How do you experience intimacy?

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
To me, intimacy is "in to me you see", and vice versa. And more than knowing, understanding. (Neither quotes are my own). It is the tenderness, safety, protectiveness and relative uniqueness of the dyadic one is in. It is being couargeous enough to be honest but not caring how it is ultimately received. It is truth. To me, it is like a Venn diagram between two people, except between 2 hearts +/or souls, it is the place where 2 individuals overlap in a place sacred to them, but with their own intact identities and consentual boundaries.

JMHThoughts.
 
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Mee

MyPTSD Pro
Yes, something about being seen. I desperately want, and fear also. If you believe you are bad to the core, or that at least other’s always seem to believe you are, then being seen is frightening.
I totally agree with this .

There are ‘getting to know you’ questions I really dislike …. Like ‘what kind of music do you like? ‘ or ‘what’s your favourite….’ They are gateways into vast topics that are too vast to answer quickly for me and to open openly feels too vulnerable. I also dislike that my true attempts at shortened answers people receive as evasive or feel I am insincere or on the fence. That’s not true ( lack of being seen!) I’m decisive in my lack of favourites of most things and my choices being mood, time, place , season and weather dependant.
 
I’m curious about what ways to be intimate that you are aware of but find difficult.
Anything requiring vulnerability with my partner (or any loved one, but I'm talking specifically about my partner). Talking about hard topics. Kissing. Even arguing can be intimate. I don't really like any of them, but the more intimacy I share with my partner, the better our relationship is.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
Intimacy is when you can truly relax around someone. Intimacy with those your extra close with... makes me think of sitting on the couch together leaning against each other. Comfortable to have silence. Kissing. Interesting I don't necessarily think of sex as intimacy. Intimacy is being able to cry in front of someone.. something I can't do. It's being emotionally vulnerable.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
For me intimacy is a moment that I show myself and literally give or allow another person to say or do something that can be extremely damaging, harming, embarrassing or even alienating. Meaning, that I put my belly up like a dog and have someone to sniff me - or have such a moment or ability to hurt my feelings. Now I have had many times these type of hurt/rejection (mostly unintendedly or misunderstandings etc) and the more I have with the right person (usually my husband), the stronger I become and the more I take chances with him or even with others. Knowing and learning that the feelings after (if negative do not kill me - and often my own imagination of their weight is much heavier than the real experience). If that makes any sense.
edit - a good example is if my husband rejects me for sex...it is embarrassing, a bit annoying, sometimes hurt (and sometimes depending on my mood - can go off tangent like a bit jealousy creeps in) but often it is OK. I got over it quite fast and painless. But I put myself out and read his body language wrong and nothing happened...I also say no many times but my delivery (I think) is better than his. Maybe it is harder for him to say no...idk.

This moment of opening up myself and "waiting" another person to respond used to be one thing I avoid like the plague! Now I feel it is normal ...most of the time...depends!
 
Everyone’s responses here are so amazing!

Vulnerability is also the thing that comes to mind for me with intimacy. Two people’s energies connecting. Taking a chance and trusting the other person. I was also thinking about non-verbal cues - the senses, tone, and body language - that are beyond words.

With my kids, intimacy looks like holding them while watching a movie together, giving lots of hugs and affirmations, listening to their stories, making time to play. I love how my youngest watches my actions and my face intently as I’m pretending with his toys. 🥰 Those feel like very intimate moments. With my fiancé, intimacy can be as simple as touching his arm. It means a lot to me to be held. Eye contact. Sometimes intimacy also means that he understands when I can’t be touched. He does things to help me when I can’t make eye contact (usually when feeling ashamed or afraid).

It surprises me sometimes that touch is so important to me anymore, because I used to be very touch-adverse. I don’t have much experience with intimacy beyond my fiancé and kids. There was no affection in my family growing up. I would get nauseous and afraid showing affection to my ex-husband, though he never knew that. At one point when I was older my mother decided that hugs would be forced, to impress other people that we were a close family, so the message got a little confused for me along the way.

