Safety First, Then Intimacy

When we think about safety in the context of a relationship, most of us probably think about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and preventing pregnancy. But something many of us don’t think about is our emotional safety. This becomes even more important in the context of relationships in or past middle age. After putting others’ needs ahead of ours for so long, we can be lonely and tired. As Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, the seminal 1975 publication, said: “A lot of women make mistakes out of loneliness.” Real intimacy can only occur if both parties feel safe first.

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