What is Intimacy?

Expanding The Definition of Intimacy

A lot of people come into my office and talk about having no sex. Yes, that is a lack of intimacy, but sex is only a part of intimacy. They fail to see the part before sex, which is super important too.

I’ll ask them questions such as, “how are you with conflicts?” “How are you and your significant other with expressing yourselves?” And their response is, “We don’t do any of that.” There’s the problem.

Let’s talk about the stage before sex and what that entails. There are three parts to that.

A lot of people have confused or oversimplified the stage before sex. Which is communication. You do need to communicate, but there is a specific way to communicate, which I have broken down into three stages.

The stage before sex is crucial. Men tend to minimize it, and women tend to overemphasize it. Communication isn’t just sitting down and babbling. There are three parts of the pre-stage of sex that makes it intimate.

First, being able to know what you’re feeling. It sounds simple, but it is incredibly hard for some people. They talk about what they’re thinking, but it’s tough for them to name the actual feeling they are feeling. Telling someone what you’re thinking is different than naming the feeling. We can tell anyone what we’re thinking, but we share what we’re feeling with our significant other, this is what makes it intimate.

You have to be able to name what you’re feeling. Example: Some people say,  “My wife came home late, and I told her she shouldn’t be late; it’s wrong to be late.” I ask them to name their feelings, and they proceed to say that the wife was wrong to be late, she shouldn’t be late, and they can’t trust her.

The issue is, those are all thoughts. I have to stop some people and name feelings; that way, they can pick the feeling. In this case, it is typically anger. Being able to name your feeling is taking the time to think long enough about what you’re feeling and being able to name the feeling. 

Second, is being able to express the feeling — any emotion, anger, sadness, joy, frustration, or hopefulness. We want you to be able to express your emotions in an emphatic way. Emphatic means you’re listening to the other person expressing their feelings, as well.

Thirdly, if there is conflict after expressing the feelings, the next step is being able to navigate that smoothly and being able to navigate the different emotions, feelings, and dreams between you and your significant other. This is how you communicate. Fully understanding intimacy and being able to do this right, sets you up for a good sex life.

Knowing all three of the stages- name your emotion, express your emotion, and deal with any conflict is the expanded definition of intimacy.


If you have any questions or problems with this, give us a call or send us a text at (757)340-8800.

For more topics, go to www.drldabney.com


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