March 10, 2016

Intimacy Beyond Numbers.

Gisela Giardino/Flickr

When it comes to numbers—yes, numbers of sexual partners—many of us get sensitive. Like the number says something about us as a person.

If it is high, we are sluts, gigolos, lose or sloppy. If it is low, we are inexperienced, naive, straight-laced goody goodies.

By nature we are emoting, feeling, sexual beings. Sex is a need as basic as life itself, yet we judge ourselves for having too little, too much, too many partners and more than one partner at once.

I wonder what makes some of us get so uptight when it comes to sex.

What’s the shame in sex? Having sex, enjoying it, loving it—in fact admitting we need a good lay. And for that matter, is it natural to have only one partner during a lifetime or even at once? Why do we have these rules when it comes to sex, and don’t they cause more confusion than good?

When we try to view how to express sexual desires in black and white terms, we are left feeling badly about ourselves.

It is not right to feel badly about having needs, expressing love and sharing sexual experiences with a person who is close to us, regardless of the terms of our relationship.

There are times when two people have a moment, share a vulnerability and closeness in the uniqueness of the situation. A profound kind of emotional chemistry arises. It is intimate. Perhaps we work with this person on a project at work, write a book together, develop a new computer application or share the same loss.

We may be married or have a committed partner, yet find ourselves having romantic thoughts for a person we believed to be purely a platonic friend. The emotional thread we share with this person makes them familiar and comforting. Why shouldn’t it be okay to sleep with this person?

There are times when sex is a healthy culmination of intellectual and emotional intimacy that has been building—a cathartic release of sorts. And if both people want it, it is simply an expression of love.

I cannot say that I am polyamorous, but I can say that I have shared sexual relations with a close friend. It was this bond we both shared. It did not mean that he loved his partner any less or that he was going to enter into a monogamous relationship with me.

At first I was reluctant to enter into the relationship. Why? This would only add to my numbers? What would other people think if they noticed a closeness between us?

I didn’t want to be judged, labeled, yet in my heart I knew there was nothing wrong, unnatural or immoral in having sex with my friend.

A large part of intimacy is trust. And with that in place, there are circumstances where it is comforting, nurturing and healthy to have a sexual connection with a friend.

It is not cheating, it is not poly, it is about honoring our emotions.


Author: Jane Cowles

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Gisela Giardino/Flickr


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