It’s human nature to crave intimacy; in fact, we can’t survive without it! Many of us have grown up believing that intimacy only means being close to someone sexually. This simply is not true. Intimacy is a close association or connection with others; this involves healthy touch, unconditional love, acceptance, and predictability. Any positive relationship is a type of intimacy.
Negative consequences result when the basic needs of children and adults go unmet. Physical malnutrition can result in delayed development and illness. Likewise, being emotionally starved results in unfulfilled relationships with self and others.
We experience contentment and peace when the following needs are met:
• Emotional Needs: to be loved and accepted with consistency and predictability.
• Spiritual Needs: to feel connected to life’s greater purposes and to experience cooperation, joy, and community.
• Physical Needs: to have sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. Appropriate physical affection and touching is also essential for our survival.
• Mental Needs: to have access to learning and opportunities for educational advancements and acquiring sufficient life skills.
We thrive on intimate interactions and relationships with others. When our need for intimacy is neglected, our lives seem unpredictable, hostile, and stressful. The desire to escape or take flight from this stress can be overwhelming. When these conditions are present, we’re more likely to seek sources of release through addictive, and often, abusive behaviors. Unfortunately, when the “vacation” from the stressful environment is over, we return to the same, if not worsened, conditions–the negative emotional environment in which we repeat our cycles of addiction.
“With sexual addiction, instant sexual gratification becomes the addict’s most important, all-consuming pursuit. Part of the elevated mood generated by the activity may involve risk. Special routines and patterns may be followed that increase excitement, usually concluding in a sexual event…over which the addict feels absolutely no control.” (P. 295 Darryl S. S. Inaba, Michael E. Holstein, William E. Cohen, Uppers, Downers, All Arounders, CNS Publications, Inc., July 2000, Edition Number: 4.)
Pornography is an illusionary solution to meet the intimate needs of any participant. It shortcuts the natural process of being physically, emotionally, and spiritually close to another. The sensations are superficial. The bitter irony is that pornography and the use of the Internet for sexual expression actually increases the likelihood of separation from others: the exact opposite of intimacy.
Through healthy, addictive-free, self-care strategies, we become more balanced, stable, and valuable to ourselves and others. By learning to contribute to, instead of taking from, a relationship, we stimulate its healthy growth and development.
Ask yourself: “Do I feel like I am dying physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? Has my life become unmanageable?”
If you answered yes, please visit the Candeo website here.
Dr. Sondra Shepherd