Intimacy, It Can Mean Many Things

By on May 18, 2012

I have an amazing job. Every day I meet so many interesting people willing to share their stories, and each introduces me to something new to broaden my view of the world.

Recently intimacy was the focus of a couple’s counseling session. The wife had been concerned about the lack of intimacy in their marriage.

Her husband had a surprised, almost quizzical, look on his face as she made her comments. Clearly this couple wasn’t on the same page. Obviously, the husband thought the level of intimacy in their marriage was just fine.

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To ensure both partners knew exactly what we were talking about, I asked each to describe their view of intimacy.

Jumping right in, the wife said there wasn’t enough hand holding, touching, and physical closeness between the two of them. She went on to say this made her feel unattractive, and she often imagined she was forcing her husband to perform sexually in the bedroom. Her husband’s lack of compliments caused her to feel he didn’t desire her sexually. This wife felt intimacy was connected with physical or sexual closeness, and she wanted more of it.

When I asked her husband how he defined marital intimacy, I got a different picture. He felt intimacy was being together as a family, interacting on a personal level, and being able to share troubles and joys in a life together. For him, the physical component was a secondary aspect of intimacy. While he didn’t deny he had sexual needs to be met, his idea of intimacy was more connected to emotional needs being fulfilled.

Both the husband and wife were right on. Intimacy does encompass many different things.

Wikipedia defines an intimate relationship as “a close interpersonal relationship that involves physical or emotional closeness. Sexual activity is a characteristic of the physical component. On an interactive level there is also emotional and personal support given to each other, which fulfills the need of belonging and caring for each other.”

The key is to blend the physical with the emotional in ways that are fulfilling to both partners. Once again, communication is the only way to find out what your partner wants and needs, and how those needs mesh with your own. Opening up a dialog is the first step to creating an intimate world which includes just the two of you.

What does your world of intimacy look like? Can you find ways to make it more fulfilling?

Originally posted on The Gift of a Lifetime.

About Barbara J. Peters

Barbara Peters, RN, LPC, is a gifted communicator with a laser beam ability to cut through the tangle of personal drama to get results and relationships that last a lifetime. A Long Island native, Barbara has made Georgia her home for the last twenty-four years; her private counseling practice is in Cumming, GA. She is devoted to her family of two grown daughters, four grandchildren, and a Shih Tzu named Gingerlily who often accompanies her to work. Her books are available at all major online booksellers and on her website, in soft cover and ebook editions. If you want more information on Barbara J. Peters visit her website


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Intimacy, It Can Mean Many Things