Hmm, okay. Here’s a thought, spurred by a fandom post of all things. I’ve seen arguments to the effect of “romance is not sex” and “sex is not intimacy,” and so on, but how about this: intimacy is not good.
And by that I mean: intimacy is not care. It can be but is not necessarily nurturing, or safe, or nice, or fond.
I need to be able to name the bad or negative intimacies because otherwise that leaves me with a relationship scale from “strangers, no connection” to “best of loves, closest kinship” with nowhere to place the rot and the lousy. There is an unwanted intimacy with witnesses to an embarrassing moment. There is an intimacy with the people who have seen you at your worst because they personally dragged you there. There is an intimacy in the connection between yourself and the ones who have deeply hurt you.
“Intimate” is not the same as “good.”
It can be powerful and electric and full of a yearning to prove something without. being. good.
It’s important to me to be able to recognize a sense of intimacy without always construing it as something positive, and I’d hope that would be important to other people, too.
This is a piece of what I think makes it so difficult to make external (in words) certain negative experiences. You might be able to recount all the moves made and the words used, but it’s sometimes hard to capture how immensely personal it feels. How potent, how close to the bone. That’s intimacy, is what it is. Some intimate interactions are made all the more negative by how intimate they are.
Anyway that’s why I need people not to take the term “intimacy” itself as a ringing endorsement, thanks.