All Articles Tagged "sexuality"
While nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that legal recognition of gay marriage is inevitable and an increasing number of states are proving their belief to be true, a new documentary is telling a different story about support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Produced by award-winning filmmaker and journalist Yoruba Richen, ”The New Black” takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community, the film’s website explains.
According to Richen, the documentary, a follow-up to previous works that includes “Promised Land” and “Take It From Me,” is fraught with politics and personal stories on both sides of the same-sex marriage campaign. And at the core of it, the black church’s homophobic tendencies, she says.
“The reality is that the African-American community and the black church is diverse and opinions on this issue have reflected that,” Richen told POLITICO. “There were some black public figures who took stances very early on in support of gay rights — look at Jesse Jackson’s rainbow coalition in the 80’s — while others spoke out against it. Also in terms of polling, African-American support (like other groups) has varied depending how you phrase the question and the religiosity of the respondents.”
In one such poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, 66 percent of African Americans said that they believe being gay is a choice, a lifestyle that gay men and women decide to lead.
The poll also revealed that fewer Americans would be upset if their son or daughter were gay or lesbian, and that more people favor gay and lesbian couples raising children, findings that Pew attributes to the fact that most Americans now say that they know someone who is gay or lesbian. As Pew noted, “even holding demographic factors constant, those who have many gay acquaintances, or close gay friends and family members, are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than those who do not.”
Read and see more at BlackVoices.com
‘Whose Body Is This Anyway?’ Jada Pinkett Condemns Criticism Of Beyonce And J.Lo’s Chime For Change Outfits
In case you missed it, this past Saturday the women’s rights charity concert Chime for Change was held in London and featured performances by notable acts like John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Rita Ora, Mary J. Blige, and headliner Beyonce. Despite the noble cause the artists came together for, some allowed negativity to overshadow the overall purpose of the event, focusing on the clothing — or lack thereof– some performers (namely Beyonce and J. Lo) wore and the mixed message that sent about women and our rights.
As a few observers remarked on Twitter:
“I am all about female empowerment in every form but why does it have to be celebrated in spiked heels and knickers every time #beyonce”
@Chime for change I’m all for your message…but these skimpy costumes and sex dance moves really don’t do much for womens’ empowerment”
The singers themselves didn’t take the time to address these remarks, but Jada Pinkett-Smith certainly did on the medium she’s become quite accustomed to using as her soapbox these days: Facebook. Commenting on the backlash, she wrote:
Whose body is this anyway?
There was some backlash about the performance outfits for the Chime concert. Since a woman’s body has been deeply connected to sin, it’s easy to forget all the power and beauty her body and sexuality possesses.
Yes, with this power comes great responsibility, but how was Beyonce’s tasteful outfit irresponsible? Here is the problem I see, a woman’s body is too much power for one woman to have, even Beyonce. Although we see corporations exploit this power through women and girls, with far less clothing on than Beyonce, to sell their products, do we protest? But hey, a woman has to be in check, right? Know her position since we’ve all been taught that a powerful woman is dangerous and that a powerful man makes the world go round.
Here’s the deal… soon the reign of shame on a woman’s body and her control of it will end. She will be autonomous. For she can’t truly be free without it. And oh boy…what a different world this place will be…when she is free.
She does have a point there. Do you agree With Miss Jada Pinkett? Or are you in the put some damn clothes on camp?
By Rick Clemons
Now, I can laugh at this thought. Still, just a little over twelve years ago, I would have said the same thing, “I’m not gay, I just like having sex with men!” Ahem, excuse me that sounds a little homosexual to me. Granted, if you’re a male, having sex with a male, you could be bi-sexual, so just admit it and move on. Yet, I didn’t fit that mold twelve years ago, either. I was caught in a dysfunctional sexual limbo that made no sense.
Of course, now things have changed, and it all makes sense…I’m a happy homosexual. I’ve joined the ranks of “Happily Divorced,” and am no longer messing around with other married men, disengaging from the experience, and pretending to be something I’m not. However, contrary to popular belief there are more from whence I came…married men, looking for married men!
