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Sexy Time: Getting into how students define intimacy

After I received a letter from a concerned fan, I realized I needed to re-evaluate my perspective on relationships. Over the holiday season, I shared an intimate moment with a friend. We fell asleep holding each other. He was so close I could hear him swallow. It wasn’t sexual, and yet it was the most intense thing I’ve ever done with another person.

Intimacy is a key aspect of any relationship, whether it be a friendship or marriage. Our culture tends to define intimacy as something you should either wear a condom for or run to the doctor afterwards for a rabies shot. The word in itself simply sounds embarrassing—like something one of those chicks in Vagisil commercials twirling white sundresses would say.

Although showing a woman’s pierced nipples on MTV is totally fine, seeing a woman breast feeding her baby makes us cringe. How dare she feed her infant in Target? Does she have no shame? Hurry, I need to get home to watch that hot sex scene on “True Blood.”

Americans have intimacy issues, confusing intimacy to mean sex, when the definition of intimacy isn’t so clinical. In fact, intimacy is blurred. Is it a passionate embrace in a vulnerable moment? A deep conversation? A hand to hold? What is intimacy?

“Intimacy involves revealing to someone something you don’t on a regular basis,” Leslie Nava said.

Intimacy could be defined as a deep knowing of another person, which could be emotional or physical. When we become intimate with someone, we may need to whip out some latex – but not necessarily. In many cases, intimacy isn’t a sex act, but because sex is so prevalent in our society, the word brings up other thoughts in our minds. When I asked FGCU students what intimacy meant, they either looked at me like I was their grandmother or giggled. “I wouldn’t make out with my friend,” Lisa J. Consolazio said. “People think sexual, naughty things because sometimes intimacy is more physical than emotional at first,” Lance Schneider said.

It’s horrible to say, but in the first stage of relationships, we all think with our little pink hearts. And I don’t mean the one inside your chest. Many young women confuse sex with love because a woman’s arousal depends on her partner being attracted to her. When you live in a sexual society that doesn’t tell you what love feels like or says that sex is simply a physical act, it can be incredibly hard to decipher between the two. Perhaps our culture’s confusion of love and sex all comes down to our insecurities with trust and with sharing ourselves with another person.

“Intimacy is taking the next level and exposing yourself to another person,” Consolazio said. One of my closest friends is a pro-life catholic girl. During our mutual breakups, we held each other’s hand. We depended on each other, crosses and pentagrams and all, to make it through. Friendship and intimacy “interlap” because it takes faith in another person to feel safe in any relationship. On the other hand, not all friendships are intimate.

Intimacy takes time to build. I believe you know you’re intimate with someone when you lose sense of time and space when you’re with them. By pressing your heart against another person’s heart, your hearts will eventually beat at the same time. You may slow down, or you may speed up, but either way you will be there in that moment together as one. Intimacy is not a sexual connection to another person, but it certainly is primal, animalistic and human.

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