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Austin Cline

Forum Discussion: Sexual Intimacy vs. Intellectual Intimacy

By April 4, 2012

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Usually when someone thinks about the idea of two people sharing an "inappropriate" level of intimacy, what they have in mind is probably something sexual or at least physical. But isn't that perhaps a bit limited? Is "cheating" really something that can only be done on a physical level like that?

A forum member writes:

Yesterday, my husband brought home a book that a workmate had lent him. A male workmate, from whom he regularly borrows books and to whom he also lends them.

And I thought, how would I feel if this workmate were female? ... I would be far more disturbed and jealous if my husband were sharing books with another woman than I would if he had a one night stand with her. ...

I would be much more threatened by my husband connecting with another woman on an intellectual/creative level than I would by him connecting with one sexually. Intellectual intimacy is far more disturbing than sexual intimacy, when it comes to personal dynamics and the sense of competition that such relationships can create.

I suppose there's a reasonable argument to be made for the idea that the creation of an "intellectual" connection with another person is just as serious as creating a physical one -- at least, if you consider your intellectual relationship with your partner to be at least as important as your physical one.

What I wonder is whether this is something that is more or less common among atheists than among religious theists.

Add your thoughts to the comments here or join the ongoing discussion in the forum.

April 10, 2012 at 10:43 am
(1) mia says:

I empathize with this person’s feelings. However, I understand that my partner might need things from other people, things that I cannot provide her, such as a different opinion perspective, more depth and what not. This might just be my particular case, but we’re both beyond jealousy in this area. And yes, we’re both atheists.

I have read the bible several times and honestly, I don’t recall there being anything covering intellectuality. I think this is mainly because religions are aimed at the masses, which by definition aren’t really into the brain thing.

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