Ah, February. The smell of chocolate (and bitterness) is in the air as millions prepare for the most romantic day of the year.
When people envision Valentine’s Day, they usually picture couples spending quality time together, trading gifts, eating sweets–and, being intimate.
I imagine I’m not the only one who grew up equating the phrase “being intimate” to “sexual intercourse.” Which brings me to this month’s theme: What does intimacy really mean, and how can we claim this meaning for ourselves?
For a long time, I’ve felt the pressure from others around me to engage in some form of sexual intimacy. I internalized this pressure, so I started to engage with people casually. While it was fun, it wasn’t really fulfilling. After exploring that world, I found that it was more rewarding for me to talk to my friends on the phone for hours, or sing at open mic events. Despite all of the pressure, I realized that my relationship with intimacy was a perfectly normal one. There’s nothing wrong with it!
My favorite definition of intimacy is the seventh option on Dictionary.com: The quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar.
This broad definition helps to emphasize that intimacy can mean many different things for different people. Intimacy can exist with or without sex, and all forms of intimacy are valid. This February, don’t be afraid to explore what intimacy means to you.