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What is intimacy?

[Inspired by irritation with someone on a mailing list who was seemingly defining intimacy as 8 hour tantra orgasms]

Is it having sex with someone?
Having sex with someone for the 1000th time?
Letting someone give you an orgasm?
Helping someone have an orgasm?
Masturbating for someone?
Witnessing an orgasm?
Caring enough that you're vulnerable to harm?
Caring enough that you go out of your way to avoid causing harm?
Kicking someone in the butt when they need it, even if it hurts?
Talking about your secret hopes and fears?
Talking about the details of your life?
Talking about what color curtails you want?
Crying in someone's arms?
Going into the other room to cry because you want to let your bedmate sleep?
Holding someone who's crying?
Sleeping while someone is crying?
Holding someone who's sleeping?
Holding someone who's dying?
Holding someone while watching a kung fu movie?
Sleeping intertwined?
Sleeping with your butts touching?
Sleeping with separate blankets?
Caring more about a needy friend?
Caring more about the bleeding crowd?
Caring more about your fingernails?
Having an "all is one" experience?
Having an "I am utterly alone" experience?
Admiring a flower?

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
xp85goblin
Feb. 26th, 2001 02:21 pm (UTC)
IMHO, sex and intimacy are two seperate axis. There is some bleed between them, and obviously, there is more crosstalk between the two axis for women than for men. To me, at any rate, intimacy is a "simpatico" thing, being on the same wavelength most of the time, and not getting lots of blank stares, incomprehension and disapproval if you speak your mind. It is also, I think a certain knowingness and understanding. It is seeing something you know the other person would like and being able to buy it with a fair degree of confidence that the other person would like it. It is being able to head off arguements at the pass because you know the person well enough to know what pisses them off, and have the desire not to do so, not out of fear, but because you value the relationship.
I think it involves a certain smoothness and comfort in any kind of relationship. The idea that when one person zigs or zags, the other person stays roughly on the same page.

I guess that is a very non-physical description of intimacy, but like I said, I view them as seperate axis, and for me anyway, there isn't much crosstalk between them.
firecat
Feb. 28th, 2001 01:34 pm (UTC)
Sex and intimacy are overlapping sets for me.

What you describe sounds more like "knowing someone's personality" than "intimacy" per se, at least by my feeling of what intimacy is. They are often related, though.
xp85goblin
Feb. 28th, 2001 02:12 pm (UTC)
I /do/ realize we approach this whole subject in different ways. I see (emotional) intimacy as knowingness, approval, and seeing the other person's interests as an extension of your own. Wanting to share an orgasm with someone is a different negotiation, and includes a lot of stuff that is seperate from emotional intimacy (attraction, risk management and shared goals issues). Emotional intimacy, given that it happens over a timespan of years is not a prerequisite for sex, which takes months at *most* to reach consummation (barring religious objections). Really strong lust can disguise itself as emotional intimacy, but when the hormonal fog lifts, reality reasserts itself and you find that you are involved with a person who is *gasp* very different from you and *gasp* you didn't know as well as you thought you did. The real thing takes years.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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