A rather fierce debate broke out over at Sunshine Mary’s blog a few days ago over why men marry and what men look for in marriage. Much of the debate centered around the role of sex in marriage. I intruded into the debate to argue that it was intimacy which men sought in marriage, and not purely sex. The idea being that intimacy was a solution to The Void. However, this led to something of a minor disagreement between myself and the blog hostess over the nature/purpose of Christian marriage (the disagreement starts there and continues for a bit). I bowed out after the matter was diffused, in part because I wanted to think over the subject of intimacy more thoroughly.
What I had noticed is that Sunshine Mary distinguished between “physical intimacy” and “emotional intimacy.” I found this fascinating because I don’t make such a distinction. To me, there is only intimacy, although it has a physical and emotional component. But they are just that, components, pieces of a large whole. Here is how I see it:
Sexual intercourse (physical) + Feminine companionship (emotional) = intimacy (a fusion of physical and emotional acts)
As I see it, you cannot have the one without the other. A purely sexual relationship isn’t intimate, it is basically just a lust filled physical release. Whereas a companionship unaccompanied by sexual intercourse is not intimate, but merely a friendship. Perhaps a close friendship, but nothing more.
Clearly we are not on the same page about intimacy. Part of me wonders if we hold different views because I’m a man and she’s a woman. Or perhaps it is something else. So which of us is right?
Merriam-Webster defines Intimacy as: The state of being Intimate… or something of a personal or private nature.
Not exactly a very helpful description there. Which leads me to instead turn towards my loyal readers:
What is Intimacy? What constitutes intimacy in your book? Is is separated between the physical and emotional? Or are they merely different parts of a larger whole?
Your thoughts are appreciated.