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If you've already had casual sex, you've probably noticed that, while it's nice, it's not as good as the sex you have with someone you love. Why?
In casual sex, what is ephemerally shared is the skin, whereas when you have affection, the encounter is based on expressiveness and closeness, not only in the joy of physical contact, although that doesn’t mean that you don’t feel that pleasure.
When we have sex, we want to feel all the fibers of the body through a connection with the other, which cannot be achieved if the act is limited to the lack of intimacy.
Physical intimacy versus emotional intimacy
The important thing is not to confuse physical intimacy with emotional intimacy, because, just as not all sexual relations cause emotional bonding, not all emotional connections lead to a sexual encounter.
Intimacy is not only a matter of physical closeness or the authenticity of the love that exists in the couple, but it is more an emotional bond that allows us to sympathize with the beloved, trust that person as we do with ourselves and see in his body a house in which you long to have sex.
What we need most nowadays is emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is very easy today, but it doesn’t create bonds nor maintain stable relationships. We confuse love with sexuality, and emotional intimacy with physical intimacy.
We “make love" as if love and sex were the same. Sexuality and physical intimacy are strong and important stimuli to life, but they don’t create bonds or maintain the stable relationship necessary for the care and protection of life.
Sexuality and physical intimacy attract people, but as vital stimuli, they are short-lived. In a short time, we "know" the other person, his body, his physical reactions, his desires and pleasures. There is no longer anything new and exciting, and the relationship begins to be monotonous and non-stimulating. Physical intimacy, without emotional intimacy, doesn’t sustain the relationship for a long time.
To better understand the difference between physical and emotional intimacy, let's make a distinction between interaction and relationship.
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Interaction is what occurs on a superficial level, when we relate from the roles we play, such as the doctor, the teacher, the customer, the illustrious stranger on the street, and so on.
The interaction obeys specific rules of the roles played: in general, it is more superficial and mentally directed. We look at the other person, perceive the role they play, evaluate, judge, criticize, give opinions or advice, etc.
The interaction is useful and necessary for social coexistence. We are not intimate with everyone, nor are we focused on intimacy with the street guard, the gas station attendant, or the cashier at the grocery store. However, we maintain with these people a cordial and socially acceptable interaction.
Usually the interaction occurs at the verbal level and with a minimum of touches or more direct looks. We even maintain a conventional "physical" distance. When in an elevator, for example, people are forced to keep a distance smaller than the conventional one, the general nuisance is evident and the search for some verbal interaction to disguise the embarrassment is necessary.
The relationship usually begins with the energy level. Just a look, a subtle touch or a "casual" word for something to happen between two people. In these simple acts, they expose longings that come from their essence. It is usually accompanied by a mixture of curiosity and shame in front of this exhibition. It is something that happens independently of the conscious will of both. They begin to expose themselves emotionally!
If people don’t panic and flee, the approach will be progressive, leading to a deep exposure of the souls involved. It’s the emotional intimacy settling. It occurs when the soul of the other person is seen, heard, received, touches our feelings and emotions and we have an emotional response to it.
And then comes the emotional intimacy
Emotional intimacy exists when there is a true relationship, that is, when there is an “I” that expresses itself and has in the other a “You” that receives it, lets itself touch and has an emotional response to give.
We are beyond the roles we play! We spent hours talking, talking about ourselves and hearing the other person's answers, dazzled. The need for physical intimacy doesn’t seem to exist at first, and may not even exist, when emotional intimacy leads people to establish a deep friendship.
We become vitally excited, we dream again, we feel recognized in our self! If the relationship goes beyond deep friendship, the need for physical intimacy becomes progressively stronger, activating desires of physical contact. We are in love! In the early twentieth-century, in psychiatry there was talk of passion as an altered state, a pathological state! In fact, passion is the expression of a deep human longing! The yearning to feel received, acknowledged and reaffirmed in the genuine expression of yourself.
Intimacy can be intellectual and energetic
All human interactions are forms of relationship. The essential difference between them is the level of intimacy.
Intimacy can only exist in the relationship between two or more people, because it is related to the exposure of certain aspects of you to another person. We can perceive four distinct forms of intimacy: physical intimacy, intellectual intimacy, emotional intimacy, and energy intimacy.
Physical intimacy concerns the body and also includes sexual intimacy. We become physically intimate when we know the physical details, sexual preferences, likes and dislikes of the person in question. There is still a lot of repression about the body and sexuality in our society, so physical and sexual intimacy is still hard to come by.
