A Shocking Number of Americans Have Never Experienced Intimacy

The concept of intimacy is tangled and complex. When some hear the term, they think of sex (and only sex) while for others, intimacy is a feeling. It is about closeness and connectedness — a sense of companionship and affection. And it is this deep, emotional relationship many Americans are missing: according to a new study, most Americans are lacking intimacy.

For the “Intimacy in America” report, researchers collected data from 692 Americans, including therapists, academics and male and female escorts. What they found was that most were starving for meaningful connections: 21 percent of those surveyed believe they have no one in their lives with whom they can be authentic, or 100 percent themselves, and 29 percent are not satisfied with their abilities to open up to people who they enjoy being around. What’s more, 46 percent actually admitted to sabotaging their relationships to avoid intimate connections.

This news is not surprising. A 2018 Cigna study echoed a similar sentiment. Half of all Americans suffer from feelings of loneliness and two in five feel their relationships are not meaningful and that they are isolated from others. As such, many are turning to external stimuli for fulfillment, things like aural sensation podcasts and ASMR.

The good news is that there is hope: 75 percent of the Americans surveyed said they have had someone say or do something that made them feel truly loved and understood, and in this intimacy starved landscape, that matters. That makes a huge difference. So reach out to those you love. Talk — and listen — to those you love, and then hold them and comfort them. The increased intimacy will benefit you both.

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