By: Natasha Archary
The numbers are in. Most people around the world fear intimacy. Many would opt for casual sex with multiple partners than get involved in a stable relationship with real feelings and intimacy.
In Western culture, 17% of adults have a deep fear of intimacy, which scientists link to an emotionally troubled childhood. The attachment theory and parenting come into play in early to late adulthood when many young people find themselves in relationships or contemplating one.
Attachment theory and separation anxiety
Research suggests that a parent’s inability to safeguard, reassure and be present during the early childhood development stage (3 to 8 years), sets the tone for any future relationship the child may try to foster.
The attachment theory is when a child’s natural instincts is to remain close to their primary caregiver or parent at all times. Becoming emotionally distressed when a parent leaves for work or the room for that matter. In most cases, the parent returning is enough to reassure the child that they are not being abandoned.
A lack of communication and a parent who focuses on belittling and scorn instead of praise and empowering the child is also a factor. Either building a bond of trust and love or one that is forged on abandonment issues and yup, you guessed correct, a fear of intimacy. Children who go through their childhood in the absence of a parent may also have deep rooted anger issues. Brought on by questioning their worth and importance.
Fear of intimacy in your relationships
We take this into our adult relationships, intimate or friendships, and as a result we hold everyone in our lives at arms-length. Relationships then fizzle out because one is not familiar with that deep level of intimacy.
Opening up and sharing anything that may be frowned upon is an isolating fear. And if you’re in a relationship but are terrified of letting your partner in and revealing too much, this is the first sign to take heed of.
Physical intimacy is the next. You’re either not having sex or if you are, your body’s present but you’ve mentally checked out. It’s not uncommon for people with intimacy issues to use sex as a coping mechanism. Sex makes you feel momentarily in control. It gives you a temporary high and people who are afraid of intimacy use sex to mask the pain.
For those not partaking in sex, not wanting to be touched or to get intimate with your partner is a power play of emotional ups and downs. Not many are patient or tolerant enough to accept a committed relationship minus sex.
It all boils down to insecurity
In the end, a fear of intimacy is deeply rooted in your insecurities and where or what it stems from. You may have a fear of intimacy because you have body dysmorphic disorder and don’t want anyone to see you naked, let alone have intercourse with. This is something you need to deal with, overcome and resolve to put behind you if you want your relationships to go the distance.
At some point the mask that you’ve got it all together has to fall off. Allowing people in is not a sign of weakness. It is an indicator of a person’s ability to build stable relationships by allowing someone to invade the very core of your being. No, relationships are not easy but nothing worthy ever is.
Are you willing to let your fear of intimacy ruin your relationships?