Are you getting your fill of intimate touch and connection? Do you crave a deeper connection with those you are in relationships with?
Intimacy is necessary for us to thrive and survive. The result of not having this experience during our lifetime can be tragic. It is well understood that developmentally, loving touch and communication are vital. Mental and emotional health arise out of loving, safe, intimate connections. Are there other ways to feel connected and intimate other than the physical body or emotional connection?
Spiritual connection can certainly offer a powerful experience; people who have taken a vow of celibacy (no sexual activity or personal emotional relationships) are often satisfied with the intimate relationship they enjoy with their deity and role as clergy. More and more though, this requirement is being questioned. The researchers and media are making us more aware of the sexual and intimate relationships clergy are having. Apparently, many people who attempt this lifestyle fail. Why is that? Is it because it’s a natural, normal, biological, emotional, spiritual need that we have; like breathing, eating, sleeping? I believe so. We are spiritual beings having a human journey. Why do we work so hard to deny ourselves the very things we have been given to enjoy as humans? I scratch my head.
I have long heard the phrase “he or she is afraid of intimacy.” Is this really possible? Intimacy is a fundamental human need. Let’s be honest … are we more afraid of having or not having intimacy? All human beings want and need to feel connected and loved. Someone recently said to me, “I just want to be number one is someone’s life.” That is the natural drive for intimacy. I believe we are more afraid of not having this connection than of having it.
We are complex sexual and sensual beings; maneuvering through our lives from a place of fear can deny us what is rightfully ours: joy, pleasure, love, connection, fulfillment, security, safety, etc. These are all ours to explore and experience in this life. So do we really fear intimacy or do we fear disappointment and loneliness? Living under the influence of someone else’s ideas, fears or behaviors is always worth questioning (that includes your own past self). How does denying yourself exquisite intimate connections serve you?
For a moment consider your intimate relationships. Are you enjoying your connections? Are they satisfying or frustrating? Do you tend to shy away from intimacy? Are you clear about the difference between physical and emotional intimacy? We often mistake the physical for the emotional and then feel unsatisfied and frustrated by our lack of fulfillment. Separately they can both serve us, together they intensify us.
There is a distinct difference between emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. You can have an emotionally intimate relationship with someone you are not having sex with and visa versa. To have them simultaneously is the ultimate connection; something we all desire. What is it about intimacy itself that we ache for? Being number one is someone’s life validates us in many ways. We are not designed to live our lives alone. Intimacy is connection: a merging of lives and stories. When you break down personal barriers with another person you bond on a deeper level. It is an ongoing creation. When you know someone else as you do yourself it no longer feels like something outside of you to acquire or learn; you become intimacy itself.
We begin preparing for intimate adult relationships in infancy. Our family is our first interaction with the world. They teach us all about intimacy. As adults it is our responsibility to teach our children how to relate in respectful and loving ways. We must require ourselves to be trustworthy and create clear loving boundaries, which keep our kids feeling safe and secure. Adults who blur the line between emotional and sexual intimacy with children were most likely taught this by example and tend to perpetuate this violation of trust and safety unless they become conscious and adjust their thinking. Once conscious we create change.
As we mature we are better able to understand and honor the sensitivity and interdependency that is created through our intimate relationships. True intimacy requires divulging personal and private information (what might feel like secrets) about yourself along with the responsibility of being the keeper of another’s intimate information. It demands we are open, and at times raw, with a willingness to expose our most private thoughts, fears and vulnerabilities. Whew! That’s a lot to ask. So where do we begin in our quest for this deep, validating connection to another human being? Let’s start with getting to know ourselves.
Intimacy begins (and continues throughout life) with the relationship you are having with you. We will find intimacy satisfying once we learn to love and trust our self. A prime time to study yourself is during “the tween years,” that phase between 18 and 25ish. One of the most important gifts you can give to yourself and your relationships is the gift of time alone. Before merging your life with the life of another, learn about yourself and how you interface with the world and people you care about. This the first step in getting to intimacy. We all need time alone early in our adult life to find out who we are and what matters to us. I married too young and did not take this valuable time for myself. I did not know myself well enough to know how to choose a compatible partner, let alone how to be an intimate partner to someone else. I like to say, “My picker was not fully developed.” Spending time alone and learning to be ok with yourself is something you will never regret, however, you might regret NOT doing it.
It’s never too late to discover your deepest truest nature. Whether you take the time to uncover your intimate nature in your tween years or your twilight years, the rewards are worth the effort. Once you know who you are and what brings you happiness and fulfillment, then learn to communicate that in a positive and loving way. Through trusting and loving yourself you will become secure enough to hear the needs of another and move into that space of unconditional, heartfelt giving. You will be able to create that safe place for another human being and in turn be accepting of the same. In whichever layer of the self your needs arise, you will be capable of providing for each other without fear of ridicule or judgment. Over time you will find yourselves completing each other’s thoughts and becoming highly intuitive to the needs of each other. No longer seeking, you will gradually awaken to what IS intimacy.
Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comment or questions.
As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling. www.bodylogicmd.com
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