Intimacy is SO Much More Than Sex!
Intimacy is so much more than just physical or sexual but many times it can be confused to mean only a sexual experience.
In today's episode, I take a deep dive "into me see" or better known as Intimacy. I'll talk about what intimacy is, and the barriers that could get in the way of exploring deeper intimacy with yourself or another.
The ability to understand this, explore it and what might be keeping you from having deeper, intimate connections can be the difference between having a mediocre relationship and having a soul-nourishing, fulfilling relationship.
I'll help you find ways to cultivate deeper intimacy with your partner while also exploring it within yourself. For more tips on how to get to know yourself, have a listen to Episode 6 of this podcast.
If you want to improve your communication skills, run don't walk to get Multiamory's newest book, "Essential Tools for Modern Relationships." You can find it here.
This is Relationships Reimagined.
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Podcast Music by Zachariah Hickman
Ad Music by Playsound from PixabySupport the show
Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.
Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from soloramory to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guide, Ca Jarislow, best-selling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become. The year was 1994. The place was New York City. I was two years out of college, working for a commercial casting director in Midtown Manhattan. I worked on many national commercials for brands like Wendy's, kraft and United States Postal Service. While the work was fast-paced, it was never soul-nourishing. I was a theater person and wanted to work on more complex projects. So when one of the founders of the theatrical sensation Blue man Group walked into my office to reconnect with my boss, I was ecstatic. They were completing their initial three-year run of their off-Broadway show at the Astor Place Theater. The three creators wanted to buy out their producers, self-produce and build an international company with shows in multiple cities. But to accomplish this lofty dream. They first needed to stop performing, which meant they needed to cast their replacements. This was the kind of dynamic company I had dreamed about. I hadn't seen the show. I mean, I was living on about $800 a month in Manhattan. I could barely afford my rent utilities and basic food, so I was thrilled that they invited us to see the show before we signed on to the project. The night of the performance arrived and I decided to take my boyfriend. This was the guy I thought was going to be my future husband. Sure, we had only been dating for about four months, but we got serious fast and started talking about a future together. Within two months of our first date, we had amazing seats in the third row. If you've ever seen a blue man show, you know that the closer you are, the messier it could be. When we got to our seats, we noticed ponchos folded neatly over the back and, following those around us, slid them over our head. We didn't know what they were for, but we were intrigued, yet cautious, as to what was coming. Usher's then came through the audience to give us crepe paper to creatively decorate ourselves with, to show the blue man that we were excited and engaged Again. My boyfriend and I looked at each other, smiled and laughed, with a little bit more of an uncomfortable giggle, wondering what the show was about. The lights went down with the thunder of tribal music and my nervous excitement was at an all time high. I felt something big going on within me in those first moments. I didn't know what was happening to me, what I was feeling, but it felt big. Three blue men appeared in silhouette, hitting on a drum, as if it was a call out to the audience, saying we're here, expect the unexpected. As the show progressed, the blue man would break the fourth wall, that's, the imaginary wall that sits between performers and audience. It was getting clear that we, the audience, was just as much a part of this experience as they were. At one point in the show, the lights faded to a spotlight on the three blue men. The music was a low but anticipatory drone. The blue men began to touch each other's face as if they were touching up their blue mask. They stopped, looked at each other intently as the music intensified and then, all of a sudden, the band erupted. The lights exploded and the blue men turned and glared at the audience. I could feel my skin get prickly and before I could figure out what was going on, the blue men went into the audience. One walked down the aisle, but the other two climbed over the seats. A blue man climbed right over to me, stopped and looked down at me Because he was towering over me. He bent down a bit and looked into my eyes, but he didn't just look into my physical eyes, he peered into my soul, as if he could see into me, and the energy that I felt coming from him was complete and utter acceptance and love. My instinct was to look away. I felt uncomfortable and scared, but I stayed with his gaze and opened myself up to being seen. I could feel my eyes well up with tears because in that one moment I realized something so important about myself. I viscerally understood how shut off and guarded I had become. I was terrified to be seen, really seen, terrified of intimacy and vulnerability. It's easy to understand how I had gotten there. Parts of my childhood experience led me unconsciously to feeling safer, closed