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A Man’s Tough Lesson On Intimacy

When we talk about being careful who we sleep with, we’re not talking about being careful with whom we’re intimate. Last year, I learned just how different those conversations are from a woman I was sleeping with. Every time we slept together, we were careful, cautious, but I was careless to ever get intimate with her.

As some may recall, I wrote a post about a woman I was no longer dating who threw a drink at me (read it here).

The incident had my mind wound up. On a basic level, I did something that made this woman snap and getting her to this breaking point made me take a hard look at myself. I didn’t want to be that guy who was making women crazy.

Those were my thoughts from the last post, in a nut shell, but in addition to being remorseful, I was also angry. I was angry with her and with myself for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on, until I started thinking about intimacy and what it means.

The word “intimacy” is what I call a life word. We’re familiar with the term, SAT words. These are words with absolute meanings, not to be disputed and used incorrectly. Not even context can change their meaning. Life words, like “intimacy,” are something else entirely. They have basic definitions, but we use them in so many ways to describe moments lived, they almost become undefinable.

When the girl and I were dating, things moved quickly. We slept together quickly, but we became intimate just as quickly. I shared things with her that only women I once loved knew, and I did so with a reckless abandon. I didn’t think of any of this during our short stint together, nor when I decided we shouldn’t date anymore for no other reason but I wanted to see other people. We ended things amicably enough, but some of my moves in the days and weeks after is what led to her throwing the drink at me, which wasn’t even as bad as what happened after.

Here’s what I wrote about the incident in the last post:

I didn’t overreact, but I did grab her and took her out a side door, down some stairs, so she could finish telling me off in front of a security guard who was there to make sure she didn’t smack me. I listened to her and didn’t give much of a response.

The reason I still think about this incident to this day has nothing to do with how cold the drink was and everything to do with what she said when she was teling me off at the bottom of the steps.

Before she said anything, she actually asked the security guard if he could leave to give us some privacy. When he refused, she said,”Fine, you can stay.” Then, she turned back around, looked at me, and said, “You know what, Jozen? You’re going to end up exactly like your father.” Under his breath, I heard the security guard say, “Damn.” From the corner of my eye, I could see him turn his neck away from us, as though he just saw something he shouldn’t have seen.

The words read on the screen may not seem like much, but they still hurt my ears. When she said that, I wanted to slide down the wall I was against.

She went there, to that intimate place I foolishly took her. She took things I shared with her together and used them against me in a way I never considered she could, and never have I felt like a bigger fool. Imagine facing someone who has a gun pointed at you, except the gun they’re holding is yours. They found it because you once showed them where you kept it hidden. When she said I was going to end up exactly like my father, I thought, What is she doing with that kind of information? Only to realize, it was information I gave her, and I gave it up far too soon.

I should have never let that woman in the way I did. I should’ve never allowed myself to get intimate with her. I didn’t love her. Sure, I cared about her, enjoyed spending time with her, but how foolish was I to let her in the way I did knowing good and well I didn’t feel that way about her?

The more I replayed this moment in my head, the more I realized the difference between sex and intimacy. The sleeping together part was fine, even the hanging out part was acceptable, but I also let her into my life in this very real way, and she did nothing to deserve such access.

A man may chase a woman for sex, but he never stays with her for sex. For all the talk I hear about men only care about sex, I wonder if it’s women who have put too high of a value on it.

Men don’t make a woman work for sex because men don’t care about sex, but we care about intimacy. We make a woman work for the opportunity to get to know who we are and what makes us tick. That, in short, is what I call intimacy and I learned the hard way, how much more valuable and different it is than sex.

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  • Mia

    Talk about a flashback! I completely understand this now. Long story short, I grew very close, very quickly to one of my classmates. No sex, no foreplay, no flirting just platonic friendship. Things got deep pretty quickly with the amount of intimate information he shared with me, and I him. We ended up having a big blow up, and I referred back to some of that very personal information he shared with me. The clarity and force behind his response to me was the biggest wake up call. I now know to be more protective and careful with the information I am given, especially from a man. In the end, he blasted me in a long, carefully worded email: “I should have never shared with you. I don’t need you in my life that deep” among other more descriptive terms. Needless to say, we are no longer friends. He de-friended me on Facebook and avoids eye contact when we see each other.  The moral of the story is, we take intimacy for granted and it’s one of the most valuable parts of any relationship whether it be friends or lovers. 

  • Growth

    Tuck your maturity in… You let it hang out n this post! I see a progressive 2012 for you!

  • Ava

    This is a really deep post.  Very thought provoking.  Nicely stated, Jozen.

  • Jennifer

    Wow…this made it so clear…especially those last sentences. Nice post Jozen!

  • Kat Webb

    On one hand, I feel what Jozen means about being careful who you let in. Especially in a city as ruthless as NYC, that ish isn’t smart. I learned the hard way on that one too.

