Intimacy doesn’t always involve sex.
When you read the word “intimacy”, you likely imagine sex (I just gave you at least one more daily sex thought btw. Men think about it 19+ times a day on average, whereas women average 10 times per day, but I digress.) Intimacy is the word people use to refer to sex. It’s not a synonym though. You get intimate with your partner. But there are many forms of intimacy, not just sexual intimacy.
What Is Intimacy?
The dictionary definition of intimacy is “closeness,” describing familiarity or friendship that’s close. In other words, if you’re intimate with someone, you have a feeling of closeness, and it doesn’t have to be your spouse or boyfriend. It can be your friend. Being intimate with someone is an action that strengthens that bond. That’s why sex is considered an intimate act because it’s a way to bond.
Different Types of Intimacy other than Sexual:
Platonic relationships are non-sexual. To be intimate platonically, just be a good friend and listen to your friend’s emotional needs and be there for them whenever possible. Not a fair-weathered friend who is only there when your friend is happy, intimate friends show up when you need an ear or a hand. It’s a close relationship that is more than just hanging out together. Intimate friends are comfortable in most situations and are able to support one another. It’s your “ride or die” person. While platonic intimacy can involve touching, it is non-sexual. Cuddling and hugging are examples. Who are you platonically intimate with?
Emotional intimacy involves being vulnerable with another. It is the experience of being deeply connected to another person who knows and understands your deepest feelings and who shares his or hers with you. Emotional intimacy can happen for both sexual and non-sexual relationships. Being emotionally intimate requires a degree of trust. You’ll trust your secrets with this person, and that they’ll be safe with them.
This is one step below sexual intimacy, and it involves physical activity. It can be associated with platonic intimacy, but it can also be associated with sexual relationships as well. A few examples of physical intimacy include holding hands, hugging, kissing on the cheek and cuddling. This form of intimacy requires permission. So make sure to communicate this before being physically intimate with someone.
Here’s another form of intimacy that is less common, but still worth talking about. Intellectual intimacy is when you form a bond with someone through deep discussions. These could be discussions on political ideas, religion, hobbies or say, your obsession with yoga and all its eight limbs! If you find a person intellectually stimulating, chances are you can become intellectually intimate with them. It can be a friend, colleague, or your partner.
If you go to church, you may be spiritually intimate with other congregants. You may feel a bond as you worship, and feel good singing songs of praise together. In yoga, chanting kirtan and even just closing out a practice with om you can find some spiritual intimate bonding. Through awe-inspiring experiences one might bond spiritually with another as well. For example, if you climb or hike to a mountaintop and see the world with someone, this can be a spiritually intimate experience for the two of you.
So St. Valentine might tend toward those involved at a physical level, and we applaud them too, but let’s agree that this holiday doesn’t have to be only about couples in a sexually bonded relationship. We all have that Thelma to our Louise. And that person might be your lover, or not. So this Valentine’s weekend, why not try out a partner-based experience designed to enhance intimacy of all types. Bring your “ride or die” to Accomplice Yoga led by Candace Glass and Debby Siegel at Southtown Yoga Friday, February 15, 7-8:30pm and experience a 90-minute yoga event where we’ll indulge in some cacao treats, practice some partner massaging, yoga and stretching, eye gaze and finish with a candlelight meditation. So find that human who you just know would erase your hard drive should you need it, and bring them! Let’s celebrate intimacy of all kinds. This 90-minute experience is $20/person, and you’ll register as an individual but both people in your duo need to sign up. Bring a yoga mat if you have one. If not, we have extras. We’ll raid the prop closet and be certain to offer many cozy, happy moments in our playful time together.