What Is Intimacy and Being Intimate?

We all want to be around people we can relate to and be intimate with. This is most important in the areas we are most interested in. The more obscure and unusual your shared interest, the more valuable your bonds. Anyone can share sexual intimacies but only you offer that unique intimacy.

Step into your favorite time warp, and take a look into the "Leave It To Beaver" family.

Wally and the Beef are in their rooms doing their homework. Ward (Dad) comes home, and June (his loving Wife) asks him about his day.

He tells her about work as she listens attentively. She then proceeds to tell him what went on around the house and updates him on some neighborhood gossip as he listens attentively. They talk about the boys for a while, and after dinner they set aside a little intimate time alone.

Now, let's step back into reality and re-examine the Cleavers and this intimacy thing. Their bedroom intimacy is the only kind of intimacy some people can relate to. That's a shame, because life should offer a lot more intimacy than that!

In the bedroom Ward and June were sharing, aware of and meeting each other's needs. There was an interdependency and some history there.

The same thing was also true of their conversation about the boys. They shared a desire that the boys would not grow up to be Eddie Haskell, they new things about the boys no one else new, they had mutually sacrificed for the boys, .....they were intimate.

That work-related conversation was not intimate. June listened out of duty or maybe respect, but not because she was truly interested. Ward's work was his world, and she didn't share it with him. She didn't know the "players in the game", she couldn't truly appreciate his worry about small defeats or really share his thrill over daily victories because all of that happened in a world that she only viewed from the outside, as an observer. His work was not an area of intimacy.

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Ward tried to look interested in the gossip, but could not have cared less. After all, he didn't even know the names of those neighbors, much less care about their petty fight. Another area of non-intimacy.

So the Cleavers were partially intimate, sharing some parts of their lives but not others.

No couple is likely to be completely intimate, but the non-intimate areas are the ones where risk exists.

If Ward was really a Type A, work-driven guy, it would make their relationship more intimate if June better understood how he spent his day and what his challenges were all about. Don't forget, most of us spend a lot more waking hours at work than any other place, and so that can be a dangerous area in which to leave an intimacy void. Fortunately for the Cleaver household, Ward was not likely to have an affair (even one of those fully clothed intimacies) with a coworker, because work was just something he did to earn a living.

Ward's passion was golf! Of course, his time on the links was something June put up with, and could hardly understand, again as an outside observer. The intimacy was with other guys, but it was still an area of intimacy.

The bottom line is that intimacy occurs in an area both people are involved in and share some interdependency. We all seek intimacy, and if you don't meet someone's intimacy needs, someone else will, and the one with the most intimacy wins.

Work environments, sporting interests, religious involvements, and political movements are all common areas that we get involved in and want to share with another. Our relationships are more intimate when we share more interests than the bedroom. The most intimate relationships, those more intricately intertwined, are the most stable and long lasting.

A fake interest, one conjured up in order to appeal to another person to get them interested in you, conveys the illusion of an opportunity for intimacy. No wonder your partner is disappointed to find out they were deceived.

On the other hand, a real interest (and the resulting intimacy) can be developed.

I am amazed at how interesting virtually everything is when I know more about it. On the surface, most things appear pretty dull. When you dig deeper and gain an understanding of the players, the tactics, the intrigue (in sports, work, church, you name it), those formerly dull areas become exciting.

If you want to be more intimate, be more involved. Don't fake it, if you do, you are not only lying, you are missing out on the fun! Take the time to actually find the fascination, to become involved, and you will not only be rewarded with increased intimacy, you will have grown as a person.

So, how do you get there? Ask your partner (or the person you would like to have as a partner) about the subject. Become an aggressive student, learning all about it, from history to the present, and then start anticipating the future.

Or surprise your partner (or potential partner) by studying the subject on your own. Let them know you figured that if someone as interesting as them found the subject interesting, you would be "missing the boat" not to know more about it too.

You have just become irresistible.

We all want to be around people we can relate to, and this is most important in the areas we are most interested in. The more obscure and unusual your shared interest, the more valuable the bond. Anyone can share sexual intimacies but only you offer that unique intimacy.

You win!

next: How Important is Sex to Intimacy?

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 4). What Is Intimacy and Being Intimate?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Last Updated: August 18, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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