question - why do distance themselves after intimacy

Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy?

Women, particularly women with a primary feminine essence, ask each other, their doctors, their coaches, their therapists, “Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy?” This natural distancing can create real pain in a feminine being. Until. Until she understands that it’s not personal, that it has nothing to do with who she is, what she did (or didn’t) do, or that she didn’t do anything wrong or make any mistakes.

Unfortunately (and fortunately), men and women express themselves incredibly differently when it comes to the affairs of the heart and body. They have different needs and their bodies work differently. Yet, even though most men and women will acknowledge the truth of those differing rhythms in our physical and emotional bodies, their expectations and perceptions, when it comes to love and sex, don’t match that consciousness.

Men and Women are Different

The biggest problems in relationships between predominantly masculine men and predominantly feminine women, particularly in the bedroom, stem from the fact that we don’t actually comprehend our real innate differences.

On top of that, we, as humans, tend to do what’s easy. As a result, it requires no effort or consciousness to expect everyone in our world, including our opposite sex partners, to see the world the way we do, to behave the way we do. That habit of pretending our differences don’t exist provokes much suffering in intimate relationships.

Our romantic relationships and our own personal happiness will be greatly served by our willingness to open our hearts and minds to not just understanding, but also actively honoring, the differences between men and women – from the bedroom to the boardroom and everywhere in between.

While those who identify as male and female, as well as those who identify with predominantly masculine or feminine energy, have hundreds of differences, you’ll find a common thread at the root of all of those differences that helps us most completely answer the question, “Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy?”

While these differences range from how we communicate, to what we need and how we relate to our own needs, to what we value, to how we rest and rejuvenate, to how we most happily engage in sex and love making – before, during, and after,  the root of all of these differences lies in the fact that the heart and the genitals, or better said, the heart center and the sexual center have different – opposite – energies in men and women. 

The root of all of these differences lies in the fact that the heart and the genitals, or better said, the heart center and the sexual center have different – opposite – energies in men and women.

What does intimacy mean to a man?

We’ll come back to those opposite energies in a moment, and first let’s consider another important question, “What does intimacy mean to a man?” This question for most men, and many women, has both a conscious and an unconscious answer. The conscious answer is easy. Many, many people, men and women alike, equate intimacy with sex. This perception actually couldn’t be farther from the real truth.

While it is certainly possible, and even most pleasurable to be intimate during lovemaking, sex itself is not inherently intimate. Sex, does not require intimacy. Period. So, while consciously we may think intimacy is sex or intimacy is nakedness or intimacy is touch, that’s a very limited viewpoint. Our unconscious knowing holds much more wisdom, although by definition we remain unaware of that wisdom.

What every masculine man knows at a deeper level – beyond his conscious thinking – is that anytime he opens his heart, anytime he gets nakedly authentic, anytime he experiences real vulnerability, he also unconsciously experiences intimacy. So even though a man (and most people) wouldn’t define intimacy as a willingness to be open, vulnerable, real, unarmored, or most importantly, seen authentically, they unconsciously know that is what intimacy is. And, it’s why they can run from it. 

So we’re beginning to get insights into the answer to our question, “Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy?” Let’s now break this down into emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy, which brings us back to the energetic differences between the way men and women experience their heart (emotional) and sexual centers.

The Physical Perspective: Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy?

While we’ve talked a lot in other articles about the differences between masculine and feminine energy, our exploration has looked primarily at the polarity or dynamics externally, and therefore, between two bodies. Here we have to look internally as well to understand why he is distant after intimacy and why she can get upset the day after great sex.

In a moment, we’ll review a simple summary of what happens for many couples as they approach physical intimacy. In the process you’ll see, as we look at the dynamics at play, why the answer to the question, “Why do men distance themselves after intimacy?” relates closely to why men and women also often have arguments about sex vs. affection

They have these arguments because of energy differences. Simply put, the masculine gets to affection, an expression of the heart, through sex. And, the feminine gets to sex through her heart, hence her desire, and sometimes need, for affection. This is just one of the many cosmic jokes when it comes to heterosexual loving – funny and not so funny. 

Here’s a common scenario…

Feeling his masculine desire for physical loving, if he’s also feeling generous and in touch with his heart, he meets his feminine beloved with phrases of affection and some non-sexual, but yet truly sensual touch, well before they find their way into the bedroom. His attention to her heart begins to open her sexuality, her sexual center. 

On days when he’s not feeling as generous, when his energy finds more focus in his sexuality and less in his heart, he might just bring his arousal to her body and hope she’s feeling generous, and hence responsive. Some days they’ll find a blend of the two. No approach is better or more right, just different – different because of the polarity differences between the heart centers and sexual centers of a masculine man and feminine woman. 

