In a world that is becoming more complex and more “connected” (we are able to hear about and see what’s going on all over the world at the tip of our fingers), intimacy seems the least likely antidote for simplifying our everyday life. However, I believe it is actually the key to experiencing more time, more fulfillment, more love and more life.
There’s an article in The Atlantic in the December 2018 issue* titled “The Sex Recession: Why young people are retreating from intimacy - and what this means for society”. This article makes a GIANT mistake of equating sex and intimacy as synonymous - interchangeable words that mean physical sexual contact. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great article and makes some very interesting points about the decline in partnered & non-partnered sex both for pleasure and for reproduction.
However, the glaring issue that ultimately comes out - in the part about porn habits and apps - is a lack of intimacy. Intimacy at its core is emotional connection, maturity and respect. But, in a world where we’re all striving to be more efficient, more productive, and more competitive, intimacy brings a layer of softening, sameness and value that doesn’t seem to have a monetary gain, therefore seemingly becoming irrelevant.
I’m here to make the claim that intimacy is the MOST valuable experience in ANYONE’S life - especially starting with how you feel and experience yourself. When you have the experience of loving, accepting, and exploring what brings pleasure, joy and ALIVENESS to your life you are inherently MORE valuable to the world and everyone around you. You become less dependent on a paycheck and prestige alone to bring happiness to life. You start to value things beyond what we’re told to strive for and stop checking boxes on outcomes/goals you want to see in life, so you actually start living LIFE!
Through cultivating intimacy in your life, you are more valuable because you have a larger capacity to embrace emotional risks and bridge gaps between other people. You are able to cultivate a deeper sense of empathy - seeing others as having their own life journeys and challenges that you can approach with curiosity and compassion. You can hold space to encourage a deep exploration of motivations, traumas, and habits of disconnection for yourself and others. What we are lacking in the modern world of dating through apps and fantasy worlds of online portrayals of brutal sex is an understanding of how to cultivate a deeper understanding and forgiveness around being imperfectly human, complex beings in a complex world.
Through exploring intimacy in a bigger way beyond the physical, you can actually start to take interactions LESS personally and open to making more caring choices. What we gain by slowing down, embracing vulnerability, emotion, intimacy and exploration is a far more RICH experience in relationship with those around you. By investing your time and energy temporarily - rebuilding a foundation of TRUE INTIMACY - you create a path forward to live a life full of meaning, beauty, depth and presence that opens new opportunities for sex to be more than just an act of physical exertion and temporary orgasmic high.
Give yourself the gift of witnessing and embracing those tender, flawed, raw, primal parts of yourself we’ve been conditioned to reject in today’s world. Every bit of healing helps.
“Pay attention to the cracks, because that’s where the light gets in” ~ Leonard Cohen
*In case you want to read the Atlantic article, you can check it out here.