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12 Steps of Intimacy
by Gloria Liven
Did you know that becoming intimate with someone tends to follow a natural pattern? Knowing this can help you understand and control how your intimacy is progressing.

Desmond Morris, a behavioral scientist, studied many couples and found those that lasted the longest followed similar intimacy patterns, progressing through what he defined as 12 steps. His theory was that proceeding through these steps without being rushed gave a couple time to bond in their relationship. Couples that skipped or rushed steps-- for example, going straight to sex-- were more likely to break up or divorce.

Women especially resent being rushed through the steps. Taking your time to build trust and a bond along with intimacy will help your relationship create a lasting bond.

  • Eye to Body
    This happens every day and is pretty insignificant. You simply look at the other person.
  • Eye to Eye
    You make eye contact-- maybe you are flirting. It's the first real step toward intimacy.
  • Voice to Voice
    You talk to the other person. This can be very important in getting to know someone.
  • Hand to Hand
    You start holding hands-- the relationship has now become more than just friendship.
  • Arm to Shoulder
    Allowing yourself to be this close physically is the beginning of closer intimacy.
  • Arm to Waist
    Your comfort level is beginning to grow.
  • Mouth to Mouth
    You now feel comfortable with kissing the other person.
  • Hand to Head
    This is a sign of trust; your head is very vulnerable and we do not like just anyone touching our heads or faces.
  • Hand to Body
    "Roaming hands"... this is the beginning of foreplay and "making out".
  • Mouth to Breast
    You're comfortable with using your mouth to explore the other person's body, and vice versa.
  • Hand to Genitals
    Not quite sex-- many young couples that aren't ready for sex find this a suitable substitute.
  • Sexual Intercourse
    The final stage-- it doesn't get more intimate.


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