Well-being Wednesday: How does intimacy play into your sense of well-being? When you consider intimacy, what comes to mind? And how important is intimacy to you?
I posed a similar question to some I know, and a friend replied “Into me see”. (This was in a Sex and the City episode, I believe – oh, that takes me back). Others suggest the presence of sacred and privacy. Some required another person in their definition of intimacy; others did not – to them intimacy could be a solitary pursuit or involve the spiritual world or nature. There are no wrong answers, only correct answers that light up the path of your self-awareness.
To me, intimacy does not have to be sexual. Or involve others, at least in the human, embodied sense. It does require vulnerability, curiosity, and presence, as intimacy is cultivating learning and relationship (with self, other, spirit, nature, etc).
Not dissimilar from sexual orientation (see http://ignitewell-being.com/sex-gender-and-sexual-orientation/ ) intimacy can have several realms – physical (ex touch), sexual, emotional, communication (ex. being truthful), recreational, creativity, work (ex. sharing work tasks), mental (ex. sharing ideas), etc (see Barker and Iantaffi’s Life Is’t Binary ). Different realms can blend with and impact other realms (ex sexual, physical, recreational can be fairly similar). What is important here is not so much where to draw the line in terms of what activities fit which category, but to consider the variety of intimacies, what our individual needs are, how we meet those needs (or don’t), and how those needs may change. Further, shifting our focus and expanding our definition of intimacy beyond the sexual and/or romantic partnership/s honors the depth and breadth of our human experience beyond what our culture suggests is the primary intimate source – partner/spouse. For example, perhaps your sexual partner/s cannot meet your emotional needs fully but your friends can – specifically recognizing that sphere of emotional, friend-based intimacy opens us to experiencing gratitude for the connection and presence afforded via those friendships.
As you explore what intimacy means to you, what categories of intimacy would you include? Where or who meets those intimate needs for you? How have your needs for intimacy changed?
Wishing you joy and intimacy on your path of self-discovery.
Interested in exploring concepts around intimacy? This is an implicit topic of our sexual well-being discussion groups as well as our sacred circles. For more information, please check the ignitewell-being.com website tabs for social, sexual, and spiritual well-being as well as the events tab for current/upcoming offerings.
In gratitude for you all.
The above content is written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT), RYT500, sexuality counselor and educator (in supervision); copyright protected, please cite accordingly. The picture is from Pexels.
For more information or to work with Allison directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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*Please note that none of the above information is specific medical advice, but is meant as educational information only. If you have concerns about your health, please contact a trusted healthcare professional*