Intimacy is what distinguishes those who are dear to us from those who are simply near. This issue ofKinfolkexplores the balance between our contradictory cravings for both secure and stable relationships and the freedom to follow our hearts, our sexual desires, and our need to be whole without the help of another. Kinfolk take psychotherapist Esther Perel as their lodestar. It’s a role she’s played for the clients at her New York practice and for millions of others through her books and the podcastWhere Should We Begin, which offers the chance to listen in on anonymous couples during therapy sessions. Perel’s approach has always been to challenge the fundamental contradictions in how we think about romantic intimacy: Is it really feasible to expect one person to fulfil our every need—for the rest of our life?
In Issue Thirty-Four, experience the thrill of people and places spilling their secrets. Amaryllis Fox—an ex-CIA spy who spent her 20s negotiating in some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones—cracks open the mysteries of the Clandestine Service, and what they’ve taught her about peace. This Issue also presents the result of Kinfolk's own months-long international operation: To gain access to an art deco royal palace in Gujurat, India. As the nights close in, their contributors look beyond this world and into other more mysterious ones: They mull over the popularity of horoscopes and what to eat at funerals. Elsewhere, a photo essay by Gustav Almestål explores the solitary indulgence of comfort foods, so tied to our most intimate of spaces—our homes—and so appealing during break ups.