Monday, 14 March 2011

Intimacy

When I was a college student I bought a book by Jean Paul Satre called Intimacy.

Why did I buy it?

Perhaps I was tempted by the picture on the cover. Or was it the phrase "corruption of love" in the description. There was certainly the pretension of pseudo-intellectualism in carrying it around with me unread!

But there was too something powerful about the word.

Intimacy

Perhaps it was something I craved but didn't have. It seemed to imply something erotic and special - a depth of experience I had not had then. I doubt I knew the meaning of intimacy at that time and I wonder if I do now.

It is not a word I use often. Certainly not recently. In thinking over the last few days about its meaning I found my immediate response to be very physical. To talk of an intimate relationship or encounter seems almost synonymous with describing a sexual one. Is that not how the word is most often used? Intimate contact seems to imply sexual contact, genital contact - a purely physical act.

However the more I thought of the word the more those earlier feelings returned. Intimacy seemed to imply something special - certainly more than fumbling sexual contact. There is an emotional context to it as well. There is emotional intimacy as well as physical intimacy. "Intimacy" itself seems to imply a physical and emotional connection that is much more subtle.

The more I have thought about it the more I feel that it implies a very special relationship that is not love or sex or affection or physical contact. There is something sensual about the word but something that implies a closeness that cannot be described by those other words.

I found myself thinking about this having read Jz's post about her relationship and some difficult thoughts and decisions.

In it she wrote,

"It is in that loft, however, where the intangible thing comes out to play.
It's not love - I've had that with people who never made it through the hallway. But it is nearly as visceral.
Because those who've run the gamut win my trust and together, we generate intimacy. True, profound, binding intimacy."

The word within that very powerful phrase held me. True, profound, binding intimacy.

I still don't think I fully understand "intimacy" or what it means. However, I have been reminded of the power of it and feel I should search it out once more.

I write of it here because it seems central to a bdsm relationship. What could be more intimate?

18 comments:

mouse said...

Sir,

Couldn't agree with you more. That level of intimacy doesn't come easy and takes a lot of time to nurture.

Hugs,
mouse

Lady Xanax said...

Intimacy works on many different levels both emotional and physical. As human beings we all have an inherent need to love and be loved. Of course intimacy trascends more than just this basic need. Intimacy fulfills our soul. Since my sub and I began our journey, I know that our level of intimacy has grown and developed into something special. Yes there is the physical intimacy linked within our sessions involving the senses like touch, taste, sight and sound. All the sensations that are involved with that. I have found a different level of intimacy during aftercare which is just as important.

Intimacy is all about bonding, helping two human beings to almost become one. And it doesn't have to be sexual. I have an initmate relationship with my best friend. We are like sisters and closer. Having known each other for almost 30 years, we often know what eachother are thinking, finish eachother's sentences, know instinctively when the other is upset or something is wrong. Have no qualms about hugging eachother, providing a level of mutual support which others often envy. And we can laugh at ourselves quite often.

With my sub, our intimacy has reached beyond D/s into our RL relationship which developed as a result of our initial agenda. It's two years now and I can't imagine my life without her and visa versa. Our love both in and out of my chamber has helped us to become intimate on different levels. The main thing being trust. She trusts me implicitely. That is the kind of intimacy we have. To be relaxed in eachother's company, happy just to be together, share our experiences when I dominate her, talk about things openly, understand our needs, and know I can rely on her support as much as she can rely on mine.

Does that explain everything intimacy is about? Probably not. In many ways it can't be quantified. But I know how it feels. And I know I have it in my life. And I know it makes me very happy.

NewToThisLife07 said...

Lady Xanax described it so well -so maybe I can add my 2 cents briefly for once *LOL* Intimacy is not sex, yes it is intimate contact in a physical aspect -but I wouldn't say you are intimate with a one night stand for example, because in the end it's just sex. Intimacy grows out of feeling for another person, a connection. Of course there are intimate actions too, but to me it can be the small things like a stroke on the cheek while looking in to each others eyes, or giving your partner a nice relaxing massage. Of course sessions are/can be intimate too, because you are connected on a mental level with each other. I think to have intimacy you need to have affection for the other person.

OK, not so short :P

Dannah said...

Although it does not require sexuality, I do believe there is a physical element in intimacy.

Lady Xanax and Newtothislife07 both comment on touch: a hug, a stroke...

To me, intimacy consists of the rare moments when humans meet on all levels: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.

An example is childbirth. The meeting between parent and child is intimate--there is simply no other word for it.

Sir J said...

I agree with Dannah that intimacy is that space where you meet another"on all levels: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical." however I have been lucky in my life and I would not describe these moments as rare. They occur all the time for me and have over the course of a life time with my girl that goes back to when we were teenagers. We are often accused of being to close or of having a private language but really what people pick up on is an intense level of intimacy that connects us.

nancy said...