Shocking as it may seem to some of you, this phenomena is not new, nor a dwindling fad. Of course I have no cold hard facts to prove this statement, and I don’t need them. All I need is a computer, an Internet connection, and an hour of free time. With those three things at my disposal I can find numerous sites where married men for married men lurk. I can also join online groups where these guys exchange their stories, get support for their dual lives, and of course also find the occasional hook-up. And, then there’s online chat rooms, gay male hook-up sites, gay male apps, that also work for men who are married and just having sex with men, even though their not gay. After all why not fish where your most likely to hook one, especially when you can do it inconito!
Read more at YourTango.com
When I heard Carolyn Moos’ story, the woman who was engaged to gay, basketball player Jason Collins, I felt sorry for her but I couldn’t say I was exactly surprised. There are a lot of men, particularly black men, who are in severe denial about who they are. While Jason was wrong, he’s certainly not alone. I know that from personal experience. I’ve never been in a serious relationship with a gay man but in middle school and high school, the time when we become aware and start acting on our sexuality, three gay boys tried to date me.
I could take such advances as a threat to my womanhood; but instead, I realize the confusion and desperation these boys must have been feeling at the time. And for whatever reason, I was the “last resort” girl.
First there was Adam Baxter. I met Adam in 6th grade. He sang in choir with me and hung out with all girls except for one other boy, who we also assumed was gay…or at least bisexual. In addition to choir, Adam and I had a couple of classes together. We became fast friends because he was pretty hilarious. He’d literally sashay up to us, chest stuck out, wrist broken to share a quip, some gossip or a compliment about one of our outfits. And when our interactions were over, he’d swish away. These may sound like severely exaggerated characteristics, but I promise you that was his steelo. So imagine my surprise when one day, my friend told me that she and Adam were dating. Umm…ok. If she liked it, I loved it. After all, we were in sixth grade, the days when having a boyfriend was of supreme importance. I figured it was a relationship of convenience. It lasted a week.
Naturally, I assumed they broke up because she no longer wanted to date someone who was gay. But apparently, this wasn’t a conversation they’d ever had. Because two weeks later, as proper middle school dating decorum would dictate, Adam asked me out.
We were standing in the lunch line waiting for our tater tots and Fruitopia talking about something insignificant when all of a sudden Adam’s tone shifted. He looked in my eyes and said, “Veronica, do you want to go out with me?” I couldn’t believe it. And before I even had time to give a polite response I blurted an appalled “No.” If I had any doubt that Adam wasn’t gay, his reaction to my rejection removed all doubt. The boy literally put his hand to his heart, dropped his jaw and said “Ugh.” I chuckled a bit to myself before I apologized and explained that I didn’t like him like that and we went back to being friends.
You could assume that Adam was just severely effeminate but by the time we got to high school, even though we went to separate schools, news of his “coming out” somehow made it back to me. Absolutely no surprise there.
After Adam there was Justin in 8th grade. Just like Adam, Justin and I were really good friends. I didn’t know for sure that Justin was gay. I just knew that in 8th grade, when the knuckleheads around me were trying desperately to assert their manhood, Justin was just a bit more sensitive. He asserted his like for me a little less aggressively. He sent an anonymous note that read:
Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet. Guess who likes you?
It takes two to tango in the bedroom. We often read about the mistakes that men or women make when it comes to sex, but in the end, a sexual relationship involves two people. When a relationship starts to slip or when things just don’t seem to be as exciting and fun as they once were, often times the problems lie between the sheets. Many relationships start off with an amazing and anxiety-filled bedroom life, and overtime things become dull and almost expected. Here are 14 most common bedroom mistakes that couples make.
Writing for CBS News, Mo Ivory has a pretty tough critique of the television show “Scandal”:
“And I am going to just say it: Olivia Pope is no different than Joseline from “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” or Kim from “Real Housewives of Atlanta” – she just has more expensive clothes, a higher paying job and tighter security. She is no breath of fresh air, nuanced or complicated, and definitely not a rarity in black female representation. She is merely presented on a shiny platter in a sparkly house instead of at the bar in a strip club.
