Meditation on Sex & Intimacy

Sex and Intimacy - separate threads that are often woven together. Sex without intimacy quickly becomes a meaningless act of copulation. But intimacy, with or without sex, is never dull, let alone disappointing. I know the two words seem to be interchangeable, but they are really quite different. It is like the brain and the mind, one is physical, the other emotional, bordering on spiritual. One is brief, ending quickly in an explosive finish, the other eternal without start or finish.

Intimacy is a tapestry woven with threads of trust and understanding. It takes time and effort to nurture, and requires people who are willing to be truly present with each other as they create a deep relationship, rich on so many levels that it can leave you exhausted by the sheer enormity of the tapestry you have woven.

When intimacy overflows the boundaries of friendship it can lead to sex and to Love, depending on which route you decide to take. Sex can be nurturing and even transcendent. It can also be a very destructive factor for two or more people, when confused with, or takes the place of, Love.

In so many ways a river is a wonderful metaphor for intimacy. The journey from friendship to Love is like a spring thaw that melts the snows of winter and starts water trickling downward. As it continues to run faster and faster. It sometimes joins with other streams along its downhill journey, even overflowing its banks, which can reshape the river itself or cause a catastrophe.

When two people's friendship reaches a level of trust and honesty their friendship becomes Love. When that Love continues to grow and expand, it can become something quite different. Sometimes it can be a wonderful event as the waters of intimacy flow quickly toward the sea. However if the banks of that river turn too quickly, life can become erratic. It is as if the outside world begins to interrupt the purity of what two people created. It can disrupt the Love that in a more secluded moment was pure and good and quieting, turning it into a chaotic mess.

We have all seen two people whose Love has overflowed their boundaries. Family pressure, societal pressures, ill-health, even the stress of work can create twists and turns in the banks of the river that force their intimacy to overflow. It can cause two people to doubt themselves and each other, leading to divorce, separations, and breakups. This is what happens when the intimacy of a relationship is no longer enough to keep it going.

Sex is quite different. Sex is an experience. It can shift from a loving experience that brings two people together into an escape that eventually rends them apart. One is an act of transcendence. The other is an outlet of pain and confusion until it to turns bad and there is nothing left. When this happens what was once pleasurable becomes abusive. What was once transcendent becomes a trap.

When the sexual side of a relationship is no longer enough to satisfy the feelings of loss from the intimacy of what was, it begins to hurt more than it helps.