Everyone from Oprah to your Aunt Mabel talks about intimacy. And much of what's said is misinformation or myth. Here are some of the most common examples of intimacy myths:
This myth hurts both women and men. It dishonors the genuine desires for connection that many men feel, and confuses and isolates them. It also forces responsibility for good relationships onto women, creating resentment and depression.
It's more accurate to say that many women relate to styles of intimacy that are different from the styles that are comfortable for many men. This is not a problem, it's an exciting opportunity to synthesize two hearts.
Intimacy equals love.
Many people who love each other lack the tools or desire to create intimacy. Sadly, some people use love to manipulate, bully, and hurt each other and then feel surprised when they don't feel close to each other. In many ways, intimacy is more about people liking each other than it is about them loving each other.
Intimacy equals sex.
Most of us have had sex that was not intimate, and many of us have had intimate relationships that had little or no sex. This is not surprising. Sexuality is one vehicle for intimacy, but not the only one. And intimacy is one aspect of sexuality, but not the only one.
Some people like to use sex to get close to a partner, while others can't really enjoy sex unless they already feel close. It's important for people to discuss how they feel about this rather than struggling with anger and hurt about it.
Intimacy means losing your self.
Intimacy can only occur between two individuals with two selves. Intimacy occupies a very special place between two separate lives, acting as a spark that connects and excites. When one person demands that the other submerge him or herself in the relationship, that person is asking for a kind of immature safety that is the opposite of intimacy. And while people in the first blush of passion often lose themselves, they must disentangle from each other if the relationship is to grow and become intimate.
Intimacy has no room for conflict.
Since true intimacy involves the ongoing exposure of two individual selves, combined with a commitment to maintain a connection despite discomfort, intimacy involves conflict. It must be a special kind of conflict, however: cooperative, productive, conscious.
Intimacy is easy.
Intimacy involves self-awareness, honesty, courage, trust and communication. How could it possibly be easy?