Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Physical intimacy is:
- Physical closeness
- Touching, especially tenderly
- Touching intimate parts, outercourse
- Sexual penetration
The list is logically in order of increasing degree, with each form implying the previous one, but of course, it is not necessarily in order of increasing enjoyment.
Touching may include:
- Holding hands
- Hugging: gently enclosing the arms around the trunk of each other
- Sitting or lying against each other
- Caressing: gently stroking body parts or hair with a hand
- Back rub and massage
Clothing versus nudity also plays a role. In particular, touching with clothing tends to be more intimate if the (combined) layer of clothing at the area of touch is thin and flexible. The layer can be reduced or eliminated even without undressing, by touching under someone's clothes.
Sexual behavior involves physical intimacy. A personal relationship that does not involve sexual behavior, e.g. friendship, may involve physical intimacy. This varies greatly. In western culture it is often more among female than among male friends; the latter may want to avoid associations with homosexuality. In other cultures, such as Arab culture, men may hold hands with no implication of homosexuality.
A man and a woman who are friends may avoid physical intimacy to avoid associations with sexuality (for example if one or both have a relationship with someone else).
December 4 is considered International Hug Day .
Other kinds of intimacy are:
- emotional intimacy: telling about emotions, knowing and feeling what the other feels
- financial unity, sharing property, community-property
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