Intimacy can be the Holy Grail of relationships. I am going to ask a series of questions, to assist each of us on our quest. Our interpretations of intimacy are unique and varied.


What is intimacy? What role does it play in sex – regardless if partnered or single? Many single people, in their search for intimacy, hold off having sex. They prefer to wait until there is a someone they can invest in emotionally, to have a more profound and meaningful exchange. Married and partnered people also struggle with intimacy. Some have deep, connected relationships, but are not sexually intimate.


The definition of intimacy is a personal one, and unique to each person.

How do you cross the line from sexual interaction that's physical into intimacy? Is it about giving of yourself, letting go of your ego? Do you have to trust and respect your partner before you can have intimacy? Is it a matter of perspective? Where are you vulnerable? Is acknowledging your vulnerability the path to intimacy?

Some people may be on a search to not have intimacy in their lives; yet they find other ways to share themselves – through art, conversation, social media and one-night stands. Joining together in a sexual act is a decision to share your body, energy and emotions – regardless of how detached a person is. In my opinion, no sex act is devoid of intimacy. It exists on different levels and means something different to everyone.


It perhaps is more different for those with PTSD symptoms. They may prefer to not be touched casually and reserve touch for sexual interaction. Sometimes touch can be triggering. They can be selective, not wanting to risk experiencing stress and anxiety with a stranger. It is a personal agreement to keep their trauma safe while still being sexual. Having a partner and preferring this kind of sex can be jarring and stressful to someone who desires an emotional connection.

What is there to fear from intimacy?

For those that are single and desiring an emotional connection, perhaps the key to finding intimacy is understanding your boundaries. Do they decide that they cannot have sex until certain qualifications are met? What will it take to move beyond these limits? Is it about embracing your own vulnerability? Do they have a fear of intimacy? Or, is it just self-protection, not wanting to be hurt? When do you decide to just let go and give someone a try? Accepting the consequences of not receiving the type of intimacy you desire means taking a chance.

Recognizing the Gift of Intimacy

Intimacy can be about letting go and letting someone else in. This involves trust – trusting yourself to take care of any consequences that arise. It is symbolic of strength, courage and will. Opening oneself to experience intimacy is a challenge. Many are fearful of treading into this territory. Some are not aware this is their fear. Some are clearly aware, and resist change. It is a deeply personal decision to make a move to have more intimacy and cannot be forced. Deciding to trust yourself can be a path to intimacy. It is a gift you can give yourself, or another person.


When someone lets go, is willing to provide intimacy, will their sexual partner understand and receive it? Will they be open to it and return with their own idea of intimacy? This is part of accepting the consequences of letting go and trusting yourself to be okay, regardless of how your partner reacts. Would you still consider that good sex, “making love” or an intimate experience if their reaction is less than desired? Do you weep afterward, wishing for a deeper connection?


Synergy and Sharing
Intimacy is more than being receptive, it's giving back and understanding. How can you and your partner agree on issues of sharing and intimacy when it involves sex? It can begin with an honest conversation. “(This) plus (this) equals (that) for me. What creates a similar equation for you?” Receive the answers without judgment or expectations. If your equations are different, is there a way to create synergy?


It can begin by taking it slowly. Perhaps you can start with deep eye gazing, gradually moving to touch, building up to a kiss, eventually petting and perhaps to a more sexual interaction. Sexual interaction does not have to conclude with penetration or orgasm. You have already achieved intimacy by sharing this exchange with your partner.


Falling in love is a journey of discovery. The longer you are in a loving relationship, the longer your journey, the more you can discover about your partner. This includes yourself. Only you can make you happy. Where are you in your journey with yourself? Again, it is a deeply personal – intimate - quest.


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