Getting Intimate With Intimacy « Date Camp
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Getting Intimate With Intimacy

By Joanna Kennedy, Intimacy Coach


Let’s get intimate with intimacy today.  This is one of my favorite relationship topics to explore with men and women.  We have so many ideas about what intimacy means and how much of it we want or don’t want in our lives.  Sometimes we think we want it, or even seem to crave it, and at the same time, some part of us, usually unconsciously, pushes intimacy away.  This dynamic commonly plays out in our dating life.  When meeting  prospective partner or lover, we can wonder inside our head, “How intimate should I be?  How soon?”

What does intimacy really mean?  Over the years I’ve heard many definitions, and some of them have deeply resonated with me while others seemed to fall short.  The simple definition of intimacy I use is:  I am intimate with you when I reveal a part of myself that I wouldn’t ordinarily reveal to the average person on the street.  With that being said, intimacy can happen on many different levels.  It can happen physically, emotionally, even spiritually.  And, here’s the piece that I think catches most people by surprise:  Intimacy doesn’t require two people to be intimate!  Intimacy only requires one person to be intimate.  Intimacy does not require the other person to be intimate with you in order for both of you to have experienced intimacy.  We may desire that, but it’s not required.  So in dating, you get to choose when and how you want to be intimate.  You can even choose to initiate!

Have you ever witnessed someone share something from deep within their heart or had someone share a secret dream with you or an old hurt?  These are powerful moments.  I know I’m about to experience great intimacy with someone when they say, “I’ve never said this before,” or “I rarely tell anyone this.”  Wow.  What a blessing!

15 - Hot Tub DateHere’s another common explanation of intimacy that always serves as a simple reminder for me.  Intimacy means in-to-me-you-see.  I let you see into me.  It also means in-to-me-I-see because I must look inside myself to find my true thoughts and feelings before I can authentically share them with you and really let you see me.  If I let you see inside me, we have experienced intimacy.  Intimacy can be shared by close friends, lovers, even complete strangers.  And it can absolutely happen with our clothes on!

A common myth about intimacy arises when we believe we don’t have control over it.  We do.  We are in full control of whether we experience intimacy as it is inherently defined by our choice to let someone else in, to let them see us.  Some of us think it requires another person to open up before we can open up.  It’s simply not true.  When we open up and share ourselves, then we have intimacy.  Years ago I used to complain that the men I dated just weren’t being intimate, but it was me who wasn’t being intimate!  I wasn’t sharing myself and I was asking them to do what I wasn’t willing to do first.


How intimate are you willing to be?

Before we close, let’s look at one more perspective on intimacy that I love.  In reading the book Passionate Marriage by Dr. David Schnarch, I found his definition of intimacy intriguing:

    Intimacy = Exposure

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This is exactly what I’ve been describing here.  When we reveal or expose ourselves, we are intimate.  Brandon Bays, a spiritual teacher of mine, describes spiritual freedom like this:

    Freedom = Exposure

So by simple mathematics (who would have thought about math in a conscious relating article!), if intimacy = exposure and freedom = exposure, then by definition:

    Intimacy = Freedom


If you’ve been concerned about losing your freedom and autonomy in a relationship, intimacy is the answer.  If you are fully intimate – fully authentic – in your dating and romantic relationships, you will automatically experience the deepest and truest freedom available to you.

You might even say the following sentence to yourself,  “I will experience spiritual freedom when I am fully intimate with everyone I meet.  In other words, if I stop hiding, stop pretending and authentically share myself, I can be nothing other than free.”

If you’ve been seeking freedom in your life, give intimacy a chance!


Joanna Kennedy and the Center for Happiness, Love and Pleasure offer a variety of one-on-one private sessions and products focused on conscious intimacy, love and sexuality.  Visit or email Joanna at


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