A street worker provides the same service as an escort…they just cost more and are found in different locations.”
Ivory continues her assessment of the show by critiquing some of the fans of the show, who she said might be “presentation hypocrites” – a person who classifies the exact behavior differently based on the presentation of the acts – for viewing Olivia Pope as deep and thought-provoking while chastising the women of reality television for the same sort of immoral behavior, such as an affair. Ivory writes:
“Here’s the truth: She’s having an affair with a married man who made sure he secured a really good job for her that she has been able to turn into a profitable business. But not before she engaged in criminal activity to make sure he would get his job and formed a partnership with another woman he sleeps with. She sneaks over in the middle of the night for booty calls and has her “yes” men and women to cover her tracks. She keeps a thug around (Huck) for protection and to do her dirty work. She keeps a good guy on the side who she should “really be with” in order for her to claim to herself and others that she is finished being a Slore. If this plot was being cast as a reality show it would be called, “Housewives of America,” “Love & Hip Hop USA” or “Politicians’ Wives.”
…and that is how you draw the ire of a good portion of the black blogosphere. Seriously, there are lots of pissed off fans of “Scandal” in the comment section beneath her post. She might want to call in Judy Smith, the real Olivia Pope, to come handle that. Anyway, I think that Ivory is both right and wrong in her assessment of the television show. Let’s start with what I think she gets right:
I have written about presentation hypocrisy before, most recently the flap over the reportedly canceled reality show All My Babies Mammas, I just didn’t know that this television double standard actually had its own terminology. The only time we are concerned about challenging potentially harmful images of ourselves is when those images come from a less affluent part of our community. I also think that what people get caught up in is that this major network television series was produced and written by a black woman (Shonda Rhimes) and features an educated, independent and powerful black woman as lead. Those historic markers alone gives “Scandal” a pedigree above your typical reality television series starring black characters. However, contrary to what the show’s accomplishments suggest, the Olivia Pope character is not Claire Huxtable. And she does appear to embody the same sort of messiness, which befalls many of the characters on television. Straight up drama. Olivia Pope may not hop on tables with veins bulging out of her forehead, threatening to be “about that life,” ala Evelyn Lozada but best believe Huck will give you the business – after she discreetly leaves the room. Now that’s classy.
Therefore, I don’t quite understand the push back Ivory has received for stating the obvious: “Scandal,” on the whole, is pretty damn ratchet. I mean, isn’t that what we expect from a night time soap, particular one called “Scandal”? Or does the pedigree prevent us from admitting that yes, between our Toni Morrison, pearl necklaces and Alice Walker, is space for the tawdriness too? Growing up on a steady diet of daytime soap operas like “All My Children” and “Young and Restless” as well as the various night time romantic dramas, such as “Dynasty,” “Dallas,” “Falcon Crest,” “90210,” “Buffy,” the male version of Buffy (I can’t remember the name of the show), “Roswell,” etc…, I often wondered when black folks would have their own scripted version of a soap-type drama. Of course, the answer is our overall representational problem behind the television cameras, which creates an imbalance of quality characters on screen. However, even in spaces where black folks had some sort of say creatively, it has truly been difficult finding nuance characters – and I am not quite sure if that is all due to racism in Hollywood or this shroud of anxiety black folks live under, which requires us to present ourselves “right.” I always said that a true sign of progress would be our ability to create and have see complex and dysfunctional black characters without concern or anxiety about how others might use said image to define our entire cultural experience. In some respects, “Scandal,” with its expensive tailored suit, master’s degree and more affluent contacts, is a sign of not only how far we come but also how much more progress is needed to make real representational equality (trademark pending) a reality.
