icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"
from delicatexflower: what do you consider the highest form of intimacy? does it vary on the person?
I think the most intense form of intimacy does vary both from person to person and interaction to interaction. I recognize many different kinds:
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The two kinds with the highest esteem in society are sexual and historical. People refer to loving someone "like family" when they mean "with great intensity and closeness" but rarely do I see families with any real level of mental intimacy: they just have a lot of historical and exposure intimacy. People are assumed to hold sexual intimacy as a special kind and once they have it with someone, it is assumed that some kind of bond is formed (which is true sometimes but nowhere near always). I feel deep resentment that these two kinds are held as more important than the others, because they are not better and they are not necessary for deep intimacy!
Also, few people realize that more kinds exist than sexual, historical, and exposure. And because of this, they think that you can only get intimacy on accident, because you 'fell in love' or fell in lust or because you were raised with/by someone or because you went to school together or worked together. But those can be such shallow types of intimacy. Historical intimacy in particular tends to stagnate people: they have intimacy with someone because of what used to be true, so they are afraid to change because if they break with their history, they break with those that they connected with through it. Exposure intimacy is only meaningful if it is current or if everyone involved is stagnant. For instance, if you spent every single day with someone for five years you probably know them REALLY well unless that happened ten years ago, in which case you might not know them at all. Sexual intimacy can be completely shallow if people are just following scripts without thought or intention. I would say most of the others can be shallow too; no form of intimacy is inherently more intense than another. It all depends on what kinds you have access to and what you do with them.