Dealing with paradox is always difficult... until it's not. I feel that the title of this thread leads to some misunderstanding, but I think exploring misunderstanding is one way we can learn. The word intimacy, for instance, is often seen as sexual to a lot of people. I like something the Dalai Lama said at a lecture I heard. He was talking about intimacy and a woman said that she could only be intimate with one person at a time. He said, "I am intimate with everyone and sexual with no one."
Budo can be a very intimate, sensual activity where people mix their spirit and body as one. It is very powerful and pleasing. I think when people report that they didn't "feel" the technique it just means they weren't thinking about them self. Of course there are various reasons that may happen. I can remember during boot camp at MCRD San Diego that being part of a group of Marines that had everyone's heels hitting the grinder at the same time and executing the DI's commands as one was very pleasing to me. I've been learning and finally doing budo now for 55 years and one of the reasons is that it has helped me learn many things about myself and also about others and given me tools to understand that any separations between us are just creations we make due to our inability to truly understand the oneness of it all. This oneness can have, to many people that feel it and try to describe it, a feeling of intimacy as well as sensual "connection" that includes but is not limited to similarities to sexual feelings. Many great spiritual and religious writers have expressed the ecstasy they feel in these terms (no Puritans that I know of) to share their feelings with their fellow humans.