off from others. But this blue man gave me two very powerful gifts that day. First was the awareness of how I closed myself off, and second was the safety to be seen by another, even if just for that one moment. It was a spiritual experience, to say the least. That moment of opening myself up to another and allowing myself to be seen began my intimacy journey with myself and others, and this is what I'm going to talk about in today's episode Intimacy what it is, different types of intimacy, what can get in the way of experiencing intimacy, and ways to begin or continue your own journey with intimacy. In the beautiful yet complex dance of human relationships, intimacy is the foundation that holds the connections together. Whether you're navigating solo, amary, monogamy, non-monogamy or anything in between, the quest for genuine intimacy remains a common thread, and the more intimacy we're able to cultivate, the more fulfilling our relationships can become. So let's first talk about what intimacy is. Many people, when they hear this word, instantly think intimacy is sexual or physical. In fact, many people interchange intimacy with sex, and while it can be sexual in nature, it is so much more than just physical. At its core, intimacy is the profound sense of closeness, vulnerability and emotional connection shared between individuals. Ever heard intimacy talked about as into me see, or into me I see? Intimacy is the practice of bearing one's soul, allowing oneself to be seen, heard and understood authentically, and while physical intimacy is what most people think about when they hear this word, there are other ways it can be expressed and experienced, including emotional, intellectual and spiritual. So what do these look and feel like? Well, first I want to touch on physical intimacy. While most people associate this with sexual activity, physical intimacy also includes non-sexual touch cuddling, hugging and holding hands. These gestures can help to cultivate a sense of care and affection. Next, emotional intimacy involves opening up about feelings, fears, dreams and past experiences. It's about being receptive to your partner's emotions and creating a safe space for them to express themselves. Intellectual intimacy involves engaging in deep conversations, sharing thoughts on various subjects and respecting each other's viewpoints. This kind of connection feels mental stimulation and growth. Spiritual intimacy involves sharing spiritual beliefs, exploring existential questions and supporting each other's spiritual journeys. It's about connecting on a profound level, beyond the material world. And one last kind of intimacy is experiential intimacy, which involves engaging in shared activities, adventures or hobbies that promote experiential intimacy. These shared memories create a unique bond between partners. True intimacy thrives in an environment of safety, trust and mutual respect. Communication, active listening and non-judgmental attitudes are foundational, creating a space where both partners feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions without fear of rejection or ridicule is imperative to foster intimacy, and when these are not a part of a relationship, barriers will build and strengthen. This will create an unstable foundation which can create more wounding as time passes. So several factors can hinder the development of intimacy. One is the fear of vulnerability. Opening up and revealing your innermost self can be terrifying. Fear of rejection or judgment might prevent you from being vulnerable. There is communication challenges. Poor communication or lack of active listening can lead to misunderstandings and hinder emotional closeness. Another is your past baggage. Unresolved issues from past relationships or childhood experiences can impact one's ability to trust and connect deeply. And lastly, busyness and neglect. In the non-stop life that many of us lead, you may neglect spending quality time with your partner or your time together can wind up just being about logistics and to-dos. This leads to emotional distance. Do any of these resonate with you? Awareness and acknowledgement is key when wanting to create or deepen intimacy with another. Make a list of what might be getting in the way of the intimacy with a partner or with yourself. And yes, intimacy with yourself is imperative and invaluable. If you're scared to really know and see yourself, how will you be able to open up to a partner, can you find the love and acceptance with the deepest, most vulnerable parts of yourself. If this is really challenging for you, I highly recommend reaching out to a therapist or coach to help you cultivate self-intimacy. And also, I think it's important to say that you don't have to have complete and total intimacy with yourself before beginning that cultivation with another, but it is important to at least be in the awareness and the journey of that with yourself. Okay, so you've thought about what keeps you creating more intimacy with yourself and others, and now you're ready to explore this with yourself and your partner or partners. And first I do want to say that it's imperative to determine if you are physically, emotionally, mentally safe to go into this process with your other person. Keep yourself safe from harm this is the priority. But if you've determined that you are safe and the other person has the capacity to meet you in a space of respect and openness, which doesn't mean they're perfect, it just means that they have the capacity to do this here