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.
What is the fate of traditional marriage, and what effect does that have on intimacy?
If people are detaching their expectations from a traditional bond, that's a good thing. So many people go into marriage expecting intimacy when, in fact, it's only a legal state. If you haven't established the intimacy, no marriage is going to get it for you. Of course, I just heard a traditionalist faint.
On the other side of it, if you're just saying 'Marriage isn't the answer, cuddle parties are,' then you're going to be just as miserable as if you were married. If you haven't made the fundamental change inside you, you're never going to find it. You can be married and horribly lonely or you can be unmarried with your best friend and happily intimate. As long as there's been a need for closeness, people have been finding closeness -- wherever it's presented itself.