Latest Movie :

Men and Intimacy

Do all men have difficulty understanding what 'intimacy' means?
Do they just all assume that it refers to sex? 

A friend of mine sent me the above question last week and I've been thinking about it ever since, and, by the time this posts, I will have thought about it for several days, but it’s been on my mind for a long time.  I think it’s a great question, mainly because it sparks other questions. 

Since she mentioned me, I can mention her, my "friend" is Cande and she’s wonderful.   As we talked through the wonderful miracle we call the Internet, we covered a lot of ground but I started off with some specific questions on the assumption that she was talking about a specific guy.  I was wrong on that, but I think the questions are still valid because many women have asked the same question about their GF/BF/Husband/Wife/Mistress/Pet/Dom/Domme/Sub/Slave/Lover/SO.  (I have so many friends who hate to be left out.)

·         How do you define intimacy?
·         How do you differentiate different kinds of intimacy, are they fundamentally different or the same thing in different situations?
·         Does he know your definitions?
·         Do you point out moments where the intimacy is “just right” or when he’s catching on?
These are all related to an individual relationship and can be used to gauge how well you are communicating about your need for intimacy. I’d love to get in to all of these but 100’s of books and articles have been written and, well, I don’t need to re-invent the wheel right now.  OK, screw it; I’ll give you my short answers.

·         How do you define intimacy?
·         Is it the lack of boundaries?  Openness to criticism, exposure of one’s weaknesses?  Is intimacy the ability to say ANYTHING while knowing that judgment will be suspended until the whole story is told, maybe forever?
·         How do you differentiate different kinds of intimacy, are they fundamentally different or the same thing in different situations?
·         First, what are the different kinds in intimacy?  Here’s my list;
·         Physical (non-sexual)
·         Physical (Sexual)
·         Emotional (non-romantic0
·         Emotional (Romantic)
·         Financial
·         Aspirational (the ability to admit and discuss your most deeply held dreams)

·         Does he know your definitions?
·         Have you talked about it?  Guys are not mind readers.
·         Women – Men will NEVER be women.  Get over it.
·         Guys – Women will always want you to be a woman (at least occasionally)
·         There will always be a disjoin between these two desires, and it will never be fully satisfied, but if both sides understand that, then we can make progress.  Just don’t fool yourselves ladies, men will NOT ever really like talking about “feelings” as much as you want them to

·         Do you point out moments where the intimacy is “just right” or when he’s catching on?
·         We are simple creatures, whack us on the nose when we mess up, suck our dicks when it goes well.  We will catch on very quickly.

But, back to the original, more global question

Do all men have difficulty understanding what 'intimacy' means or do they just all assume that it refers to sex? 

Here is how I define intimacy, and I have NOT consulted any dictionaries.  This is just what I came up with.  Intimacy is the moment of open and honest communication where internal/social barriers to honesty are dropped and a deeper level of information is shared.

Some quick points:
1.       Men think that everything refers to sex.
2.       We do not think about intimacy. We enjoy it, we notice it, we experience it, but we do not discuss, analyze or pursue it.
3.       Men do have intimate, non-sexual relationships with other men, but we call them teams, clubs, pals, buddies, crews, or partners.
4.       Men are constrained by society to express their intimacy (as defined above) in specific non-sexual situations, within a competitive context (emotions over winning or losing), birth of a child/death of a spouse or sibling, but who really should cry over an uncle, jeez, grow a pair, am I right or am I right?, or financial downturns caught on MSNBC.

We are not allowed to whine over wine, blame our periods, go to the bathroom together, cry at movies, weddings, funerals, or AT&T phone ads, or have long conversations with our brothers while eating any desert.   We cannot call you “just to talk about things at home,” nor are we allowed to show empathy, sympathy, understanding, or concern. 

We are allowed to mock, ridicule, belittle, downplay, deflect, turn-the-tables, challenge you to a game of 1-on-1 anything, make you buy us beer, or grill dead animals for you.    Or bet.  We are always allowed to bet on something to prove that something else is entirely true.  These are the ways that men show intimacy among men.  We rely heavily on the “Humor is 90% truth,” but when real emotions are on the line, we amp it up to 95% and then we all stand around in a circle quietly, nodding our head, processing the moment, and then someone calls someone else a pussy, challenged them to 1-on-1, and we move on, but, for us, the moment was real and intimate. 