To be clear, the physical intimacy can genuinely start either way, and as long as both partners only authentically offer themselves to each other without obligation, both scenarios can be an opening into sexual loving.

Now, if they both choose to open their hearts in this loving, her open sexuality will continue to awaken his heart, and his open heart will continue to arouse her sexuality. The cycle, the energetic exchange, will amplify the depths of pleasure available to each partner. 

Then it gets interesting, and a bit more complicated. 

He is distant after intimacy

The more the masculine allows his heart to open in this loving adventure with his beloved, the more likely the refractory impulse to pull away will arise in him afterwards. The more depth of intimacy experienced, the more quickly and the farther he may want to distance. 

This impulse to distance may not arise immediately. The masculine partner often actually does the opposite right after lovemaking. Remember we said that the masculine gets to his heart through sex? So, right after lovemaking, assuming he has developed a relationship with his body where he doesn’t have to immediately sleep, the masculine might speak the sweetest, most loving words. He may caress and cuddle. He might share vulnerable hopes, dreams, and fears. He might talk about the future. He might do all of this for minutes, hours, or even a couple of days after particularly powerful lovemaking. Yet, rest assured, a man with a predominantly masculine essence, will – must – pull away. He must find himself again, independent of the union he shares with his feminine love. The power of his uniting in physical loving will drive the power of his need to differentiate again. 

If we are going to completely answer the question, “Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy,” we must resolve this critical misunderstanding in the feminine: it is because of his love that he pulls away. The masculine distances after intimacy because of the intimacy he allowed himself to experience with you. He loved you fully, maybe even allowed himself to unite fully with you – body, heart, mind and soul. And, now he has to find himself.

By nature, the masculine stands independent. (And, we might note, it is this independent nature that is why the masculine protects the feminine, another expression of masculine love.) The masculine, to feel fully empowered and embodied, must find and maintain its sovereignty, its independence.

So, again, if he truly united with you in your sexual loving, dear feminine, in order to continue to show up as the man you love, the one that can make your heart stop with a look, he must find his way back to himself.  

He must reclaim his independence from you, so that he can once again in the future, meet you in your unity. 

The Emotional Perspective: Why do guys distance themselves after intimacy? 

It’s also important to note that the same kind of refractory distancing will likely happen in masculine men after particularly emotionally intimate moments, including deep heartfelt sharing, a particularly connecting activity, or even working through an upset. Once again, the feminine can feel shocked that she’s just felt these gloriously close intimate moments, maybe feeling closer than she’s ever felt with him before, and then he pulls away. It makes no sense to her feminine mind. Her femininity alone would never pull away from deep intimate unity, but that’s a key difference between a predominantly feminine being and a predominantly masculine being. As an aside, her inner masculine, will support her feeling safe and “ok” during his reunion with himself. Which again, we can’t say enough, does not mean he doesn’t love her, it means he loves her well. And, their relationship will find deeper strength, meaning and connection when she really gets this truth about the masculine.

The call for consciousness in intimacy

To help us in our understanding, evolution and healing of the hurts between the masculine and feminine, it is important to remember that most of this is happening completely unconsciously in almost all men. And, if men were consciously aware of, and understood, this refractory dynamic, this innate need to pull away, within themselves, they could explain it to their beloved partners and not feel bad or guilty that they have some defect that impacts their ability to love. They could see and honor the deep – and unique – expressions of love and partnership within themselves.

At the same time, if their feminine partners were willing to see beyond their own innate hunger and craving for sustained unity, they could see the masculine distancing as an expression of love and not a denial of it, not a rejection. 

It is true. The feminine craves unending unity and the masculine craves unending independence. And, hence we struggle. We fight and misunderstand each other. Until we don’t. 

When the masculine integrates the yin, the feminine, the heart within – he can access unity repeatedly, consistently. When the feminine integrates the yang, the masculine, the independence within, she can find the sovereignty within herself, the trust, to know the falsity of the feeling of rejection. And both the masculine and feminine will have the capacity to experience the fullness, the richness, of the sacred dance of coming and going, of uniting and freeing, that is true love, true intimate love.

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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  1. Rob on May 8, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    As a man with a possibly greater than 50 % feminine energy partnered with a woman with possibly greater that 50% masculine energy. How would this play out?

    • Joanna Shakti on May 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm

      Rob, thank you for the question. Typically, the first thing to suggest is to actually take our Masculine-Feminine test. I suggest that because many, if not most, are shocked to realize that their true authentic nature is different from how they are currently showing up in their and relationship. If after taking the test, your energies are truly more reversed, which does happen sometimes, then I would take the suggestions in this article and in the Does She Get Upset the Day After Great Sex article and reverse some of the suggestions so that they feel aligned for you and your partner.

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