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Intimacy is a very, very, in-depth aspect of our humanity. It digs deep into our core, connecting us with others, and for some people, this is not an easy feat.

Some of us find intimacy to be not even just difficult, but profoundly terrifying. Of course, there are several legitimate reasons why intimacy can be scary. However, no matter what the reason is, as a species, we need intimacy, even if our body or brain is trying to tell us to avoid it like the plague. Without intimacy, life can be especially terrifying. However, if you are trying to get to the bottom of the problem, the first step is understanding why.

1. Previous sexual abuse.

When you have experienced sexual abuse, it can cause your brain to link sex with trauma. In turn, intimacy can be difficult, because it’s associated with pain.

2. You’ve been severely hurt by someone that you loved.

When we are heartbroken, we have experienced the feeling of opening ourselves up to others, only to be betrayed or let down. This can cause us to fear intimacy. Why? Because intimacy is what we believe led to us getting hurt.

3. Fear of abandonment.

When you have a deep-seated fear of abandonment, it can make things difficult. Typically, a fear of abandonment is rooted in a fear of intimacy, that has been caused after someone has left us. In turn, it may be hard to get close to others.

4. Avoidant personality disorder.

An avoidant personality disorder is a disorder that causes people to deeply fear rejection. Due to this massive fear of rejection, people with this disorder tend to be very avoidant of others. Even in mild cases, people with this disorder tend to stick to the surface of intimacy.

5. Negative attachment patterns.

Attachment theory says that when we grow up in nurturing homes, where we are securely bonded to our mothers, we end up with a secure attachment style or a healthy attachment style. Conversely, when our mother is neglectful or emotionally distant, we tend to be more avoidant or insecure in our attachment styles which can lead to intimacy issues.

6. Your role models SUCKED.

We learn how to connect with others through our parents. If you had a parent who modeled a healthy ability to be intimate and close with others, then you likely do too. Conversely, if your parent was very emotionally distant, you may be too.