You know those moments when you start reading something online and then you click on the next link and then the next link and so on? Before you know it, you are reading about stuff that you didn’t realize that you wanted to know, but you get so sucked in that you just keep going.
I started my reading with polyamory. That makes sense. I want to be more understanding of poly and the different forms of how people practice polyamory. It’s beautiful to see how people can make their relationships work. We all practice our relationships differently…and as long as it’s consenting adults, I can understand it.
My reading eventually lead down different roads and I began thinking about vulnerability and intimacy. Vulnerability is hard for me. I’m willing to talk about a lot of things, but there is a level of vulnerability that goes with sharing these things. It’s “easy” to share things on the blog…if I were to pass down the street in front of you, you wouldn’t know who I am. I don’t have to worry about you looking at me differently or wondering if I’m too taboo for you. Wondering if you knew who I was if you would smile at me or look at me with complete disgust.
I found this article that started talking about levels of intimacy…that there is 4 main levels – intellectual, emotional, physical, and sexual. It got me thinking about a lot of stuff… what type of intimacies do I have with the various people in my life. Each of these intimacies come with multiple levels of vulnerability. Each level of vulnerability prying a little bit more into who I am as a person.
First – let’s look at the definition of those levels as defined by betterhelp.com
- Intellectual intimacy – You can have discussions that center on big life questions, philosophies, and political ideologies.
- Emotional intimacy – When you are emotional intimate in a friendship or relationship, it means that your innermost thoughts are bare before the other person. You can be vulnerable around them instead of walking on eggshells, and you don’t feel judged.
- Physical intimacy – physical intimacy means you can be affectionate towards someone without necessarily being sexually intimate. You can hold hands, cry on each other’s shoulders, or hug.
- Sexual intimacy – those who have sexual intimacy are often highly passionate toward one another. Usually, it involves both people physically pleasuring one another. This kind of intimacy can be the most powerful.
4 levels of intimacy. Awesome. Great. Got it.
But it’s not like the people in our lives fit into just one category. They fit into 1, 2, 3, or even 4 categories. Even people within my polycule don’t all fit into the same categories. Certain friends are stronger in one category than other.
I’ve watched other relationships and friendships struggle as various levels of friendships go back and forth between the various levels of intimacy. Sometimes I struggle with what levels of intimacy I have with certain people in my life.
Which level of intimacies do I want with which people in my life?