Meditation on Sex & Intimacy
Sex and Intimacy – separate threads that are often woven together. Sex without intimacy quickly becomes a meaningless act of copulation. But intimacy, with or without sex, is never dull, let alone disappointing.
I know the two words are used interchangeably, but they are really quite different. It is like the brain and the mind, one is physical, the other emotional, bordering on spiritual. One is brief, ending quickly in an explosive flash, the other a flowing tide without start or finish.
Intimacy is a tapestry woven with the threads of trust and understanding. It takes time and effort to nurture, it needs only two people who are willing to be truly present with each other as they join paths in a deep relationship, rich on so many levels that it can leave you exhausted by the sheer enormity of the tapestry you have woven together.
When intimacy overflows the boundaries of friendship it can lead to sex and even better, to Love. Depending on which route you decide to take sex can be nurturing, even transcendent. It can also be very destructive, when confused with, or takes the place of, Love.
In many ways a river is a wonderful metaphor for intimacy. The journey from friendship to Love is like the melting snow of a spring thaw. What starts a a trickle of water in spring joins with other trickles as they merge and break apart, but always moving downward.
As it continues to flow, from trickle to spring to river, it runs faster and faster. It sometimes joins with other streams along its journey, sometimes overflowing its banks or reshaping the course of the river itself.
It can cause catastrophe or bring water to what was once parched earth; all depending on how the waters flow.
When two people’s friendship reaches a level of trust and honesty their friendship becomes more intimate. It can become Love. Or not.
If it flows on the course toward Love it can continue to grow and expand, it can also become something quite different. Sometimes it can be a wonderful event as the waters of intimacy flow toward the sea.
The old riverbed can also turn too quickly, throwing old twists and turns for the new waters to flow in. Life can become erratic. It is as if past experiences are out to disrupt the flow two people created. It can disrupt the Love that in a more secluded moment would continue on in a pure and good and quieting way.
We have all seen two people whose Love has overflowed their boundaries. Family pressure, societal pressures, ill-health, even the stress of work can create unexpected twists and turns in the course of the river that force their intimacy to overflow. It can cause two people to doubt themselves and each other. And if their relationship relies on sex, rather than intimacy, they will find themselves lost, fighting a current that is stronger than they can survive.
This is when divorce, separation, or breakups threaten to break them apart. When the intimacy of a relationship is no longer enough to keep it going, this is the outcome.
Sex is an experience, on the other hand, is an experience. It can augment intimacy or not. It can heighten a loving experience and bring two people together in an act of transcendence. It can also rend them apart.
When sex replaces intimacy, it can become an outlet for the pain and confusion each person feels. When this happens what was once pleasurable becomes abusive. What was once transcendent becomes a trap.
When the sexual side of a relationship no longer satisfies the feelings of loss from the intimacy that was, it begins to hurt more than it helps, and that become a loss that is harder and harder to repair.
I hope this helps.
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