The Scoop: Intimacy is at the core of every important relationship in our lives, yet maintaining true intimacy is real work. Intimacy Expert Allana Pratt talked to us about intimacy and how it touches every part of every relationship. Every person has intimacy blindspots that prevent true intimacy from happening, and attending to these blindspots is crucial for forming genuine connections. Allana gives singles heartfelt advice on overcoming negative romantic experiences and how the key to true intimacy has been within you all along.

When most people hear the word “intimacy,” they probably think about sex. I mean, when someone refers to someone “getting intimate,” we all know what they mean. But intimacy is so much more than sex – it extends into every relationship we make and keep, including the one we have with ourselves.

Intimacy has many definitions, but there’s a simple one that sums it up well: A feeling of closeness and connection between people. Fulfilling connections need some level of intimacy to bring their full nourishing effects to fruition. Intimacy is super important, but it’s also not always easy.

Many people struggle with a fear of intimacy, and even those of us who don’t identify with a fear of intimacy have some sort of struggle when it comes to forming a deep connection. Each of us has habits in the way we show up in intimate relationships, and some of these habits can get us in trouble.

Allana Pratt is an Intimacy Expert, coach, author, and speaker, and she talked to us about what intimacy is, why it’s so important, and what people can do to attend to their own intimacy blindspots. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Allana’s advice for navigating intimacy, or the lack thereof, gives great insight for everyone in search of healthy relationships.

“Intimacy isn’t sex to me,” Allana said. “To me, intimacy is when we can be fully present, fully in our body, and real with ourselves. Blindspots make us leave our bodies, leave the present moment, and go elsewhere. We must cultivate safety and security and closeness on the inside, and then seek intimacy outside of ourselves.”

What Intimacy Is and Why We Struggle

Allana described intimacy as being fully present. But what does this mean? “We have to look inside first. Can we stay in our bodies? Can we feel our feelings? Can we keep our heart open to ourselves?” Allana’s questions will get you thinking about the intimacy you have with yourself.

When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and transparent about your emotions and experiences, you open the door to true intimacy within yourself and with others. Achieving intimacy begins with facing the present moment and everything that comes along with it.

“Once we can stay in our bodies and feel our feelings, we can be that way for another,” Allana said. Secondary consciousness is a significant element of intimacy to Allana, and being vulnerable and in touch with one’s emotions is a great way to connect with those subconscious needs.

Allana talked to us about intimacy and what happens when we have blindspots.

“Our secondary consciousness is our mind, thoughts, beliefs, and we’re always trying to figure it out and understand it,” Allana explained. “And it’s fear-based. We just want to be safe, get it right, and not get hurt again. It’s about being present in your body, even during the bad times, and knowing you can trust yourself.”

This is way easier said than done. “Blindspots around intimacy make us leave our bodies,” she said. “We go over there, and we’re seeking what we can’t find inside on the outside. But what we actually end up doing is pushing away connection, love, and safety because we’re seeking it all on the outside rather than in ourselves.”

Intimacy blindspots are the parts of our subconscious that seek outside validation or approval because we haven’t found it within ourselves yet. Allana calls these blindspots because we often don’t notice they’re even there.

Signs You Could Use a Reconnection

“We can discover intimacy blindspots by looking at our biggest dating complaint,” Allana said. This could be that everyone you date seems to be emotionally unavailable, or perhaps you always seem to attract people with infidelity problems.

“If someone tells me that everyone they date is emotionally unavailable, but they want someone who’s emotionally available, we have to look into it,” Allana said. “To attract someone who’s emotionally available, you have to be intimate, vulnerable, open– you can’t stay safe and closed and unavailable.”

Allana said intimacy blindspots happen because so many of intimacy’s mechanisms work subconsciously. “You have to ask yourself what you unconsciously love, relationship-wise,” she told us. “It’s going to be an unconscious pattern, trauma, or trigger that’s actually running the show. And it’s trying to keep you safe.”

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Allana said intimacy blindspots can keep us from forming truly genuine connections.

Even though these behaviors are trying to keep us safe, they aren’t necessarily beneficial. They can also lead to new emotions that stem from shame around not being able to achieve the desired level of intimacy. “People go into shame, self-hatred, guilt, and they just give up,” Allana said.

Self-compassion is a necessary step in facing blindspots. “I call it a Little You Inside,” Allana said. You’re not going to bash Little You because they’re scared. You’re going to give them a hug and help them heal.”

Allana said that routinely attracting people who hurt you is one sign of intimacy blindspots. When you’re in a relationship, your blind spots may manifest a little differently. “Once you’re in a relationship, there’s a certain way you fight. So when we look at intimacy blindspots, it’s pretty clear what you’re doing that annoys your partner, and also what your partner does to you.”

Handling intimacy blindspots in relationships is about stepping up and taking accountability for the ways you’ve contributed to the blindspot. Allana explained, “Ask yourself: If I’m yelling at them, am I yelling at myself on the inside? Whatever is coming at us, we have to own it and experience it and explore it on the inside.”

True Intimacy is Letting Your Authentic Self Shine

Many people who struggle with intimacy have a great understanding of what an intimate relationship should look like. Allana said they continue to struggle because unconscious patterns are leading the way. “People are smart. They can read a book, they can listen to a podcast,” she said. “If it were as simple as a new mindset or just understanding it, we would just change it.”

Allana continued, “It has nothing to do with conscious awareness, even though you might be completely aware of how to behave differently. It’s about the moment of trigger and how you behave when the subconscious takes over.”

Allana said healing intimacy blindspots relies on subconscious work. “There are processes that help us get under the conscious awareness and explore everything that drives our subconscious minds. Only when the root of the matter, the trauma, and the unresolved triggers are healed can the connection be restored.”

Allana with client.
Allana’s retreats are hands-on and transformative.

There are many ways to attend to unhealed subconscious wounds, and each person will have different needs when it comes to this process. Allana’s podcast, Intimate Conversations, will get you thinking about intimacy in a very approachable and holistic way. She also offers an Intimacy Breakthrough Experience.

“The Intimacy Breakthrough Experience is a one-hour call with me, where I’m able to show you what blindspots are and how to get under it,” Allana said. “And we can’t heal anything in an hour, obviously, but this is a necessary first step.”

True intimacy is being able to be fully present in yourself and then connect with another from that place of wholeness. It’s very important to remember that our blindspots and past experiences, while important, don’t define us.

“It’s not anybody’s fault,” Allana said. “We’re not here to place blame. It’s about realizing that it’s time to be brave and humble and take a real inventory of what’s happening inside. We have to integrate our souls so we can have secure attachments to ourselves.”