Learning Intimacy

I’ve had to learn intimacy.  Even just writing this, intimacy feels hard for me to grasp, a fragmented and abstract thing that I always find myself chasing.  Is intimacy a feeling?  An act?  Even the dictionary doesn’t know- as it is defined as an emotional connection and closeness shared between people, but also it is defined as an intimate act, two people literally connected through sex.  For me, physical closeness and emotional connectedness have always felt like two separate things.  My first physical and emotional intimate encounters were abusive, and I felt shame for loving the people that hurt me so much, and at that moment I learned to disconnect myself from physical and emotional love and intimacy.

 

Growing up, sex was not intimate to me.  I would fuck anyone I could get my hands on- deep down I was seeking intimacy, but really I was just using sex as a way to escape.  Maybe in those brief moments of ecstatic fucking I was able to touch it, but then after I would recoil, burying my heart deep inside where it felt safe.  Intimacy has always felt unsafe, and the first time I felt intimacy in a healthy way, I couldn’t handle it.  Years of disconnection from my emotions, including intimacy had hardened me, and I behaved in ways that deeply hurt the person that I loved the most.  It reminds me of Edward Scissorhands where he so desperately wanted to feel held, but instead always cut the person he wanted to touch.

 

Once I was able to feel intimacy with more ease, I would connect deeply to one person, usually my partner, and I would become obsessed with them.  In my mind, they were my only emotional outlet, and I would save all of my feelings of love, adoration, frustration, and anger for them.  Because I was bullied as a teenager, I was distrustful of connecting deeply with most people outside of my relationships.  I had many friends that I cared about, but I never allowed myself to get too close.  You can’t get hurt if you don’t get too close after all.  These words haunt me now, realizing the years of walls that I built between myself and others. 

 

Since then my journey with intimacy has been an experience of soft and slow opening.  As I move towards more embodied sex, I try bring a level of intimacy to every sexual encounter I have, it actually helps me cum!  I have always struggled with orgasms during sex, but I have found that when I can feel truly emotionally connected to someone, I can have an orgasm almost effortlessly.  So maybe intimacy to me is emotional, it’s a feeling of connectedness.  Physical and sexual acts are not inherently intimate to me, although I am sure to others they absolutely are.  I will admit that when I am physically connected to someone, there is some form of intimacy there, but it feels like I am role playing intimacy, an actress on a movie screen that drops into her character, but afterwards I can go back to my normal state of being.

 

With my most recent relationship ending, I am once again confronting my connection with intimacy.  My pattern has been to connect very intensely with one person, and over and over again that model has failed for me.  Probably because it’s not realistic, and it’s an incredible amount of pressure to put on someone.  I have realized that this is not a failure on their part to support me, but a failure on my part for putting so much of my connection to love and intimacy in their hands.  This is something I need to build myself in order to feel truly fulfilled.  Even though I am non-monogamous, I am realizing that I have lived most of my life being very emotionally monogamous, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I am trying to embrace a new paradigm in my intimate relationships.  A paradigm that supports love and intimacy as a model for friendship and community.  A type of intimacy that opens my heart and tells me to put myself out there even if I risk those feelings not being reciprocated.  After being so disconnected, I am coming to terms with myself as a lover.  Not just a lover in a relationship, but a lover of life, a lover of my community, and a lover romance.  Instead of putting all of my feelings on one person, I am allowing myself to feel supported by my lovers, friends, and community.  I want expansive intimacy, a deep connection shared by all of those around me.  I want to know that when I am feeling down, I have many people to share that with, and not just one.  This is a process and I am practicing patience with myself.  Moment by moment I am re-learning intimacy.  We all are.

 

 

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