SOMEBODY really found a way to push my buttons!
The questions (and there are a couple of them here) deal with what is intimacy, and how sex relates to it, if at all. Oddly enough, my SL GF and I have had this exact discussion. Since she has a RL BF, she decided to close up shop on the pixel grinding. In a way, I can kind of respect that. However her insistence on trying to still hold on to me in a sexless (even a virtually sexless one) gins up resentment that only readers here could possibly understand.
The central gist of this question is to somehow attempt to divorce sex from intimacy. Our low libido folks will happily and readily chime in “YES! There are all sorts of ways to have intimacy without having to be naked!” And they are right. You can cuddle, hold hands, kiss, go to movies, look into each others eyes, hug, talk about your feelings, and even talk about your problems. All of these are ways to be intimate. You can share hobbies and dance and wine and dine your way right into someones heart.
Can sex be divorced from intimacy? Oh yes! The entire porn and sex industry is built upon this proposition that you can get a sexual buzz without the bothersome baggage of intimacy. There was an interesting TED talk on condoms in Africa where they were trying to get guys to wear them to prevent the spread of HIV. What do you think about before getting a condom?
So there CAN and absolutely is a disconnect between sex and intimacy in the world today. But is it right? It probably often is a matter of circumstances. For spouses separated because of war, or health issues there is a challenge here. I might propose SL might be a possible solution for some. Just a thought. But let’s put the extreme circumstance to the side and let’s look at a more typical situation where there are two relatively healthy people living in the same house and possibly even sharing the same bed. They can certainly live without sexual intimacy. And if they BOTH agree, they can be pretty happy.
The problem comes when one person unilaterally decides that this is not going to happen, and the other person simply has a choice. Live with it. Or not. “Or not” is the loaded minefield.
Arwyn made a similar unilateral decision recently. She made the decision to get another cat. She has adopted one from her mother previously and I didn’t make a huge deal about it since her mother was not able to care for her and the cat was well-mannered. It was okay. I was in on and went along with that decision. But one day I saw her cleaning the oversized dog kennel and I asked her what she was doing. “Oh…just cleaning it up.” I thought maybe she was going to give it away or something. But a couple days later she had a kitten. She not only did not consult me, she actively hid and deceived me about the whole thing. I was pissed. Of course I would have vetoed the idea and Arwyn knows why. She had two cats when we got married and in both cases *I* was the one who had to take them somewhere where they would have to be killed. I flat out told her I was not killing anymore animals. But now we have two. The boys adore those cats and I am not mad at them. I’m as affectionate with them, and its not THEIR fault they were brought in to the house. But when Arwyn asked me to hold this kitten so she could trim her nails without getting bitten, I totally refused and reminded her that she brought this animal in the house without me. SHE was going to take responsibility.
Intimacy is that two-way street where two people care for each other and look out for each others well-being and interest. It absolutely takes two people to have intimacy. you can’t have intimacy between two people if only one person is committed. I might even argue that you can actually have better intimacy if NEITHER person is committed! At least there is some agreement. But that is a rarity. Usually in a relationship at least one person has some sort of commitment. Commitment and devotion are the hallmarks of intimacy. Even if you are both committed to being uncommitted!
So what about sex? When Arwyn committed herself to making the house as sexless as possible, it was akin to me taking her cat out and shooting it. No warning, no consultation. Just take the pussy out of it. No more pussy.
Now unlike my wife, my SL GF gave me permission to pixelate with other women in SL. She mistakenly believes that strange pussy is somehow a substitute. The same mistake is being made here that our friend Strom Dweller makes: That sex is simply some interesting and nonessential little thing that involves the real or virtual substitution and insertion of parts in order to meet a physical or mental need. And perhaps this is a distinctly female way of thinking. That’s not to say men can not separate the two because we do it all the time. But surely I’m not the only guy that would rather have the intimacy and the sex wrapped into one package deal. The second one of the partners makes this a nonessential option is the moment when you start breaking down intimacy. You diminish the other person’s worth and relegate their needs into something nonessential. And then we run into “OH! All I am to you is someone who you can have sex with!” Again, usually it is the female making this assertion to the bewilderment of the guy. He wants the package deal and indeed thought he was getting the package deal. But her accusation has just divorced the sex from the intimacy and makes him feel like some sort of lecherous perv for wanting to get naked with his own wife.
That’s not to say that guys can not be lecherous pervs, even with their own wives. We all now this and I have seen the stories, including Storm Dweller’s, where there were times when she was simply used by her ex. It’s not usually so simple. If you feel like you are being used, it’s okay to talk about it. Negotiate. Those discussions can actually lead to MORE intimacy. But most of those who are closing up shop absolutely refuse to even talk about it. They like talking about sex even less than they like doing it. At least when they do it, they somehow get it over with and avoid the talking parts. I mean, what can you possibly complain about if she is actually putting out? If you have the guts to address the lack of intimacy in the act, you’re going to get your balls handed to you in bits because now she will simply say you aren’t going to be satisfied unless she becomes some sort of porn star.
I guess this hits a nerve because it represents the conscious and deliberate peeling away of sex from intimacy. As if these were meant to be two separate things. Sometimes they are, yes. They aren’t always inclusive all the time. But my opinion is that these should be the exceptions and not the rule. There might be circumstances, yes. But making this “peeling-off” a standard and deliberate practice is like a steady diet of cardboard. It’s not going to fill or satisfy or even be pleasant to any but the most starved souls. It CREATES a starved soul!
Hehe…Digger is BACK!