The latter is where I believe that Ivory gets wrong in her critique. Although she hits the nail on the head in her summation of the hypocrisies in passing moral judgment over a basketball wife but not a Pope, Ivory ultimately misses the point that we should not be making any moral judgments about these women’s sexual relationships – be it real or fictional. I don’t see Olivia as an immoral specifically because of her relationship; nor do I make the same sort of sexual moral judgments about the women of reality television. There have been tons of shows with male-centered characters, who engage in relationships with not only married women but outside of their own marriages, and still get to be regarded as the hero and good guy of the story. Male characters are allocated more freedom in the moral value system whereas women are regulated with more stringent standards. In in some cases, a female character’s entire value to the a story will be determine exclusively by whom they’re sleeping with.
In the article, Three White H0es and Betty White: The Unspoken Double Standard, Kirsten West Savali writes about another form of presentation hypocrisy in which white female sexuality is normalized and encouraged while black women and sexuality is still regarded in negative and fearful terms. Writes Savali, “White women can refer to themselves as “h0es” tongue-in-cheek, because they do not accept ownership of the word — it is not disrespectful, because, in our twisted society, it is a word that does not belong to them — it belongs to us. They are free to sexually express themselves, without fear of judgment and repercussions, because their sexuality has been ruled safe for mass consumption; conversely, the power that is sheathed in the sexuality of black women cannot, and will not, be harnessed, and that will continue to affect our presence in the media until our economic conditions reflect our true value.”
I have to say that as a fan of “Scandal,” the relationship she has with the president is probably the least interesting part of both the Olivia Pope character and the subplot of the show. But I do appreciate the irony of a story about a professional fixer, whose job is to help the connected out of a scuttlebutt, finds herself dead-smack in the midst of one of her own making. And I also appreciate Rhimes courage to “go there” with the Olivia Pope character. Racial mythologies, which have historically painted black women as pathological Sapphires and Jezebels, means that the terms, “Slore” or “Slore” or some other sexual epithet gets thrown around way too loosely and too frequently. And while white women can feel free to embrace some levels of sexual complexity on television, black female television characters are not generally written or accepted in such expressive roles. I’m not saying that women characters need to engage in more televised extra marital relationships in order to provide some sort of representational equality on the screen. But I feel that we shouldn’t necessarily feel compelled to completely divorce ourselves from those television images of black women and complex sexuality based around the desire to keep up appearances.
I don’t normally pay Cameron Diaz much attention and I don’t think many other people do either, but the statements she made in a recent interview will likely have a lot of women thinking, she’s no friend of mine. During a recent chat with the U.K.’s Sunday Times, Cameron used what I hope is nothing more than a poor choice of words when she spoke to the paper about the idea of being a sex object and said:
“I think every woman does want to be objectified. There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy.”
“It’s empowering,” she added. “I’m not some young girl with the photographer going, ‘Will you take your clothes off?’ I’m like [mimes stripping], ‘How does this look?’”
As a woman of 40 years, it’s easy to read through the lines of Cameron’s response and see she’s trying to prove a point that at her age she’s just happy someone is still looking at her as a sexual being (as if 40 is really old but that’s a discussion for another day). Still, the use of the term objectify makes every legitimate point the actress was trying to make null and void, like the part when she said, ”I’m a woman, I know how to handle myself. I know what I feel comfortable doing, and I know my sexuality.” Being comfortable with your sexuality is not a precursor to welcoming objectification, just as those who are not fully comfortable in their sexual skin are the only ones who can fall victim to objectification. Objectification is the experience of being seen as nothing more than a sexual object and I don’t think there are many women who are seeking that goal and I certainly wouldn’t conclude that it’s healthy.
See, contrary to popular Hollywood — and street harasser – belief , all attention is not good attention and most sensible women know this. Yes, all women at some point want to be seen as attractive and sexay and want to be complimented positively as a result, and maybe even asked to show a little more skin because someone thinks what their working with is kinda nice. But what we’re talking about here is the difference between someone saying, “Hey beautiful, your legs look gorgeous in that dress you should show them off more often” and “take your clothes off and spread your legs so I can see what I really came for.” There’s a certain level of disrespect and entitlement that comes from the aggressor or objectifier in that instance that is highly undesierable by most women of any age.
