne.

Whereas sex, he says, “has many different dimensions to it, the act can be deeply intimate, or it can be a physical or casual act without any connection. When sex is accompanied by connection, communication, understanding of your desires and enthusiastic consent, it can be a profoundly intimate experience.”

Are we selling ourselves short?

Why do so many gay men seem to struggle to be vulnerable and get truly intimate with one another then? Wayne has a theory: “Many gay male folks sometimes face extra challenges like pressure, societal stigma, and shame associated with sex and intimacy. These factors can affect how we experience and express our relationship with intimacy and sex. Without intimacy, sex could feel like just going through the motions. But when we add intimacy to the mix, it creates a transformational sexual experience.”

Passionate about the work that he does, Wayne believes that the key to a truly fulfilling experience of life, is to find a good mix of “the physical (sexual) and emotional (intimate).” I resonate with him when he says that we all deserve to have “out-of-this-world intimacy and sex.”

Casual no-strings sex may be easier if you don’t get any connection or emotions involved and it makes any sort of rejection that much easier to come to terms with, but are we selling ourselves short by never allowing ourselves to get intimate or really connect with another person? I know what my response to that question is, do you?


Bruce J. Little is a playwright, health journalist and creative group copywriter in advertising.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend