Opening Your Heart ToIntimacy
Are you able to be open – which entails being utterly and completely transparent and vulnerable – with your partner? If not, what is preventing you from doing so? Is it fear of abandonment or rejection? How about the fear of losing oneself? What exactly is it about getting close to someone that is so scary?
What is Intimacy?
If you look at the word intimacy phonetically, you could break into down into “In-ta-mah-see”. Indeed it is about removing your protective layers and facades, revealing yourself, connecting mentally, emotionally, and sexually with your partner, perhaps getting to know each other all over again, exploring non-sexual areas, before working up to primary erogenous zones such as breasts and genitals.
It is about being connected, even from across a room of strangers. Sex without intimacy eventually becomes shallow and unfulfilling. If intimacy is not nurtured, the relationship will wither and die over time.
The deeper your intimacy is in your relationship, the more satisfying the sex will be. When sex is explosive and mind-blowing, it cements you to your lover in a very powerful way, and thus opens the door for more intimacy. Thus, intimacy and great sex feed each other.
Why is there a need for greater intimacy?
A lot of relationships fall apart, or the sex within them is not very good anymore, because couples have fallen into a rut and have begun to take each other for granted. Also, any kind of abuse – whether physical, emotional, psychological – does affect intimacy. Once the intellectual and emotional sharing in the relationship stops, intimacy and passion in sex will end soon after.
Women need to feel loved, valued, special, intimate, and listened to by their partner for sex to be at its best. If she feels these things, she will desire her lover more deeply and be more willing to pleasure her lover in the way he desires. Men also need intimacy, but may not be as aware of this need and it may not be as evident to them in the context of sex.
How does one overcome fear of intimacy?
Heightening your self-awareness and consciously acting to release your fear is one way. Try this simple, but effective, approach:
• Sit in a quiet spot, quiet your thoughts and connect within.
• Allow any feelings you might have repressed, or kept pushed down for a long time, to surface.
• Focus on whatever feelings might come up and allow yourself to fully feel them.
• While the feelings of anger, pain, fear, shame, or sadness might be quite intense, such feelings can dissolve and disappear once you acknowledge them.
The other way is to just take progressive steps in becoming more intimate. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable enough to talk to your loved one about what is going on in your life and how you really feel about it. Be 100% present and enjoy the process. Indeed, the more you practice self-disclosure, the easier it becomes.
How does one cultivate greater intimacy?
Intimacy has to do with your daily communication – from the way you address each other, how you apologize when at fault, how open you are with most of your daily dealings to the kind of friends that you keep. The first thing is to acknowledge this as a couple, and be conscious of the words you are using and what they mean.
Sharing makes you vulnerable and can feel extremely risky and scary. Most people don’t like that and intentionally avoid being vulnerable – perhaps by keeping themselves busy with their career – and thereby run away from intimacy. Also, because you value and cherish the opinion of your spouse, or know your spouse so well that you can anticipate what he or she might say, you refrain from sharing for fear of the reaction and judgment.
When a woman experiences intimacy with her partner, she feels safe and she will surrender herself deeply so she can feel ultimate pleasure and satisfaction without any inhibitions. For a man, intimacy can be better than sex because it takes the pressure off performance and it makes him feel valued by his partner. Intimacy requires being open to the experience.
By building intimacy, expressing affection and love, you can begin rediscovering each other and your needs and desires more deeply. You can recapture the same passion and excitement that you felt earlier in your relationship.
Love is precious. We all need to love and to feel loved. Don’t be afraid of it. Open up your heart and allow love in. It is beautiful.
Greater Intimacy at a Glance
Build trust and create a safe space to do so. Share your fears. Share your dreams.
Encourage him to do the same.
Acknowledge each other’s fear, having fears validated can be healing.
Keep your eyes open for signs of abuse, imbalance, and fear.
Be ready to back off a little if necessary or just walk away (in cases of abusive behaviour).
Dr. Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.