Intimacy – Sex – Power

Last week I talked about what intimacy is, this week I’ll talk about what it is not. (Read part 1 here) Intimacy, sex and power are separate aspects of the human experience. Each is powerful on its own. Sadly, thanks to our conditioning, we confuse them. We collapse their meanings together.

A common collapsed distinction happens with intimacy and sex. Intimacy is not sex. Just because you have sex with someone does not mean you are emotionally present for each other. Also, being intimate with someone has nothing to do with power. Neither sex nor emotional vulnerability gives you power over the other person (or them over you).

And after saying all that, if I told you that Suzie Q and Jimmy Lou were intimate friends, would you think they were having sex? I would. It is so difficult to separate intimacy and sex in your mind. Here’s why:

When we’re drawn to another person, there is an attraction that is pulling us toward each other. That’s an invitation to intimacy. We grow the connection through common threads of interest. Through a build up of interactions, we begin to let down our masks and get to know each other as real people.

But! All the messages we receive from the media and from growing up in this culture tell us that any attraction you feel must be sexual attraction. And, thanks to at least 100 years of advertising, we’ve been pretty thoroughly conditioned to associate any feelings of connection with sex.   Remember, sex sells.

So we make big mistakes.

You’ve seen them: Office romance, Professor/student trysts; tennis instructor/bored housewife afternoon delight. The common threads that drew you together brought closeness, and that closeness generates vulnerability and openness.

Then, boom! The connected feelings of intimacy morph into sex. They are different human experiences and they both feel really good, but they don’t always go together. And poor choices likely have uncomfortable consequences.

Here’s where the Dreamkillers really kick in. To protect ourselves from making big mistakes because we can’t differentiate sex and intimacy, we either shut ourselves off from life, or we blur boundaries between intimacy/sex/power and confuse them even more.

Intimacy is about connection.

One of the major weapons in Defense Against Dreamkillers Academy is connection. And connection begins at home.  Be open to connecting to yourself.  Notice where you focus your attention and when you are being vulnerable.  Get really curious.

You can push it out into nature. Everyone feels connected in nature; it’s part of being human. You can feel connected to a tree in your yard or your bare feet on grass; you don’t need to travel, it’s right next to you. Feel that connection.

Feel connection all the way inside to your bones. Feel connected to your surroundings. Feel connected to your pet, if you have one. The more connected you feel, the more capacity you have to bring that connection to others.

Take that feeling of connection and imagine it’s a bubble surrounding you. Push that bubble of connection out to the people around you, to your nation. To the world.   To the universe.

I’m sure there are plenty of 17-year-old boys who would disagree, but the world does not need more sex. It needs more intimacy.

It needs fewer masks, less trying to look good, less trying to cover up imperfections. It needs more willingness to be open, to be vulnerable. We need to allow ourselves to be intimate. (and you know what I mean!)

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