on the difference between intimacy and sexuality

just now a friend and i were having our bi-weekly(ish) phone call and the subject of intimacy came up. i feel like we had a few breakthroughs so i wanted to share some of the thoughts from the conversation in case it sparked anything for anyone else. i’m not totally sure if it should be written in sections or stream of consciousness but i’ll just get going and stop thinking about what to do…

the first point is that there is a difference between intimacy and sexuality. intimacy literally just means closeness. but in the construction of the western male, intimacy and sexuality are effectively the same thing. this seems true for queer and hetero men, though definitely less for the queer folks.

i think that’s related to two things:

  1. the way that patriarchy causes dissociation from self in men, which leads to
  2. a lack of opportunities to experience intimacy for fear of what closeness might bring.

i feel like this is somewhat in contrast to women, at least in the u.s. i feel like it’s much more common, both physically and emotionally, for women to be close with each other and themselves.

men, even if they want to be close with themselves or other men, are routinely shut down from that connectedness. closeness with self and closeness with others, in the words of my friend, is where homophobia is probably rooted. disconnectedness with self and others generates fear of that connectedness if others have it.

all of this is interesting because it’s quite ironic that closeness with others is the thing that most men are constantly seeking. but the search is primary physical in ways that generate deep problems.

there’s so much more to unpack here but i’m going to leave it alone and end with this, one of my favorite, bell hooks quotes:

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.” — bell hooks, all about love

words / writing / post-processing
359w / 15min / 6min