Intimate Relationships: Relationship Advice

Living in a satisfying long-term intimate relationship may be the most complex endeavor most of us will ever undertake. It challenges us to dig deep within ourselves for the fortitude that is required when vulnerable buttons get pushed, when primitive fears of abandonment or rejection or criticism or engulfment threaten our sense of well-being.

Living gracefully in an intimate relationship is a particular sort of art form, one in which the subtle skills of calmness and kindness and truthfulness and vulnerability glow as if lit from within.

It is a curiosity of English, and perhaps American English in particular, that the word "intimacy" means both "a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person," as well as "sexual intercourse." Intimate relationships contain both meanings of the term, with the attendant compounding of complexity.

Ecstatic sexuality is most possible when all the elements of the relationship are aligned: personal feelings and emotions, erotic energies, trust, respect, truthfulness.

Every relationship is unique, just as every partner is unique. As our culture diversifies, so are the forms which intimate relationships are taking. The booklists in this section are divided into four sections:

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