    But, on another hand, people are already too guarded. Everyone’s worried that the man or woman is going to go crazy and do what the woman in this post did (and I think women should be angry as women like the one in this post, for giving men a reason to hold out on perfectly good women who WON’T use private information against them in a fight during a prematurely ended relationship), when most people will probably just sympathize with you or discuss the issue with you with the same maturity you had in telling them what you did. Honestly, I don’t think the young adults of 2012 really need another reason to clam up, keep their guard up, and not connect with others. We need MORE connection, if you ask me.

    But hey, that’s just me. I’m currently dating and the man has yet to go Dr. Jekyll on me, so I’m pretty psyched about that, but that guard is still up. I’m still cautious. Cautious while trying to enjoy things. 🙂

  • The Fanny Pack

    *Taps Finger to Nose*
    What a transparent and refreshing perspective from the Male POV.  Makes one wonder if more guys (AND gals) are aware of this distinction and how significant it is in both budding and established relationships.

  • Darryl Nunn

    WOW…on point my brother!

  • taut_7

    “Men don’t make a woman work for sex because men don’t care about sex, but we care about intimacy.”
    i agree with all of this. great post.

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  • Guest

    It does take 2 to make a thing go right and or wrong. In this case, it took you and her to make the relationship go wrong. Obviously both of you gave in too quickly, not where the heart counts but where the internal body parts count. Perhaps, the urge was hard to control. Understandable, afterall, you are a nice looking young man and obviously she’s a nice looking woman in your eyes. Then again, she obviously expected too much out of the relationship. Remember, it is up to you to determine what you want out of a relationship before going any further with the one you choose to be in a relationship with. Perhaps the one you are in a relationship with now, the 2 of you may want to do a story together titled “Chapter 2012”. By having control of writing a story about the 2 of you, both of you can determine which page in the story should the plot thicken-when you know it feels right to be intimate. it shouldn’t be hard for you create a story, you are a good writer. 

  • Kia

    This post is a real eye opener and great start to the New Year for developing a meaningful relationship and better “you”. 

  • Little Miss Sunshine

    Love this.

    I talk a lot but I never talk about stuff that’s really deep until I feel like I can trust you to never ever throw it back at me. That kind of intimacy is actually hard to find.

  • Nu.Q

    There is a reason sex is only encouraged after marriage. Sex is like a feel good drug or like alcohol. Many blurt out things in their hearts when they are drunk. Some even drunk text. Men & women have confessed things to others when the are drunk or high. Sex w/o intimacy is like sex w/ a gigolo or prostitute, or a one night stand. You might as well give them some form of monetary compensation if you are not going to get intimate because that is how the relationship will feel like. Next, there is a reason why it is said that TRUST SHOULD BE EARNED. If that person is not showing [we all talk the talk, but we need to start walking the walk] you why you should trust them w/o you or them asking, then the trust should not be freely given.

  • keishabrown

    Men don’t make a woman work for sex because men don’t care about sex, but we care about intimacy <- im going to have to sit and think about this one. because it's a little difficult for me to believe/understand. 
    i say that from a women's perspective. the intention is not to be deliberately disagreeable – but moreso wondering if that has more to do with age and wisdom of being able to go through that situation and reflect upon it in a mature way. 

    but accept it to be something that you believe and appreciate the honesty of this post.

  • Ashley Arnold

    As someone who has been on the same side as you, reading this was really relatable, especially considering that the words the man said to me were things I had said to myself–and it’s one thing to say it yourself, another to have someone say it out loud. That being said, I appreciate the honesty of this post, the difference between sex and intimacy is something some people don’t really take the time to think about. Those last two bits were really good though and your definition of intimacy was definitely accurate.

  • L

    A friend turned me on to this blog…. I really appreciate your honest and really understand this Male POV on intimacy. It’s so true. Sex and intimacy is valued so differently for men/women. I wish I had read this early on in my last relationship, but was a keep a mental record for future relationships!!

  • thegirlintheredshoes

    I’ve been this girl (except I have too much pride to even allow the man to know he brought me to this level).  I always end up falling for the guy that shares intimate details (his fears, his dreams, his ambitions, his life). For me, it’s in those moments of conversation that I no longer see it as “just sex”, now I have the burning extinct to take care of him, to trust him, and to feel safe to open up to him as well. So yes, when he turns around and reminds me that it’s just fun and games…it hurts. So great post Jozen, you really shouldn’t open up intimately unless you really do “love” her!!

  • John S. Wilson

    Your partner isn’t your therapist. Telling them things like you told her isn’t just immature, it’s pointless and just leads to exactly what you went through. Hope you’ve learned your lesson. 