I’m sure there are also some women out here thinking we need to be empowering ourselves and not basing our sexual IQ on the attention of others but I won’t get in to all of that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little positive external affirmation, but again affirmation, attention, and objectification are not interchangeable. If that type of behavior puts a little more pep in Cameron’s step, more power to her, but I prefer that she not speak for all women nor give a pass to those who choose to practice this behavior which women have been fighting for centuries now to undo. And the truth is, very few women have the problem of not being objectified enough, it’s the issue of being seen as more than your T&A that’s the real struggle and I’m pretty sure working in the entertainment industry Cameron Diaz knows that full well. I don’t even understand why she let this crazy talk come out of her mouth. Just another Freudian slip caught by a reporter on top of his job I suppose.
What do you think about what Cameron said?
Several years ago I dated a man I’ll call “Rico.” I met him through a mutual friend and our relationship became serious rather quickly. He was President of his fraternity, an excellent father, attended church regularly, and played basketball on Saturday mornings. I quickly found that he was everything I wanted in a man and I couldn’t wait to be his wife. Little did I know that marriage to me, or any woman for that matter, was the last thing on his mind.
One night during one of my many visits to Rico’s place the doorbell rang. It was one of his best friends who had dropped by to see us. He came by to inform us that he had accepted a recent job offer and would be moving out of state. I was disappointed because I really enjoyed having Rico’s friend around and I knew how crushed my man would be once this friend actually left. I greatly underestimated how much these two men really meant to one another. I went into the kitchen to prepare some food since I assumed we would all be celebrating this new step in his friend’s life. I didn’t realize it had gotten quiet outside the kitchen due to the commotion created by all of the pots and pans I was working with. I popped my head out to make sure Rico and his friend were still in the living room. They weren’t.
Both of them loved to shoot pool so I figured they went to his game room. As I headed towards the game room I heard something in the bathroom instead. I couldn’t quite make out what it was so I made my way to the bathroom to investigate. As I got closer to the door, I could hear voices. The door was shut, but I was certain both voices belonged to Rico and his friend. I chalked it up to “guy talk” and turned back to the kitchen. Big mistake.
As I made my way back to the kitchen I heard a loud bang from the bathroom. Panicking, thinking someone was hurt, I rushed back to the bathroom since I had no idea what the loud noise was. The door was still shut so I started banging on it. I asked if everyone was okay. No answer. I banged on the door and shouted both Rico and his friend’s names. There was still no answer. My imagination got the best of me as I ran through different scenarios that may have been going on inside the bathroom. While on the verge of a complete and total breakdown, the whispers I previously heard returned.
Apparently, Rico and his friend thought I retreated back to the kitchen. The whispers became louder and pretty soon I heard sounds that are usually found in the bedroom, not between two friends who are supposed to just be having a little “guy talk” as I had initially though. I proceeded to bang on the door again, this time in anger. Rico timidly came to the door as I shouted all kinds of obscenities. He tried to explain himself, but I was too furious to listen. I could not believe my man just had sex with another man while I was STILL at his house! Not only was it extremely bold and disrespectful, but the man was GAY. He didn’t bother trying to tell me that he had these feelings before, and sadly I had to find out, possibly the last to know, due to Rico and his “friend’s” reckless behavior.
Clearly, I must have missed signs that indicated this man was on the down low. I racked my brain trying to determine if there were any obvious behaviors Rico demonstrated that I failed to see. I couldn’t come up with any. After all, he enjoyed sports, he seemed masculine enough and he loved women. Or so it seemed.
Several months later, after I calmed down from the shock of being in a one-sided monogamous relationship with a gay man, Rico and I had a serious discussion. It turned out that he had been gay all of his life and he wasn’t even remotely bisexual. His friend had been his part-time lover during the entire length of our relationship and what I caught them in the act of was a goodbye love-making session. Rico was was tired of hiding his sexuality. He came out of the closet soon after I caught him getting off in the bathroom and he’s now proudly living his life as a gay man. I would be happy for him if he hadn’t been so selfish, not caring about my feelings or my health. If only Rico had grown tired of hiding his sexuality and wanted to be a proud gay man BEFORE he met me…
Have you ever dated a man who wound up being gay or bisexual?
