Integrated Intimacy: Nourishing the Whole Woman

September 20, 2022

Who you are as an integrated woman, matters for creating meaningful relationships. 

In fact, research has repeatedly shown that intimacy is associated with satisfaction in romantic relationships, friendships, and the health and well-being of the individual–essentially, the cultivation of healthy intimacy is teeming with benefits for us and others.

Intimacy is more than sex or pleasure. It’s about seeing the whole person and cultivating a space of belonging–providing reassurance, emotional support, care, and love, leading to deeper understandings of self and others (Prager et al. 2013)

We can’t be intimate with every single person. But we can grow in our capacity to be loved and to love in all areas of our lives. For some, painful attachment experiences with caregivers early in childhood, relational trauma, abuse, or neglect may make it difficult to engage in intimacy due to underlying fears or anxieties such as abandonment, rejection, or the disappointment of being let down or betrayed. For others, there is the question of how–wondering what a healthy intimate relationship even looks like and how to cultivate it. For some individuals and cultures, the vulnerability inherent in intimacy may be seen as a weakness or a risk–the risk of exploitation, harm, or hurt befalling themselves or loved ones.

Wherever you find yourself today–we believe that you are able to grow your levels of intimacy so that you can thrive in your growth-fostering relationships. As with the learning of any new skill or behavior, beginning with self-reflection and awareness can help bring attention to the areas where we struggle most so that we can focus with intentionality on nourishing and strengthening those areas.

Here are a brief set of questions to get you started in nourishing intimacy for this season of your life: 

MIND

Intellectual intimacy 

Values: Curiosity 

  • How does investing in my intellectual growth inspire the intellectual growth of another person?
  • What are some things that the other person and I might be able to have conversations about where we learn and grow together? 

HEART

Emotional Intimacy 

Values: Vulnerability 

  • Why is vulnerability important for intimacy?
  • Who am I emotionally connected to right now? 
  • Is emotional intimacy in my relationships built upon mutual respect for ourselves and for each other?  

BODY

Physical Intimacy 

Values: Nourishment

  • How can I share my affection with this person with respect to them and the nature of our relationship? 
  • What form of physical affection am I most receptive to? 
  • What form of physical affection are others in my life receptive to — that also makes us both feel safe and respected? 

SPIRIT

Spiritual Intimacy 

Values: Humility and Compassion

  • Do I know and believe that my worth is unconditional? Do my interactions and relationships with others follow the fact that I am loved beyond condition?
  • Do I see myself as an integrated wom
  • an — mind, body, and soul?
  • Am I intentionally cultivating a vision of the woman I desire to be and become?
  • Am I in a relationship where both parties can be fully alive? 

Friend, give yourself permission to cultivate whole, authentic intimacy today. Because friend, you are oh so worth it.

References

Prager, K. J., Shirvani, F. K., Garcia, J. J., & Coles, M. (2013). Intimacy and positive psychology. In M. Hojjat & D. Cramer (Eds.), Positive psychology of love (pp. 16-29). Oxford University Press

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