CBHS Corporate Health | Aug 09, 2017
Something as simple as a hug can make a day worthwhile, whether it's from a friend, family member or your partner. For some, intimacy is a natural occurrence, a reflex of emotion towards someone else. Others might have difficulties where intimacy is concerned due to negative experiences in the past or simply not feel the inclination to closeness. Luckily, intimacy is something that can be practiced and understood.
Some of your first experiences with intimacy likely came from your parents. Indeed, family relationships are one of first ways people learn about emotional intimacy. Later in life, there are more opportunities to develop intimate relationships of different types with various different people.
Men may have more difficulty with intimacy in their lives than women, largely due to cultural expectations of independence and self-reliance rather than emotional intelligence. Another challenge lies in confusing sex with intimacy, both of which can exist without the other. Although it may not be easy, challenging these cultural expectations and allowing more intimacy and trust into your relationship can only improve its quality over time.
There are many different types of intimacy, and you may experience all or only some of the spectrum in your different relationships. Emotional intimacy is the ability to freely express your emotions to your partner – and vice versa – in a safe context that does not involve potential judgment or rejection. Physical intimacy involves touch and sex that is fulfilling for both parties. You can also experience intimacy across the intellectual, spiritual, work and parenting domains of your life, among other areas.
Working on intimacy takes time, and it is essential that you don’t attempt to do so on your own. A key part of intimacy is that it is relational, so the other person in the relationship must be fully involved as well.
Remember - everyone is different. Develop at your own pace, keep a record of how you're feeling, and focus on your successes!