  • Naomi

    Awesome Post Jozen! I’m sure more people have been in both positions more than they’re willing to admit. 
    So here’s the dilemma: In my opinion, you can’t truly LOVE someone without the intimacy..but you can’t offer up the intimacy up too soon. So where is that common ground? I’m not sure that there really is a generic answer. 
    For those saying “your partner isn’t your therapist”, You’re supposed to be able to trust your partner with those things. If you can’t talk to them about the intricacies of who you are and where you came from, WHY ARE THEY THERE?! Pace yourself with handing out that information and build the trust with your partner so that you are able to share those things with them without fear of having it thrown back at you in a negative way. 
    Love it!

  • Chocolate Mom

    It seems to me that while it was a tough lesson, it was a lesson that will be well learned.  I really enjoy reading your posts, and have watched you grow with each post.  Happy New Year Jozen!

  • JaQay Carlyle

    Thoughtful post and you pointed out a valuable distinction between the two terms.

    However, I would argue that men DO care about sex (a great deal) — To borrow some language from the late Patrice O’neal, we view sex like wheels on a car: its necessary & important (aka we care), but its not special.  Now I do think we view intimacy as special, and hence do not give it out as freely.  Moreover, imo abuse of intimacy is seen as much more egregious than say abuse of sex to men.

    All that said – keep up the good work in 2012.  

  • Treifalicious

    The question is: HOW are you supposed to get to the love without gradually building intimacy through self-disclosure? You say you didn’t lover her, Jozen, but were you allowing yourself to love her? Could you have loved her if you were open to it/why weren’t you open to it? Questions to ponder that I have had to grapple with myself. You can’t “decide” that you’re going to fall in love with someone. Sometimes it happens whe you’re not expecting to.

  • Ymials

    Therapist,no. Confidant,yes. Who you are is a combination of where you want to go, and where you’ve been. How else will someone truly “know” and “understand” who a person is if they don’t know these things?  

  • Missanon1

    It’s always been the case with me that if there is sex, then there will also be intimacy, which is why I’ve never quite been able to grasp the concept of casual sex as easily as my peers.  Though it’s a pretty ancient notion, sex is a huge deal for me, even as a grown woman, so if I’m willing to go there with you (meaning sex) which is rare, then I’ve already determined that I’m also willing to be intimate with you.  So, I’d agrue that sex and intimacy were meant to go hand in hand in the first place, and it’s when we try to separate the two that things get blurry and confusing. I think sex with intimacy is natural, and I think both men and women have a natural feeling to WANT to share intimate details with those we have sex with, but when you have so much practice with supressing what’s natural, it becomes easier to do……yet still hard to explain WHY you supress it and even harder to figure out how to deal with it.  The desire for intimacy with sex is natural; sex without intimacy is adverse and something we created but will always struggle to find a successful coping mechanism for.

  • fixedwater

    “What is she doing with that kind of information? Only to realize, it was information I gave her, and I gave it up far too soon.”

    Well written, well said. I’ve felt that gut punch before too. It’s that, “How did I get here” moment, before you realize, it was all you’re own fault.

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  • jbomb

    No offense, Jozen, but your post comes off as self-entitled and unawares.


    1) Casual dating doesn’t lend itself to intimacy, are you really
    only grasping that now?  If so, I’d thank the woman who threw her drink at
    you for the valuable life lesson rather than talking about her like she was an
    unimportant “stint” in your sexual encounters.  


    Self-empowered ladies are not going around trying to prove their worth to guys
    like you. Where did you learn that a lady needs to win your approval?  
    You’ll have sex with anyone that’s attractive, but only the ones who “work
    for it” get to know you? No, Jozen, flip it and reverse it. If you want to avoid drinks in your face, first
    you put the work in to get to know a lady, then sex follows if she still finds
    you attractive. 

    3) When you end relationships simply because you want to “see (read: have
    sex with) other people”, it can end up offending, especially if the person
    you are ending it with cared about you at one point, which she probably did if
    you shared personal details of your lives together.  Conversely, saying
    things about a lady like, ‘sleeping together was fine’, ‘hanging out with her
    was acceptable’ and ‘she didn’t deserve access to my life in a real
    way’ suggests that you never quite took it upon yourself to care back-
    hence her hurt feelings which lead to the mean things she said. It’s a natural
    response. Closing off the
    intimacy walls may protect you from being hurt in a meaningful way, but the
    moral of the story isn’t, don’t share intimate details of your life with people
    you have sex with, it’s don’t hurt people by having meaningless sex for a few
    weeks and then ditching them for someone new (unless, of course, that was the
    agreement from the start).  

    New Bachelor, you need to learn quickly or you are going to
    be around for a while.

  • Angelicmind

    The sad fact of life is that you may love someone with all your life and give them gold and diamonds but all they give you back is mold and crap. Tears, embarrassment, heart-ache— it will come. It isn’t fair, no, but it is up to you to maintain your purely good spirit and LEARN. Do not become ashamed and tainted by the perpetrator. You don’t deserve to be so troubled in spirit. All people are not the same. 

