March 28, 2010

Love, Intimacy, & Sex

This is not really a post that is isolated to the BDSM community. In fact, it is something that I am sharing that pertains more to the poly community. However, since many within this lifestyle find themselves faced with similar circumstances, I feel it beneficial for all.

Together Or Separate

Love, intimacy, and sex are three parts that exist within a relationship. We can experience any variety within a relationship or none at all. What is present is up to the individual and can actually differ between the two people. None are contingent upon any of the others although people will often claim they are. In the end, it all comes down to individual beliefs.

Love is a feeling that we have for another person. People will claim it comes in many different forms but I believe love is simply wanting the best for another without anything in return. True love is the accepting of a person exactly how they are. It is present regardless of the circumstances and comes without strings. This is something that one gives freely without being earned; it is unending.

Intimacy is the connection between two people at a particular moment. Unlike love, which is unending, intimacy is a closeness in time that comes from complete sharing with another. There could be a physical dimension to the experience although that is not always true.

Sex is a physical act between two people. That is it. In and of itself, it is nothing more. At the most basic level, it is the method we use to reproduce our species. Man, unlike other members of the Animal Kingdom, also engage in this activity for pleasure. One derives physical satisfaction from having sex (or at least really good sex).

Belief System

Our beliefs come into play in what we experience. Many seek to fulfill their needs by looking for these in a primary relationship. What they fail to realize is that they are available in many different relationships.

When we mention the word "love", most simply jump to the idea of a primary relationship. Certainly, love is a component of this relationship. However, there are many different people that we love. We have parents, children, aunts, uncles, and close friends. These are all individuals that we love unconditionally.

This is where the disagreement comes in regarding poly. Society wants to promote the idea of a monogamous relationship. However, as you can see, when it comes to love, everyone is poly. Of course, society answers by stating that romantic love is different. To me, this is an absurd idea. How can anyone place a cap on love? Is there only a certain amount you have for your spouse? If you run out, is it time for a divorce? I do not think so.

The polyamorous world uses the analogy of loving a child. If a parent loves his or her child completely, is that love diminished if another child is born? Does the first child have to share the love with the new sibling? Is the total love divided up equally between the two children? Any parent with multiple children knows this is not true. There is an unlimited amount of love to share with the children.

We see the same idea apply to those who are poly. They have an unlimited amount of love to share with their partners. Adding a second lover does not diminish the love for the first. What is diminished is the time one is able to spend with each person. This is because time is a finite commodity. Love is not. But then again, add a second child and the time factor is present there also.

Nevertheless, when it comes to our belief system, most of us were taught that "romantic" love is finite and designed to be shared with only one person. I challenge anyone to show me how love changes.

Love Meaning Intimacy

When people talk about love, they are often referring to intimacy. They allude to the connection felt with another (usually a romantic interlude) during a romantic moment. Often, this involves sex. This is where most feel they experience love.

The truth is that they were being intimate. This is a deep connection with another person felt at a particular time. Of course, there are many times we are intimate with people without being sexual. There are a few friends I have with whom I had deep, intimate moments with over the years without anything physical occurring. The complete and honest sharing created a level of intimacy between the two of us. Sometimes, I found these situations to be more emotionally charged than my romantic relationships. That is how powerful these moments can be.

Now, the question arises, did I love these people? The answer is yes. However, my love exists even when I am not with them. The same is true for a romantic relationship. A husband loves his wife even when they are not in the presence of each other. However, intimacy is experienced in the presence of another. It is an outpouring of the love between the two of you. To me, it is the intimacy of a relationship that really gets the juices flowing.

Where Does Sex Fit It?

This depends upon one's belief system and how he or she is conditioned to believe. Since, I feel that most people are unaware what they are experiencing, I think their beliefs are irrelevant anyway. Since few take the time to look in themselves, I believe they are blind to what occurs within them.

Sex is an individualistic activity. The meaning that we apply to it varies from person-to-person. Actually, many times, a person will alter how he or she feels about sex. For example, a pornstar might feel intimacy and love when having sex with a spouse but being physical when on set. Personally, sex is not when I really feel intimacy. Again, it is a physical act. What occurs afterwards in terms of the aftermath is where I feel intimacy.

Many are conditioned to believe that sex cannot occur without the intimacy and love. This is a belief that is not only wrong, it is impractical. Let us use the confines of marriage as an example. Does the sex within this institution always involved intimacy? Of course not. There are times when she gives in only to appease him. She is counting down the minutes, hoping he finishes soon. The act is nothing more than a physical way to get release. Yet this woman still loves her husband and does feel the intimacy with him at other times. However, it is impractical to think it will happen all the time.

Alternative Lifestyles

Alternative lifestyles exist because people looked that the ideals society espouses and consciously determines that something different is needed. We all do not fit into the same mode. Looking at our views on love, intimacy, and sex, we realize that much negotiation is needed with ourselves and others. Whenever we are entering into a primary relationship, we need to consider how the other person feels about these things. Living life as we see fit is our personal responsibility.

I am one who is involved in a multitude of alternative lifestyles simultaneously. This means that I often encounter people who look at things differently than I do. There are so many who are open to some of what I am involved in but then flee when they find out the entire truth. This is the nature of my reality but a course that is right for me. I know that I have plenty of love in my life while sharing intimate moments with those who are not sexual partners. Also, sex is something that can make me closer to a person or an act that is for enjoyment and release. I do not feel the need to always place a great deal of importance on it.

Finally, my BDSM lifestyle sees me as a poly person. I believe in the unending nature of love. For that reason, I know that it is possible to have more than one. For this reason, I consider my polyamorous. I have experienced both "V" and "triad" situations. Nevertheless, conforming to one certain idea does not work for me. I seek fulfillment in many different relationships all of which add to my life. This might be contrary to society's views, but then again, it believes that one only experiences love, intimacy, and sex with the same person. This is a belief that I cannot buy into. I only hope you take the time to question your outlook in this area.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I have recently acknowledged that I am polyamorous as well. I originally identified this in me ten years ago during an argument with my first wife. Details aside, I said to her "my capacity to love is not diminished by my act of loving." She did not understand or believe this (she's either wired or programmed to be purely monogamous in romance.)

I have finally acknowledged that the feelings I have to love more than one are natural for me and there is nothing wrong with them!

I apologize for the anonymous post, but I have not yet "come out" as it were, to my poly identity to everyone in my life.

Dennis Najee on March 28, 2010 at 5:25 PM said...

Thank you for your comments Anonymous. It is difficult to come out to all those we love and care about. Sadly, most people do not understand alternative lifestyles. Society's influence is very powerful indeed.

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