Genuine intimacy is the process of being close with another person. Couples who are intimate, come out from behind their “mask” when they are with each other. They feel vulnerable, scared, insecure, and completely open to pain. They have moved beyond fear and anxiety about each other because of the deep level of connection and trust that comes with intimacy. The fear is no longer about “if they will be hurt”, but about “how” they will come together in the most vulnerable moments of pain and work through it. When genuine intimacy is achieved, you have nothing left to suspect or to withhold from your partner.
False intimacy is quite the opposite. When the intimacy is false in your relationships, there is a self-created illusion that helps you avoid the pain inherent in real intimacy. There is no vulnerability; false intimacy is intimate-type gestures and actions without any content. Just as two-dimensional, black-and-white silhouette suggests a real person, false-intimacy is a shadow of what is possible in relationships.
False intimacy is acting out and embracing fantasy, whether that fantasy is imaginary or real. This is where I begin to see the faulty and incorrect link between sex and intimacy. The reality is that sex is a part of intimacy, but is not the defining factor. We often fantasize about a relationship that is healthy (emotionally) and robust (sexually). But in actuality, we end up using sex not as a means to connect, but as a way to control in order to avoid a true connection.
Sex becomes one method for creating a sense of control in interactions between you and your partner. As a result, false intimacy provides an illusion of safety. With sexually fantasizing, there are no risks of rejection; as well, the guarantee of the participant―whether imaginary or real―being fully engaged. Clearly, this false intimacy becomes a sexual conquest for achieving unconditional acceptance. This is true for both males and females. So, the more we avoid facing things head on in our relationship, and continue to use sex as the main “connection” between partners, the less we achieve true intimacy.
So how can true intimacy be achieved?
- Use your relationship to teach you how to be an independent self! Relationships aren’t about having another person complete you, but coming to the relationship whole and sharing your life interdependently. By letting go of the romantic ideal of merging and becoming “one,” you learn to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.
- Be honest about who you’re dating. As mentioned before, false intimacy is linked to our perceived realities. When we become clear about who we are truly dating, and accept them as such, then we ca begin to connect with each other on a more complete and honest level.
- Understand that sex and intimacy are two separate entities. It is 100% possible to be in a very sexually robust relationship that lacks intimacy. Think of intimacy as an experience, a deep connection to your partner. Sex is an act that can happen with anyone. Intimacy is something you develop and create with another person.
- Take a look within, what are you afraid of? Intimacy means vulnerability. You have to be willing to open yourself, and trust another person before you can truly build an intimate relationship. If there is a lack of any of these, true intimacy can not be achieved. So take a second to think about what could be holding you back.
- Connect! Connect! Connect! Create opportunities for you and your partner to connect with each other outside of the bedroom. Find things to do, to talk about, or places to go. You have to create opportunities to connect emotionally.
Do you have questions about intimacy? Leave them below! Can’t wait to chat.