You may have noticed that when two people speak with one another, they tend to stand a specific distance apart depending on their relationship. For example, when a man and a woman are talking with each other at a company party they will stand a certain number of feet away from each other, at a distance that’s considered socially acceptable. In most situations it’s not acceptable for the man to go right up to the woman, 3 inches from her face and start talking to her about business. That would be considered highly physically intrusive and aggressive.
For example I have this Aunt who’s a little off in the head and when she talks to you, she gets right up to your face very close. She means well, but your instinct is to back away. The problem is, whenever you take a step back, she takes another a step forward until you’re backed up against a wall and you’re just thinking, get me out of here.
Her problem is that she doesn’t have a sense of what’s a socially acceptable distance to have for casual, social situations.
She doesn’t have the sense that every person has an invisible boundary around them that when someone else crosses this boundary, they will begin to feel a tension or become uncomfortable. This invisible boundary varies from person to person but most people’s normal comfort distance around them is about 18 inches to 4 feet away. 18 inches to 4 feet away is the normal distance you typically keep with acquaintances, classmates, and people you work with.
Now people also have an intimate space around them. The intimate space for most people is between 3 and 18 inches from their body. When you cross into someone’s intimate space, depending on the situation, they will unconsciously take it as an act of physical aggression or as an act of physical intimacy or a mix of both. When you cross into someone’s intimate space, it’s not something that they respond to based on critical reasoning rationally. Instead their old reptilian brain that thinks in terms of territory reacts with basic feelings of fear, anger, arousal, or attraction depending on the situation. It can come across as either threatening or as exciting.
The Secret of Intimate Space
Now the key is to apply this idea of physical intrusion into someone’s intimate space for creating sexual rapport.
Because when you stand three feet or more away from someone it will convey to them that you’re a stranger or at least nothing more than an acquaintance. When you stand three feet away or more from someone you’re not physically threatening but you’re also not generating any sexual sparks either.
On the other hand, you have the other extreme of right away intruding into someone’s intimate space by getting three inches in front of their face. That would signal attack aggression, break rapport, and make them back away from you.
Instead, what you want to do is to cut just slightly into a woman’s intimate space, into her body zone. For most people that intimate space starts at about 18 to 12 inches away from their body so that’s where you want to be, that close, to trigger that sexual tension between you and her. It doesn’t take much. Just enough closeness to create that sense of physical intrusion without touch and yet not be so far away as to convey nothing.
The trick is coming close enough to her for her to be uneasy in a way that she can’t quite put her finger on what it is, but not close enough for her to object.
This “sweet spot” will vary from woman to woman and from situation to situation. If you’re talking to a woman over coffee, that sweet spot may be a little closer than if you were talking to the same women in a public airport. One woman might feel that intrusion into her intimate space and sexual tension from 2 feet away while another woman will only feel it once you get within 10 inches of her.
As a general rule, as long as she’s not backing away, and the more rapport you have with her, the more you can slowly move in further and further into her intimate space to turn up the heat.
What Fred Did
I knew this guy, Fred who had this whole physical intrusion cue down.
When he saw a woman that interested him, he would make eye contact with her and smile. As long as she either made eye contact back or smiled back, basically if she gave him a responsive sign, he would saunter up to her, almost kind of like a swagger, easy like and in no rush.
Now whereas most guys in his shoes might stay a comfortable sociable distance of about 2 or 3 feet away and talk, Fred would get closer, to a more intimate distance. How close he got depended on signals he picked up from her, but he unusually got aggressively close. And then, as he got her laughing and comfortable with his presence, if he wasn’t already right up to her fully invading her intimate space, he would gradually edge in even closer.
And you’d be surprised how close some women would let him get. You see, some women had no problem with Fred getting 10 or 8 inches up close to them, assuming they’d signaled him with sexual cues of their own – like a smile or eye contact. Sometimes even closer. Some women got a sexual charge when he got so close they could feel his body heat when he was almost to the point of touching them during conversation.
You could almost see the electricity between their two bodies as the woman’s eyes would light up and her body would automatically and unconsciously respond to his intrusion into her intimate space.
Again, all women’s responses to this happen in the limbic brain, on an unconscious level, so it’s not something she can object to or analyze. It’s only something that she is programmed, through millions of years of evolution, to feel. That’s why this technique is so powerful.
A Physical Intrusion Exercise
Now the following exercise will help you to develop that intuition for sensing where someone else’s outer boundary of intimate space begins.
To do this, grab a friend, man or woman. Stand away from them as far as you would feel the normal socially acceptable distance for you to have a conversation with them would be. Notice how far away it is.
Now stand about six feet away from your friend and keep steady eye contact with them. Now take a step in closer to them. Take another step. And another. Keep approaching your friend while making eye contact. Have your friend tell you when your distance starts to feel close or slightly uncomfortable. When your friend tells you that you’re close, this is where your friend’s intimate space begins.
However, continue. Don’t stop. Take another step in. Keep moving in closer and with each step have your friend tell you how they feel. Some people may feel only slightly uncomfortable the closer you get while others may feel highly uncomfortable.
3 thoughts on “The Physical Intrusion of Intimate Space”
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