Awesome topic, thank you so much!
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
have one friend that I trust
That’s amazing! What are your interactions like with them that are different from all others?
couargeous enough to be honest but not caring how it is ultimately received
This is striking to me in the linking of courage with not caring. Courage and not caring. Courage but not caring. To be seen and received.
‘what’s your favourite….’ They are gateways into vast topics that are too vast
These bother me too. I rephrase them to “what is a (movie/song/place) you liked?”. It’s a random event and pinning favorite on it adds emotional weight. I hear you on shortened answers—the actual answer being too lengthy.
It’s everything
It certainly is on my mind a lot too!
don't really like any of them, but the more intimacy I share with my partner, the better
Interesting that they retain an element of dislike, which you find you push through to gain improvement. And I hadn’t considered arguing to be intimate… though I see how it could be… playful? Or fixing the rupture leads to vulnerability?
on the couch together leaning against each other. Comfortable

I can picture this. When my friend came over to watch the movie we were next to each other on the couch but I was so hyper aware that I didn’t want to “give the wrong idea” (it’s okay) that I kept my hands and feet to myself—but old me did flop on the couch with partners—present me can do that with my daughter. I like the image, wonder if I could do it again, I feel so hyper aware of proximity. I think it’s possible!
show pain/crying/blah
I appreciate the connection with crying and showing pain. Sometimes I forget that might be why I’m crying—I’m just thinking why am I leaking, what is happening—maybe I am showing pain? Blah.
or allow another person to say or do something that can be extremely damaging, harming, embarrassing or even alienating
This is helpful. Courage to be embarrassed could enable intimacy.
He does things to help me when I can’t make eye contact
This reminds me of a fling I had 20 years ago on a vacation in another country where I was crying before leaving him about how much I would miss him and he pushed open my arms with his face and said, “No! We are lucky! We are lucky to have had this experience!” And I had no problem staring in his eyes. But vacation boyfriends are different from boyfriends in real life.

And someone who helps you with eye contact sounds intimate. 🥺 When I haven’t had eye contact with T all session and that first time I creep my eyes up toward hers and she meets mine and it’s a sweet feeling.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
This is striking to me in the linking of courage with not caring. Courage and not caring. Courage but not caring. To be seen and received.
^^ Oh my, I guess my meaning got lost in the World Of Internet Words... I did not mean not caring in a crass or even courageous way; rather, the courage to be vulnerable, but not caring about the outcome as in not trying for it to be seen as a positive. In so far as I mean, being vulnerable and truthful (but not hurting someone- vulnerable about one's self),, but not trying to be accepted for it. If they don't, that's ok, it is honest. And actually, (just for me) being seen; is horrid, I'd rather not be. Which is why I'd rather be on the giving than receiving end. But I can't help being vulnerable, it's sort of a curse. But I don't think intimacy can be manufactured, at least not intimacy that lasts. So not caring about the outcome means being myself so the other person can choose based on fact, not being misled. I would rather be rejected for who I am than accepted for who I am not, and disappoint them later.
It's being emotionally vulnerable.
^^ I agree. And comfortable.

But, then again, Idk. I don't really think about stuff as much as I just 'live' it, go by my senses and feelings and the chips fall where they may. Maybe I should start?, Idk, lol. I don't think for me it matters to define it, except to say, what does this relationship or person mean to me? And do I enrich or hamper their life? People are complex. It takes years and quality to know each other and that is ever changing. Everyone is one part mystery, and that's why it isn't boring.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I was also thinking about non-verbal cues - the senses, tone, and body language - that are beyond words.

go by my senses
Okay, there’s a theme of using my senses. Mindfulness.
not caring about the outcome means being myself
This idea of being myself is one I am developing. When I am in a situation where I am at risk of being seen I think I split so I have a third person observer (ego?) feeding me ideas of how I should be acting based on past experiences and ideals. I don’t know what being myself means. I used to think it meant losing all boundaries.

I would say I am most myself around my kids. I like that person. When I am with someone new I carry that parent part with me, and also my bright adult fact checker. I wonder if being myself is like bringing out my inner child.
 
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