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How “Sex” can be used as an “Intimacy Substitute.”

In this episode, Mark and Steve speak directly to a PBSE listener's in-depth question about sex being used as a substitute for true intimacy— "I love your podcast. I'd love to make a podcast topic request, if you're able . . .

"Question: Can sex be used as an intimacy substitute? My husband wants lots of sex and cuddling, but then either avoids or only goes "into the shallow end" regarding the other areas of relational intimacy. I wonder if he has been using sex to try to fill an emotional hole that's been there since before I came "feel" intimacy in a fun easy way that doesn't involve the risks that come from the other crucial areas of relational intimacy. He says he wants intimacy, but I think he doesn't understand what intimacy truly is."

"He says he wants intimacy and that he wants lots of sex because he's a sexual person (physical touch is his primary love language). It seems like having sex is the "easy" way for him to experience closeness and "feel" intimacy without actually having to engage in true deep intimacy. He also avoids conflict and confrontation. He hasn't wanted to talk about his past. When things get tough or too deep, he shuts down and retreats. I don't want him to believe this is what intimacy is."

"I believe he truly wants intimacy, but he fears it at the same time. Personally, I think he believes lots of affection and sex is the core/foundation of intimacy and will fill that bucket for him...and I also think he subconsciously relies on sex and affection to fill that bucket because that's less risky and its an easy quick way to "feel" intimacy. Plus that, I think it's been a coping mechanism because he was promiscuous in teen and adulthood before marriage...I think he used sex to cope or fill the hole of rejection and abandonment from an abusive home (to feel validated, accepted, wanted, connected to someone). I'm no expert though."

Mark and Steve try to tackle this HUGE topic and address this listener's situation and questions— - What is “Intimacy” - When is “sex” intimate and NOT intimate? When is it connecting and disconnecting? - HOW can sex easily become a substitute or escape from true, vulnerable, holistic intimacy with SELF and a PARTNER? - HOW can we begin moving sex into the place of true intimacy? - HOW can we recognize the “intimacy issues” we’re avoiding through sex and start addressing them head on?

Learn more about Mark and Steve's new online program—"Dare to Connect!" You have live access to Mark and Steve three times a week--addicts, spouses and couples! Visit— Find out more about Steve Moore at: Ascension Counseling

Learn more about Mark Kastleman at: Reclaim Counseling Services Can your marriage survive sex and porn addiction? Check out this article to learn more—

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