Intimacy grows out of the earlier need for tenderness but is more specific and involves a close interpersonal relationship between two people who are more or less of equal status. Intimacy must not be confused with sexual mterest. In fact, it develops prior to puberty, ideally during preadolescence when it usually exists between two children, each of whom sees the other as a person of equal value. Because intimacy is a dynamism that requires an equal partnership, it does not usually exist in parent-child relationships unless both are adults and see one another as equals.
Intimacy is an integrating dynamism that tends to draw out loving reactions from the other person, thereby decreasing anxiety and loneliness, two extremely painful experiences. Because mthnacy helps us avoid anxiety and loneliness, it is a rewarding experience that most healthy people desire (Sullivan, 1953b).
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