There are books dedicated to how we misuse and abuse certain words. There are snobby people who often like to correct folks when they misuse and abuse certain words. The Huffington Post even broke down a list of the 7 most misused words. I’d like to add one to the list.
There is one word folks haven’t quite gotten the grasp of and they use it really loosely and use it for all sorts of meanings.
That word is intimacy.
Some men seem to hate it because they think it’s code for give her more hugs, and there will be just cuddling and talking about feelings tonight.
On the flip side, some men think some super good loving is about to go down, because they are about to “get intimate.”
Department stores have sections consisting of lacy bras and panties and consider them “intimate apparel.” I guess the “you’re almost naked” section wouldn’t look good on a sign.
Either way the word intimate always seems to either point to sex, or the lack of it.
Women will throw around the word if they are feeling unloved or unappreciated or if their man has forgotten that there is such a thing as foreplay. “The intimacy has gone out of our relationship,” these women will say.
I asked a good male friend what he thought was the true definition of intimacy.
And he said that a good 80 percent of people don’t really get its true meaning. In a nutshell, he mentioned things that were right along my path of thinking the ability to be vulnerable with someone, and to share a deep connection.
To me, I think that intimacy has nothing to do with sex, wanting sex or not feeling like you’re being kissed and caressed enough during sex.
My definition, as shared with my homeboy is, that you can share intimacy with anyone you feel totally and completely comfortable around and trust 100 percent. Children and parents can have an intimate relationship, people of the same sex, friends, people who are romantically involved, your spiritual relationship, siblings.
The biggest piece to my definition is the responsibility of the other person. You have achieved true intimacy when you’ve let down your guard, you are vulnerable, you trust them, and that person understands how important you doing that is, and not violating that trust. They honor your conscious decision to let them into your life in such a private, special, meaningful way and they want to protect you and what you’ve built together.
Building intimacy takes a whole lot of time and patience and all of that stuff because you are building trust. It’s not a quick thing, or a fleeting thing. It’s lasting. It’s quite real, it’s comforting and scary at the same time because you are willingly handing over your trust.
Just because you are having sex, you are not experiencing true intimacy.
Just because you are just staring deeply into someone’s eyes over a candlelit dinner and haven’t had sex yet, that doesn’t make you an expert on it either.
There are plenty of people walking around thinking there is intimacy in their relationship because they are the ones doing all the talking during cuddle time, but they laying down of fears, the opening up, and the exposing of vulnerability has to come from BOTH parties.
I’m happy to say that even though I’m not in a relationship, or having sex, I can say that I share intimate relationships, by my definition with a couple of close friends and family members and all of those situations may be very different, but I feel the same way in each case. I will protect those people and their feelings and they will protect mine. They take their jobs seriously as people who love me and I do the same. There is a mutual appreciation for what we add to each others lives.
You don’t need lacy panties.
Sometimes you don’t need to talk.