“Intimacy is being seen and known as the person you truly are.” ~ Unknown
I was recently watching some guy on a reel who popped into my feed explain how we should all be “intimate,” at least three times a week for 15 minutes.
And as a man you should not take no for an answer. I replayed the video, ensuring I had heard it correctly. Was he suggesting to simply ignore your partner’s wishes? Was he condoning sexual assault under the cloak of “intimacy”? Then I clicked on his page because my curiosity at such a bold, yet ridiculous and dangerous statement had me wondering who this guy was. A bit of research showed he catered to young guys, “coaching” them to get relationships apparently.
Alarming, yes, but this article is not about him or his toxic videos; this is about how many people confuse sex with intimacy, as he went on to express “how men need this sexual release.” It’s both a little terrifying that people have no real understanding of intimacy and sad that some may never experience the beautiful depths of intimacy that are far more than just sex.
Of course, sex itself can be incredibly intimate and should be physically, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually intimate—if it’s a loving connection. But it can also just be sex for some and greatly lack intimacy.
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought after watching this video because so many people sadly seem to have it misconstrued. They confuse chemistry for love. They lack any awareness of limerence and those heady feelings early on in relationships. They think good sex is being intimate, without any real comprehension of true, full intimacy. They rush the progression of their relationship based on these things and wonder why it comes crashing down. Because these things are not building intimacy. True intimacy takes time.
Intimacy can look like this:
1. A meeting of your eyes across a room. Holding your gaze a little. Knowing that’s your person.
2. Their hand taking your hand at unexpected moments. Perhaps whilst driving. Or maybe just whilst sitting together.
3. Sharing something difficult for them that they find really hard to talk about.
4. Showing their vulnerability and raw emotions because they know they are safe with you and can trust you.
5. A gentle kiss on the forehead.
6. Attentive listening and communication. Hearing what they are saying not what you want or assume they’re saying.
7. Caring messages to simply check in.
8. An inside joke where you’re smiling and laughing and you are the only two who understand it.
9. A head or foot massage when you are tired and sore.
10. Cuddling whilst you watch their favourite show.
11. When they move your hair out of your eyes so they can see you better.
12. Bringing home healthy food to make when you’ve been unwell.
13. Holding you when you’re upset.
14. Walking across the room and lifting you up when you’ve not seen each other for a while.
15. A passionate kiss where you lose yourselves. You get lost in each others’ eyes. It’s so tender, sweet, yet hot. It doesn’t lead to anything else right then. It’s simply a remarkable kiss.
16. Being able to talk about everything. Knowing it’s a safe and secure space to speak your truth.
17. Sitting in silence. Close. Just being together. No words. Your energies connected.
18. Laying in bed together, naked. Sharing dreams. Sharing fears. Sharing parts of each other’s souls.
19. Being apart, yet still feeling connected and secure in your relationship.
20. Having a level of trust that does not require you to feel the need to check through their phone or social media. True intimacy is built on trust.
21. The ability to be authentic and not hide parts of each other.
22. Dealing with pain, illness, loss, grief and feeling validated and supported.
23. It’s loving who they are on the inside and when the beauty fades, love doesn’t.
24. It’s being able to disagree and argue in a healthy way.
25. Knowing their greatest achievements and their biggest fears.
26. Wrapping their arms around you from behind and kissing you on the neck.
27. Understanding each other’s love language.
28. Knowing their deepest desires—not what you think those desires are.
29. Noticing when their energy changes.
30. Nurturing each other.
31. Respecting boundaries and each other.
32. Doing things to make their life easier.
33. Understanding what’s important to them—not what you think is important.
34. Showering or taking a bath together.
35. Caring for them when they are struggling.
36. Recognising if and when they need some space.
37. A couples massage.
38. A gentle touch on the face.
39. Sharing a sunrise or a sunset.
40. Laying your head on their chest.
41. The ability to read their body language.
42. Knowing what they long for and desire when it comes to foreplay.
43. Discovering every inch of each other’s bodies.
44. Honouring their choices and passions.
45. Having the courage to allow each other independence and accept individuality.
46. Being happy within yourself and grateful they add extra to your life.
48. Seeing them for who they are. Their good. Their bad. Their beauty. And their ugly. All the magic and all the messy. They are bravely standing there metaphorically naked, showing you who they are at the core, not the version you have created in your head.
So many have lost sight of true, deep intimacy. It starts well before getting physical and having sex. Chemistry is important, but it is not intimacy. Sex is great, and yes, you share a physical intimacy, but it’s one level of intimacy and I believe without a deep emotional and energetic intimacy, the physical intimacy will never reach the incredible destinations it could.
As a woman, intimacy for me starts in the mind. It starts in the energy. It starts long before a touch or a kiss. It starts with interesting and intelligent conversation. It starts with a sense of humour. It starts with a magnetic energy. It starts with the sharing of some life experiences. I may be physically attracted to someone, but it takes far more for me before I’ll engage in physical intimacy. And these elements need to be ongoing. I’m not going to feel like sex if there’s been no emotional and spiritual intimacy.
So back to this video, an expectation of sex three times a week with a time limit, being moments of intimacy, is a sad indictment on relationships. And quite frankly, really embarrassing. We build intimacy and connection through moments that are created throughout the hours. The days. The weeks. The months. It’s not a two-minute back rub and sex. Or I’ve paid for your dinner, so you owe me. Or we are married and it’s expected. And anyone who thinks this way lacks a great deal of emotional maturity and respect and any real concept of the true meaning of intimacy.
Where are people learning this stuff? What has happened in their life to believe that sex and intimacy are a commodity? Who is teaching these people how to love?