What Intimacy Isn’t

Intimacy is not who you let touch you. Intimacy is who you text at 3am about your dreams and fears. Intimacy is giving someone your attention, when ten other people are asking for it. Intimacy is the person always in the back on your mind, no matter how distracted you are. — Daisy Mae Darling
Blue Valentine
Blue Valentine

I never see you with a man, he said to me. You always come home alone, eat breakfast alone.

It felt like an attack, that he should say that. That there’s something wrong with me because I’m not having sex. I tried to explain. I tried to say, I used to have a lot of sex, but it just isn’t for me, not anymore. Not sex with strangers. Not one-night stands.

He laughed. Women put so much pressure on themselves, he said. Men, we don’t build sex up to be this big thing like you do. We enjoy it for what it is. More women need to do that.

I couldn’t form the words at the time. Couldn’t organize the fragments of my thoughts to say that oh yes, I’m a woman, and I have needs. I have desires and urges and sometimes I think I might burst from the biological fucking yearning for the weight of a man on top of me.

But, when I think about that – about that man, about his nakedness and heaviness and the way he fills me – he’s looking at me. And when he looks at me, he sees me. It isn’t about the sex. The drive I have, it’s for intimacy.

Intimacy isn’t sex.

Intimacy isn’t, as “Darling” says, who you let touch you.

Intimacy takes time. Intimacy is the slow reveal by single parts, to reveal a bigger whole. It’s light and dark, it’s deep and real. Intimacy isn’t holding your ankles or grunting that way. Intimacy is seeing and being seen, a connection, an understanding. Intimacy doesn’t come after three beers and an hour of conversation. It takes days, weeks, months and years.

Intimacy is sharing. Moments, dinner plates, hurt. Healing.

Intimacy isn’t romanticism. It isn’t the Hollywood version of love with grand declarations and rousing finales. Intimacy isn’t neat. It’s not tidy. Intimacy isn’t clean. Intimacy is blood and puss and guts and finding a way to have the stomach for it all because you’re invested.

Intimacy isn’t love. Love comes and goes. Waxes and wanes. You can’t undo intimacy – when you’re in, you’re in. Intimacy is family, is blood in your veins. Intimacy isn’t choosing. Intimacy isn’t selective. Intimacy is acceptance, in the thick of it all.

Intimacy is empathy. Intimacy isn’t dismissive or judgmental.

When he said, women need to accept sex just for what it is, and then maybe they could enjoy it more, I wish I had had time to prepare. To order my thoughts. To round-out my belief that sex isn’t just sex, and I shouldn’t have to feel shamed by that.

Intimacy isn’t forced. Cannot be engineered. Doesn’t come with the unwrapping of a condom pack. Intimacy is relaxed and easy, gentle and kind.

And if I’m gonna have sex, that’s exactly what I want it to be. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog