Love(r)

Exploring Love, Sex & Intimacy

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We Need More Words for Love

I take issue with the word “love” and its ambiguity. It has grown to be nuanced at best – amorphous and euphemistic at worst. I propose that we as English speakers need to implement more words to express the variety of emotional experiences and bonds that are currently encompassed within the blanket term “love”.

Think about it, what does “love” even mean? Pretend for a moment that I don’t speak English, nor have I been exposed to Western culture, and then try to explain to me what you mean when you say “I love you…”. To complicate this hypothetical even further, how would you explain to me why the word “love” is used in so many different contexts, but that Western English-speaking culture views these various contexts as not actually equivalent. We use “love” to describe the way a mother feels for her children, the way two best friends with a platonic yet affectionate bond feel for one another, and of course it is used for passionate sexual romances, as well as the infatuation between two lovers. Even the term “lovers” is confusing! Native English speakers intuitively recognize “lovers” as sexual and would not use it to describe two friends who in fact love each other. How can all of these feelings and bonds be the same and yet… different? Confused yet? Not to mention that the word “love” has been somewhat diluted by overuse – how often do people say they love chocolate when they mean they’re fond of it? Sorry, chocoholics.

Hello-Im-a-Chocoholic

sorry, not sorry…

If you still have any doubt that the singular term “love” isn’t enough, think about the cliche of a person rationalizing the end of their romantic relationship with the awkward explanation “I love them, but I’m not in love with them”. Semantically that makes very little sense. Yet we all know what they mean, or at least what they mean to mean, when people say it. Or do we? This is one of the problems with one word stretching to cover all these semantic needs, it leads to a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Personally, I think the more effective our communication, especially when it comes to our feelings and relationships, the better.

There is a the linguistic phenomena that affects all of us, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, also known as Linguistic Relativity.  The gist of this principle is that the language you speak and the words it contains actually affects your ability to conceptualize the world and thus influences your reality. Cognitive linguists debate over how strong or weak this influence is, but they all agree the influence between language and thought exists. All conscious thought is mediated through language so it makes sense that you can only explicitly think about concepts/ideas/feelings/etc for which your language has words. On the flip side, if your language doesn’t have a word for a particular concept it is much harder for you to think about it. Not impossible, just harder. Language shapes our reality, but that means our world can be expanded by expanding our language. The more words we have to illustrate the variations and nuances of love in all its forms, the better able we are to think and talk about it.

All I’m saying is that we should have just as many words for love as we do for cheese, because let’s be real they are equally important and essential to happiness.

The ancient Greeks were meticulous when it came to philosophical thought and we owe them a lot. They had about six different words for what we try to convey under the “love” umbrella. I think we could benefit from having just as many if not more.

  1. Eros, or sexual passion
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The Abduction of Psyche 1895,                                 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Eros was named after the Greek god of lust and desire, known later in the Roman pantheon as Cupid. The Greeks appreciated the irrational and potentially destructive qualities of this sort of love along with it’s pleasure. Experiencing eros could be passionate and thrilling, or fiery, maddening and lead to a loss of control that was considered frightening. It was seen as a loss of sense and reason as a person was overcome with desire. This is the sort of love that could drive someone mad, make them act recklessly, and even destroy them. It is like playing with fire.

We definitely need a better way to identify and discuss this sort of love, characterized by passionate infatuation and a loss of rationality. To say that this is what love is supposed to feel like does a disservice to all the other ways a person can feel affection for another. It can also raise concerns that two people don’t love each other anymore once this fire calms the fuck down, which is often not the case. I could write a whole post about infatuation, and in fact, I promise I will.

  1. Philia, or deep friendship

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, OTP

This second variety of love was valued just as much, if not more, by ancient Greeks than what was seen as the erratic and fickle eros. Philia concerned the camaraderie and loyalty that develops between two people who have a mutual respect and a genuine concern for one another’s well being. This is a a friendship built through experience and trust. The feeling that someone has your back and you have theirs. This is totally a form of love that is just as important as eros, and yet our culture tends to down play it or marginalize it completely. I think that is silly and unfair.

