Advice columnist Carolyn Hax on Intimacy Today

| November / December 2004

When it comes to intimacy, are we facing different issues today?

The need for intimacy is as old as humanity, and the loneliness from not getting intimacy will be as old as humanity, too. I don't think that any generation is going to come up with the magic solution to fear. But the fact that people are beginning to see intimacy not as a weakness but as a normal need will, I hope, lead to more fulfillment.

What is your take on the recent trend of cuddle parties, which seem to give intimacy priority over sex?

They make me think of the key parties of the '70s, which deliberately played up sex. We like to surprise ourselves with little fads, but, again, our basic human urges are the same. In the '70s, we were just beginning to admit, 'Okay, we have sexual urges.' So some people on the cutting edge said, 'Let's put our sexual urges onto a party invitation and have this party.' We've also always had intimacy urges and the need to be physical without having sex. We all need to be touched. Now somebody on the cutting edge is putting that on a party invitation.

What are the most common roadblocks to intimacy that you see?

People are afraid to make themselves vulnerable. That's the one requirement of intimacy and that's the thing that scares the hell out of people.