Welcome to “skills for intimacy”! In this section you will find some theoretical input, videos and method sheets to tackle the question of good distance / good proximity in the practice of youth workers.

 

We propose four different resources:
1.  Our theoretical texts present the conceptual and methodological background on which we built our practical educational tools.  Here you will find a short introduction to our conceptualization of “intimacy”, how it is related to cultural diversity and what are its challenges.   We also offer a brief introduction to our two methodological pillars: “Intimacy, interaction and power » and an intercultural approach mindful of diversity and power relations.

2. The « workshop outline » shows you one possible flow of activities that we tried out.

3. You can check out our videos that illustrate the whole workshop (“learning path”) and the sequence about contact and consent.

4. You can also use our materials to create your own workshops to develop relational skills. The “method sheets” give you the necessary information to carry out or adapt the activities we developed.

5. A case study from our partner in Amsterdam offers connects the subject matter with a real-life context: that of the residents and volunteers of an integration house in Ijburg, Amsterdam.

6. Our glossary helps in finding orientation among phenomena and categories related to gender and sexuality. For a better understanding, besides offering definitions we also provide testimonies (texts or videos ) of concerned people who share what that specific concept means for them.

Intimacy, love, relationship and interculturality

What is intimacy? This is a very deep and puzzling question that we can ask ourselves. Indeed, we may feel that the more we reflect upon it, the more confused we become. It is hard to find one single definition, and with reason, because intimacy – as a quality of any relationship or interaction, or any moment of our life – is always something very personal and unique. Yet this very personal phenomenon is also deeply connected to cultural representations of what is a relationship, what are emotions, what is sexuality.. and always rooted in a specific socio-historical context.

Intimacy, interaction and power – the method

Intimacy, interaction and power is a practical method – or rather an approach – that was developed by the staff of In Touch Amsterdam in response to the social challenges we face in our process of living intimacy. Its aim is to foster social integration at different levels, and to help people build and maintain healthy relationships with a special focus on close relations. Its repertoire includes practical elements, mostly drawn from dance, movement, martial arts, fine arts and theatre[1] as well as everyday rituals and activities like cooking or gardening. Beyond its main pillars – empowerment, intimacy and social interaction – there are a few other important elements that should be mentioned, such as process-oriented learning, fostering critical thinking, inclusion and systemic focus. As an approach, it can be used in different contexts such as pedagogy, therapy or training as well in youth work or community building. In the following pages we discuss a few of the key components in detail

[1] Boal, A. (1992) Games For Actors and Non-Actors. Routledge: London. ; Boal, A. (1995) The Rainbow of Desire: The Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy. Routledge: London.

 

Intimacy and diversity in the training room

A workshop addressing intimacy and sexuality from an intercultural perspective implies a double sensitivity: questions of intimacy are already sensitive and tackling them requires extra care and a specific approach from the trainers (see previous section). An intercultural approach also implies sensitivity, as it raises issues of awareness of identities, group relations, and possibly power relations between groups to which participants may belong. Because of this “double bind”, we felt it necessary to include this section in our handbook. We introduce some topics below we feel are important. Our answers are obviously not the only answers possible: take them as a contribution, an inspiration to come up with your own answers!

In the following part, we introduce a 20-hour offline workshop learning path plan. Most of the exercises can be done online, you can check this information in each activity sheet.

15’ Introduction Presentation of the course and brief intro to the IRIS project

To introduce participants to the topic of the workshop and learn names together. Include here what the training is and what it is not. Aims / context of the IRIS project. Structure of programme. Name diversity.

30’ Creating a level of intimacy to learn together

A set of ice-breakers related to the topic to help participants arrive. One example is given detail: the “Sex Guessing Game” exercise.

45’ Safety rules, needs, expectations or Welcoming diversity

Use this exercise to create a good level of safety in the group.

Naming and explicitly welcoming the different identities that are present in a group, as well as the different positions that might be held in relation to a topic. This is essential to create a climate of safety.

45’ Degrees of intimacies

Exploring whether different identities imply differences in the way people can experience intimacy.

15’ Break

60’ Intimate galaxies

To explore the complexity and nuances of our relationships, of the multitude of layers, differences, overlaps of our intimate/sexual/erotic relations:

  1. close/intimate relationships;
  2. flirtations;
  3. sexuality.

30’ From first contact to flirtation

To explore the first moment when you get interested in someone else, proximity, eye contact, physical contact…

 

60’ LUNCH

10’ Energizer

Energizer, moving exercises – help participants to wake up after lunch…

 

50’ Body portrait and personal body map of flirtations, intimacy and sexuality

Exploration of the concepts of flirtation, intimacy and sexuality through body sensations, use of the body, memories in the body. Participants are encouraged to work on their portraits as homework, also in the coming days after non-verbal activities.