are some ways to cultivate and deepen intimacy. First, practice open communication. Yes, I know I talk about the importance of communication a lot, but it is really that important. Share your thoughts, feelings and desires openly. Encourage your partner to do the same. Do your best to create a judgment-free zone for discussion. I highly recommend the book Essential Tools for Modern Relationships by Emily Dedeker and Jace of the Multiamary podcast. Their tools are insightful and practical. I'll link that book in the show notes. Prioritize quality time. Dedicate time to connect without distractions. Engage in activities you both enjoy or simply spend quiet moments together. These are moments where you get out of the day-to-day tasks and to-dos and can relax into something enjoyable and nourishing. Embrace vulnerability. Okay, many times. Easier said than done, I know, but this is where awareness is your friend. When you're at a choice point, that moment where you feel vulnerable and you usually choose to pull away or deflect, choose differently. Choose to be brave enough to share your fears, insecurities and past experiences. Vulnerability breeds intimacy. Practice active listening. Give your partner your full attention when they're speaking. Show empathy and understanding. Ask questions to really understand what your partner says by their words and intonations. Don't assume you know. Ask until you understand to the best of your ability. Foster trust. Trust is a foundation of intimacy. Consistently, demonstrate reliability and honesty. Ask your partner what they need to feel cared for and loved. This is where knowledge around love languages can be helpful. If they feel loved when you give them a little foot massage, but you express love through telling them that you love them, so through your words, there could be a disconnect which could affect the trust between you. Another way to grow intimacy with your partner is to explore together. Whenever I get out of my everyday life, even for an afternoon, and experience something new with my partner, it creates a deeper connection between us and creates lasting memories. What new and exciting experience could you engage in with your partner every month? This doesn't have to be huge. It can be as simple as going to a new restaurant, going on a new hike or going to see a show. Find healthy ways to manage conflict. Disagreements are natural. Learn to address conflicts respectfully and find solutions together. Again, that multi-amory book gives great tools to help you in this area. Support each other's growth. Encourage your partner's personal development and ask for their support. Be their cheerleader in pursuing their goals and passions and let them cheer you on when you feel supported to do something scary. It can help to create a strong bond while also giving the space to express your deeper fears about future dreams. Cultivate physical affection, offering non-sexual physical touch frequently or small gestures like cuddling or holding hands can help to build or reinforce closeness and finally celebrate each other. Express appreciation and celebrate milestones, both big and small. Acknowledging each other's achievements can strengthen the bond between you. When beginning exploration of intimacy within yourself or others, start with the easiest ways first. What's one small thing you can do today to connect with your loved one? What's one small thing you can do to connect with yourself? For ideas on this part, check out episode 6 of this podcast, titled how Do I Get to Know Myself? Remember, when faced with something scary, it's easy to push it off until tomorrow. Intimacy is a journey, not a destination. It takes time to grow and nurture, but with continual attention and intention you can experience deeper connections and more fulfilling relationships through this beautiful practice of intimacy. Stay curious. Thanks so much for listening to the Relationship Diversity podcast. Want to learn more about relationship diversity? I've got a free guide I'd love to send you. Go to wwwrelationshipdiversitypodcastcom to get your sent right to you. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast. You being here and participating in the conversation about relationship diversity is what helps us create a space of inclusivity and acceptance together, the more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeroslowcom, instagram or TikTok. Stay curious. Every relationship is as unique as you are. Are you wondering why you never seem to find lasting fulfillment in your relationships? Or do you create the same kinds of relationship experiences over and over again? Can you never seem to find even one person who you want to explore a relationship with? Have you just given up hope altogether? If this sounds like you, my recent book why Do they Always Break Up With Me is the perfect place to start. The foundation of any relationship, whether intimate or not, is the relationship we have with ourselves. In the book, I lead you through eight clear steps to start or continue your self-exploration journey. You'll learn about the importance of self-acceptance, gratitude, belief, shifting and forgiveness, and given exercises to experience these life-changing concepts. This is the process I use to shift my relationships from continual heartbreak to what they are now fulfilling, soul-nourishing, compassionate and loving. It is possible for you. This book can set you on a path to get there, currently available through Amazon or through the link in the show notes.