“the central idea of [philia] is that of doing well by someone for his own sake, out of concern for him (and not, or not merely, out of concern for oneself)… [a] kind of mutual well-doing.” – Philosopher, John M. Cooper

  1. Ludus, or playful love

Ludus is playful love, the kind of lively fun and affection that happens between children when they play, adolescents and adults when they flirt, new lovers when they tease and find fun ways to get to know each other and of course red pandas when they pounce. This is the banter, the dancing, the laughing and the feel-good frivolity who’s worth is often under appreciated.  I’m here to reassure you that having fun is important and love is not always so serious.

  1. Agape, or selfless love

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Agape is selfless love and is even the origin of the word “charity” (from the Latin caritas). This is the love an individual feels for the entirety of human kind, which can inspire and motivate them to contribute to the greater good. Agape is distinctive from other types of love because it is compassion for other humans simply because they are human, not because you know them, or they are your family member, or you are fond or them, or they can do something for you, or you like the way they make you feel. I would argue you that it does not stop at our own species and that one’s desire to protect animals or preserve ecosystems is also a form of agape. Charity and selfless acts are important acts of love and should be recognized as such.

  1. Pragma, or mature love

Pragma is the mature, intimate love that develops between two people who have known each other for a long time. This is patient, loyal, respectful love that comes from understanding each other, sharing many experiences and compromising on one another’s behalf. Often eros, the fiery, passionate beginning of a relationship gets all the attention and praise (likely due to it’s intensity), but pragma is what most of us hope to have in our lives. Pragma is secure and satisfying and doesn’t have to be boring. In many cases eros can grow into pragma after time has passed and compatibility and intimacy has been established, but pragma is also often found between long lasting, platonic friends.

  1. Philautia, or self love
kanye love

Kanye West, the most philiautia-est rapper of all time.

This sixth type, philautia or self-love, was believed to have a healthy side as well as a dangerous one. There was the unhealthy and potentially destructive narcissism, where a person becomes self-obsessed to the point that they only truly love themselves and relate to others as an extension of their own self. A healthy expression of philautia though, was thought to not only bring the individual greater happiness, but improve their capacity for kindness, compassion and love towards others. Aristotle said, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself” with the understanding that the more love we have for ourselves the more we have to give to others.

The truth is no one person can be your everything and fulfill your every need. Friendship, family and the community at large are just as important and can be just as much sources of satisfaction as a committed, romantic relationship. The ancient Greeks recognized this diversity of love and relationships and they had a more complete picture of life because of it. They saw the potentially destructive side of eros, just as they believed in the importance of philia. This ability to see the good, bad, beautiful and ugly about the ways we love each other allows us to be more conscious of the relationships we build. Furthermore, it shows us that our lives are full of love even if we do not have a spouse.

Expanding our vocabulary will allow us to think about love more completely and in turn communicate about it more effectively. It will allow us to recognize and appreciate all the various types of love and affection present in our lives. It helps us to see that all of these types of love are important and enriching. It eliminates the hierarchy that puts romantic love as the pinnacle and everything else as good, sure, but not the epitome. It shows that labeling the love we receive from friends and companions as less than what we receive from a romantic partner is flawed and does us a disservice. It enables us to talk about the changes that happen in a relationship as one moves from eros towards pragma, or how much ludos we experience. Expand your vocabulary, expand your mind and see all the many forms that love takes in your life.

Lovingly yours,

Clara


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Ask Love(r): How Open to be in Your Open Relationship

polyamory

Today I am excited to share my first edition of Ask Love(r)! Did you know you can send me questions and I will do my best to answer them or point you in the direction of good resources? Well you can! And with your permission I will even use them in blog posts like I did with this brave, anonymous pioneer.

So my boyfriend and I have some major life changes happening in the next few months, which will allow us to actually be truly poly. We had a chat about it and we are already mostly on the same page. The only thing we weren’t sure how to handle was how to tell your partner you had sex with someone else. Do you tell? Do you just imply? Like “I have a date tonight, sorry, I’ll see you on the weekend.” Or do you just don’t ask, don’t tell? I was wondering how you usually handle it.

Great question! It’s true that some people have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but personally I am not comfortable with that arrangement (nor is my current primary). So for us, we do tell, but it has taken a lot of trial, error and experimentation with when to tell and how much we share. Because you see, while there is really only one right way to be monogamous, being poly is extremely customizable. You just can’t make the same assumptions and act on the same defaults that people in hetero-normative monogamous relationships can. This is one of the most exciting yet difficult things about being poly. It means everyone involved really needs to talk about what they want, what they need, what they fear and what insecurities they have.