“Reese Rideout aka Cletus Van Damm aka Nicholas Ryan aka Nick Dent (the last being his real name…maybe) has a complicated life: He is supposedly straight but gets paid to have sex with men on film and then gets asked to talk about this to various media outlets. He and his wife, Becki, have appeared in the British Marie Claire, on The Bill Cunningham Show and, as of last night, on VH1 for a one-off special called I’m Married To A… In this case, the “A…,” is a self-identified heterosexual man who regularly ejaculates in the arms (and in the other things) of another dude.”
Yeah, you read that right. A man, who is married to a woman, is claiming to be straight, although he does gay Adult Videos. If you have a second, click the link and watch how in the 2 minute or so clip, Dent’s wife Becki claims to be okay with him doing other men, although as duly noted by Gawker, her facial expressions and body language suggest otherwise. Nevertheless, Becki said that she was much more comfortable with him performing in gay adult videos than heterosexual adult videos, because that felt like cheating.
Alright, I’m going to cut right through the formalities and get right down to the shenanigans: Can a self-proclaimed heterosexual man really just be gay for pay?
This question is just all sorts of provocative as it raises all sorts of other questions about the ways in which we define sexuality. As I have been writing for MN long enough, my gut instinct is telling me that the great majority of you have already made up your minds with a matter of factly, “Hell no! Dude is gay” Amirite? However, I’m also willing to bet that if Dent were a woman, the answer probably wouldn’t be so unanimous.
This is because women in our society have more permission, if not encouragement to explore their sexuality and intimacy more fluidly. Not only can we be opening loving and affectionate with female friends, but also move from romantic relationships with men to women back to men again, without fear of being pigeonholed as a lesbian. However most men are not socially conditioned to show diversity in their emotions, let alone their sexual desires and feelings. Anything remotely considered “less than straight” is instantly written off –by both men and women – as gay. Heck, I remember talking to some dude on Facebook and he said that he wouldn’t even have bananas on his pancakes because of what message it might send.
However, while society may have its rules, it doesn’t necessarily mean those rules trump that of nature. According to some experts, men lack the necessary levels of oxytocin, a hormone, which is produced in the women’s hypothalamus and is secreted into the bloodstream by the posterior pituitary gland and sends messages to brain controlling key aspects of reproduction. Some experts believe that without this hormone, which is said to help women bond with men, guys are free to roam the wild and have all the fun times they want without any sense of emotional connection. Of course, that science is questionable (and possibly sexist) so I would use the women rape men logic and suggest that the erectile response, which is the most cited evidence of arousal in men, can be involuntary. What this means is that the big head doesn’t always have to be connected to the little head to get it to work. It truly has a mind of its own.
Plus there are many actors, who have taken on the role of gay characters, without compromising their sexuality. Michael Kenneth Williams, played everyone’s favorite Homo-thug Omar Little on the critically acclaim show “The Wire.” In an interview with After Elton, Williams spoke about the backlash he got from some within the community for a “repulsive” scene where he passionate slobbered down another character on the show. Williams responded, “I felt that it was a job well done. It is my job to get emotion and controversy, you know, possibly a little change. So the fact that I got him thinking and talking and judging, whatever the hell you want to call it, I did my job. … I welcome all the controversy. It is part of the job.”
Then there is UFC fighter Dakota Cochrane, a contestant on the reality television show The Ultimate Fighter, who reportedly starred in more than 16 gay adult films. Cochrane, who like Dent asserts that he is straight, said that the decision was a matter of financial urgency rather than sexual desires. Said Cochrane, “It’s definitely a decision I regret,” he told MMA Fighting. “If I would have known what would happen I definitely wouldn’t have done it. But I had money issues and I needed help. I went there to do pictures, and they started throwing pretty high numbers in front of me. I didn’t really think. It was a big mistake.”
So it is totally possible for a man to exchange sex with another man for financial gain without considering himself a homosexual. The real deal is that sexuality is a little more complex than we would like to think and there are areas of grey between straight and gay. Like many other species on earth, there can be duplicity, and in some instance, multiplicity in our sexuality. And gender alone does not absolve one from that fact. Think Donnie McClurkin, gospel singer and judge on BET’s Sunday Best, who has admitted in the past to having gay relationships, which he attributes to confusion from being molested as a child, eventually went on to marry a woman. Now, some may argue that because he once had sexual relations with man that makes him a little gay. But if that’s the case, then as a gay man, who has sex with women, does that also make him a little straight too?
As Yvette Carnell, a fellow writer friend of mind, said in response to this very question I posted on Facebook, “Yup. And let’s say the gay man enjoyed the sex with said woman, but enjoyed sex with men more. Let’s say he is incapable of having an authentic romantic relationship with women, but doesn’t mind the sex that much. In that sense, sex is how our genitals have fun, but they can do that in lots of ways. The key question then becomes; who do you love, and how much?”
Which Kind Of Intimate Relationship Are You In? Knowing The Difference Between Emotional, Sensual AND Sexual Intimacy
intimacy: noun \ˈin-tə-mə-sē\ in·ti·ma·cy
The trouble with intimacy is that there doesn’t seem to be a true consensus of what it means, particularly between men and women. For many men, intimacy means sex, i.e. the act of becoming intimate; while many women see intimacy as closeness… the process of being in tune with another person because of genuine attraction and affection. Both notions are correct, but beyond those thoughts, and the dictionary’s description of what it is, intimacy is so much more. It’s as indefinable as the word love, itself. So, the best way to address intimacy…and understand how to become a stronger intimate partner is to approach intimacy at different fundamental levels: emotional intimacy (interpersonal relationships), physical intimacy (sensuality) and sexual intimacy (sex, of course), and consider how the failure to attain or maintain intimate relationships can negatively affect you as an individual.
Emotional intimacy drives intimate relationships, signifying that communication is a quintessential staple, helping to establish concrete connections and to break down conditioned human barriers. In terms of relationships, intimacy is what lays the groundwork for compassion, attachment and commitment because it’s based on a foundation of trust, truth and mutual respect. The desire to love and be loved promotes the legitimacy of occupying and intertwining feelings of devotion. Simply put, successful intimate relationships have a promise of security, which is why it’s ideal for people who are seeking long-term relationships. Romantic partners who are emotionally available/reliable make for far more desirable mates than someone who isn’t forthcoming with feelings.
Sensual/physical intimacy is the magnetic draw between two individuals …the desire for indulgence, but more than that, it is the individuals’ compatibility when it comes to any sort of physical closeness or attraction outside the realm of sex. This could mean kisses, hugs, and handholding. Aside from physicality, sensuality speaks to the subject of romance, pursuit and gender dynamics. It’s the way you’re attracted and how you’re attracted, which for many people is how they determine whether their relationship is passionate or companionate, or if it works on several levels. Sensual intimacy is the prelude to being sexually involved and understanding of how well-suited a couple is concerning their physical relationship.
Sexual intimacy, beyond sex, is how two individuals read one another’s responses, and the sense of responsibility they have for their significant other’s pleasure. The notion is that successful sexual relationships act on each level of intimacy simultaneously, while providing the gratification earned by being an effective intimate partner –though sexual intimacy can act independently of emotional intimacy. Sexual intimacy is driven by desire and lust, and is emphasized by a mutual understanding of eroticism, sexual behaviors and sexual interests. In layman’s terms, satisfying sexual relationships are ideal for intimacy because a fulfilling sex life can extend the life of any intimate pairing.
The inability to navigate intimate relationships leads to struggles with interpersonal connections. At its core, it’s fundamentally about understanding another person and being able to achieve a parallel idea of what a relationship is, and figuring out how that relationship will work. People who lack the understanding of what intimacy means, often get too close too soon, don’t know how to sustain partnerships, have fear of commitment, are unable to communicate effectively or they detach themselves when important issues arise.
Have you ever dated someone who lacked the understanding of what intimacy means?
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