Physical Intimacy: The second letter of S.P.R.I.N.T.
I came across this beautiful definition for the word “intimacy” from a licensed and independent clinical social worker (LICSW) by the name of Jennifer Kogan. It goes something like this; “Intimacy is a process whereby we feel truly seen, known by and connected to our partner”. I loved it and it truly hit home for me. The best definition I have seen through all of my studies and research.
I looked up the word, “physical” in Webster’s dictionary. One of the definitions listed appeared so simple. It stated: of or relating to the body.
So, for me it makes sense that physical intimacy is being together and affectionate with your partner, where each individual feels seen, known and connected. Physical intimacy means so much more than just “heading to our bedroom”, it includes everything from hugging, eye contact, holding hands, cuddling on the couch and sexual intercourse. Physical intimacy creates such a deep emotional connection and that connection is strengthened for me even when I am touched both romantically and otherwise.
**We’ve made our way to an upscale restaurant and bar in downtown St. Paul. We walk in and the lights are dim, but we are still able to see that the place is packed. We are there to celebrate a great friends 50th birthday. As we make our way over to the largest group gathered around the bar, I recognize some familiar faces. Soon, the conversations begin. We both grab ourselves a glass of champaign and become engaged in discussions. The night is progressing just fine when suddenly I find myself in the middle of a political rampage. My least favorite topic. I start to become uncomfortable and begin fidgeting with my champaign. Just as I am planning my exit strategy, I feel a light touch on the small of my back. I don’t even have to turn around to find out who is responsible because I am so familiar with my husband’s touch.
**The sound of the alarm clock is ringing in my ears again as I desperately reach for the button to press snooze for the third time. I am struggling to open my eyes, but when I finally do, I realize I have overslept. I am late, I am real late. I look over to see my husband lying on his back sound asleep making the most miserable snoring noise as I shout out, “Oh my gosh hon, it’s seven o’clock!” We both jump out of bed and rush to the shower. We are in and out as efficiently as we can be. He’s brushing his teeth and I’m combing my hair in a panic. What a mess as we are tripping over each other to get out the door. Total chaos! Until… we stop for one brief moment and he leans over to kiss me. The smallest peak of calmness enters my morning and we run out the door our separate ways.
**My husband has been away on and off all summer. He is traveling around the states coaching wrestling camps. I miss him. My body physically misses him. The anticipation of his arrival is almost unbearable. I hear the doorknob turn and my heart rate increases. The door opens and I can not get to him fast enough. He wraps his arms around me and I melt in his arms.
For me, these are all forms of physical intimacy and each example connects me to my partner on levels that are hard to explain. From hugging to holding hands to kissing to cuddling to eye contact to actual sexual intercourse, physical intimacy affects every aspect of my relationship. When I look at my relationship, physical touch even impacts my mental and emotional health. Having this deep connection gives me a sense of trust and commitment. It creates another form of communication. Physical intimacy brings me feelings of safety, comfort and love. I truly believe physical intimacy is vital in all relationships.