What is Intimacy?
Dictionary.com offers several definitions, but the one closest to how I think about it would be this: “A close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personalrelationship with another person or group.”
So often we think of intimacy in terms of just sex. To me, that’s incorrect. Sex can be mostly – or all – about lust, for example, and lust is the opposite of true intimacy.
Now I’m not disparaging lust. Lust can be a lot of fun. Lust channeled in the right way, towards the right person/people, and acted on in a respectful manner can really enhance a sexual encounter. But it can also destroy intimacy, if it’s allowed to run out of control.
Intimacy is a connecting of the mind, body, soul and spirit, of two people. This doesn’t mean that the two must be “in love,” or married/partnered. I’ve had one-off sexual experiences that were incredibly intimate, because we connected on a much deeper level than just sexually.
Intimacy requires vulnerability, a “letting go” of oneself, a certain “giving over” to the “other.” Intimacy is “In-to-me-see,” it means that I let you in on some level, and you let me in as well, and we see inside each other. It’s the emotional equivalent of an animal rolling over on it’s back and exposing it’s stomach to us. It means that both you and I, when we choose to be intimate with each other, choose to be vulnerable with each other as well.
Intimacy with a person of the gender to whom we are sexually attracted is one thing, but intimacy with someone of the gender to whom we are not sexually is often more complex. I am a straight male, for example. I am not sexually attracted to men; however I have learned to be intimate with certain men. Close friends upon whom I rely for counsel and advice, I choose to be vulnerable with these men because I have faith they have my best interests at heart.
Faith vs. Trust
A Gestalt Psychotherapist named Jay once explained to me her understanding of “trust.” “Trust,” she said, “Is something we ought never to have for anyone other than the Creator, or for ourselves.” This was shocking to me, at first. “How can we live with others if we don’t trust them,” I wondered aloud to her?
Her answer was simple. We can have faith in a person based on what we know about them, based on our experience with them. But to trust implies a blind kind of faith that the person will never do us wrong. This, Jay believed, was a dangerous path to tread, given that all humans are fallible and will let us down from time to time.
To be able to be intimate with someone requires that I have faith in them that they will not abuse that intimacy, the vulnerability I am offering to them. It also requires that they have the same faith in me. It can’t be true intimacy otherwise, because there will be a “holding back” from one or both partners, and intimacy can not follow if this is the case.
Do You Crave Intimacy?
Perhaps you find yourself in a loveless relationship that has no intimacy. First, you need to be ready to be honest and answer the question “How much of that is my fault?” Owning your part in it will most likely make it easier for your partner to own theirs. As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” There is, however, much that can be done to improve intimacy. The key is willingness from both partners.
Recently I served a client who complained that there was no intimacy in her marriage. Apparently, there hadn’t been for a long time. The next day she contacted me and got honest: much of the problem was because of her heavy drinking over the past few years, she admitted. But in her mind, her drinking was her defense against the memory of an awful sexual abuse she had suffered years earlier. The abuse and the drinking were the intimacy-killers. She will need to begin working on resolving both if there is to be the hope of intimacy between she and her husband.
Note, also, that no doubt her partner brings his own issues to the table, and so we would expect he will need to address those. Both have to be working on overcoming their pasts, if there is to be a happy future together.
Re-establishing intimacy, once it has been lost, is straightforward, but not always easy. It begins with a willingness on the part of both partners to address their own issues. It’s the issues that can create barriers to intimacy. Counseling, both individual and couples’ therapy, can help here. So can couples’ retreats. Commitment to spending time together (i.e. the “date night” concept) can help as well. Lots can be done, but it will take time and effort.
The question is whether they want to grow together, or apart. Sometimes both options need to be on the table, and both partners have to be honest about how they feel about each.
What to Do?
Perhaps you find yourself with a partner with whom you no longer share intimacy (if ever you did?). And let’s assume that you’ve honestly tried everything you can to create some, but it hasn’t changed anything. Let’s also assume that leaving that person would cost you too much financially, emotionally or otherwise. But you still crave that intimate connection with someone.
Perhaps you should consider an erotic massage. This is where I can help. My name is Marc Spinoza, and I’m an erotic masseur in the Greater Toronto Area. I offer both incall and outcall services, and have many satisfied regular customers who find they get their intimacy needs met when they come see me.
Please contact me to see how I can help you find what you’re missing. I look forward to hearing from you!