Sex and intimacy have never been directly linked for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely find intimacy in sex, particularly with people that I feel very strongly connected to. But I have never needed sex to feel intimate and close with someone.
As much of a sexual person as I am, sex has always felt like its own thing, subject to the circumstances. Sometimes it’s connective. Sometimes it’s mechanical, technical. Sometimes it’s a raw expression of emotion. Sometimes it’s a catalyst; other times, catharsis.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because I recently started medication that has my sex drive on hyperspeed. It didn’t take long to reach the point where jerking off every day became a biological necessity and not a “if I feel like it” act. As is my tendency whenever I have a strong feeling about something, though, I recognize the ways in which I have pulled back, censored, or worked to limit my sexual expressions.
Because I certainly don’t want my increased sex drive to feel like pressure on any of my sexual partners. God. I can barely keep up some days. It is no one’s responsibility but my own to manage and navigate this landscape, and I want to do that in the least invasive ways possible.
But good god, I want.
I made a new year’s resolution to start writing down the things that I want, no matter how attainable or reasonable they are. And I’ve stuck to that pretty faithfully; I now have an ongoing list of random scenes I would love to do and/or different things I want to experience/try. I’ve written more (unpublished) erotica in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last couple of years. I’ve gotten more creative, more willing to flesh out thoughts and ideas, more interested in trying new things that I have been too scared or nervous to try before.
And I’m keeping so much of it under wraps. Self-censoring the moments when it wants to leak out, and changing the subject (or not saying anything at all).
It’s an interesting sensation. I’m so used to my sexuality being an integrated part of myself; to feel it separated off, disconnected and disjoint from the rest of me feels alien and foreign. It’s not that it’s inaccessible; it’s still very much there. I feel it so strongly, so frequently, so consistently, like an internal pressure I have to constantly monitor.
Anyway, as my sex drive ramps up, I recognize that I am scaling back my sexual output (the more I want, the less I am willing to show it; it’s always been something that’s been true with me). And it’s got me thinking about intimacy, the ways in which I build and seek and find intimacy outside of sex. Because sex is an act- and yes, it’s often a complicated act that touches how we relate and interact with our bodies and with the bodies of other people- but it’s a physical action that feels good (most of the time) and provides me with a nice, healthy dose of happy brain chemicals. If “sex” and “intimacy” were plotted on a Venn diagram, there would certainly be some overlap, but there would also be places where the two don’t touch.
Because my body is craving. Physically, my body wants to jump anything and everything phallic-looking enough or with a half-decent vibration. But sex is complicated for many, many reasons, and I think it’s easy to replace the physical act of sex with the complicated acts of intimacy because my instant gratification brain is screaming SEX SEX SEX and the rest of me is struggling to manage the myriad of things that exist outside of that.
I don’t necessarily want to conflate sex with intimacy as a standard thing. I like that there is some separation there because it means that I am able to find ways to feel connected with people when sex isn’t an option or isn’t something we are mutually interested in. But right now, it’s so much easier for my brain to focus on sex and the ways that I move through the world as an immensely sexual person because sex, as complicated as it can be, is still easier, in many ways, than intimacy. I can fuck without vulnerability; I cannot say the same about intimacy. I can fuck without being present, without focusing on me, without needing to be a whole person.
I cannot say the same about intimacy.
Intimacy is harder. It requires more of me than sex. It requires more intentionality, more presence, more openness, more vulnerability. It requires me to allow people the capacity to see and interact with me in the entirety of myself.
So as I’m pushing and suppressing this overwhelming amount of sexual energy in my body (good lord, it really is a fucking intense experience inside my skin sometimes), I am left wondering how to fill the space. How to cultivate space for intimacy, for connection, for tenderness, for being present and real and human. Because, yes, my body wants- craves- sex. And I’m trying to find healthy ways to outlet that.
But in the end, what I need is intimacy. Connection. Closeness. And focusing on the overwhelming desire for sex makes it very easy to let those things fall to the wayside and leave me feeling hollow. Because, for me, sex and intimacy aren’t one in the same. And when I try to replace one for the other, I find that both are left wanting.