August 22, 2009

About That Intimacy Thing — Part I

I heard a definition for intimacy recently that I wanted to share with everyone here.

"Intimacy is the freedom from anxiety
in the presence of vulnerability."

Wow! That is definitely it! And there are huge lessons for us to take here as husbands. Today, I'd like to talk about the sexual aspect of intimacy. Next time we'll talk about a few of the other aspects.

Just think about sexual intimacy for a minute. There is probably no greater act that illustrates this definition more. You are naked, for one. Naked in front of another person, two. Naked touching another person, three. Naked trying to please another person, four. Then you add that vulnerable place your mind goes during the act itself and this definition has really come to life. Does she think I'm ugly? Does she think I'm small? Do I really please her? Does she really love me? What is she thinking right now?

Intimacy is the freedom from anxiety in the presence of vulnerability. Those unsure thoughts we have about ourselves are most definitely the presence of vulnerability. Vulnerability is leaving yourself open for attack of any kind, and sex lays it all out there for the taking — mind, heart, and body.

I suppose this is why my sex life is so much greater now — years into our marriage — than it was when we first got married. My wife and I were both virgins on our wedding night and on a scale of 1-10, the level of anxiety was probably a 27. The experience was amazing and it will always be a beautiful memory, however we only saw the tip of the ice berg of intimacy that night. It took us quite a while to feel completely comfortable with each other, but today I can definitely say that I am free from any sexual anxiety even though the level of vulnerability has remained the same. That's intimacy.

True sexual intimacy can only be reached when both partners are seeking to provide an environment free from anxiety during this vulnerable moment. But how do we get there? This is going to mean different things for different couples. For husbands, we need our wives to validate our manhood. I need to know that you are turned on by me, I need to know that the biological cards I've been dealt are able to satisfy you. I need you to build me up sexually in any way you can come up with — both in and out of the bedroom. When we hear you say the things we want to feel are true about ourselves, anxiety disappears and intimacy is cultivated. We're still just as vulnerable — your words and actions can crush us at any moment — but you choose to love instead. (And, as an aside, please never underestimate the power of you initiating sex has over those anxiety levels. A wife sexually desiring her husband is one of the most powerful ways she can validate his manhood.)

However, husbands, listen to me here: She can't do that well if we are not just as focused on getting rid of her anxieties. And, much to many a husband's dismay, she brings her anxieties to the bedroom. The depth of her sexual intimacy is directly proportionate to the depth of her emotional intimacy with you.

And we'll talk about that next time.


  1. I can't tell you how much I needed to read that right at this moment. Virginity, purity, rejoicing in both - my mind has been humming like a song without complete lyrics. I have fought to save myself, and oftentimes I'm discouraged by the reality of what the cost is against the pressures the world likes to push upon us.

    Thank you for your honesty. I have been a happy fan of this blog for a while, and I look forward to seeing where you take this discussion.

    In fact, I'm inspired to write a post on my own thoughts and struggles right now on my blog.

  2. Hey!

    Thanks for your response. Life is taking quite a crazy turn right now, but I'm encouraged and am running as hard as I can right now.

    I said I was going to post on my "stance on virginity," per your blog. And I did. Take a look here:

    The link might not show up, but I repeat: you did encourage me.


  3. Great post in so many ways!


    After 12 years of marriage, true intimacy still doen't come completely naturally!