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Intimacy: Loving & Liking

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

These are both things we feel, and things we do.

It's sometimes hard to know the difference between them.


Sternberg's Triangle Theory of Love described three elements of love: Commitment, Passion, Intimacy

We all want more or less of each.

Finding someone who wants the same levels of these can make loving relationships more fulfilling. It's possible more than one person can help you fulfill your needs or desires. \

Love is something we hear described as affection, endearment, and passion.

Cultures around the world experience and define love in different ways. Some normalize a passionate romantic type of love, while others normalize a love that is about family connections, growth over time, and commitment.

There are even more ways to define love. How do you define it in your relationship?

Love is thought to live neurologically in the same part of our brain as hunger, thirst, and our need for touch.

We also know that there is a ton of neurodiversity in our world. So, not everyone's brains function the same or experience feelings the same.

Seek to understand others. Be open to understanding loving in other ways.

A person doesn't need love to have sex, not need sex to have love.

Asexuality and its many different varieties and types are real, valid, and deserve respect and support.

Similarly, choosing to engage in consensual sex without love is also valid and deserving of respect.

Consent among participants is what matters.

Love is often gendered culturally. In some cultures women hold love or are assigned love as their role in relationships. In those cultures, men are often taught to love by pursuing women and providing for them financially and physically.

These gendered norms limit all of us. They don't celebrate the diversity of gender/gender expression, or the realities of relationships. All genders can love, pursue love, and provide and support in their own ways.

Ways to explore and find love:

  • Describe to someone what your love for them feels like

  • Ask someone what their love feels like to them and what you can to show them your love

  • Supporting someone consistently as they grow, evolve, face challenges, and celebrate successes.

  • Open yourself up to learning how others see you despite how you see yourself

Loving can be hard because it doesn't always feel good...

  • It's hard to watch someone you love struggle or make decisions that don't serve their best interests.

  • It isn't always reciprocated.

  • Physical or emotional distance can make it hard.

  • We have learned problematic ways of loving that we think are right but don't actually feel good or build intimacy and connection.


... can be an early stage of a relationship that can lead to love.

... can be all we feel for someone, and love doesn't develop.

Sometimes we love people even though we don't like them at a moment or for a time. That's ok, so long as the experience isn't causing you or them harm. Sharing how you feel and what you want can help.

We have to learn to like ourselves in order to love ourselves and love someone else.

As LGBTQ+ people, as kinky people, we don't always learn to like ourselves. Often we are taught that we are bad or wrong for being who we are or liking what we like.

It's ok to like something just because you do - because it brings you joy, pleasure, happiness. It's more than likely, there are others out there who would share that joy with you... if you find them and let them know.

Both "love" and "liking" change, evolve, grow, expand and shrink. We change and so do those around us.

If you like someone who doesn't like you, don't waste too much time hoping that will change. Instead, spend that time and energy pursuing joy and others who like you. There are billions of people!

If you love someone who is hard to love, consider the trade-offs: are you gaining and growing? Or are you hoping and hurting? We cannot make others care about is or for us.

Social Media Post to Share with Friends.

Want to share this information with someone on social media? Check out Cooper's "Intimacy" post on Instagram @supportpupcooper. Check out his Sex Ed Posts highlights to find all the sex ed posts easily.

Want support with your sexuality or relationships?

Support Pup Cooper is a coach and educator who helps pups and kinksters with their sexuality and relationships. He can support all kinds of goals, like improving your sex life, getting more from your relationships, understanding yourself, exploring kink and pup life, and more!

Click here to book a free 30-minute online session and learn how Cooper can help you!

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