People who continue to grow in age can develop a wholeness of self that transcends the limited roles and life experience of youth. Intimacy can then involve a sharing of that integrated multidimensional self (Friedan,
1994; Wales & Todd, 2001). A sex and marital therapist further explains:
The essence of sexual intimacy lies not in mastering specific sexual skills. . . but in the ability to allow oneself to deeply know and to be deeply known by one’s partner. So simple to articulate, so difficult to achieve, this ability of couples to really see each other, to see inside each other during sex, requires the courage, integrity, and maturity to face oneself and, even more frightening, convey that self—all that one is capable of feeling and expressing—to the partner. . . . Adult eroticism is more a function of emotional maturation than of physiological responsiveness. (Schnarch, 1993, p. 43)
As a Turkish proverb observes, “Young love is from the earth, and late love is from heaven" (Koch-Straube, 1982).