I decided to do my research on “The Gender Differences in
Perceptions of What Intimacy is and how oneself defines it.”
My purpose is to determine how each gender feels about
intimacy and how they come to terms with identifying when they and or how they
realize that their feeling is real and determine that their feeling is mutual
with each other in a relationship. In reading article in reference to this
topic I came across this piece of research which stated: Effective
communication is the most important aspect in maintaining a healthy relationship.
However, most complications in relationships arise from miscommunication just
as often, or more so, than from lack of communication. Relationships can
benefit greatly from a multicultural understanding between men and women. Drury
(1999) showed the link between healthy relationships and communication levels
and provides an overview for various ways to maintain romantic relationships,
concerning indirect communication, relational dialectics, and relational
repair. Research by Duncombe and Marsden (1993) explored the gender differences
in emotional behavior and assert that, “many women express unhappiness
primarily with what they perceive as men’s unwillingness or incapacity to ‘do’
the emotional intimacy which appears to them necessary to sustain close heterosexual
couple relationships.” Emotional expressivity is one facet of communication and
this research will further explore its effects on relationships.
intimacy and closeness when they talk, touch, and share their thoughts and
feelings with a loved one. They are usually more interested in intimacy than in
sex of and for itself. … Therefore, women want to take their time with a
An intimate relationship is an interpersonal relationship
that involves physical and/or emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is
characterized by friendship, platonic love, romantic love, or sexual activity.
… Humans have a general desire to belong and to love, which is usually
satisfied within an intimate relationship.
I read an interesting
article about a young woman that stated, “Don’t Push Me So Hard For Sex” Women
Want Time Before Sex. The article read as such: One young woman told me that
she has to have time before sex to get to know and trust a man. She has to see
him in different situations, with different people, and talk to him for hours
before she will “allow” herself to even consider sex. She continued,
“One guy I dated pushed so hard for sex, that I gave in before I was
ready. But that made sex basically unsatisfying. Even though chemistry was
there at first, I lost interest sexually. Once I decided he wasn’t a good
lover, I was ready to move on. We never gave real love a chance. “Another women
agreed that time is necessary to feel a real desire for sex. She said, “If
a man pushes me to sex too quickly, the relationship rarely gets much further
than a few trips to bed. Then they (men) are hurt and can’t understand why I
don’t stay in love with them. They don’t get it-I never was in love with them. Most
women agree that men who push for sex before the woman is ready had better be
really good in bed. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen. (Harry Croft,
reason, women are a diverse group in terms of what produces pleasurable sex. It
is a rare man that can be a good lover to a woman without a certain amount of
experience with that particular woman.Women can forgive fumbling, partial or
non-existent erections, and premature ejaculations when they are in love. They
can even call up a certain acting ability in the name of love. But when love
has not been given the time it takes to grow for the woman, she often labels
the man a poor lover and the relationship is stillborn in the bedroom.
Some women learn to
look at sexual-timing incompatibilities with humor. One lady said, “I used
to resent being pushed for sex. Now I get amused at all these guys and their groping.
Most of them end up providing me with a few funny stories to tell my
girlfriends. I certainly don’t fall in love with them, but I don’t get mad at
them anymore either.”
And still others
avoid sex. These women feel if they put themselves in the position to get what
they want: affection, touching, and cuddling, they will have to do battle not
to have sex.
So some women do
without desired affection, particularly in the beginning of a relationship, to
avoid pressure to have sex.
Our society teaches
females that “nice girls don’t.” When society has taught this lesson
for years, it is hard to suddenly feel sexual, even when hormones start raging
because of the lessons of their youth, women reach their sexual peak in their
mid-to-late thirties or even later, rather than when teen-age hormones first
kick-in (Harry Croft, MD,2014).
Both men and women
value friendship throughout their lives; but research suggests that there are
certain gender differences in heterosexual friendship patterns from childhood
through adulthood (Johnson et al., 2007; Zarbatany et al., 2007).
