Intimacy involves feelings of emotional closeness and connection to another person. Intimate relationships are often characterized by attitudes of mutual trust, caring and acceptance.
A part of our sexuality can include intimacy: the ability to love, trust, and care for others in both sexual and other relationships. We learn about intimacy from the relationships around us, especially within our families.
Our sexual activities can take place with other people, where there can be varying degrees of intimacy. We can have sex with an intimate partner, a casual partner, an anonymous partner, a friend, etc.
Intimacy with other people often involves taking emotional risks, when people can share personal details and stories. Emotional intimacy does not automatically occur with sexual intimacy, as sexually involved people may not choose to share their innermost thoughts and feelings, or the sexual relationship may be one where there is not a high degree of emotional intimacy.
Four main factors
There are four key factors in building an emotionally intimate relationship:
1. Knowing and liking yourself
- Some social scientists suggest that the initial step toward intimacy with others is to know and like yourself. As you come to know and value yourself, you identify your innermost feelings and needs and develop the security to share them with others.
2. Trust and care
- Two of the most important components of an intimate relationship are trust and affection. When there is trust, partners feel reassured that revealing intimate feelings will not lead to ridicule, rejection, or other harm. Research shows that trust gradually builds as people come to see that the other person has made a sincere investment in the relationship.
- Caring is an emotional bond that allows for the development of intimacy. When people care about each other, they seek to meet each other’s needs and interests.
- Honesty is also a feature of intimacy. When we have sex with other people, it can be helpful to consider what information we need to be honest with to help our partners make informed choices and what information we would like our partners to be honest with us. Try to provide important information in a concise and respectful way to your partner(s) and you.
4. Clear communication
- Communication is a two-way street that involves sending and receiving messages. The clear communicator must therefore learn to be a good listener as well.
- It is important when communicating with someone to listen not only to their words but also to their nonverbal cues. Nonverbal communication provides valuable clues to feelings. Voice tone, gestures, body posture, and facial expressions not only accentuate the spoken word, they can also express emotions directly.
Clear communication can take the guesswork out of relationships, avoid misunderstandings, alleviate resentment and frustration, and increase overall (and sexual) satisfaction within the relationship.
Therefore, to facilitate your process on your healing path try at least to choose one of these qualities, you can choose the quality that resonates with you the most or that you already recognize as a block and work on it until you feel that you have developed this habit, don’t be in a hurry, enjoy the process for your own personal evolution.