After a moment like that, when someone reveals a truth about themselves, even in jest, someone will find a quiet moment to walk over, hand them a drink, look them in the eye, and say, “Are you all-right?”  The answer will be short, honest, and will require follow-up, but it will happen.  It just tends to happen on the bigger issues, not the daily stuff.

We feel intimate moments when we win and lose at sports because we care about winning and losing at sports.  We cry at certain funerals because we care about them and we know that eventually it will be us in the box and we won’t be wearing an NBA jersey with our own name on it.  We care about golf, sex, women, women we want to have sex with, and our own penis, 

But that doesn’t mean that we want other people to care about
Our golf (keep your “hints” to yourself, Mr. 5-over-par-going-into-17),
Our sex (just know that I have it, a lot of it, and that I’m better at it than you), 
Our women (yes,  I love her and it kills me that she won’t have sex with me, but she’s my wife, but I know you secretly want to sleep with her so just shut the fuck up about it),
The women we want to have sex with (yes, your sister, deal with it),
Or our own penis.

 We can only talk about our bodies in a complaining (Mine’s just too big, it’s a burden.), bragging (Yes, your sister said it was too big.), or medical context (yes, the doctor said your sister would be fine, but we aren’t so sure about the hot nurse).

OK, so this is all about men relating to men, because that is where men learn to be close.  Sports, the military, work, are all clichés, but it is where we break down barriers, we learn truth about each other, we learn who we can trust, who we can’t, and more importantly, why.

With women, the challenge for men is that we don’t have the same experiences with women to build that trust.  Typically, intimacy between a man and a woman does begin with, and revolve around sex, and then it is expected to extend in to other areas. 

Male/Male intimacy starts with an activity (life, work, sports, etc.) and builds based on shared experiences.

Male/Female intimacy starts with attraction (dreaming about sex), dating (hoping for sex), or sex (wanting more sex). Then women expect us to feel intimacy in areas where it hasn’t been earned.  Just because you saw me naked and had sex with me, doesn’t mean I trust you with my financial truth, my hopes and dreams, or my emotional commitment. 

It’s very similar to the sitcom moment where, after a night of passion with a new man, the woman won’t let him see her naked in the light of day.  She might have let him kiss, lick, slap, and tickle every inch of that body the night before, but she doesn’t trust him with the truth about her creases, folds, wrinkles, sags, or fragrance.  That trust, that level of intimacy, has to be earned. 

Men are the same way; our intimacy has to be earned in each separate context. 

My wife knows everything about my medical history, but not the password to my phone records.
She knows about all the jobs I’ve applied for, but not about some that I really want.
She knows every dime in our bank accounts, but not where I spend the cash that I pull each month.

Even after almost 20 years of marriage, there are corners of my psyche that she does not get access to because I do not trust her to respond the way I need her to.  I hide because I cannot stand the hurt of that last level of honesty.

There are friends on the Internet who know more about my sexual fantasy life than my wife ever will, because I want to do number #14 on my list, but she won’t let me get past #2, so why bring up #3-14 at all?

Every relationship has these blind spots, and, I can admit, many of them come from the man’s side, but, we only share ourselves when we feel a level of trust that is hard for us to reach.

So, how do I wrap this up before my last remaining reader falls asleep while trying to read this on her iPhone while driving?  Like this.

The old saying goes, “Women have sex to find love, while Men feign give love to get sex.”  We approach intimacy so differently.  Women want connections at a level that transcends sex, and everything else, they want intimacy in spite of everything else so that the “everything else” can be fixed. (If only he’d talk to me, we could work it out.”)

Men build intimacy by working it out.  Men learn by doing, we learn trust through shared experience and by testing each other and by fixing things out to a point where I can grant intimacy.  Only after you have proven yourself can I trust you. (We could work it out if we just fixed things.”)

If you read this far, you deserve a prize. 
Thank you for staying, and please let me know what you think.

While writing this post I saw this quote on The Monkey’s Journey and think it applies very well:

Breaking me is pushing me past my boundaries, exploring my limits, making me cry, pushing me to painslut sub space where I completely rely on him to be everything in that moment, my tormentor and my savior, simultaneously.  When I am there all the noise in my head stops and He rules…. a very simple, visceral place, that moment.

This level of intimacy scares most of us, but even here, even in her painslut sub-space, I'm guessing she keeps her secrets.
Share this article :

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2011. oncall sex for life - All Rights Reserved
Proudly powered by Blogger