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Meeting Of The Minds: Intimacy & Mental Health




I am aware that there are various forms of intimacy. Some of them have nothing to do with any kind of physical action. What came as a surprise to me, was that there is a direct connection between our mental health and intimacy. The more that I thought about this, the more I thought of different ways in which this is possible. I was even more intrigued to say the least. When you feel intimate, you feel safe enough to let down your guard. You let another person see the real you. You may even discover parts of you that you haven’t met before.


The connection between intimacy and mental health is two directional. You see, a healthy intimate interpersonal relationship helps to build better mental health. Having someone you can freely interact with and confide in gives you a sense of support. Additionally, the intimacy such relationships offer helps to fight some disorders like depression. Feelings of hopelessness and loneliness tend to get obscure the more secure you feel in someone else's presence. So, if you or your boo thang currently struggles with mental health issues, intimacy can help. Something else is filling up your mind and you're struggling; intimacy becomes the last thing you're thinking of. But at the same time, it's precisely what you need.


A large component of mental health is having intimate and health relationships. These types of relationships not only give you a strong support system to manage your mental health illness better, but the intimacy that is hopefully provided can aid the fight against symptoms of your mental health illness. It’s important to know, that while intimacy is an asset for those who experience mental health issues, their disorders can sometimes make it difficult for them to engage in these forms of closeness. Your mind, body, and spirit yearn for all kinds of closeness to maintain your overall wellbeing. Some mental health issues may make it more difficult to feel close with others or engage in intimacy. It’s important to speak with a professional. They will help you work with your body to stay healthy, happy, and close with the ones you love.


Want to know how you can improve the functions of your immune system? With intimacy. According to Bloom Tampa Bay,Studies have found that people who engage in regular physical touch have higher levels of immune cells in their bloodstream, indicating a stronger immune response. Intimacy can also help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Studies have found that people who engage in regular physical touch are less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression and report higher levels of life satisfaction.” Communication is very important. You must openly communicate with your partner so that they are aware of your needs and desires. Ensure to discuss any possible areas where you don’t feel comfortable or safe. Consent is another component that is very important, because it is key to engaging in physical touch that is needed and yearned for.


The ability to establish and maintain sexual intimacy is heavily influenced by one’s mental and emotional health. Marriage and sexual activity are on the decline, according to studies, even among younger generations. Mental health issues can impact both men’s and women’s sexual lives. What follows summarizes the key symptoms many people with mental health conditions experience and what researchers have discovered about the links between these conditions and sexual dysfunction.



Emotional intimacy is one founded on trust and compassion. Some mental disorders and past experiences can cause intimacy avoidance. Fear of criticism and a history of abuse can make someone shy away from building close relationships. Depressed individuals also tend to withdraw from friends and family. Humans naturally crave physical connection, such as hugs, kisses, and sex. Such signs of affection can boost oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Some mental health prescription medicines you take may mess with your libido. You find yourself losing interest in any form of physical intimacy, getting more distant from your partner.


I have randomly chosen 5 different mental health ailments and provided some brief info as to how it is affected by intimacy, or the lack thereof. They are:

 

1.                  Depression - People are likely to lose interest in activities such as sex when struggling with depression. Antidepressants can increase the risk of impotence, delayed orgasm, and premature ejaculation.

2.                  Bipolar - Mania can result in hypersexuality, which can be destructive when coupled with impulsivity, risk-taking, poor judgment, and expansiveness. During the depressive phase, you may feel overwhelming sadness and reduced energy. Depression can lead to a decreased sex drive. Medications used to treat depression can exacerbate symptoms.

3.                  Substance Abuse - Substance abuse can affect the ability to feel intimacy and can cause sexual dysfunction. The effects can be as diverse as the medications. Alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and illicit drug use are all associated with sexual dysfunctions. Opioids can increase prolactin levels in both men and women. Cannabis smoking can inhibit the ability to orgasm.

4.                  PTSD - The overactive neural circuits and hormones associated with PTSD and sexual activity mean that sexual arousal may lead to anxiety and fear. In one study, war veterans with PTSD had less sexual activity, hypoactive sexual desire, and erectile dysfunction.

 

5.                  Anxiety - Inability to perform increases anxiety, triggering a vicious cycle. Sexual performance anxiety affects 9-25% of men and contributes to premature ejaculation and erecy - anxiety and performance anxiety are common causes of erectile dysfunction.tile dysfunction (ED). ED can affect a man’s self-esteem, which can increase stress in a relationship. Sexual performance anxiety affects 9-25% of men and contributes to premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction (ED). ED can affect a man’s self-esteem, which can increase stress in a relationship.

 

Real intimacy is only possible to the degree that we can be honest about what we are doing and feeling. Intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them. When you stand in front of them and their response is “you’re safe with me”…….that’s intimacy!


 
“Intimacy is not something that just happens between two people; it is a way of being alive. At every moment, we are choosing either to reveal ourselves or to protect ourselves, to value ourselves or to diminish ourselves, to tell the truth or to hide. To dive into life or to avoid it. Intimacy is making the choice to be connected to, rather than isolated from, our deepest truth at that moment.”
!Geneen Roth


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