Men use sex to achieve intimacy, but is it possible to achieve intimacy without having sex.
We all do it. We all invite guys over to “hang out” or watch a DVD and inevitably we end up cuddling on the couch, fondling, rubbing, kissing and then getting lubey. But in an age when Gay men seem to be desperate for intimacy but unable to listen to their better angels when it comes to achieving it what can we do gain the connections we are really looking for?
Restraint, restraint, restraint!
Intimacy is built on connection through mutual experience or feeling. It takes time for these things to build. Mutual experience doesn’t mean mutual masturbation. It means sharing yourselves with each other, finding common interests and connection. Think about the best friendships that you have at the moment. Many of them will be built on years of shared experiences, good and bad. It is the hardships and the support that bring us closer. It is the fun times and laughs that bring us closer.
The friendships I have, and the relationships I have had that have lasted, are all the ones where restraint was exercised at least until the third date. If I meet somebody that I am genuinely interested in then I try not to get naked with them straight away. After all what does a cuddle really mean in the middle of the night with a Grindr hookup you just met? How can you possibly feel the same way that you would if instead you were with somebody you had known for much longer? This is why this kind of “cuddles” hookup is ultimately unsatisfying and self defeating.
So what can we do to have more intimacy and more satisfying connections without having sex?
Not to be confused with “restraints” which hopefully will come later. Restraint means keep it in your pants. If you are genuinely interested in someone and want to get to know them, then try to keep it (G) rated at least for a few dates. Don’t let sex be the focus of your connection, once the orgasm is passed it’s easy to lose interest. Sexual objectification is a real problem for Gay men and you cannot hope to achieve intimacy in your life with people in whom your only connection is sexual.
Find mutual interests.
A great way to connect is to find an interest that you both enjoy and go on a date. You will be able to share it together and enjoy each others company. Mutual interests are a great way to stir conversation which is an essential part of connecting with somebody.
We all fear being hurt, but to achieve intimacy with a person there must be a level of vulnerability that we open ourselves up to. Sharing our feelings is part of this, and so is allowing ourselves to be open to our feelings and mindful of our partners. You cannot be intimate with a brick wall, for a deeper relationship we must be prepared to put ourselves out there.
Identify your fears.
There are many things that prevent us from achieving intimacy. Recognising these things will help you to counter them when they pop up and knowing why you are resisting intimacy will give you a deeper insight in to yourself and allow you to work on these fears.
_____fear of abandonment
_____ fear of rejection and being neglected
_____ fear of engulfment or being suffocated/smothered
_____ fear of loss of control
_____ threatened by loss of personal freedom
_____ fear of being disappointed or “let down” by partner
_____ low self-esteem, fears of not being “good enough”
_____ fear of affection and sex
_____ fear of exposure, of being known for who you really are
_____ difficulties with trust
_____ difficulties expressing one’s emotions/feelings
_____ fear of failure
It is possible to achieve intimacy without getting physical and the rewards of a relationship built this way are far greater than any single orgasm. Sex brings us physically close but it is the touching of minds that makes that connection satisfying. Don’t be afraid to say “lets get to know each other first”. The rewards will be worth it.