Intimacy: More than Sex?

Kimmel & Associates e-Letter

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates

Volume 6, Number 1

January brings the start of the New Year and an opportunity to make the changes we always said we wanted to…dieting, exercising, traveling, cleaning up clutter, etc. January also reminds us that another year has gone by. Time does march on and now is a good time to do what you’ve put off wanting to do. Don’t procrastinate. This is the time to do the “I’ll get around to it when I have time”. This is that time. After all, if not now, when?

In this January E-Letter, we present information about intimacy which is frequently equated with sex. But actually, it’s a lot more. Our Ask the Doc question deals with dating and our email of the month is about a special kind of reunion. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. As always, we appreciate your questions and feedback.

Practice News

We are pleased to announce that our move has been completed and our current address is:

5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101
Coral Springs FL 33067
Phone: (954) 755-2885

Lately, we have been conducting a number of psychoeducational evaluations for children who have been having difficulty in school. These evaluations identify a child’s learning profile as well as diagnose whether a child has a learning disability, Attention Deficit Disorder, or another type of problem that interferes with his/her achievement. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s functioning in school and whether he/she is performing at his/her potential. You can either call us at the above number or send us an email.

Handouts from previous e-Letters can be found on our website. We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on Intimacy. While it is often referred to as sexual activity, an intimate relationship is a deeply committed relationship with another person that is based on safety, trust, vulnerability, respect, appreciation, caring, togetherness and interdependence. It is the opening up and completely giving up of oneself to their partner. It is probably the most difficult form of a relationship because at this time in our society, we are focused on closing up and protecting ourselves and our emotions. To open up and give to one another requires a huge degree of trust and belief in the other person. Having sex today is quite easy and sometimes even mechanical. Yet there is a great joy in being completely vulnerable with someone you trust and someone who trusts you.

An intimate relationship with another person allows one to feel secure and meet the basic human needs of belonging, feeling loved, and feeling cared for. And it allows one to meet the needs of their partner. Intimacy also allows the person to be separate, in terms of having their own lives and interests, and also together in a loving, caring, trusting, and respectful relationship. People in an intimate relationship feel as if they have a special, unique bond that joins them together. They can be tender and fragile with each other because they feel loved. When anger and conflicts arise, they work together to resolve these issues and do not fear being hurt by their partner. They do not maintain an “I am right” attitude nor are they competitive with each other. Rather, they look to make their partners better and their relationship stronger. Sexual intimacy, then, is a reflection of this caring, trusting mutual relationship.

We offer the following information on Intimacy: More than Sex:

“Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy;
Among women, intimacy sometimes results in sex.”— Barbara Cartland

What to Know!

  • Intimacy is a very close affective connection with another person that involves sharing, communicating, and being vulnerable
  • Intimacy gives meaningfulness to being human and feeling alive
  • Intimacy includes love, friendship, romance, sex, being social, and being spiritual
  • Physical intimacy is characterized by romance, passion, and sexual activity
  • Emotional intimacy is characterized by warmth, closeness, a sense of mutual commitment, caring for another, and a desire to make the other person better
  • Being intimate allows one to meet the basic human needs of belonging, loving, feeling cared for, and feeling accepted
  • Intimacy involves the ability for each partner to be separate and together in a mutually loving and caring relationship
  • Being intimate with another involves exposing one’s true self, being vulnerable, having a sense of closeness, trusting completely, and sharing secrets and private thoughts
  • In an intimate relationship, partners feel bonded, undefended, trusted, and safe
  • Being intimate with another involves trusting someone so completely that it allows them to enter the mind, heart, and soul of their partner
  • Intimate partners are not competitive with each other, handle conflicts and fights, and exert continuous effort to strengthen their relationship
  • They work out their anger and resentments, are forgiving, and show signs of affection
  • Obstacles to intimacy include fear of being vulnerable, lack of trust in oneself and/or one’s partner, and chronic insecurity
  • Other obstacles include failure to solve conflicts and being unable to forgive and let go
  • Additional obstacles include inability to resolve angry feelings, difficulty in communicating thoughts and feelings, and fears of rejection and abandonment
  • These obstacles to intimacy can be overcome with open, honest, and respectful communication and a commitment to developing safety and trust in each other

What to Do!

  • Evaluate your relationship, your communication patterns, and how you solve problems
  • Share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with your partner
  • Help each other to resolve problems and reach your goals
  • Make your partner feel important: do things together and have adventures
  • Face problems as a team and make sure to resolve all conflicts
  • Develop common interests but respect each others right to do things on their own
  • Develop a healthy and exciting sexual relationship
  • Be best friends with each other and aspire to make each other better
  • Express signs of physical affection and address any sexual issues in the relationship
  • Let go of fears, grudges, past hurts, competitive tendencies, and the need to be right
  • If you are unable to resolve intimacy issues, seek professional help

We Can Help!

Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates
5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101
Coral Springs, Florida 33067

As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

Ask the Doc

RR writes: I have been divorced for 5 years and have been dating on and off. I recently met this man who I like very much. He seems very interested in me and we have a lot of fun. Yet after each date, he doesn’t call or text me for at least a week. Do you think he is really interested in me or am I doing something wrong?

Dr. Joel Kimmel replies: You haven’t said how long you have been dating, however, it seems like you are jumping to conclusions. There may be many reasons he doesn’t contact you including his taking things slow, he is uncertain about your relationship, and he may be involved in another or several relationships. He may also be frightened about his feelings for you and he may have a fear of getting too close to someone. There are many possible explanations for his behavior but you don’t know because he hasn’t told you.

You are the best person to decide whether you are doing something wrong or not according to your values. Stop judging yourself based on whether he calls or not. You can spend a lot of time and mental energy trying to figure him out. In fact, you may find yourself thinking about him all the time and jump to see if he is calling or texting whenever you get a message alert. Rather, you should have confidence in yourself and decide whether this is the type of relationship you want. If he is not calling you, he is the one missing out.

Put yourself first, feel good about yourself, and let whatever happens happen. Just don’t make yourself emotionally vulnerable and don’t waste your social life waiting for him to call. And when you do go out, why don’t you ask him directly why he waits a week to call?

Email of the Month

We would like to thank Howie C. for the following email which is reportedly based on a true story:

The Reunion

The brand new Rabbi and his wife, newly assigned to their first congregation, to reopen a synagogue in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early February, excited about their opportunity. When they saw their synagogue, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Erev Purim (evening of a Jewish celebratory holiday).

They worked hard, repairing aged pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on February 17th, they were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On February 19 a terrible tempest – a snowstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On February 21, the Rabbi went over to the synagogue. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster, about 20 feet by 8 feet, to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The Rabbi cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Erev Purim service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Mogen David (Star of David) embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the synagogue.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The Rabbi invited her to wait in the warm synagogue for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the Rabbi while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The Rabbi could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Rabbi, “she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?”

The Rabbi explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Poland. The woman could hardly believe it as the Rabbi told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Poland.
When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to a camp and she never saw her husband or her home again.

The Rabbi wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the Rabbi keep it for the synagogue. The Rabbi insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Erev Purim. The Synagogue was almost full. The Service was great. At the end of the service, the Rabbi and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the Rabbi recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, And the Rabbi wondered why he wasn’t leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Poland before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the Rabbi how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a camp. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between. The Rabbi asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the Rabbi had taken the woman three days earlier.

Please continue to send us your comments, questions, and favorite emails for our e-Letter.

Till February…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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Copyright © 2014 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates.