Intimacy happens when we allow ourselves to be fully seen, and we truly see the person with whom we are intimate. We tend to think of intimacy as physical, but it's as much about emotions and thoughts. It's about letting ourselves be naked, metaphorically speaking. Intimacy asks us to be transparent in all of our vulnerability, and also in all of our resourcefulness and strengths.
Esther Perek poses an insightful question about sex. She asks 'what do you like to experience?'
She gives the following examples:
Tenderness, softness, closeness, intensity, aggression, transcendence, spiritual connection, rebelliousness, release, surrender, dominance, abandon, unboundedness, freedom, freedom from responsibility, ruthlessness, timelessness, giving, receiving, being taken, possessing…
It is a tremendously useful exercise to explore what you want from sex, both to be clear within yourself, and to talk to your lover about. Looking at it through this conceptual lense can give the dialogue more meaning than to focus on behaviours alone e.g. I want you to touch here or to not do that because it provides insight into what states you want to evoke.
It strikes me that many of the adjectives Esther suggests apply to our emotional lives as much as they do to sex. In relationship do you like to give, to receive, to be tender, connected, unbounded? Do you expect to be dominated, or to possess, or to be abandoned or free from responsibility?
Coming to know your own patterns and preferences sexually and emotionally is a path towards maturity. Being able to spot when we get triggered why it is we are reacting, and to articulate what we want and need, and to take care of our own needs when others can’t or won’t lends an emotional resilience. We will not always get what we want, but we can at least be clear what is happening for us and make choices about our responses from a grounded, informed perspective.
So, what do you like to experience? And who, as well as you, would benefit to know that?