Indeed,, what could be more intimate than a bdsm relationship?

Parent / child relationships are close but not as intense, in my opinion.

I've never felt as close to anyone as I do with Sir...and it is on every level..emotional and physical.
I can't put the feelings into words but I do like your post!

Pygar said...

Thank you so much mouse, Lady Xanax, NewToThisLife07, Dannah, Sir J and nancy. You have each come up with some fascinating perspectives.

I am still thinking about what each of you has written as well as the original post that stimulated it. I think it is a very special ... I am searching for a word - feeling, concept, emotion? I don't know. They all seem wrong.

Intimacy is just what it is and is special to each of us.

For mouse it takes time; for Lady xanax there are so many different levels; for NewToThisLife07 it grows from a feeling, a connection and of course affection; for Danah it includes spiritual, mental, emotional and physical levels - as a special example in childbirth; for Sir J it is not a rarity - but something that goes back to a shared history; and for nancy - what could be more intimate than a bdsm relationship.

Your thoughts have given me lots to ponder and I may return to this topic.

Thank you all again

P xxxx

Pygar said...

I have heard from Jz.

She also has a lot of fascinating thoughts about this. However she is taking a break from blogging at the moment. I hope when she re-starts that she may write a post to share her thoughts. I know that will stimulate a reply from me here!

P xx

Alice said...

Defining "Intimacy" is a tall order. You may think that it couldn't exist in what, on the face of it, appears to be a "casual" relationship. I have a lover who I see rarely, we know very little of each other's lives, but physically we fit so perfectly, it feels so close, complete, trusting. This feeling is what I know as intimacy. Rare but very precious.

Pygar said...

Thank you so very much Alice.

I think your comment has brought a new perspective - emphasising that "intimacy" is so very different from those other words that we use to describe close relationships.

It is powerful and intense - and as you say, rare and precious. A bit like true submission perhaps!

P xx

Marcela said...

I believe intimacy has to do with being able to share all corners of ourselves with someone. Being embraced in our fears, our selfishness, our cruelty, our ignorance and vulnerability. That's why not all loving relations, such us with our kids or consorts, can achieve that. The roles are too fixed. Thanks for the chance to read about this subject. I wrote a longer post but it vanished in a posting failure. Nic blog.

Marcela said...

Something I said in the lost comment was that entering hand in hand into the unknown corners of our soul with our intimate partner, not afraid of confronting all we are, whatever we find, is the defining sign of intimacy.

Pygar said...

Marcela - what thoughtful and wise comments. What a shame that your longer comment was lost. I think you are getting to the heart of the meaning of intimacy. I am fascinated that it could imply a deeper, closer relationship than love.

Thank you for your persistence in taking the time to write again. It is appreciated.

- P xx

Marcela said...

It surely does imply a deeper, closer relationship than love, at least as we understand the word, in a "household" way. Maybe if we explored layers of meaning in the concept of love, we would find it reaches the same depth. Love is not only a feeling. There's more to it.

I feel the difference is in the intensity of trust. Maybe you don't "love" someone as much as you may love your kids, but if you absolutely trust that person, you may reach intimacy. But this trust is almost mystical, in the sense that at some point you are one with the other. Dualistic view suddenly vanishes, and Dom and sub are one and the same.

Pygar said...

Thank you again Marcela for your continuing insight. I think "love" has such a variety that intimacy might well be encompassed within it in many relationships. However there may be powerful relationships of love - for instance between parent and child - where that concept of intimacy does not exist.

So does it work the other way round? That there can be a powerful intimacy that is not love?

I think that was part of what Jz may have been saying in her post that stimulated my own thoughts.

I recognise though your emphasis on trust being a key component. That ties in totally with the essentials of a true BDSM relationship. Trust is the key to make it work. Perhaps it needs that level of trust that could be described as intimate and which you go on to describe as almost mystical.

Is the level of trust needed for BDSM a starting point for real intimacy? For a mystical joining of one with the other?

P xx

Marcela said...

I think it may well be. As I consider intimacy a situation that allows us to face the unknown in us, the feared, denied aspects of our vast selves, in the presence of an "other", without feeling judged or rejected,the BDSM relationship may well be a starting point for that intimacy.

Let's not forget that sex has historically been a territory mined with prohibitions, prejudice and attacks from righteous judgement. To enter that territory hand in hand with a companion who is willing to accept and even share our hidden fantasies may lead to a really deep connection in the long run.

I'm no expert but it sounds beautifully possible.

Pygar said...

Yes Marcela - "beautifully possible." Thank you.

P xx

Pygar said...

Jz has revisited the subject of intimacy on her blog. You can read it here.

P xx