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Intimacy: More Than Just the Big "O"

November 3 2022 | Written by Rhea Kumar (She/Her)

Why do we link intimacy directly with the ability to orgasm? Maybe it’s the movies, maybe its the abounding pornography that tricks us into thinking that all sexual encounters between people will lead to the big O. Or, maybe, we’ve been socialized to believe that there are very little ways to experience intimacy besides sex and orgasms. 

By carrying the limiting belief that intimacy is a limited tunnel it can actually put a strain on couples to achieve a (sometimes) impossible biological result. What if you haven’t figured out what you like yet? Just gave birth and you haven’t healed yet? Have a previous sexual traumatic experience? A pelvic pain disorder that makes sex painful? Erectile dysfunction? Or, even just a bad day?

Does that mean it’s the end of the road for intimacy? Absolutely not. Sensuality and intimacy are on a spectrum and they exist for more reasons than an orgasm. In fact, they’re expressions of love and care for one another and let’s face it, there are plenty of other ways to exercise that.  


Think: those afternoons in high school when you’d sneak into the basement and make out for hours, or maybe even touch your partner a little. Outercourse is anything that doesn’t involve the exchange of bodily fluids. 

While it may seem silly to ask, why did we trade these pleasurable moments that seemed so fun and could easily make you excited for sex? Why (and when) did we decide that penetration was supposedly the best way to experience intimacy with our partners? 

First off, the trade off is practically a no-brainer. The pleasure that comes from outercourse can last for hours, it can be fun and very experimental. On the other hand, the actual pleasure of sex, as in, the orgasm, lasts for seconds…or maybe a minute or so if you’re lucky? 

Orgasmic Meditation 

This blog post is by no means an anti-orgasm manifesto. After all, orgasms are great! Here’s an interesting way to boost intimacy while also striving to achieve the orgasm: orgasmic meditation. 

Orgasmic meditation might seem like something Gwyneth Paltrow would discuss - and you’d be right. In fact, it was featured on her Sex, Love and Goop Netflix show.

So, if the main idea of meditation is to turn your attention inward and to embrace the present moment through breathing and awareness, then orgasmic meditation aims to use these tools to heighten your sensual system with intimacy and eroticism. 

The primary focus of orgasmic meditation is to appreciate “the gentle, pulsing waves of pleasure radiating from your genitals.”

How does it work?

In a traditional sense, “orgasmic meditation focuses on rubbing the upper left quadrant of the clitoris for 5 minutes with a lubricated finger,” according to Dr. Holly Richmond, a somatic psychotherapist and author of Reclaiming Pleasure. 

If you need more instruction, the Orgasmic Meditation Institute actually has a wide library of videos (that I’d suggest not watching at work). This video gives a step by step guide for either partner to follow, which includes how to set up your environment and what you’ll need to use to achieve a maximum meditation session.

Talk More 

Sex between partners is barely scratching the surface when it comes to real intimacy. What happens after sex? Do you have clear communication with your partner? Do you know each other well enough to talk about intimate matters? 

While silence is a great way to add comfort to a relationship while ensuring everyone has their own personal space,  there’s also a certain level of communication that’s needed to ensure both of you are satisfied in the relationship. Thoughtful communication can lead to great breakthroughs. 

Remember the feelings on a first date, when you’d talk about intimate, fuzzy things? Skip the day-to-day stuff, try discussing your deep thoughts, hopes and dreams, and even what you enjoy about the intimacy you share. And remember - intimacy begins the second you wake up. It's not just limited to your time in the bedroom.

Sexy Massages, Anyone?

Also known as ‘happy ending’ massages, these types of massages require a lot more intent, meaning that you hope to turn your partner on by exciting their senses and stimulating them just by touch. 

One way to start this is to set the mood, whether it be using candles, lighting, aromatherapy to calm the environment. Oh, and of course, massage oils. 

This is a great opportunity for you to find out what body parts are hot spots for your partner. Whether it's the inner thighs, the stomach, behind the ears, this is a great opportunity to play around with these intimate spots and figure out what really turns them on. 

As you can see, intimacy isn’t just a ‘road’ to an orgasm. It’s quite literally a language of its own. It’s really up to you and your partner how you choose to be intimate, but the good thing is, there are so many ways to express intimacy.