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What Is Intimacy?
What Is Intimacy?
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What Is Intimacy?

This video explains different kinds of intimacy, including emotional, physical and sexual. It emphasizes that you need to know a person before you feel intimacy with them (and they have to know you too). The video explains that intimacy builds over time as you get to know someone and grow to care about each other. It also shows how intimacy can take longer to develop sometimes, depending on the situation and a person’s past experiences.  

Youth

Intimacy is the feeling of closeness that develops between people in a personal relationship. It builds over time, as you connect with someone and grow to care about each other. You need to get to know someone before you can begin to feel intimacy with them and they have to know you, too. Intimacy typically develops after people begin to trust and care about each other and is an important part of relationships.  

Within a relationship, intimacy can be emotional, physical or both. Emotional intimacy is being able to have honest communication with someone and know that they won’t judge you or betray your trust. You are able to be your true self around this person. Friends can share physical intimacy by giving each other a hug or consoling each other when feeling sad. Physical intimacy can be sexual but it doesn’t have to be. 

 

In a romantic relationship, intimacy can become sexual if it is something both partners want. Sexual intimacy can take time to develop as people get to know and feel comfortable with each other. It’s important to communicate with your partner about what kind of intimacy they want from the relationship and share with them what you are looking for, too.

For some people, intimacy can feel harder to develop. They might worry about how their body looks or whether they will be accepted as they are. Some people have gone through experiences like past trauma and may need more time to develop intimacy. Since intimacy requires a person to be vulnerable, if someone has been hurt in the past, it can be hard to trust again. Being understanding of this can help to establish a deeper connection with that person.  

FAQs

How do I become emotionally close with someone?

Emotional intimacy can be created in many ways. It can look different for different people. Building trust with someone often includes learning about each other and sharing your feelings. Closeness can also happen through having shared experiences or common interests.

What does “good or healthy communication” mean in a relationship?

Communication is an important part of any healthy relationship. It means being able to tell someone how you feel, what you need, what you believe and what you want in an open and honest way. It also means listening to and understanding someone else’s feelings, needs, beliefs and desires with the same respect you would want from them. Ideally, people will feel safe sharing these things with each other without fear of a negative reaction.

It can take time and practice for two people to learn to communicate clearly with each other but it’s worth it to build mutual respect.

Parents

For some people, intimacy, or “being intimate,” is used as another term for sexual activity. However, there is much more to intimacy than just sex. Intimacy is the feeling of closeness that develops between people in a personal relationship. It builds over time, as you get to know someone and grow to care about each other. You need to get to know someone before you can begin to feel intimacy with them and they have to know you, too. Intimacy typically develops after people begin to trust and care about each other and is an important part of relationships. 

Within a relationship, intimacy can be emotional, physical or both. Emotional intimacy is being able to have honest communication with someone and know that they won’t judge you or betray your trust. You are able to be your true self around this person. Friends can share physical intimacy by giving each other a hug or consoling each other when feeling sad. Physical intimacy can be sexual but it doesn’t have to be. 

 

In a romantic relationship, intimacy can become sexual if it is something both partners want. Sexual intimacy can take time to develop as people get to know and feel comfortable with each other. It’s important for people in a relationship to discuss what kind of intimacy they would like. This communication is a way of setting boundaries. Teaching your child how to establish their own boundaries and respect others’ boundaries is important.  

 

For some, intimacy can feel harder to develop. People might worry about how their body looks or whether they will be accepted as they are. Some people may have gone through experiences like past trauma and need more time to develop intimacy. Since intimacy requires a person to be vulnerable, if someone has been hurt in the past, it can be hard for them to trust again. Being understanding of this can help to establish a deeper connection with that person. 

 

Nurturing a bond of emotional intimacy with your child will help set a good example of how they can achieve intimacy in their other relationships. Set aside time without electronics to really get to know your child on a personal level. You could put a question in their lunchbox and discuss it when you see them after school. Ask them what kind of activities they would like to do with you and then follow through. Let your child know that they can be honest with you without fear of judgment. Most importantly, talk with them about trust and what are signs that someone can be trusted. All of these will help your child learn how to create feelings of closeness with others.  

  

CONSERVATION STARTERS 

If you start important conversations about topics like intimacy with your children, then they will know they can come to you with questions. The easiest way to start these conversations is to talk about issues as they come up in everyday life, like while watching TV shows or movies together. 

Bring up intimacy while watching shows or movies.

After watching a show/movie that displays a relationship building over time, ask your child how they think the people came to feel close to one another. How did they show they cared for each other? What ways did they establish trust?

Bring up intimacy when your child talks about a close friend.

If your child mentions a close friend, encourage them to share why they consider them a close friend. Use this opportunity to explain what intimacy is between friends and how important it is to have people you feel close to.   

Educators

For some people, intimacy, or “being intimate,” is used as another term for sexual activity. However, there is much more to intimacy than just sex. Intimacy is the feeling of closeness that develops between people in a personal relationship. It builds over time, as you get to know someone and grow to care about each other. You need to get to know someone before you can begin to feel intimacy with them and they have to know you too. Intimacy typically develops after people begin to trust and care about each other and is an important part of relationships. 

Intimacy is an important part of relationships and reduces feelings of loneliness.  

 

Within a relationship, intimacy can be emotional, physical or both. Emotional intimacy is being able to have honest communication with someone and know that they won’t judge you or betray your trust. You are able to be your true self around this person. Friends can share physical intimacy by giving each other a hug or consoling each other when feeling sad. Physical intimacy can be sexual but it doesn’t have to be. 

 

In a romantic relationship, intimacy can become sexual if it is something both partners want. Sexual intimacy can take time to develop as people get to know and feel comfortable with each other. It’s important for people in a relationship to discuss what kind of intimacy they would like. This communication is a way of setting boundaries.

 

For some, intimacy can feel harder to develop. People might worry about how their body looks or whether they will be accepted as they are. Some people may have gone through experiences like past trauma and need more time to develop intimacy. Since intimacy requires a person to be vulnerable, if someone has been hurt in the past, it can be hard for them to trust again. Being understanding of this can help to establish a deeper connection with that person. 

National Sex Education Standards

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:

What is the difference between emotional and physical intimacy?
In the video, how did S2 and Jade develop their friendship?
Why is intimacy an important part of relationships?
How can you communicate about what kind of intimacy you are comfortable with?

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