Women, Men and Relationship Intimacy: Making the Mars – Venus Connection

As just about every woman knows, relationship intimacy is the experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires. This can only occur when both people are able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable.

For most men however, intimacy is more physical than emotional and usually involves seeking and having sex.

With differences like these, it’s little wonder that perhaps the most popular book on relationships published in the past 25 years involves characters from Mars and Venus.

Men and Women are Different

While it can certainly be argued that the ways in which boys and girls are being raised in the West is changing, it can also be argued that “traditional” roles for men and women are deeply ingrained and may, ultimately, be impossible to change. As research into the structure of the human brain continues, the physical differences between the sexes are becoming more obvious.

“Our studies are finding significant differences in the brain circuitry of men and women, even when they’re doing the same thing: It’s like two people driving from Philadelphia to New York, who take different routes, but end up at the same place,” says Ragini Verma, PhD, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. (WebMD.com)

What has this brain research found?

Obviously, some of the differences between men and women are a result of the ways in which they’re raised, along with education and our culture’s expectation of the roles they should fill. Yet, it’s also becoming clearer that there are natural differences in the ways that the sexes view the world – along with the ways they react to it. These things also affect their definition of intimacy and how to achieve it.

  • Women communicate – Along with more wiring in regions linked to memory and social cognition, women have more connections going left and right across the two halves of the brain.
  • Men act – Combined with more mass, the brains of men have more connections from front to back, which may heighten their perception. They may be more attuned to what’s going on around them so they can take action.

Because of these differences in the makeup of their brains, a woman’s identity tends to be grounded in her feelings and the quality of her relationships, while a man’s identity tends to be defined through his ability to achieve results. For women, talking, sharing, and relating is how a she feels good about herself. For men, their self-esteem is career and achievement related; with achievement in the bedroom being no less important to a man. (Find more here: iMom.com)

Neither of these “roles” are written in stone. However, denying the basic differences between women and men could lead to problems in the raising and education of boys and girls, with long-term negative results.

Do you struggle to find intimacy with your partner? Are you having trouble accepting the roles of boys and girls as you raise your children? Share your thoughts with others in the comments section below.

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