The Difference Between Unconditional Love, Sex, Intimacy, and Compatibility

The Difference Between Unconditional Love, Sex, Intimacy, and Compatibility.

  • You can love someone as unconditionally as is humanly possible but have zero intimacy. (Feel into how a spiritually and psychologically healthy mother loves her adult addict child but has to cut off all contact because he is abusive, stealing from her, and refuses to respect boundaries.)
  • You can have sex with zero intimacy. (Consider sexual abuse situations or even casual consensual sex with a stranger.)
  • You can be personally intimate with someone you have zero sexual attraction to. (You may be deeply close to your best friend or your sibling but feel no erotic charge.)
  • You can be transpersonally intimate with someone who you don’t know very well. (You’re exposing your heart and your guts to your therapist or your priest, but neither one of you knows the mundane details of daily life, and you don’t hang out beyond the therapeutic container.)
  • You can love someone deeply and feel very close but be utterly incompatible for very practical, grounded reasons.

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Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine, The Fear Cure, and The Anatomy of a Calling.