Earlier today, I was reading Marie’s post on sex, love and intimacy. I left a comment on her blog before realizing I did have a lot of thoughts on this subject and that “Intimacy” deserved a post of it’s own.
I don’t like to be dogmatic on any sex-related subject simply because I realize how different people are. But I know myself. I know that the first few times I have sex with a new lover (I have not had many lovers, I am just thinking back about the start of the relationships I have had) sex was not as intimate as it became later. As trust deepened, intimacy opened up and we did things to each other, shared in intimate acts that were somehow more sacred, more exclusive, and made us more vulnerable. I am not going into detail about intimate sexual acts here though. It’s another form of intimacy entirely that I wanted to write about.
It’s the sharing of our deepest thoughts and feelings on all sorts of subjects that has been the defining factor in intimacy. If you have been reading my posts, you will know that there have been four significant relationships in my life.
My first relationship which spanned my late teens and most of my twenties was a time of learning. I was learning about myself, about the world. I think that eventually we split apart because when it came to discussing our views and outlook, there was more and more conflict between us. I still feel very grateful to him for being such a lovely boyfriend for all that time, but we had grown in different directions and we were no longer capable of enjoying intimacy. I lost respect for him because of his rigid views. I resented him thinking that he could touch me and have sex with me when I was so appalled by his opinions.
I had a physical relationship with a guy who was quite a lot older than me. We turned to each other for comfort and he loved to suckle from my breasts. That was a very intimate, in some ways vulnerable, feature of our connection. But when it came to conversations on deep subjects, we never truly shared intimacy. He was often dogmatic. The way he phrased his opinions left no room for any objection or disagreement. He seemed to insult the intelligence of anyone who did not think the same way he did. Only I disagreed over and over inwardly. I was just too afraid to say I thought he was wrong because I knew what that would mean for our relationship. It may come as no surprise to you that we drifted apart. We both stopped making the effort to see each other. I am very fond of him and glad for what we shared, but it was a relief that it came to a natural end.
Then came Simon. From the first night we met, which was also the first night we had sex, we began talking about deep subjects. As I lay in his arms, Simon shared a lot of personal things with me. My eyes widened when I heard about who he had been involved with, the range of sexual experiences he had enjoyed, his views on life, the world, spirituality. I was fascinated by him. I can’t say I agreed with everything he said, but Simon wanted to discuss these subjects. He invited me to voice my views. He listened to me and respected me. We would calmly debate and both try to use logical reasoning and examples to try to illustrate our point.
We were sharing ourselves more and more and the allure of being able to have this honest forum to talk over fascinating subjects became important to us both. I could tell he liked the way I developed my point and he seemed to admire the way I fairly weighed any subject up and looked at it from all angles, before suggesting the conclusion I felt the evidence pointed to, but always acknowledging the weakness in my argument and allowing for myself to be mistaken. Twice I think I provoked him. I didn’t mean to. I just did not realize that in the process of our discussion, something I had said had challenged a long cherished belief of his. His reaction was odd. He closed down the conversation and did not want to talk about it again.
Nonetheless, there was always a deep intimacy between us mentally and emotionally. The level of trust and respect was steadily growing. Along with the intimacy between our minds and hearts, the secrets we shared, the openness we enjoyed, the profound nature of our discussions came something else – the desire to be more close, to be even more intimate, in a physical way. I sensed that after a deep heart to heart talk, Simon wanted to be a deeper part of me. He wanted to penetrate deeper. It felt as if he wanted to be inside of me. Intense discussions became intense sex, the admiration and respect became passionate and lustful hunger for each other.
Simon and I are no longer together (I think I have explained that in other posts), but we do still keep in touch and we talk about anything and everything going on with our lives and in the world at large. I don’t think that we will ever want to let go of each other after the level of intimacy we shared.
Ben and I enjoy intimacy on every level too. He also loves to be able to discuss all sorts of subjects. He does not tire of evaluating information and reasoning on it. Religion, politics, the environment, medical, legal issues….we can talk about anything. We both have huge appetites for deep subjects. Secrets, regrets, shameful memories, suppressed desires, hidden yearnings – they have all be on the table for each other to see many times. All that intimate sharing has brought us closer. Sometimes a confession has meant one of us needed to forgive the other. But that also brought us closer rather than creating barriers.
With the mental, emotional, spiritual intimacy comes the desire to find ways to be even closer physically, sexually. There seems a need to find another way to be closer, to be more intimate than we have ever been before. Some days there doesn’t seem a way to express the depth of feeling I have for Ben. He can penetrate me more easily than I can penetrate him. I guess I want to penetrate his soul. Taking his penis into me feels like it is intimacy, but I crave more closeness. Some days the profound feeling of intimacy makes me want to climb into his very soul and weld myself around his inner core in an unbreakable bond. Sex becomes a tool for communicating the emotional ties with which we are becoming intricately bound as intimate, honest, deep discussions bring us closer.
One thing I do know is that intimacy on every level forges such a close bond, that if that connection is ever broken the pain is excruciating. I sometimes think that is why some people prefer just physical casual sex without truly unzipping their inner universe and sharing it with their partner. Once you have let someone become forged to your soul, it is never quite the same.