The Intimacy Spectrum

As expected, yesterday’s “The Unspoken But Expected Reciprocation Of Giving (And Receiving) Head” sparked some pretty interesting discussion, as there were many separate takes on what constitutes appropriate oral sex decorum. More than anything else, this conversation just reinforced the idea that sex is nothing but an enhanced from of communication, and if you haven’t or can’t communicate certain things to a potential partner, you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with them.

One of yesterday’s more interesting sub-convos had to do with the different (and occasionally arbitrary) levels of intimacy assigned to certain physical/sexual acts. For instance, while some people consider a kiss — even an open mouth kiss — to not be that big of a deal, others consider kissing even more intimate than sex.

***Admittedly, this — considering a kiss to be more intimate than sex — seems counterintuitive. But, when I think about it, there are women I’ve been with sexually — women I was with a long, long, long, long, long time ago — who I wasn’t all that enthused with kissing. At the same time, I’ve either had an intimate relationship or wanted to eventually have an intimate relationship with every woman I was excited about kissing. Moral of the story? Don’t kiss Deltas.*** 

With this in mind, I decided to create a bit of a spectrum today that lists certain physical and sexual acts from “least intimate” to “most intimate” according to exactly how intimate I deem them to be. This spectrum, by the way, will be totally based on how I feel about certain acts, not how “men” feel or what’s “the right way” to feel. Just judgments and assessments from my own dating and relationship life.

Slow dancing and/or grinding

While you can do a touch-less two step with practically anyone — babies, grandparents, your friends’ ex-girlfriend, puppies, the Pope, etc — dancing closer and slower suggests a certain level of attraction/intimacy that’s not shared with everyone. You may not necessarily want to sleep with this person, but it wouldn’t be the awfullest thing in the world if it happened, either. (And, if she puts her hands around your head or neck at any time — repeat: at any time — she does want to sleep with you)

Lap sitting

A tad more intimate than a slow dance, but not as intimate as what’s listed below, there’s no other act that actively straddles the line between “this is innocent” and “this is, um, familiar as f*ck” the way a woman taking a prolonged seat in a man’s lap straddles it.

A lip-to-lip closed mouth kiss

It’s funny how this act serves two completely different purposes. If done at the beginning of a courtship/relationship, it’s basically a guy seeing if she’ll actually let him kiss her or if she’ll pull a Mr Miyagi and move her head away at the last moment.

But, if done while people are already in a relationship, it becomes a continual sign of confirmation. It’s not done to arouse or test, but to basically say to themselves and whoever happens to be watching “Yup. We’re together and shit.”


Putting “fellatio” here instead of a general “oral sex” was intentional. As hypocritical as this may seem, I consider going down on a woman much more intimate than a woman going down on me. This list is all about scale, and even though there’s a ton of overlap here, if I made a list of all the women who’ve gone down on me and made another list of the women I’ve gone down on, I’ve “liked” the women in the latter list a bit more.

(Also, swallowing has no effect on fellatio’s placement on the list.)

Regular sex

What “regular sex” actually means will be clearer in a minute.

Open-mouthed kiss

One thing I haven’t touched on yet is the fact that there are definite cultural differences in regards to the intimacy spectrum. For instance, (generally speaking) it seems like White people don’t regard open-mouth kissing with the same intimacy and/or reverence that Black people tend to. Not exactly sure why this is, but I think it probably has something to do with slavery.


Never not fun.

An “adult sleepover”

Defined (by me) as a planned and sex-less extended make-out session that involves sleeping next to each other, the adult sleepover is only done with people you see as a potential mate. It’s basically the woman saying “I’m not ready to go all the way yet, but I still very much want to be next to you” and the guy saying “I like you so much that I’m going to excuse these blue balls you’re going to give me.”


Of the possible public displays of affection, the most innocent one — hand-holding in public — is perhaps the most intimate. Ironically, the least innocent one — f*cking in public — is also the least intimate.

Unprotected sex

Although this probably should be at the top of the list, there are a couple things below it that I consider a bigger deal than going raw.

Period sex

Umm, moving on…

Anal sex

Although some don’t really consider this to be a big deal and would have already named this on their lists (and by “some” I mean “catholics and Latinas”), since it’s the one heterosexual act I’ve yet to successfully complete — and since, at this point, the only woman I’d have anal sex with is a future or current wife — it holds the top spot on my intimacy spectrum.

Anyway, people of, how does your intimacy spectrum look? Is it at all similar to mine, or would you make any changes/additions?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Don’t forget to tune in tonight to The Blaqout Show on from 8-10PM tonight as we discuss all things music. We goin’ in. And we going’  ham before the debates.