As You Desire: In Search of Intimacy

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.

Intimately Yours,

Nancy

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 asyoudesire@ymail.com 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

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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22 Responses

  1. Avatar Barbara Stone says:

    First of all…great article. I can really relate to the "tween years" being the time to get to know yourself. I wish I had had that, too, although, I did have it later, from about 26-30. As the mother of a 20-year-old, I can appreciate that fact that he is not intimately involved with anyone and is really working on himself.

    Second, do you think it's possible to have two "Number One's" in your life? Such as spouse and child? Or two lovers? Or two close friends for that matter, not necessarily close sexually but people with whom you share your life on a deep level.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Barbara,

      Thank you for reading… I am always grateful to know people are interested and taking the time.

      Your son is saving himself a lot of heartache in the long run by doing the work now. Yeah for him!

      I do believe we can have more than one person we feel an intimate connection with; our girlfriends for example provide a degree of intimacy that is very special. However I think it's rare that we have more than one person we feel is our "home". I would imagine that could get confusing and create some inner conflict.

      In thinking further about this, I also know the heart has an endless capacity to love, so the concept of having too many people you care for or who care about you seems like a good problem to have!

      Keeping the heart (& mind) open to all possibilities!

      Nancy

  2. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    Very mature article. You have grown as a writer over the past few months of your column. Your open heart and mind are all the credentials this reader needs from you.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      I love you Gamerjohn! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

      Wiping my tears away now,

      Nancy

      • Avatar gamerjohn says:

        Well, I am sick of those questioning your credentials while ignoring your sound advice. Plus I have had a cold for a few weeks so I will soon be back to my usual noxious self.

        • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

          Well thank you again. What is really funny is Dear Abby, Ann Landers, Erma Bombeck, to name a few, were homemakers… not RN's, (I'm not retired yet btw), health educators, motivational speakers, radio talk show hosts, etc… and they DID give advice every day! I'm not giving advice as much as I am offering a new perspective and solid, scientific, information along with my opinions.

          I hope you are back to your saucy self soon…. in the meantime I'll take your sweet words to heart.

          🙂

          Nancy

  3. Avatar Gina says:

    Nancy,

    Your column was very insightful, since I am really struggling with my own identity

    now, & trying to convey the same need to my daughter. Having married very young

    also, my "picker" was not fully developed, ( I really like that). I really struggle with intimacy to this day & just starting to learn how to express my intimacy…. it seems as if your topics are always what I am dealing with personally, Great insight!

    Always, Gina

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Thank you for reading and for writing in Gina…

      Expressing your challenges with your own growth in the midst of raising a child are heartfelt and no doubt will help others. Ideally we take that time before we have our children… but life doesn't always work out that way. It's nice to hear from others how we can combine the two when necessary.

      We are all on exactly the same path of self discovery, here to help and support each other. It is a journey with many twists and turns for sure. You and your daughter can learn a lot about trust, compassion and intimacy from each other. So often our children end up being our teachers in matters of the heart.

      Please remember when expressing your intimacy, ask specifically for what you want and need and leave out the part about what you are not getting or what is not working. It will be easier for your person to hear you.

      All the very best to you… We are in this together Gina!

      Namaste,

      Nancy

  4. Avatar Lin says:

    Dear Nancy

    Being in the 50 something category, we were not raised to give much thought to ourselves and what it is that make us happy. I have so enjoyed you bringing these subjects up (because they are on all of our minds) and allowing us to have a place to talk about them. You are a breathe of fresh air PLEASE keep reminding us that this life is important and we have the right to want it to be fulfilled. Thank you. Lin

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dearest Lin,

      You are so right about how women have been raised. Our mothers in particular sacrificed themselves into ill health, depression, frailty, and a lot of frustration. Now we have the opportunity, through our heightened consciousness, to change the trend. Teaching our daughters and granddaughters to take care of themselves so they will have more to give back, learn to set clear boundaries, command respect, & be confident enough to ask for what they need.

      And THANK YOU for your sweet and generous words of encouragement. Your loving support is what inspires me to continue doing what i do on all fronts.

      With much love and respect,

      Namaste,

      Nancy

  5. Avatar Kisha says:

    Great article! Something that seems like "common sense" and yet most of us need to be reminded to take time to learn more about ourselves. I became a wife and mother too young and in turn took on the role as a caregiver to everyone but myself. It took me way too long to discover who I really was. Although I may still make many mistakes…I like what I see when I look in the mirror. I like being ME! If we do not take time to discover and then "care" for ourselves…we have not truely learned to be intimate with anyone. It all starts with us…and that is not selfish…we must learn about ourselves so that we KNOW we have something of value to offer to another person.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Oh Thank You Kisha, Your comment gave me chills!!!

