Technology, relationship management and the workplace

What is Intimacy Intelligence - at a glance

Dec 01, 2020

Intimacy Intelligence — the number one intelligence of the future?

In a video about the worldwide spreading loneliness epidemic I stumble upon this sentence:

“Loneliness is caused by inadequate intimate relations”. To that one might add: -and the lack of them.

Inadequate intimate relations refers to relationship types that actually create more distance than connection. Unhealthy intimacy. Lacking intimacy in relationships is fatal — leading to severe loneliness, that has now been documented to cause early death.

But what is intimacy really? Is it just a sexual thing? Of course not. Intimacy is about trust and connection. It is about creating meaningful human relationships, that hold the miracle of feeling seen, heard and contained — as you are without judgement. Be it professionally or personally. Be it in a minute or for an entire life.

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”

― Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

In this article, I will take you through what Intimacy Intelligence is, and why it is crucial that you place the training of Intimacy Intelligence on your top priority list both as a human being wanting a happy life and as a professional wanting a fulfilling and successful career.

The tech alternative

For the first time in history, we actually have an alternative to relating to humans. We now have chatbots to provide ‘personal’ customer service on 24/7 chat functions, AI technology taking over the work of health care professionals, technological sales functions substituting humans. In the private arena, we have app girl- and boyfriends, digital dating scenes like Tinder and avatar dating, and soon AI-driven robot life companions for both adults and children will be more common.

At the same time as the magic of technological inventions are becoming an integrated part of our lives, we are experiencing a global loneliness epidemic, a humanity losing the sense of how to interact intelligently and genuinely with other humans, and an overwhelming growing number of young people experiencing depression, anxiety, and stress.

It needs no neuroscientist to document that humans all over the globe are experiencing a massive intimacy crisis and we need to address it.

Developing Intimacy Intelligence is key if we want to avoid becoming human beings void of meaning, fulfillment, and joy.

Intimacy is not just intimacy

In order to develop Intimacy Intelligence, it is key to map the different levels, on which building trust and connection matters. When we train intimacy skills the first step is to become aware of what defines intimacy in specific contexts.

We need to make distinctions between the different levels that we have intimacy on. I, therefore, invite you to develop your intimacy skills on 4 levels:

4 Levels of intimacy

  1. Physical Intimacy
  2. Emotional Intimacy
  3. Spiritual Intimacy
  4. Technological Intimacy

Intimacy Intelligence is a set of skills that are part of your EQ but specific for creating intimacy.

But physical intimacy might very well be very different in a professional context and a private context even though none of them need to be sexual. Bob might be suffering from #metoo ‘trauma’ and be fearful of putting his arm on Maria’s shoulder at the office. Bob would then be invited to explore what type of physical intimacy on a professional level works best for him (and his colleagues). In the private context, Bob might be longing for more foot massages or cuddling up on the sofa with family and friends. Both levels are essential to address but have very different expressions.

Therefore we must seek to develop Intimacy Intelligence with a holistic approach to ourselves and our relations:

  • Intimate contact with self
  • Intimate contact with friends/family
  • Intimate contact with sexual and romantic partner/spouse
  • Intimate contact in the workplace with colleagues, partners, students, clients, customers
  • Intimate contact in the public space (the bus driver, the baker, the person next to you at the cafe, etc.)

The magical lover’s best principles

In order to map out a method to develop excellent intimacy skills, I searched for a human experience that united intimacy on a physical, emotional and spiritual level (almost!) to perfection.

In this process, what caught my attention was many spiritual leaders’ referral to the (erotic) orgastic experience as an equal to the experience of spiritual energy, presence, oneness, surrender.

“(…) sexual energy and spiritual energy are the same. Many wise traditions consider the peak moment of sexual energy the death of the ego. When somebody experiences intimacy and reaches orgasm, we feel vulnerable, intimate, we are defenseless, spontaneous, joyful, carefree and there is a sense of timelessness. These are the characteristics and true nature of our spirit. Living your life with this level of intimacy would allow emerging the evolutionary impulse, the creative energy of the universe, which is your spirit.” Deepak Chopra

It feels tempting to conclude that the two ultimate experiences of human connection are — not digital — but spiritual and erotic, sometimes even at the same time.

In that spirit, I decided to map what I call the best principles of the “Magical Lover”. With the help of questionnaires and interviews, I pinpointed the 5 Intimacy Gifts that the magical lover gives (himself and) his partner in the ultimate erotic experience.

The best principles are just that: Best Principles. They can be transferred to — say — emotional intimacy on a professional level or any other context where you would like to obtain a more connected and meaningful relation.

The 5 Intimacy Gifts

  1. Time
  2. Presence
  3. Emotional Availability
  4. Curiosity
  5. Creativity

These 5 gifts of intimacy help you to create an optimal connection to yourself and others. They can be applied to any level of intimacy — be it physical, emotional, spiritual, technological.

If you long for a more close relationship with a colleague you could then work on developing Intimacy Intelligence by becoming aware of which of the 5 gifts of intimacy you need to offer and how.

Train them consciously and methodically and you will see your relationships transform — to both yourself and to others that matter to you. Be it at work, at home, or in the public space.

Please contact me for information on how I can help you and your team to learn to understand and train your Intimacy Intelligence.

Lucy Vittrup helps organizations train and develop the personal competencies of the future.

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