No products in the cart.
I read a quote recently which really stuck with me:
“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’ – that’s intimacy.”Taylor Jenkins Reid
Before I’d really given it much further thought, I suppose I would have said that ‘intimacy’ between two people meant a kind of sexual closeness; intimate massage, intimate relationship, intimate touch. ‘Intimacy’ becomes one of many euphemisms for sexuality without us having to think twice about whether it’s actually separate, and whether we can seek out one without the other in our relationships.
I’m certain I’m not alone in having proven many times how easy it is to engage in sex without intimacy. Which makes it all the more curious to me that it’s one of the words so often used to refer to types of bodywork that involve genital touch, or relationships that include sexual contact, regardless of any of the other dynamics between those involved.
Modern usage of the words intimate and intimacy date back to the late 19th Century, when newspapers used the word euphemistically to refer to sex (and women’s underwear). But it comes originally from Latin intimare meaning, “to make known, announce, impress,” which in turn came from intimus meaning “inmost, deepest.” Its roots are much more closely aligned with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s sense than today’s conflation with genitalia and sex.
Or are these two things – allowing ourselves to be known, and speaking about sexuality – really so separate after all? Our sexuality is so often the place where we hold the most shame, fear, and vulnerability. Wounds run deep here, and take time to heal, if we are able to even become conscious of them in the first place. Allowing ourselves to engage sexually with another, even to be naked in front of them, can require a huge amount of trust that we will be seen, along with all our anxieties, and feel safe.
There is an alternative to this of course, which is to never show all of ourselves to avoid the risk of rejection or abandonment, but sacrificing any chance of intimacy along the way. The conflation of sex with intimacy can lead to lots of very unfulfilling encounters, desperately wanting to be seen but being held back by fear, all the while substituting physical closeness for something that feels deeper.
Just as shame over sex caused newspapers 100 years ago to use ‘intimacy’ as a euphemism, our shame today causes us to confuse the two, seeking out sex when what we’re really craving is the intimacy of being seen.
Could we explore decoupling intimacy from sex, and learn how to feel safe while allowing ourselves to be seen first, before we engage sexually? Practice speaking our vulnerabilities before we introduce tangling limbs and sweaty requests for water?
Could we practice more intimacy in our non-sexual relationships, and notice what happens if we speak our immediate truth, with all the awkwardness and vulnerability of admitting that we’re frightened, or hurt, or excited?
Perhaps. But how do we go about this? How do we begin to understand what intimacy really is, and create more of it?
The first thing to know is that it starts with ourselves. We can’t just ask for more honesty and truth from another; we have to open ourselves up first. And before we can do that, we need to know ourselves. We have to practice intimacy with ourselves before we can ever hope to create something with someone else. What are you most scared of? What are you avoiding, and how? What are your most unhelpful patterns and habits?
Becoming better acquainted with all the gnarly, difficult stuff – and meeting it with compassion – means that we are able to bring all of this to our relationships in a conscious way. Instead of reacting out of fear without understanding why, we can speak about our vulnerabilities with those we feel closest to. In allowing these darker parts of ourselves to be seen, we can experience the kind of intimacy that comes from allowing another to see all of us while knowing we are still safe.
Want more guides like this one (and occasional other freebies) delivered to your inbox every so often? Just pop your email address in the box. I won’t pass your details on to anyone else and you can unsubscribe any time.
I offer tools, resources, and coaching for the curious and ready: folks who are longing for deeper connection, trust, and flow in their relationships.
Instead of making anxiety a problem that needs to be fixed, we can learn to work with it rather than against it, transforming vulnerable places into deeper presence and connection. I’ve put together ten simple tools you can use in your relationships to do just that.Grab your Ten Embodied Tools for Reconnection PDF
|__cfduid||1 month||The cookie is used by cdn services like CloudFare to identify individual clients behind a shared IP address and apply security settings on a per-client basis. It does not correspond to any user ID in the web application and does not store any personally identifiable information.|
|AWSALBCORS||7 days||This cookie is used for load balancing services provded by Amazon inorder to optimize the user experience. Amazon has updated the ALB and CLB so that customers can continue to use the CORS request with stickness.|
|cookielawinfo-checbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|
|laravel_session||2 days||laravel uses laravel_session to identify a session instance for a user, this can be changed|
|wordpress_test_cookie||session||This cookie is used to check if the cookies are enabled on the users' browser.|
|XSRF-TOKEN||2 days||The cookie is set by Wix website building platform on Wix website. The cookie is used for security purposes.|
|__cf_bm||30 minutes||This cookie is set by CloudFare. The cookie is used to support Cloudfare Bot Management.|
|_ga||2 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookies store information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.|
|_gid||1 day||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the wbsite is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages viisted in an anonymous form.|
|tk_ai||5 years||Gathers information for WordPress by themselves, first party analytics tool about how WP services are used. A collection of internal metrics for user activity, used to improve user experience.|
|tk_lr||1 year||This cookie is set by JetPack plugin on sites using WooCommerce. This is a referral cookie used for analyzing referrer behavior for Jetpack|
|tk_or||5 years||This cookie is set by JetPack plugin on sites using WooCommerce. This is a referral cookie used for analyzing referrer behavior for Jetpack|
|tk_qs||30 minutes||Gathers information for WordPress by themselves, first party analytics tool about how WP services are used. A collection of internal metrics for user activity, used to improve user experience.|
|tk_r3d||3 days||The cookie is installed by JetPack. Used for the internal metrics fo user activities to improve user experience|
|_fbp||3 months||This cookie is set by Facebook to deliver advertisement when they are on Facebook or a digital platform powered by Facebook advertising after visiting this website.|
|fr||3 months||The cookie is set by Facebook to show relevant advertisments to the users and measure and improve the advertisements. The cookie also tracks the behavior of the user across the web on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin.|
|NID||6 months||This cookie is used to a profile based on user's interest and display personalized ads to the users.|
|_gat_UA-137186707-1||1 minute||No description|
|AWSALB||7 days||AWSALB is a cookie generated by the Application load balancer in the Amazon Web Services. It works slightly different from AWSELB.|
|S||1 hour||No description|