    I am a woman who has gotten her heart broken several times and wanted to give up on love, but I believe that God has brought me an angel, my current boyfriend loves me to no end. He does things for me that all of my friends would be so jealous of. He is the epitome of Chivalry. He brightens my world and treats me like royalty because I am a bombshell, kind, loving, honest woman. A woman like this will enter your life if you keep your heart open and have courage. Be a good and faithful man. Not many men ARE anymore because they resent the hoes that have tainted them and they turn to darkness. Love all you want to, it is an inalienably human right and you will meet her with God’s help in his time.

  • samantha

    Reading this breaks my heart on so many levels because you have revealed to me my greatest sin. I loved a man, once. I didn’t know how to admit it at the time. I didn’t know how to accept it. I couldn’t understand the feelings between us. it was unbridled lust at first, but we found ourselves falling deeper and deeper into intimacy that we knew no way out – or so we thought. We were friends with benefits to start but had revealed to each other so much more that we wondered why we weren’t together. When we finally did get together, we could not get along. We somehow lost what we had, and we were, as you said, facing our own guns in the hands of the one we trusted with its secrets. It was a showdown and the bloodshed was epic since there was no end to our stores of ammunition. We parted ways in the worst way after that. You hit the nail on the head with this post. Yet I am thankful because I can understand in my heart, finally, what happened.

  • Guest

    After reading the writer’s post, the word that came to mind was “egocentric”

  • de+andrea

    We somehow lost what we had, and we were, as you said, facing our own guns in the hands of the one we trusted with its secrets. It was a showdown and the bloodshed was epic since there was no end to our stores of ammunition. ”

    Wow. This hits home hard. I could never think of a way to properly articulate what I was thinking, but this says it right here. 

  • ThisIsTee1

       I’m not sure of everyone’s belief system on this post.  I would even go as far as to say that I’m not
    even sure about mine, but I will say this:  there’s a reason the Bible says
    we shouldn’t have sex before marriage.  And to shut down the “holier
    than thous” it has nothing to do with God smiting us for sinning (Insert
    eye roll)  Jozen’s intimacy experience,
    and resulting lesson learned comes down to one thing:  a soul-tie.  The moment a woman and man
    become intimate sexually, they allow that person into the most intimate place
    in his or her body.  When we become
    intimate with someone, no matter how you try to shove the feelings down, if you’re
    having sex with someone you really like, even if you don’t love them, you
    confuse your “like” emotions by doing something that only people who
    “love” each other should be doing (biblically speaking, but I’m no
    saint, so I’m CERTAINLY NOT judging.)  This is the very moment when “intimacy”
    begins.  You begin to share things you wouldn’t normally share.  You
    treat this person like a spouse, but the problem is, they aren’t one.  And then, by the time you realize you’ve been
    “emotionally slutty” and shared too much, it’s too late.  You both have the deadly emotional ammo needed
    to destroy one another.  This is all I
    have to say:  Once I stopped being
    intimate (both emotionally and sexually) with men I felt lukewarm about,
    I learned a lot about myself and what I should and should not share in
    relationships.  And in learning this, I was
    never a hurt woman again.  And just as a
    side note, that emotional intimacy issue doesn’t just extend to people we have
    sex with…it applies to friendships as well…

  • Guest

    Despite how others feel about your point of views to your postings, don’t ever let it stop you from continuing to be who you are. Remember, the comments written by others is their point of views, not yours. I frequently come to read what you have to write because i do believe you’re a very good writer. 

  • Sue

    I think the key is knowing where to set the boundaries. You definitely have to be careful with who you let that deep into your life. Get a book called: Boundaries in dating by Henry Cloud. 

  • Poeticion

    Me and a few partners(all men) are reading this and we all zeroed in on this last section. It rings indefinitely true for all four of us. But that is probably the reason it may be opposable or hard to understand.

  • Blacklily

    This is a lesson I have too have learnt the hard way but not with men I’ve dated but with friends. So I’m very weary of what I tell people and in turn what u tell to men when … But even the ones you become deeply intimate with will still throw your personal stuff in your face. Idk!!! ::throws hands up:::

    Where are your podcasts??
    Happy new year !!!

  • Renee

    I always though it was the ones we love the most who can hurt you the most. If I don’t really care for someone and trust them, the things they say usually slide off my back. Not be insensitive but either what she said was true or you care about her more than you though.

    But on another note, I just read the drink throwing story. How ghetto, don’t people know to never let them see you sweat. Now she is going to be that crazy girl who throws drinks. Regarless of what you did, you should be embarrassed to even be sleeping with someone like that, much less get intimate.

  • Guest

    what it comes down to is who we prefer based on our own taste not according to other’s taste

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