Sex is maximum happiness

Intimacy - what does it mean?

We understand intimacy as a state of deep familiarity and connectedness. But there is also physical intimacy, in which contact between (mostly) two people is in the foreground. But what is more important? The emotional or physical sexual intimacy? Everyone has to come up with the answer for themselves. It tends to be more women who would say that emotional intimacy is more important. However, there are also many of us who need the need for closeness and intimacy in a relationship through physical contact. Be it just cuddling or hugs. Here we can again differentiate between physical and sexual intimacy. After all, physical contact does not automatically mean sexuality.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude - an artist couple full of intimacy

The two were inseparable. The wrapping artist Christo once said in an interview about his Jeanne-Claude that he misses her enormous belligerence the most. A documentary film about the famous couple proves it: they even argued in front of the camera. Never disrespectful, but violent. They loved each other, but they didn't go easy on each other when it came down to it. Despite many disagreements, they made a perfect team. Obviously, the recipe for this great love, which lasted 52 years, was not exactly constant harmony, but a special form of closeness and connection: intimacy.

Proximity is not always intimacy

In love we often want more closeness, more of this sense of togetherness - in the first few months there was so much of it and we really mean intimacy. You also have mere closeness with the person sitting next to you on the bus or in the cinema, at the doctor or hairdresser. We let many get close to us. Even in front of the television we are very close as a couple when he mechanically scratches our necks because his thoughts are behind the wheel of the Aston Martin, which Daniel Craig is once again driving through narrow streets at a breakneck pace. You sit close together - but being intimate means something else.

Intimacy in a partnership

"Intimacy is actually something very everyday, because it simply means revealing your innermost thoughts and feelings to the other, showing yourself to them," says couple therapist Dr. Tobias Ruland (“The Psychology of Intimacy”, Klett-Cotta Verlag, 268 pages, € 16.95). Without censorship, without restriction. As natural and uninhibited as a child who crawls happily into his mum's arms, babbling happily, with a huge portion of basic trust and confidence.

But there are also couples who have a relationship without intimacy. In this case it is more of a friendly relationship and resembles a shared apartment. The couple live together, go on vacation together and have good conversations without breaking a certain intimate boundary.

The crux of the matter: Without intimacy outside of bed, couples get closer and closer to each other less and less. Conversely, it only fuels lust in the long term. Sex between lovers is something very intimate - but we can also have it with a stranger. But at the latest when we stealthily sneak away or, in the morning after, either step into the coffee mug or stare into the air and have nothing more to say to each other, even though we were so close hours ago, we at least suspect what was missing here.

Can men show intimacy?

In theory, it's all pretty simple. In practice, however, many fail to speak openly and constructively about their thoughts and feelings with their partner, i.e. with the theoretically most important person in their life. There is more to this than the power of habituation, which love tends to wear out. "Over time we collect a lot of small injuries and bad experiences that we have together," says Ruland. Each of them does not have to be dramatic in and of itself, but collectively it is often toxic. Here a rejection, there a listening away and there an ironing ("Oh come on, you often argue with your girlfriend. Sooner or later you will embrace each other again"). Or you just poured out your heart and then: “Did you say something?” “Oh, it wasn't so important.” Admitting weakness and exploring the balance between closeness and distance - that is also intimacy.

Women find it much easier to show feelings in a relationship and thus dive into a much deeper level of intimacy. Men, on the other hand, often have a protective cloak, which at least partially keeps their feelings and intimacy under lock and key. On the other hand, a conversation in a partnership can be a big step towards intimacy and strong trust for a man, while we women see this as a matter of course.

What to do if the partner has a problem with intimacy

According to psychologists, problems with intimacy often come from childhood, such as bad experiences with parents or the like. But even people who have been badly treated in past relationships sometimes develop problems with intimacy because they have lost trust. But that doesn't mean these people have to stay single forever. The genes and phase of life you are in also determine how closely we get involved with other people.

The first step is to become aware of relationship anxiety. And find out where it came from! If you first realize that neither the ex-partner nor the father or mother from back then has anything to do with the current partner, you can better differentiate yourself from this. It often helps to approach this person in slow steps with a lot of patience. Convey the feeling of security, acceptance and trust! The partner should feel that they don't have to bend over in this relationship in order to be loved.

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Does everyday life drive away intimacy?

Unfortunately, it doesn't always run that smoothly in everyday life. Before you get a slap for an honest admission (“I would love to travel with you again” - “Oh no, it's nicest at home”), things will in future be kept secret and problems blocked. Mom-in-law is secretly invited because the other would only have commented on it annoyed. It is whispered and dodged, one creeps away from each other. “The partners are withdrawing more and more. All to avoid the risk of disappointment, ”says Ruland. Intimacy requires courage and strength, especially when the hoped-for feedback does not come. You have to endure that.

The good news, however, is that in a really intimate relationship, both of them get what they crave a lot more often. Because you can assess the other person, trust them and know how to take them when things get difficult.

Phases of intimacy

In every relationship we go through different phases of intimacy. At the very beginning of a partnership, everything feels very fresh and the connection is only just beginning to grow. From tender touch to sexuality to infinite trust. The phases of intimacy can look like this:

Phase 1: The attraction

First and foremost, there is attraction. When two people notice that there is mutual interest and it just sparks, we have already reached the first phase of intimacy. We just can't get enough of the other person and can't wait to touch them? Then we talk about magical attraction.

Phase 2: The first approach

If we have already got to know the other person and the first meetings are on our own, we will hardly be able to resist the attraction and kiss each other. The first tentative touches are also on the agenda - the next phase of intimacy.

Phase 3: the first time

The first time with your supposed future partner is and remains something very special and makes you want more. Here we enter the most physically intimate phase of the relationship. After all, we literally get naked and give deep insights into our privacy.

Phase 4: The trust

Now comes a very crucial phase in the relationship. Trust needs to be built. This can take days, weeks, months, or even years. But once it's there, it's one of the most beautiful phases of intimacy. Because only when there is trust can we really let go.

Phase 5: the future

Once we have gone through all of these phases, the last intimate phase of the relationship comes - the future together. If the idea of ​​spending the rest of life together doesn't scare us, we've done everything right.

Also exciting: How to win his heart >>