Sex vs. Intimacy – Grabbing a shag when a hug would do


sex_vs_intimacy_gay_healthIt’s not unusual to hear a guy say something like: “Damn, it’s been too long since I last had sex!” But can you remember ever hearing someone lamenting the fact that they needed to be touched? Or that they were aching for some affection after too long a period of going without any?

You may have read something about babies that are not touched and cuddled eventually dying. They develop a condition known as “failure to thrive”, stop growing and eventually exit their tiny isolated worlds. Now, as big and ugly as any of us may think we are, we are similar to those little babies; we need to be touched too, to thrive.

During my extended stints of singledom, days, weeks and even months would go by without receiving anything more than the odd hug from a friend or family member, and I would begin to feel crazy as I ached for something more.

I found that it wasn’t enough to relate to the rest of humanity in a purely cerebral or linguistic way. I needed more than conversation and this is because being human requires more than communication; it also requires physical intimacy.

When someone you trust touches you in a warm and affectionate way, your body releases oxytocin (known as the love hormone) and this mystical chemical causes you to feel empathy, connection to others, and it also soothes anxiety and alleviates depression and cardiovascular tension.

Going without oxytocin for a time we become more isolated and emotionally and physically tense; we become starved for “love”. The irony is that when we eventually get to that state, we are anxious and isolated, making it harder to love us, which means that the longer we go without it, the less likely we are to receive it.

Searching for a hookup to get your rocks off is very common for many guys, but some are subconsciously or consciously craving intimacy and affection and ending up in a promiscuous lifestyle, unintentionally, to satisfy their need for touch.

This is how it could work: I go onto an app on my phone to find another gay guy in my vicinity who’s available. I’m not feeling particularly sexual, but I want someone’s arms around me and I want to feel a physical connection with another guy. I need some intimacy.

I meet this man in his flat during lunch and end up having sex with him. It’s great, but even spooning and taking a nap together would have been enough for me. A few days later I feel the same urge again. The former guy is unavailable so I find another dude that is.

It wasn’t about the sex for me; it was just something that had to happen for me to get the affection that I wanted. Fast forward six months and I’ve had sex with eight guys that I didn’t necessarily want to do more than cuddle with.

Knowing that you need to be touched is the first step toward claiming your power in this situation. Safe, consensual sexual fun whenever you feel like it is fine, but if you feel you need to have sex with someone to get affection, then you may be setting yourself (or someone else) up for feeling used.

There are some other options available to you. You can spoil yourself and go for a massage. It will not only give you a much-needed shot of oxytocin, but it will also flush your lymph system of toxins and release tension and relieve pain in your muscles. Once you’ve had your massage, you can be selfish and go home and sleep too, and not have to worry about giving anybody else pleasure.

Ask and it is given: Don’t be afraid to ask for a hug either. If it’s appropriate, ask a friend that you trust to give you a hug, it will do you a world of good. I have a friend who dispenses the most fantastic bear hugs like a clutch clinic and they stand me in good stead for ages whenever I get one.

Or, if you’re an animal person, why not visit your local kitty or puppy shelter to get a good lick of the love hormone pumping through your veins (animals can cause an oxytocin eruption too). Just a small shot of this good stuff will relax you and make you feel more connected, which then, in turn, makes you even more lovable.

Specialised Kinesiologist and Touch For Health practitioner Liesl Myburgh says that touch is not only a good way to release oxytocin and de-stress the body, she also uses touch and biofeedback techniques as a powerful health care preventative system.

She believes that Touch For Health Therapy can help you feel more balanced emotionally and physiologically because it can help with pain alleviation and it also improves your neuro-lymphatic and neurovascular reflexes. (If you’d like to know more about Touch For Health Therapy you can contact her on

Don’t forget; you can always touch yourself too. It’s been known to alleviate many tensions throughout history.


Article supplied by Health4Men. To find your nearest gay-friendly clinic, visit the Health4Men website.

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