It’s believed that couples
regardless of what type of relationship you’re in, if there are heart to heart
talks and there is mutual understanding of the relationship being shared that
the intimacy part will be equal regardless of the gender. And as discussed in
many articles and journals stated that men will rush into sex where women
merely want to get to know one another before engaging in sex. Do men fear
relationships more than women? The truth is that it’s hard to tell. Measuring
fear of intimacy among men and women in a research sense is tricky, but one study
(Thelen et al., 2000) attempted it and found that men scored higher on a
Fear-of-Intimacy Scale. To women who have known men terrified of relationships,
this research will come as no surprise. Thelen, M.; Vander Wal, J.; Thomas, A.;
Harmon, R. Gender Differences Among Dating Couples. Behavior Modification,
April 2000, 24 (2), 223-240. Most women are looking for a long-term
relationship, where men will choose to have multiple sex partners without
committing. These are considered friends with benefits, which most likely will
not end in a long-term relationship. Men’s procrastination tends to bread up
most of their realationships until they become older in age and mature. Women
also tend to be ready to settle down earlier than most men. For one reason
is because women tend to worry about their internal time clock. Meaning getting
married and bearing children before menopause. The key seems to be having
mutual understanding and open conversation of each other’s feelings can prolong
an intimate relationship.
7 Things All Men Need In A Relationship
1. Praise And Approval
Men have infamously tender egos.We need frequent reassurance
about ourselves, our career paths, our efficacy as partners, our sexual
prowess, and our attractiveness (among other things).
I have countless male clients telling me every month that
their partners rarely let them know what they like about them.While it may be
true that men need relatively less frequent verbal praise than their female
counterparts, this isn’t the kind of gesture that requires keeping score. Why
not just have more of a good thing?
So ladies, let your praise loose. Tell your man exactly what
you find attractive about him. Let him know what physical features of his are
your favourites. Tell him how attractive you find it when he says something a
certain way, when he accomplishes something, or when he takes you on a date.
Your praise won’t make him cocky; it will help him feel loved. And (bonus) the
more you praise his positives, the more you will see them.
Men feel respect as love. If he feels like you disapprove of
him, his career, or the things that he believes to be integral to who he is as
a person, he will have a hard time trusting and loving you.
The thought process behind that being “If she doesn’t respect
who I am at my core, then how can she really want what is best for me?” If a
man’s partner doesn’t respect his path or mission in life, then he will find it
very difficult to feel other than an anxious need to distance himself from her.
3. A Sense Of Sexual Connection
Men and women both connect through sex and communication,
but generally, women connect better through communication and men connect
better through sex. Does this mean that men need to have sex with their
intimate partners every day in order to feel connected? Not necessarily. Men,
more often than not, connect through indicators of sexual access just as much
as they do through sex. Allow me to explain…
Often, a man will initiate sex just to make sure that you
are still sexually available to him. So, to my man-loving readers out there, if
he reaches across the bed for you, even showing the willingness to embrace him,
to kiss him deeply, and to romantically engage him could be enough to make him
feel loved (not that the follow through isn’t enjoyable).
This lack of awareness around women needing to connect
through words and men needing to connect through sex can sometimes turn into an
unfortunate and rapid downward spiral. She doesn’t feel like opening sexually
until she feels connected to him, but he finds it difficult to communicate with
her because they haven’t been physical with each other in days.
Talk with your partner and ask what specifically helps them
feel the most loved so you can avoid these unintentional standoffs. Young
Couple In Loving Embrace
4. Emotional Intimacy
From a very young age, men are taught to avoid appearing
weak at all costs. Perceived “weakness” includes things like complaining,
divulging fears or concerns, and expressing self-doubt or worry. A man’s
partner is his safe space to fall. He can expose the cracks in his armour and
allow his partner to help him heal. Just as women need to slowly open up
sexually within a relationship, men open up over time emotionally. He needs to
make sure that when he first cries in front of you, you won’t be repelled or
handle it poorly. If you push him away or are unable to be nurturing when he
needs it the most, he will no longer trust you with his emotions. He will
remove himself somewhat from the relationship. In this instance, both partners
lose- he goes on silently suffering and believing that he is flawed in his
imperfection, and she is held at arm’s length emotionally.
Author Deborah Tannen has written brilliantly on the
masculine and feminine divide between independence and intimacy (masculine
being primarily drawn towards independence and the feminine toward intimacy). Within
all of my relationships and the vast majority of my clients, I consistently see
that it is the feminine-associated female partner that wants more time spent
together and the masculine-associated male partner wanting more time apart.
