Intimacy is something that most people long for, and something that most people are afraid of. Most of us enjoy feeling a sense of closeness with another person, whether it be emotional, physical, or intellectual. But that same closeness makes us vulnerable, open to being hurt by someone who chooses to be irresponsible with intimacy, and we don’t like to be hurt. (Unless of course you’re into that sort of thing. Wink wink, nudge nudge.)
When people share secrets, opinions, or bodily fluids, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re intimate. But it does mean that they are willing to start sharing their life with another person, and that can certainly lead to intimacy. Intimacy is existing together with another being without pretense or insecurity, which is not an easy thing to do. It means shedding the walls we build up to protect ourselves and working conscientiously at living with a healthy awareness and acceptance of our flaws.
When you first realize that you’ve found intimacy, it may be while you’re laughing at a poker game with close friends, or crying on the shoulder of your significant other because someone in your family just died, or making love after 5 years of marriage. Regardless of when you find intimacy, make sure to treasure it. It’s one of the greatest blessings we have as human beings.