My primary and I try to tell each other before we go on some fun, sexy adventure or pursue an exciting opportunity, unless it truly was a spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous event (which has happened a couple times). In the case of spontaneous adventures we tell the other what is going on as soon as is reasonable – a short, sweet and intentional text message usually does the trick. We also make a point never to blow-off or ditch the other, because keeping our promises to one another matters more than some spontaneous fun.

As far as the how much to tell each other, that is also highly customizable. Does it make your boyfriend extremely insecure to hear about your other dates? If so, tell him what he needs to know and leave it at that. Demonstrate that you are enacting sound judgment and making good choices. Reassure him about his significance in your life. Does it excite or arouse your boyfriend to hear about what you do with other people? Then by all means share every juicy detail.

Some people feel that because you have committed to being open and honest that means you have to tell your partner everything. I disagree. Your should probably disclose to your partner that you had sex with someone else (unless you are going the strict “don’t ask, don’t tell” route), but that doesn’t mean they need to know what kind of sex you had. The amount of disclosure completely depends on the situation and the couple. Taking your partner’s feelings and insecurities into consideration is what a loving partner does. It is also a good idea to check in through questions like “would you like to know more?” “do you have any concerns?”.

With my primary, at first I tell him only what he needs to know (“I have a date with <name> on Friday, you can text me but I probably won’t be able to text back immediately, I will likely stay the night at their place… Love you, have a good night, talk to you soon.“). He does the same for me when he has plans with other people. As far as our juicy details are concerned, we share those when asked… and let me tell you it can be a lot of fun.

Navigating all of this in a way that is comfortable for both of you will require some potentially uncomfortable conversations up front. There needs to be honesty and trust. You both need to be able to share your fears (even ones that might feel embarrassing or silly) so that they can be addressed and reassured. It takes trust to set up ground rules about safe sex practices, what is off limits, how much communication to expect, etc and have faith these agreements will be followed. It can be challenging but each person needs to take responsibility for their own insecurities, jealousy, and other feelings, while also being able to ask for support, affection and reassurance without fear.

And the good news is people can totally grow and mature. My primary and I both used to get all sorts of insecure and scared when one of us was on a date, but now we are able to smile and say, “You do you boo, have fun, love you.“. It just goes to show, when people go through it a couple times and see that they don’t die of jealousy, or that it is totally possible for you come back and love them just as much (maybe more!), they calm down a lot.

As long as communication is open and honest, and considerations are made about each others feelings, I think you guys will do just fine.

Lovingly yours,

Clara

P.S. A great resource for anyone navigating polyamory is the book The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy. It has whole chapters about disclosure, communication and even how to handle jealousy.


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Owning Your Emotions

Last time I tried to define intimacy and discuss its major impact on our lives. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response (thank you ♥) it resonated with many of you. Today I would like to talk about an important lesson I have had to learn again and again and again… because forging more intimacy in our lives is not as easy as flipping a switch, it starts with a conscious choice that is only the first step in a life-long, rewarding journey.

One of the most important (and sometimes most challenging) skills we need to develop in order to have healthy intimacy is taking responsibility for our own emotions. Part of this is establishing healthy boundaries, delineating where your own feelings begin and another person’s end, but much of it is an active, intentional practice.

This idea is not the most intuitive. I could tell you that to have better intimacy in your friendships, romantic relationships, etc you should strive for being honest, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, being trustworthy as well as trusting – you know, the obvious. All of these are essential steps in the journey. However, these goals and all the good intentions behind them often go awry when we are not taking responsibility for our own feelings and expecting the same from others.

Emotional ownership is not obvious or intuitive for most of us because of many ideas instilled in us from society, culture, our families and often personal experiences. We are encouraged to consider and protect the feelings of others, often at the cost of our own emotional needs. Furthermore, when we find ourselves in discomfort we have been taught to find who is at fault while simultaneously depending on others to relieve the discomfort.

  • He made me mad, now my day is ruined because of him.
  • If I tell her the truth, it will make her jealous and upset and it will be all my fault.
  • I’m so lonesome, I could cry. Won’t someone save me?