There is no perfect balance to be found here. This will always be a balancing
act of closeness and separateness.
But rest assured, suffocating a man (either by failing to
allow him free time or with overly jealous behaviour) is the fastest way to end
a relationship. Men need breathing room in a relationship. We need time for our
hobbies, time with our friends, and time to toil away on our projects to feel
fulfilled. Traditionally, when women (or the feminine associated partner)
needed to solve a problem, they would go further into the tribe – connecting
with close friends and family and discussing their issues. Conversely, when men
have a problem to solve, they would leave the tribe to be alone with their
thoughts. So let him roam. Let him breathe. Leave him to his own devices. A man
will be that much happier for you to receive him when he returns, knowing that
you trust both him and the strength of your bond enough to let him have his
6. Physical Touch
Men need frequent non-sexual touch as well as a sense of
If a man’s partner comes up behind him and touches his neck
and hair in a loving way while he sits absorbed in a task, he could feel just
as loved as if they had just had penetrative sex (even more so, depending on
his mood). This touch is interpreted as physical love- the message of which
registering as “I love you, and I want you to feel happy all the time. Know
that I’m always here for you and I care for you deeply.”
Men and women are both attracted to certainty in a
relationship. The more a man feels like his partner is in it for the long haul,
the more ready and able he is to be able to open up to her (assuming he is
equally invested in her).
But security goes deeper than just the fact that you won’t
leave him. The security that he feels ties back in to several of these points.
He feels secure in knowing that you approve of him and where he is in his
career. He feels secure and loved when you touch him non-sexually throughout
the day. He feels secure when he is allowed to have his guys’ nights away from
you and you don’t feel the need to call or text him every half hour to check
And he feels secure with a partner who takes steps to love
him in the way that he most needs.
What Men Want In A Relationship
So how do you stack up in your relationship?
If you are a man reading this, do you feel like all of your
needs are being met? Could you ask for your partner to do something
differently? (Maybe send her this article?)
If you are someone who is in a relationship with a man and
you are reading this, how could you love him more fully? Which of these can you
incorporate more of into your relationship?
Let this article (and the female equivalent) be the catalyst
that gets this conversation started between the two of you. Even if you don’t
agree with every point made, let these articles begin a dialogue about both of
your needs in your relationship.
The overwhelming response to this article on the female side
had several mentions of the word blame. Defensive and angered cries shot out
around the interwebz (“It’s not all men’s fault!”).
This isn’t about blame, or fault-finding, or anybody doing
anything wrong. This is about loving people in the best way that they could
possibly be loved and opening up a dialogue about emotional needs in
relationships. (Jordan Gray, 2013)
Ps. Want to see what women need in a relationship?
7 Things All Women Need In A Relationship.
1. To Feel Loved
When women feel loved, they relax and open to us. The
arguments dissipate, the sex is abundant, and their nurturing feminine energy
flows throughout our lives.Not feeling loved is the subtext of every argument
that you and your partner have. If she is unhappy that you are going out with
your friends, or she’s upset about her day at work, or she is only responding
to you with brief snippets of sentences, then the cause is most likely her not
feeling loved enough.
Learn to see through her words, actions, and moods and see
what the real root of it is.
2. To Feel Safe
There is a war being waged on women’s self-esteem,
sexuality, and safety from a very young age. Because of the barrage of
disempowering messages being sent to women regarding their sexuality, women
need to have a safe space where they feel that they can trust their partners.
She wants to trust your strength. She wants to feel like you
can handle whatever she shows you.
She wants to feel like you will not judge her if she asks
for something risqué. She wants to know you won’t collapse in defeat if she
tells you to do it “This way” instead. By creating a safe space for your woman
to open up to you emotionally and sexually, you will be giving her a very
powerful gift- you allow her to grow within your relationship and undo old
3. To Feel Seen
Women want to feel seen. She wants to feel you hearing her,
and being aware of her emotional state. She doesn’t necessarily want you to be
affected by her emotional state, but she does want you to be witness to it. If
she is sitting across the room from you and you aren’t picking up on the fact
that she is suffering emotionally and on the verge of tears, she will begin to
trust you less. She will think, “If he can’t see that I am hurting now, how
long will it take him to figure it out? Will I be suffering for days or weeks
before he is aware of it or cares enough to help me through this? I guess I
have to rely on myself for my own emotional support. “Life can seem extremely
lonely, even within a relationship. You have to constantly show your partner
that at least one person will be witness to her and her journey through life.