      I am so happy that, even though you had your children early, you still found a way to discover your inner beauty, wisdom and intimacy. You are a beautiful role model to learn from.

      Making mistakes is not something to ever be ashamed of… that is where our greatest learning comes from. When we stop making mistakes we are done. I'm not ready to be done yet and I think you'll agree.

      For those who still believe that taking care of oneself is selfish, please listen when the flight attendants admonish, "Put your own oxygen mask on first before you attend to the needs of others." If you are not whole, happy, healthy and thriving, how in the world can you be of service to anyone else?

      Stay Vibrant and SEXY,

      Nancy

  6. Avatar Camm Camm says:

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.? (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

    WHAT ABOUT LONG DISTANCE LOVE?? IF IM HERE N HE'S THERE?? NO SEX??UHHHHH its killing me, its torcher.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Thank you for the beautiful reminder about love Camm. Long distance love? ARGH! That is so difficult. If it's really meant to be and you are as determined as I think you are 😉 you will find a way to make those miles seem fewer until you can be together.

      Gotta love Skype!! And I think I see some travel in your near future!!

      Stay sassy and sexxxy!

      Nancy

  7. Avatar Ed says:

    Bravo Nancy,

    Well written, reasoned and insightful.

    Making ourselves vulnerable leads us to trust and intimacy, then a real connection can be made.

    Ed

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Thank you so much Ed. Yes, a willingness to be vulnerable is a prerequisite for intimacy. We have to have enough trust in ourselves that no matter what, we will be ok. Then we can open up to that vulnerability and let someone in.

      I appreciate your readership Ed…

      Stay sexy too!

      Nancy

  8. Avatar linda bott says:

    Nancy,

    I feel that while reading your article this morning I was flashing through my own memories of intimacy. I do love the many articles and topics you write about. I know for me I was in my early 30's before I had a spiritual awakening which then put a different spin on everyone and everything. A deeper connection. Yes, intimacy does begin with you, your higher power and that connection. Thank you for the reminder . Thank you for stepping out and being an example, for taking chances.. Oh brave one..

    Linda

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dearest Linda,

      Thank you for your ongoing, loving support for everything I do!

      I am committed to make a difference in this world, to leave it a little better than when I got here. So thank you for letting me know that I have made a difference to you today.

      With much love and respect,

      Nancy

  9. Avatar Klaas Matsimane says:

    What is raised in the article is most wonderful and very insteresting. I relate to it mostly because in my life I've never taken time out to know who i am and what I want in a relationship and the kind of a person I need in my life. As a result, today I have to convince myself that if i were to be given a second chance after the end of this world, I'll have to deal with this, so as to approach life differently.

    After all is said, the question that I ask myself is, what is everybody doing about articles such as this? I wish people can immediately think about how best we can galvanise those willing, to constatly remind one another about these things that matter most in life. What I'm suggesting here is, using the opportunity provided by the likes of facebook, blog and twitter, why not form a discussion group where we can share our happiness and frustrations and seek advices in line with issues raised in articles such as this.

    • Dear Klaas,

      Sorry to be so delayed in getting back to you… but I just now saw your response. YES we need a community forum for these discussions to continue. I am in the process of creating a new website for just such thing. Stay tuned and check out my current website for updated info as we transition. http://www.nshouseofyoga.com

      Thank you for reading and making your comments!

      Stay curious to the creative life process!

      Nancy

      • Avatar Klaas Matsimane says:

        Dear Nancy

        Thank you for replying to my comment about your article on intimacy. I must really apology that I could only see your response to comments a year later. I hope all is still well with you. I'm struggling to log into the above website you provided. If the website is no longer in use, please send me your current website so that I can participate in your discussions. My email address is matsimanemashilo@gmail.com. Thank you so much for responding to my comment. I never thought you would even see it due to the number comments you receive from other people.

  10. Avatar MAC says:

    Nancy, thank you for the very insightful idea for the need to be alone early on which resonates very strongly with me. My life has been ripped away from me by immigration at age 17 and coming to this country I was immature and full of needs (security, shelter, love, the works..). I immediately gravitated towards a woman that was 10 years older who took me under her wings as a "friend". The lover part has dissipated after few years due to resentment of not having equal relationship and her being in control. This has turned into a codependent relationship that is now 26 years old. I owe her for her friendship and her help through tough times but this early joining with someone has prevented me from achieving certain stages of emotional development that I now deeply regret. I have never been on my own as an adult. I am 47 years young man and have hit mid life crisis like a brick wall. Having spent 20 years of sexless life with this friend, devoid of physical and emotional intimacy I am going out of my mind. "Kingdom for a horse" or should I say I will give anything for intimacy, deeper emotional connection and tender touch with a woman. I wish I knew then what I know now and had access your article about 26 years ago. Hard to stop the pain and tears…Would not wish this on anyone…Thank you very much!!!!