What Is True Intimacy?

By Patricia Beck

Lately, meditations center around Intimacy. The frequency of which it is longingly spoken of by both genders has been sucker punching me with astounding regularity in the last few months.

  • Love and Intimacy
  • Fear of Intimacy
  • How to achieve Intimacy

It is everywhere in the media, obnoxious in its ubiquity.  Clients talk about lacking it, friends chat about it in various public places and everyone, in a relationship or not, wants it or to somehow improve it.

As I listen deeply to the content of conversations around this most confusing of subjects, it becomes obvious that few really know what it is.  Some call manipulative jabbering intimacy, while others seem obsessed with domesticating it and yoking to a predetermined course.  Almost all think of intimacy in terms of a romantic relationship and nothing else.

In any event, few possess the knowledge that true intimacy requires; that real intimacy is about being in that moment fully active and present with all that is happening within you and around you.  Real intimacy is not about some supposedly advanced Tantric sexual technique or  artificial “I feel..” statements.  These are delusions of closeness, prostituted and pimped out as the real thing. It is the quick fix for those seeking the easy route to intimacy.

When Intimacy is applied to love, it should be simple to be in that moment with your lover, to hear his breath, to absorb the sight of his long thighs and to be delighted with the playful idea that they seemingly are as long as your arms.  Or see her beautiful neck, swooping down into a graceful curved shoulder and to deeply appreciate the art of it.  And this is it; true intimacy, particularly in the context of love, is gratitude and wonder.  Simple to say and yet there is so much more depth beyond the superficial meaning of the mere words we all utter on these occasions.

Words make it difficult to tune out our chattering monkey mind so we can be really intimate with what our lover is. Our lover drowns in a barrage of our needy words and we choke ourselves with these meaningless sounds.  Noisy mental interference is why most people never achieve the even the basic moments of intimacy so desperately yearned for and sought so greedily.  For like spoiled toddlers,  we whine and cry for more, more, gimme more!  We can’t hear any thing else over all our loud screaming except those fearful internal voices shouting out about getting their needs met.  Howling loudly for our lover’s attention, we get nothing but empty promises to pacify us, just for time being.  Sadly, this is what passes for intimacy in most relationships: the mistaken idea that this type of empty verbal communication is communion with another human soul, that sexuality is an adjunct to this silly chatter.

Entitlement also masquerades as Intimacy.  “I’ve told you my secrets, so now you owe it to me to tell me yours”  becomes the battle cry for possessiveness, a close ally of entitlement.  A false ownership occurs once these exchanges happen, particularly if that ownership becomes codified by legal documentation. Between humans, intimacy is a gift that means nothing if not given freely.  It is wild and not likely to survive enforced domesticity or coercive monogamy.  I know of no surer way to kill an intimate relationship of any sort than to demand some one be more open to you or insist they are too wary or fearful of intimacy for your tastes.  That is our fear speaking, our insecurities and not theirs.  This too is not truly intimacy.

Intimacy must occur within our own selves with all things in both our inner and outer worlds before it can ignite with another human.  Then it becomes a rare and precious gift that lasts but a single spontaneous moment and is enough to nourish for a life time.  Once given, it is not obligatory for that other person to be in our life for the rest of theirs. They have delivered their priceless gift to you; appreciate it for its specialness and rarity.  Do not demand a school girl or boy fantasy in which intimacy of this sort is a routine event. This is not what a lover, spouse or friend does, not really.  It is, however, what pop culture sells and we lazily buy for gospel truth.

My contemplative answer to the intimacy issue: be aware, be kind and be grateful.  No one owes you love or intimacy and there is no honest formula for obtaining it from them.  Let it happen out of spontaneity, let it be freely given and deeply felt.  Develop your own intimacy with life, an intimacy as singular and unique as you are. Perhaps then, and only then, you will then be graced with a most wonderful treasure – a moment of true intimacy with another human being.

1 reply
  1. Aretha
    Aretha says:

    Great read.

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