Intimacy! Let's play word association. Scores of people will say sex. Now, if one was to create an extensive study to include males and females, all races and ethnic groups (don't want to leave anyone out), I can only speculate as to the results. I'm glad not to have that chore. My challenge to the reader is to define intimacy for you.
A book on the subject of intimacy I read provided an in-depth definition. The authors' concept of intimacy referred to it as a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. What in tarnation does that mean?
Pardon me for waxing a bit graphic. A former client came to me to discuss intimacy or the lack of, she added. Her spouse's view of intimacy strictly spelled out great sex. Over the course of several sessions she more clearly registered her complaint to him. While sex was satisfying to her, she desperately yearned for a greater intimacy. Sadly to say, he didn't comprehend this new language, this concept. His adamant refusal to open his consciousness to embrace a greater intimacy resulted in divorce. Stuck!
Think about those two concepts aforementioned: A sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. Now, it seems to me that both concepts share common ground. From an external or outward perception, family, friends, work and home come to mind. From an internal inward perception, feeling good about self, the recognition and emergence of spiritual enlightenment come to mind. Definitions abound here, too. The balances of the external and internal forces are paramount for intimacy to grow and to thrive.
Let me cite some example to ponder. External forces might be holding hands in public with your partner/spouse. Another is working that extra time to pay basic bills and to afford a date out. ''I'm on my way home, do we need anything?'' You get an opportunity to feel good about your contribution to the best interest of family, partnership and trust then abounds.
Internal forces include the recognition and acknowledgment of where you are stuck in your personal growth and being vulnerable. Sharing wonderful news is great and easy to share. ''I got a raise?'' ''The tumor is benign!'' Looking deep within ourselves to share can be challenging even painful. Yet, imagine this scenario: ''You know, honey, I've got to say that I can be impatient and judgmental. I recognize now how they have interfered in my sensitivity to others and to especially you.'' Now folks, that is intimacy. If you really want to shine, try it on and see if it fits.
Course, a spouse/partner who will embrace your revelation and encourage your growth (remember ... mind-body-spirit) will potentiate a closer relationship. Now don't think that this writer as a prude. Sex is wonderful on many fronts. However, a fuller spectrum of intimacy stimulates personal growths which both of you need to sustain and maintain the highest and best in your relationship. Lastly you need to know that there are couples who report a loving intimate relationship even when sex may be missing. Loss of libido, organic complications may impact one's sex life. Again, untold numbers of couples grow and love one another without sex. Different strokes for different folks, Thank you. Stay connected. Remember, we are all of all things.