Here is an interesting and honest post from a 17 year old girl who is struggling to understand intimacy in a world where sex is too easy.
She confesses two things:
- Though inexperienced, sex is confusing and unsettling.
- Though inexperienced, intimacy is even more confusing and unsettling.
The challenge of living in an age of easy sex, (Internet Pornography, Sexting, Hook-up Apps, etc) is in learning how to be a real human being and not just a vehicle for sexual exploitation.
Intimacy takes practice. The fundamental skills include.[arrow_list]
- Respecting the dignity of the other person at all times
- Listening with a desire to hear and understand
- Accepting the perspective of the other as meaningful and important
- Holding on to one’s own perspective without dismissing the views of the other
- Seeking alignment at the levels of values and commitments
Ideally these lessons begin in childhood. They are modeled by parents; practiced in families; reinforced in schools; and honed and tested in dating relationships.
The problem is that easy sex undermines the learning process.
Sexual desire draws me to an appropriate partner. When society guards sexual boundaries, my desire motivates me to learn and practice the skills of intimacy. The other person reciprocates: Not with sexual favors, but with expressions of respect, listening, acceptance.
At the right time — that is, when the relationship has achieved a certain maturity in a bond of mutual care — sexual expression finds its place in a context that honors and affirms each person in a journey of deepening intimacy that enable both people to flourish.
Of course, there has always been sex without intimacy. People who have struggled with sexual addiction will tell you that this is a hollow experience at best. At its worst it becomes about power, exploitation, and abuse.
Sharing life in an ongoing, intimate relationship with another person is hard. Sitting alone in a dark room surfing porn, or meeting an acquaintance (or a stranger) for a quick plunge takes no effort.
Learning the skills of intimacy leads to life a life rich with meaning and belonging. Easy sex is just sex. Intimacy restores sexuality to healthy place in a relationship characterized by mutuality, trust, respect, and care for the other as long as both may live.
Image by Michael Coghlan