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What do we mean with intimacy?

Intimacy can take many shapes and forms; from intimacy of the mind, to emotional, physical or collective intimacy. From being with your pet in a 3 months lockdown, to holding your newborn baby skin to skin, from being at home cooking a meal with your parents on zoom, to being naked with someone, physically or metaphorically. In our exploration, we focused on the shifting paradigms of intimacy, primarily -but not exclusively- from the perspective of young people living under the influence of our global internet and technology-powered culture.

Not surprisingly, as we explored this theme it became clear that intimacy means many different things to different people in different cultures and contexts. For most, intimacy is a spectrum, something fluid and tied to the uniqueness of personal experience and memory. Words like ‘trust’, ‘control’, ‘vulnerability’ ‘touch’ and ‘being present’ started popping up in our conversations when trying to define it.

The pandemic did not only reveal the shortcomings of our economic and healthcare systems, but also gave us time to rethink, reframe, and redefine our relationships with others and with ourselves.
The silverline of the crisis is that we have seen new narratives emerging around body positivity, high touch, gender labels and roles, inclusivity and pleasure. As with many other crises, the virus was just the catalyst of changes that were already happening, and by looking at youth in particular, we might be able to better understand this new paradigm of intimacy emerging in the intersections of technology, pleasure, entertainment, wellbeing and human connection.