I think the parent-child relationship is the one with the most potential intimacy. I think people sense this intuitively even if they do not actualize it.
This may seem tangential but I'd like to add a bit about how the advertising industry so adeptly exploits people's identity as parents, and how this is a mechanism for social control. It seems to me that the targetting of advertising to housewives during daytime tv and the targetting of car ads to men as fathers are quite deliberate forms of social conditioning. Its my impression that they reinforce an attitude of conformity to the dysfunctional economic system. That's the beauty of TV as a mechanism of social control- you don't see the hand behind the puppet. And moreover, "we" are the puppet. We're watching ourselves in a sort of reverse-mirror. The TV is actually a way of projecting ourselves onto ourselves.
When it comes to the big purchases, that's where the man comes into the picture more often. Dad is driving down the street with his "precious cargo." A disembodied voice helps guide him to his destination. He is still in control?- His hands are on the wheel... A computerized system makes sure he is inured to all dangers, both passengers safely ensconced in a sophisticated mechanism of seatblets and airbags.
Its been a while since I've had a television, but I recall that right-wing political views are sold much the same way. This is why conservatives have so much success in selling a system which has wrought such havoc on people's families. People are either unable to comprehend that the system is what keeps them from their family all the time. Or perhaps they choose the artificial intimacy of the Zeitgeist over actual human intimacy. Or perhaps they are more likely to believe that they can compete successfully for a position of privelege within the system rather than share the intimacy reserved for family with a dangerous outside world- rather, one that would not be so dangerous if we were to turn off the TV and get to know our neighbors beyond the artifices of church and soccer. Or even one that simply is not as dangerous as we are told.
I remember watching a TV interview with a pharmaceutical rep. He was being asked about some bill that would have allowed countries in Africa to manufacture or import generic versions of drugs much cheaper. The rep made the obligatory attempt to portray the industry's oppossition as being a matter of safegaurding the ability to generate capital for the purposes of research and development. This was a topic that had gained some attention in the press, and advocates for loosening restrictions on the global market to allow for the production of generic versions had made some headway. For example, if I remember correctly, minor updates to a drug (one's which actually have no practical effect even) can be used to renew a patent on the basic formula for the drug. So the interviewer was obliged to challenge the rep.'s argument. I'll never forget they way the rep. ended his argument. He was talking about how safeguarding the profits of the pharmaceutical companies meant protecting the domestic U.S. economy (a bunk argument of course). He concluded by saying that we (to the extent that the public influences legislation on these matters) should consider "what's best for our families."
Think about that; "what's best for our families."