45’ Intimate Identity Wheel

Becoming aware of how different facets of our social identities will influence the way we can engage in intimate relations.

15’ Closing, debriefing of the activities

If they want, participants can share their body portraits, what they learned during the day.

 

15’ Ice-breakers

Checking in to get to know how participants are reacting to the training.

A set of ice-breakers such as

Name game – standing in a circle, say your name to the person on your right in different ways (angry, happy, flirtatious, etc.)

Hello – walk in the space and say hello in different non-verbal ways…. (angry, happy, flirtatious, etc.)

45’ YES & NO Duo sequence about consent

Gives an opportunity to learn more about personal boundaries. This activity offers an opportunity to be more attentive to our own feelings, in order to better understand what we want. It also offers training to get rid of our own conditioning and to learn how to say “yes” or “no” when that is what we want.

Build confidence in expressing whether we wish to say “yes” or “no” – verbally and non-verbally.

15’ Break

45’ Reverse brainstorming about consent

Give an opportunity to think and share opinions about consent. What is OK and what is not OK regarding personal boundaries.

30’ The art of asking – asking for consent (verbal exercise in pairs)

The aim of the exercise is learning to ask, accept and express one’s desires, and to learn to negotiate consent verbally.

50’ Closing discussion of consent – sharing circle

Assessing how participants felt during the sessions and what they have learnt. Discuss theories about boundaries, sex and social / cultural norms. Encourage participants to add (maybe share) new additions to their body portraits from the previous day. How does it feel to be rejected?

60’ LUNCH

10’ Energiser activities

Small warm up, awakening activities

120’ Art of asking – drama games

The aim of the exercise is learning to ask, accept and express one’s desires – verbally and non-verbally. How do I know? Risking rejections, risking the other’s boundaries, risking the dangerous. With the drama games, participants try out specific situations.

30’ Closing, debriefing of the whole day

If they want, participants can share what happened with them during the day. They are invited to add anything.

30’ Ice-breakers

Checking in to get to know how participants are reacting to the training

120’ Tackling (romantic) love

Exploring the concept of romantic love and loving relationships in our societies

60’ LUNCH

120’ Rainbow of relationships

Becoming aware of the complexity of our relationships, of the multitude of roles and identify positions that we occupy with respect to another person. We explore this via drawing and image theatre.

30’ Closing, feedback and assessment of the day and the whole workshop

Assessing how participants felt during the sessions and what they have learnt.

The main topic of this training is intimacy from an intercultural perspective. We are working with non-formal methodology called Intimacy, interaction and power (see method in detail in previous chapters). This means that we do not discuss our topics “in theory”, but invite participants for a journey of “learning by doing” or “learning by experiencing”

  1. 1-SEX-GUESSING-GAME
  2. 1-SEX-GUESSING-GAME2
  1. 2-SAFETY-RULES-NEEDS-EXPECTATIONS
  2. 2-SAFETY-RULES-NEEDS-EXPECTATIONS2
  1. 3-WELCOMING-DIVERSITY
  2. 3-WELCOMING-DIVERSITY2
  1. 4-DEGREES-OF-INTIMACY
  2. 4-DEGREES-OF-INTIMACY2
  1. 5-INTIMATE-GALAXIES
  2. 5-INTIMATE-GALAXIES2
  1. 6-FROM-FIRST-CONTACT-TO-INTIMACY
  2. 6-FROM-FIRST-CONTACT-TO-INTIMACY2
  1. 7-PERSONAL-BODY-MAP-OF-FLIRTATION-INTIMACY-SEXUALITY
  2. 7-PERSONAL-BODY-MAP-OF-FLIRTATION-INTIMACY-SEXUALITY2
  1. 8-INTIMATE-IDENTITY-WHEEL
  2. 8-INTIMATE-IDENTITY-WHEEL2
  1. 9-DUOS-FOR-CONSENT
  2. 9-DUOS-FOR-CONSENT2
  1. 10-REVERSE-BRAINSTORMING-–-ABOUT-CONSENT
  2. 10-REVERSE-BRAINSTORMING-–-ABOUT-CONSENT2
  1. 11-ART-OF-ASKING-–-NEGOTIATING-CONSENT
  2. 11-ART-OF-ASKING-–-NEGOTIATING-CONSENT2
  1. 12-ART-OF-ASKING-–-DRAMA-GAMES
  2. 12-ART-OF-ASKING-–-DRAMA-GAMES2
  1. 13-TACKLING-ROMANTIC-LOVE
  2. 13-TACKLING-ROMANTIC-LOVE2
  1. 14-WHO-AM-I-IN-MY-RELATIONSHIP
  2. 14-WHO-AM-I-IN-MY-RELATIONSHIP2

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