Emotional Intimacy: I need a deeper connection than touch

The first thing she notices when his hand lifts from covering her eyes is the 19th century canopy bed. Her senses are being tickled by the scented candles he had lit, and placed all over the otherwise dim-lit room. Rose petals are spread everywhere, and almost unnoticable soft music is playing in the background. He leads her to the bed, holding her hand, stopping sometimes, looking into her eyes, as if he had seen her soul and has been mesmerized. Sitting on the bed, he cups her face and slowly allows his lips to touch hers. His fingers run through her curly hair, over her cheeks and onto her shoulders. She closes her eyes and sinks deeper into this moment of gentle tenderness, of vulnerability, of soul connection. She moans as his fingers find their way to her mouth, tenderly brushing over it, as his lips touch her eyebrows. His strong arms embrace her and she wishes nothing more than to have this moment of intimacy and closeness last forever.

What a lovely display of intimacy, you might think. It is the kind of scene that most people imagine when they think of two people being intimate with each other. But for me, this kind of intimacy is off-putting, and even triggering. The physical tenderness, the slow pace: I dislike those things. As a matter of fact, in the past, intimacy like that just made me disconnect from my body and unable to feel the emotional connection expected with the other person. I have long pondered about why it is that way for me and the only reasonable answer that I could come up with is that past experiences with physical intimacy, including major trauma, have probably screwed up my radar for detecting what safe and normal intimacy entails.

Additionally, I am not a very romantic person. Long flowery poems expressing my partner’s love to me, candle-lit dinners or huge public displays of affection for me make me really uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do with that. I already have issues knowing how to deal with gratitude or compassion from others. Staying disconnected seems like the best option most of the time even here.

Emotional Intimacy

All that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy intimacy. I just like it a bit different than the average person does. While I love physical touch (just not the tender loving way), my primary need for intimacy is emotional. And that sort of intimacy isn’t limited to romantic relationships. I can be emotionally intimate with friends just as much as with my partner.

Intimacy for me means vulnerability. But not the scary kind of vulnerability, but the kind where you feel safe to be yourself, where you can let go, embrace the other person just as much as they embrace you and where you don’t need to hold back. Intimacy with someone who you trust, who knows you, and who doesn’t judge you, is rare. Most of the time, we hide parts of who we are, of what we think or feel, due to a lack of trust, or because we are afraid that we might get hurt. And there always is that risk. Being emotionally hurt can be so much more painful than getting physically hurt sometimes.

I think a lot of people prefer the physical intimacy to an emotional intimacy because it is less scary. It is more tangible. You are intimate for a moment. Emotional intimacy goes deeper than that. It is about being connected on a level that leaves your soul, your whole being, open to attack if the other person chooses to do so. Being physical intimate is easier than being emotional intimate, because what is at stake is so different.

I crave emotional intimacy way more than I crave the tender physical intimacy. And I am lucky that I have experienced safe emotional intimacy more than once in my life. There was my best friend who knew me better than I knew myself. She unfortunately passed away three years ago. But she was the one person who knew me inside out, and with whom it almost felt like she was in my mind. And then there is my Master. We have a sort of intimacy where he knows my feelings before I can even sense them. He can tell I am sad before I put that emotion into words or action. He can read my movements, the sounds that I make. We are so in tune with each other, emotionally and intellectually, that I can often sense what he expects from me without him even uttering a word.

Of course that doesn’t always work flawlessly, and emotional intimacy leads to risky vulnerability even in safe connections. You are getting easily affected by how the other person is feeling. And if there is any kind of misunderstanding or even an argument, you are most likely easier hurt. But I still think that emotional intimacy is absolutely beautiful, and with the right person, totally worth those risks.

Physical Intimacy

I also enjoy physical closeness and vulnerability, but in a more unconventional way: I love being exposed, used and hurt. I like when my vulnerability is being used against me in a way that is pleasurable. The sort of physical intimacy that I have with my Master is all about me feeling safe with leaving my vulnerability in his hands. That creates a physical (and also emotional and mental) intimacy that might even go deeper than what most vanilla folks experience.

I love physical touch, I just dislike gentle touch. My Master squeezes me a lot throughout the day, kind of like constant reminders of our roles in the D/s relationship that we are in. A slap on the butt, a pull of the hair, that is the sort of intimacy that I enjoy. Sure, sometimes we also kiss goodbye quickly, or have a gentle hug. But those moments do not tickle my heart, cunt and mind as much as our power dynamic does.

Even the sort of hugs that I enjoy are different. I love to be hugged hard, or to be fully embraced. I need to feel little and taken care of, protected and shielded. A hug from my Master needs to be more like a weighted blanket, than a tender touch of deep love.

However much I enjoy the rougher physical intimacy that comes with our D/s dynamic, it will always be the emotional intimacy that I crave more. Not the lovey-dovey kind, but the one where I feel safe and cared for, and where I am stuck with him in a safety bubble, in a space where only we exist together. And nothing can hurt us.

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13 Responses

  1. Sweetgirl says:

    I know exactly what you mean Devie.

    Sweetgirl x

  2. May says:

    I do prefer the emotional initmacy – I am not good with the physical one because my trust was betrayed as a child. So I understand what u are saying and I too am not keen on really gentle touch – even with strokes I like to know the hand is there…
    May x

  3. I love your posts. They’re always thoughtful and so clear in portraying your experience, and often relatable to me as well. I feel like I need the emotional intimacy over the physical, and often the physical was difficult at first because I couldn’t accept it, or felt like I didn’t deserve it. It’s like it can make me feel like a scared animal when fireworks go off, at least when I am very emotionally vulnerable.

    • Emotional intimacy goes so much deeper than physical intimacy anyway. You allow yourself to be vulnerable in so many ways if you build up that emotional connection. Physical connection is more shallow, in my eyes.

  4. Jae Lynn says:

    This!! In all the ways you have mentioned. I don’t generally like to be touched. I don’t care for hugs. 3 people can give me a hug and I won’t cringe away so I get it. Emotional intimacy means so much more to me too. I’m not sure if mine is tied to the trauma or not as I wasn’t an overly affectionate child either.

    • I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who approaches intimacy the way I do! Where our needs in adulthood come from is often linked to childhood, but can also just be part of our personality. The important thing is that we express what is okay for us and what isn’t, because most people just assume that physical intimacy is something everyone craves.

  5. This is absolutely beautiful, and currently I am at a place where I really miss intimacy. It’s not that I don’t have any, more than enough, actually, but there is some kind of connection that I miss, a bit of emotional, and then those slaps and pinches, and just being reminded of your place, of who you are, and who you belong to. Lovely post!

    Rebel xox

  6. I’m not good with slow and tender either. It makes me uncomfortable and doesn’t distract me from my thoughts enough. I miss those types of relationships with emotional intimacy. From a partner or a friend. Late night talks, sharing secrets, and someone truly knowing me. I found friendships like that were easier to come by when I was younger.

    • I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who doesn’t crave conventional physical intimacy. And I think the older people get, the more hurt they have gotten, so it is just harder to try to be vulnerable and have that emotional connection, even in friendships.

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