Intellectual intimacy relates to one's beliefs, values, ideas, and ways of thinking. When you share who you are through your ideas and what you believe, you are exposing your intellectual intimacy. Judgment and prejudice are the main obstacles to intellectual intimacy. Failure to accept differences creates conflicts and discomforts in human relationships.
Emotional intimacy is related to feelings and emotions. By exposing them in the various contexts of life, you are revealing your emotional intimacy. Unfortunately, we live in a man culture that judges certain emotions as a sign of weakness, so many people hide their emotional intimacy.
The physical, the mental and the emotional intimacies are also forms of energy. Energy intimacy occurs in the integration of physical, intellectual and emotional intimacy. This level of intimacy deeply affects all involved, for when we expose our intimacy, we influence and are influenced by those with whom we relate. There is an exchange of energy at all levels. That's why human relationships are a great opportunity for personal growth and development.
Emotional intimacy is important in relationships, but sometimes it feels difficult to feel close or create intimacy with others. The following advice will help you connect more deeply with the important people you have in your life.
Learning the emotional intimacy
Emotional intimacy occurs internally when we are in contact with our self, our essence. At this point, internal conflicts are dissolved and we feel whole. From this inner place, we can leave the interaction and enter a relationship. We are ready for emotional intimacy externally. It’s the moment where the “Self” and “You” exist and reaffirm themselves.
The “Self” can be externally sustained when there is a “You” who receives it and reaffirms it, and the “Self” can emerge when there is an “I” that expresses and communicates. When this occurs, the true relationship exists!
Outside of this moment, we are roles that interact with other roles. There are no people. We become undifferentiated, generic concepts, "made-up" and "weighting" the world itself. And this perspective loses its enchantment!
Find out why you keep people away from you
Do you know why you keep people away from you emotionally? There is some reason why you do this. It could be something that made you distrust of people or a disappointment of the past. Maybe you grew up in an environment where intimacy never glowed because of absence, or you developed a cynical personality because of the way you were raised.
Whatever the reason, you will have to discover it in order to continue. There may be real reasons not to want emotional intimacy with someone. And in this case, don’t continue. But there may be other hidden reasons that have nothing to do with it and that may be harming your personal relationships.
Understand the difference between physical and emotional intimacy
The prolific writer of romantic novels Barbara Cartland once wrote: "Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy; for women, intimacy sometimes translates into sex”. But what is true about this?
Perhaps it is the fact that, in general, men can disconnect their feelings and feel that sex is only sex, while women may feel that sex is a bridge to greater intimacy.
Of course, this is not an absolute general rule, but it serves to understand how physical and sexual intimacy can be looked at from two points of view. Be that as it may, it is a mistake to assume that physical intimacy will inevitably lead to emotional intimacy, especially if it’s not accompanied by the building of relationships outside the physical aspect.
We can apply the same in non-romantic relationships. The fact that there’s contact between people doesn’t imply anything, if this contact is performed by pure obligation or custom. Either way, emotional intimacy is not about being physically close.
The way you relate to others also determines levels of intimacy. Here are some “exercises” for you to do to let you open up more to love and intimacy.
“Fall of love”
This is a simple exercise of confidence, which can increase mutual feelings of vulnerability. Standing, simply let yourself fall back into your partner's arms. Then change your position. Repeat this several times and then talk about your feelings.
Standing or sitting in close proximity, begin quietly moving hands, arms and legs so that one imitates the other (and the role of the commander alternates without being verbally combined - the two simply must adjust it). It can be fun, but it's not easy. After a few minutes, each will feel that he is moving voluntarily, but his gestures seem connected with those of the partner.
Write down something very intimate, which you won’t tell anyone about, and ask your partner to do the same. Then change papers and talk about what you’ve read.
“Reading each other’s mind”
Write down an idea you want to convey to your partner. Then, spend a few minutes trying to pass it on without speaking, as he or she tries to guess what it is. If the other can’t find out, reveal what you were thinking. And change roles. It is curious that after repeated practice, several times people seem to acquire the ability to “read” each other’s minds.
Don’t force situations
At first, we said that emotional intimacy is a two-way street. If you try to force the situation, you may be in a difficult situation. It’s necessary to allow emotional intimacy to evolve naturally.
You also need to know whether to withdraw or slow down when you need it. Don’t demand too much from each other if you don’t want to ruin the game.