Intimacy Isn’t Just Taking Off Your Clothes

May 20, 2017

After having sex with someone you didn’t know very well, you woke up with a strange feeling. You enjoyed it – a lot – but something was lacking. Instead of feeling good about yourself, you felt a peculiar sort of emptiness. You rarely miss the feeling of intimacy more than in these moments.

This is usually because you’re searching for affection, you need to feel loved, and you do it through sex, thinking that the intimacy of two naked bodies is the only kind of intimacy there is. That isn’t true, but you’ve probably abandoned all hope of any other kind of intimacy due to the time and effort it takes to build it, and the price you have to pay if it’s betrayed.

“I don’t know the recipe for fighting against heartbreak, but I don’t think it’s to stop loving.”

-Enrique Hernández Reina-

There is such a thing as sex without love

We talk a lot about sex and love and we constantly confuse the two. You can have a very pleasurable sexual experience with someone without needing to be in love with them. Psychologist Silvia Olmedo says that sexual desire can exist without love or any other kind of emotion.

However, frequent sexual encounters, with all the desire, emotions, and intimacy that come with them, can be the foundation of a romantic relationship. It’s not unusual for a connection to form between two people after multiple sexual encounters.

Intimacy is much more than one passionate night

Intimacy comes from the Latin “intimus,” meaning “inmost.” In other words, it refers to things you don’t normally show to others. We keep our fears, dreams, hopes, and embarrassments guarded because when we trust the wrong people with them, we can get really hurt.

couple on a bench

Intimacy with another person involves showing them your inner world and getting to know theirs. It also involves understanding them, learning more about them over time, being interested in who they are, and seducing them. Intimacy can be developed through taking a walk, talking in a cafe, cooking dinner together, travelling, and learning more about each other.

Sex is also a manifestation of intimacy, but it’s not the only one. Intimacy, in general, involves a situation in which you feel comfortable and secure, a space where you can be yourself and not be afraid.

“Intimacy between people is indulgence, tolerance, reduction of individual differences.”

-Theodor Adorno-

If you stop and think about it, when you meet someone, you don’t know anything at all about them, and when you spend time with them you realize that many things about them aren’t what you thought they were. They’re different, and sometimes, they’re even better than you thought. And you also feel like you’re different because you’ve opened your heart to that person.

Intimacy is achieved when you don’t even need words, when all it takes is a look to know what they’re thinking, when you forget about the time and let the minutes and the hours pass, when time seems to slow down with each display of affection.

Are you afraid of intimacy?

In modern society, everything is too rushed, and as soon as you meet someone you can ponder the possibility of having a sexual encounter without the social stigma of the past. You might also be afraid of the other person discovering your secrets and rejecting you, and you run away at the first hint of emotional intimacy.

Intimacy is achieved when you stop being afraid to let the other person see your flaws, and they’re not afraid to show you theirs, and that takes time and patience. It’s not enough to just take off your clothes if you don’t also show what’s beneath your skin. This process of getting to know each other can take months, even years.

naked people embracing

When there is intimacy between two people, the sex gets better because it becomes a true display of desire, affection, and love. Intimacy isn’t just in the bedroom, it’s involved in every part of the relationship, from your daily routine, to the looks you share, to the loving touches you give each other.

The same thing happens with friends. When you meet someone who has similar interests to yours, you feel a certain connection and you start to share, talk, and learn more about that person, and over time a deep and true friendship is forged.

To overcome the fear of intimacy, you must recognize that sharing your soul with someone involves a certain level of risk. However, it’s necessary to take these kinds of risks to live, to get to know yourself, and to enjoy your life.

“Intimacy is the act of connecting with someone so deeply that you feel like you can touch their soul.”

Why Do We Trust Other People