I was talking to a female friend a while ago and we were discussing the difference between intimacy for men and women. I listened as she expressed her opinion that most men only consider sex as intimacy… and that if a woman mentions intimacy to a man, he automatically assumes she wants sex. She went on to say that she believes that some men do realize that sex and intimacy are two different things, but they wrongly assume that sex is the ultimate expression of intimacy.
I listened a while longer as she reprimanded the male gender for our lasciviousness and carnal preoccupations. I smiled, and asked her, “So how do WOMEN define intimacy?”
“Intimacy to a woman can take many shapes… “
I bridled my thoughts at her choice of words…
“… it’s having your undivided attention when we talk about sensitive or emotional issues…”
“Which is usually at length, in detail and with great depth, right?”, I chaffed.
She smirked, “… or it could be an evening at home alone, just the two of us reading a book together.”
“I guess it depends on what you read. I’m sure TV Guide or PEOPLE Magazine wouldn’t count, right?”
She still wasn’t amused, “See, you men are all the same… you’d rather watch TV than spend some quality time with us.”
I sighed and said, “Okay, not all men are like that… we understand intimacy, but it looks different for us… and the fallacy with women is in thinking that our views on intimacy should be exactly the same as yours… “
I’d gotten her attention, so I proceeded.
“No, we don’t typically grab a book and say ‘Hey, honey lets read’, and our conversations typically serve one of two purposes… to relay/confirm information, ‘Hey Jim, tonight’s poker game is gonna be at Kieth’s house.’ or for business, ‘My wife paid that cable bill a week ago, why is one of your service techs cutting cords behind my house!!’ Other than that, when we’re together it’s small talk.”
“Are you afraid of sharing your feelings?” she asked, thinking she’d cornered me.
“Not exactly. But intimacy to us includes having a woman who will allow us to vent about work and world injustice… letting us teach you how to fish, change oil or program the VCR… it’s about letting us be a man TO and FOR you. That’s intimacy. But the key is learning that both forms of intimacy are important for the success of the relationship.”
She smiled, and said, “So basically, if I let him show me how change oil, he’ll read with me?”
I chuckled, “Sorta… ideally it would be given freely without expecting something in return, but that’s a start.”
It was an interesting exchange, but it just supported my theory that men and women often see the world very differently… especially when it comes to intimacy. So the next time you get a moment, bring up intimacy with your partner and expand your definition of the word to your mutual benefit.