intimacy: fact or fiction?

What is intimacy? Why do we need/crave familiarity? Is intimacy real or does it only exist in the movies?

searching for spirituality through intimacy
searching for spirituality through intimacy

In an ongoing search for spirituality I researched intimacy. Some describe it as closeness, but that feels incomplete.  Hmmm… Wonder how the OED defines intimacy?

noun (plural intimacies)

  • close familiarity or friendship; closeness: the intimacy between a husband and wife
  • a private cozy atmosphere:the room had a peaceful sense of intimacy about it
  • an intimate act, especially sexual intercourse.
  • an intimate remark: here she was sitting swapping intimacies with a stranger
  • [in singular] closeness of observation or knowledge of a subject:he acquired an intimacy with Swahili literature

is intimacy self-evident?

Unfortunately, this definition didn’t help much either. Maybe intimacy is relative given the individual. When I searched my other go-to dictionary ( all references were sexual.

Intimacy begins with self acceptance. It is impossible to create a giving and loving relationship if you don’t think yourself worthy.

In the past, I abandoned myself in relationships in order to try pleasing others. The reality was neither party was content if we were not both fully present. Aloneness took over and intolerance and rejection set in.

what constitutes intimacy?

If intimacy is relative, how would I characterize it? Is it truly attainable or utter bullshit? Again, if it isn’t self-evident, who is to say what intimate is? My list of intimate attributes include:

  • honesty
  • ability to authentically listen
  • self acceptance
  • complete unconditional acceptance of the other person in the relationship
  • connection to the source (yes it’s spiritual)
  • ability to connect with others on a meaningful level
  • ability to leave ego at the door
  • empathy
  • not acting solely out of self-interest or self-preservation
  • sharing laughter
  • eye contact (this may sound corny but I believe it is a form of intimacy when you can look deeply into someones eyes while in conversation

what about sex?

Sex is a manifestation of true deep intimacy. Desire plays an essential role. When two people are genuinely intimate, they celebrate it through the senses.

Humans are sexual creatures. I know of people who are completely frigid. I wonder if they are able to maintain an intimate relationship. This is not judgment but merely curiosity.

the unintimate

Why do some people lack the capacity for intimacy? Typically we begin life self-absorbed. As we mature, we reach a point when it is no longer the me show. 

Maybe the disconnect happens somewhere in adolescence. Perhaps it is because intimacy is not modeled for the unintimate by adults who are present in their lives.

If a person is narcissistic there is no room for connection. For example, imagine an electrical outlet. when an appliance is plugged in, the light turns on and an intimate relationship is formed. When the plug is unavailable, the room stays dark.

leave the light on

I don’t like being in the dark (partly because I’m somewhat night blind). Throughout childhood I was afraid of darkness and slept with a nightlight. Things aren’t all that different now. I desire light and intimacy.

What do you consider intimate? Are you able to maintain an acceptable level of intimacy or do you crave more? Share your thoughts and stories.

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