Sex is not something we do. It’s a place we go- Esther Perel
It’s been nearly three months since my divorce. I’ve hired therapists and coaches to help me get past the unwanted breakup. None of the work I’ve done has been easy, and the divorce has been one of the biggest turning points in my life. I’ve realized that the pain feel is my greatest gift to the world.The pain I have caused others, to the pain close in my heart, that sharp feeling in my stomach and chest is meant to give me power. But only if I acknowledge the pain.
I fucking love the challenges my current coach provides. He gets me.
Running from my problems started when I was a kid. As the firstborn son in a Greek family, with parents who divorced at a relatively young age, I never knew what love was. Nor did I know what it was like to be a kid. I started work at the age of ten years old and continued to work throughout my teenage years. It was just what young greek boys did, so I never had a chance to fill my own emotional needs. And so I ran away to the Marines.
My current mentor is a man who understands the meaning of strength and love. He’s helped me recognize and explore my life from an inside out approach. My biggest revelation throughout these last few months is that I’ve never experienced true intimacy. I’ve been in plenty of relationships most of my adult life. From girlfriends, one night stands, and marriage, all of them were unique. But if I step back and reflect, they were all missing one thing true intimacy. And I’m not saying that I was not in love or that these relationships did not matter; what I am simply stating is that I have come to realize that intimacy is so much more than crazy sex, love, chemistry, and experiences.
Love is incredible. Sex is mindblowing. Intimacy is…
It blows my mind that at the age of 35 and with all of my life experiences, I can not think of a word to define intimacy.
And so, my journey begins on opening up my heart and discovering how to replace intensity with intimacy.
If I want to experience intimacy, I first need to come to terms with the man in the mirror. To live with integrity, I’ve cut out dating, sex, and masturbation.
Almost sixty days into my journey, and I am starting to see the world from a different lens. A lense that allows me to have a laser focus on what truly matters in my life. One that has freed up energy in my creative life solidified friendships, relationships with family, and has given me the gift to stay grounded to my purpose.
Systematically speaking, all of my past relationships make sense now. The reason why I could never experience true intimacy is that I lived in a heightened state of fear, anxiety, and trauma. My inability to come down from a constant state of anxiety and fear prevented the connection I desperately wanted. And that hurts. So I never felt safe to let anyone into my heart, and I used intensity to disguise my true desires, which is why I have gone on a journey of celibacy to feel connected with myself.
I used to think intimacy was intensity through the type of sex I had. I chased women, sought out numbers, and only cared about intense sex and performance. I had no problem having all kinds of sex but never opened my heart or mind to connect. That was immature, and I needed those experiences to bring me here today. But after my divorce, I am learning that intimacy goes way beyond sex.
I’m discovering that intimacy is about revealing core aspects of yourself in the space of trust and willingness to be open and vulnerable. Intimacy can be completely nonverbal through the act of touch because the body can express surprising truths that words sometimes can not convey.
Intimacy can be through conversations that excite the mind.
Intimacy can happen without sex.
The most challenging practice I am learning throughout my journey is that people can have sex and try to be intimate, but you can never make them feel or want intimacy. And it is here in that place of confusion that I have lost sight of myself in search of something more.
So I find myself on a quest to be true to myself.
Why does true intimacy not guarantee mindblowing sex or vice versa? Why does amazing sex fade after two people who have made vows to love each other in eternity? Why does a new addition to a family often lead to a relationship disaster?
All of these questions are happening in my desire to experience true intimacy. But to have true intimacy, I first need to believe and feel that I am worthy of receiving. Because if I’ve lost trust in myself, I’ll never be able to explore or feel what I desperately desire.