(Hint: that person is you.) women need in a relationship
4. To Be Allowed To Be Nurturing
Just as masculine energy has the need to protect, feminine
energy has the desire to nurture.
Women want to see the cracks in our armour. They want to see
that we trust them enough to open up to them. They want to be able to help us
through our sadness. An integrated, evolved man who has a balanced masculine
energy as well as his own sliver of feminine would welcome his woman’s
nurturing. If you are a guy reading this, have you ever held open a door for a
woman because it’s the polite thing to do (but more just because she’s a person
and it wasn’t even a gender-based act) and she chews your ear off for it? “Oh
what? I can’t open the door for myself because I’m a woman?! You sexist pig!”
That is an example of a wounded, unbalanced woman who doesn’t want to accept
help from a masculine source. This is exactly how it feels to your partner when
you push her away when you feel the most vulnerable. “I don’t need to lay my
head down on your chest and tell you about my feelings because I don’t have
any!” That is a lie. It’s a lie that serves your purpose of not letting your
partner in. This lack of vulnerability and authenticity is what is making you
and your partner suffer. So let her in. She wants to love you.
Men mess up their relationships in these three specific ways.
5. To Feel Sexually Desired
What’s a major difference between your relationship to your
partner and your relationship to everyone else in your life? You have sex with
your partner. Women need to feel sexually desired. They want to make sure that
you see and appreciate them as a feminine, sexual being.
Praise her body. Feel her and grab her appreciatively.
Remind her that you see her as a sexual being and you will both benefit.
6. To Be Appreciated
The feminine in all people responds primarily to praise and
Remind your partner that you love her. Tell her that you
appreciate what she brings to your life. Show her how much she means to you. The
fastest way to run your relationship into the ground is by ignoring your
partner and taking her for granted. Appreciation is the opposite of those
things. Appreciation is the embodying this mindset: “I am aware of what you
bring to my life, and I want you to be sure that I am aware of it as well.” So
tell her what you appreciate, and tell her often.
7. To Feel Like She Can Count On You
Life gets pretty messy sometimes. When life’s unavoidable
difficulties arise, do you fall apart under pressure or are you able to bend
and not break? Women want to know that we can handle ourselves when life
happens. They want to know that we won’t run and hide when they get a bit ‘too
emotional’ for our liking. They want to know that they can count on us. When
you tell your partner you’ll do something, and then you don’t do it, it hurts
her. She loses a piece of trust in you that has to be earned back. Even
seemingly small things break that trust like you saying that you will wash the
dishes shortly after dinner, but washing them the next morning instead.
When enough small transgressions like this are sprinkled
throughout your relationship, she will distrust you. Do what you say you will
do, be who you say you are, and be consistent in your actions. (Jordan
What Do Women Need In A Relationship?
(1) Women want partners that care.
(2) Women don’t want perfect partners; they want men who are
striving to be their best selves.
(3) She doesn’t necessarily want someone who has every step
of his life pre-planned, but she wants someone with drive and with goals.
(4) She doesn’t necessarily want someone who cries every day,
but she does want someone who has the courage to cry in front of her when he
(5) She doesn’t necessarily want someone who stays in
therapy for his entire life, but she does want someone who has the courage to
face his own emotional demons.
So put in the work. End the stalemate. Decide that you want
to be in the kind of relationship that most people don’t have and you want to
put in the effort necessary to become that kind of man The women of the world
are waiting for us. And they want us to step up just as badly as we want them
to open up.
I wrote this article in 2013 and my beliefs
have shifted a lot since I wrote it. The biggest difference is that you may
notice that none of the above seven things are unique to being female and/or
feminine desires or needs. All seven things mentioned above are human needs.
Think about that when you read any listicle separating men and women into
dichotomous monoliths. Men are people… women are people… and there is a lot
more that we have in common than that which we might not overlap in as