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:
mental intimacy: where you share thoughts and feelings that are meaningful and vulnerable. An example would be group therapy.
physical intimacy: cuddling or wrestling or physical therapy or anything where bodies are touching for a significant period of time.
romantic intimacy: touch that has romantic connotations for both people involved, and/or effusive expressions of affection such as compliments and terms of endearment. (this is just my definition of romantic; I'd have no idea how to define it generally)
creative intimacy: creating/building something together, like a child or painting or event or project.
sexual intimacy: shared sexual stimulation or sensation.
resource intimacy: shared resources such as money, food, vehicle, phone, etc.
spiritual intimacy: shared ritual, magic, or sacred experience.
dwelling intimacy: sharing living space.
amusement intimacy: shared experiences of laughter or strong joy, especially if all pretenses of being 'cool' are dropped.
trauma intimacy: shared experience of trauma, especially with shared coping of it (being in prison together, for instance).
historical intimacy: the intimacy of knowing someone for a long time and being aware of most of the major events of their life (many people have this with their family)
exposure intimacy: the intimacy of spending a large quantity of time with someone (many people have this with their coworkers).
access intimacy: the intimacy of negotiating accommodations for each others' needs.
conflict intimacy: the intimacy of interacting with someone in a confrontational way.
I'm sure this is not all of them!
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.