Five Moments of (Nonsexual) Intimacy

There's this pervasive idea that "intimacy" implies sex; as a rebuttal, I designed an entire fic form. If you're a writer, why not give it a shot? So far, two of my fellow writers have done so (one in POI, one in Lost); I hope that others will see what they can do with it as well.

This was designed with the idea of exploring intimacy within five nonsexual, nonromantic relationships (i.e. deep and intimate, but not "mates"), or five different forms of intimacy within one nonsexual relationship, but it could just as easily be used to explore five different forms of nonsexual intimacy within a sexual relationship. (It's also a reminder that if sexual intimacy is the only intimacy you've got, your relationship is not gonna last.)

The Fic Form

The Five Moments of Intimacy (FMI or FMNI) fic form contains one representative of each of these five categories of intimacy:

Physical/Sensual Intimacy
Grooming, massage, first aid, basic human touch -- any close physical contact that doesn't include a sexual component.
Emotional Intimacy
Shared emotions (good or bad), or comforting someone.
Experiential Intimacy
Letting down your hair together (e.g. sharing a beer), or going through the same event.
Secret Sharing
Anything you wouldn't want the public to know about, but decide to share with this one specific person.
Medical care, showing weakness, letting your guard down (e.g. sleeping) while in the care of the other.
Optional Addendum: You can turn this into 6-7 parts, or a 5+1 fic, by adding one of these categories:
Teasing Intimacy
Close friends share a lot of in-jokes and can rib each other without getting upset about it; they understand how to joke in a way where both parties are enjoying it.
Knowledge Intimacy
Being aware of the other's preferences, strengths and weaknesses, etc. is a form of intimacy -- even just knowing what to order for lunch, which presents to get, or how to avoid hurting their feelings.
Inversion: Sex Without Intimacy
Hate sex, casual sex / one-night stand, encounter with a prostitute or glory hole, lonely sex that is nothing more than physical attributes. Even rape would count for this category.
Inversion: Sexuality Reduces/Destroys Intimacy
Cheating, dubcon that leads to a breakup, sex ruins a friendship, etc.
Full Inversion: Five Ways a Character Is Incapable of Intimacy
I've done this with a Welcome to Night Vale fic and a POI fic, demonstrating each category in its inversion. Kevin's ability to be intimate was stolen from him; Anton's relationship with his father is devoid of intimacy, leaving him with no one to turn to when he's lonely or afraid or needs advice.
I've also considered a full inversion where a character makes serious mistakes while attempting to achieve intimacy; think about Phil in Groundhog Day, trying to build a relationship with Rita, but managing only the surface elements, until finally he changes his inner self enough to achieve true intimacy.

Why does this idea bug me so much?

Well, to begin with, I grew up with this idealized Platonic male-male relationship idea:

And yeah, you could interpret each of those relationships in a sexual way (many have), much as you could interpret any close-knit brothers in an incestuous way (many have), but that's mostly if you start with the preconception that sexual intimacy is The Highest Form of Intimacy, to the point where other forms of intimacy are somehow flawed and inadequate. In other words, the preconception that if you're not having sex, you're not all that close to each other.

Which is ridiculous, of course, but it's also quite offensive, if you stop to think about the implications. If sex is a requirement for a truly close relationship, then it follows that:

It's a giant string of toxic attitudes, is what it is. I'm particularly annoyed by the idea that aces can't be in intimate relationships at all (purely because they don't want to get into anyone's pants).

Besides which, it's trivial to point out counter-examples:

So the whole "intimacy = sexuality" concept just falls apart at every turn. And yet, as a culture, we're predisposed to view everything in terms of sex. We've got this preconception that the closer and more intimate the relationship, the more likely the sex, and that, to me, is a very sad way of looking at the world.

Ergo, I created this fic form.