See all of my kindness is taken for weakness…” – Rihanna

This puts the responsibility of how we feel and how we handle emotions off on others as well as hands over our power. This can be extremely convenient at times, and even satisfying in the moment, but it means living a life where how we feel is at the mercy of others. Perpetually living in reaction to others emotions, or on-edge, worried you will upset someone, is an exhausting and anxious way to live. It is tremendously difficult to build healthy intimacy when carrying on that way. Thus I advocate for everyone taking their power back and owning their emotions. When we empower ourselves in this way we open the door for making conscious choices about how to deal with how we feel. Furthermore owning our emotions allows more space for self-love, self acceptance and self-intimacy.

I have often found it is helpful when discussing this concept with people to use physical metaphors to draw more tangible comparisons. There are so many things that people unequivocally agree with when it comes to body autonomy, but have a hard time extending the same rights and responsibilities when it comes to emotional health. For example, we have finally gotten to a place where the majority of people think it is total bullshit if an abuser excuses their physical assault by claiming the victim “made me do it!”. I ask you though, what about emotional abuse? In our culture and society there are still too many victim blamers and emotional abuse apologists. These might be the extreme cases, but it is very common to see people shirking responsibility for their own feelings, blaming others for these feelings and then excusing the actions they chose to take as if it were beyond their control.

Now, all of this is not meant to invalidate your emotions, push you to feel differently than you do, or tell you to cut it out. Your anger when you feel slighted, your jealousy when you feel neglected and your pride when you feel successful are all valid and meaningful. Or as two of my favorite authors put is so eloquently:

“Emotions are never wrong; only actions can be wrong. Emotions are an expression of our emotional truth, and truth cannot be wrong. Nor do they need to be justified. They just need to be felt.” –  Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, The Ethical Slut

We need to accept that we cannot always consciously control our emotional reactions and experiences, nor should we, they are an important part of living a full, healthy life. They tell us something important in the moment and we should listen. But we can control the actions we choose to take. When we take ownership of our feelings (anger, jealousy, insecurity, joy, triumph) we are giving ourselves and those we care about permission to be authentic and vulnerable. It also demonstrates that we are safe and trustworthy. It allows us to know and experience each other and be intimate.

The positive changes that will take place in your life by owning your emotions are plentiful. You will be less vulnerable to emotional manipulation and will be less likely to manipulate others. You get to take your power back and become a person with agency in their life rather than a passive victim of other peoples’ moods. You get a chance to learn that the emotions that scare you aren’t so scary – more times than not they are more tolerable than you thought. You still get to be compassionate and empathetic towards others without feeling the need to fix/change their experience, because it is more constructive to be in solidarity with others by letting them experience their feelings without trying to change them, define them, or co-opt them. I know we have all been involved on one side of that or both…do any of these sound familiar?

  • A family member is feeling sad and looks to you to change that for them.
  • Your significant other is jealous about how you were interacting with someone else and lashes out with mean-spirited words to get back at you rather than have a discussion.
  • Someone tells you something you don’t want to hear and you think, “How could you do this to me? You made me feel this way!
  • You confide in someone you care about and the impression you get from them is ‘Don’t be sad around me, because it will make me sad. I can’t handle the truth of your feelings.

Taking responsibility for our own feelings is just as difficult as it is liberating. I’m not going to lie, it is hard sometimes. Certain feelings are painful, some can seem downright unbearable, and at times you fear they will go on forever. Ask yourself what would happen if you really let yourself experience and embody your feelings? You will survive. You will see that as unpleasant as they can be, they are tolerable. Now there are times when emotional pain is so great that for a multitude of reasons a person might contemplate self-harm or suicide. I am not advocating for white-knuckling through serious distress alone until a person feels hopeless. If you or someone you know ever contemplates self-harm or suicide, please seek help.

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There are resources out there to help you get the help, comfort, love, or attention that you need. Taking responsibility for your emotions does not mean suffering alone, does not mean keeping silent about how you feel, it just means recognizing that these feelings are yours, these choices are yours. You do not have to censor yourself, be silent, deny your subjective experience or be blamed for others feelings.

Take a deep breath. Say it with me:

  1. My body is my own. It is my responsibility to take care of my physical health and needs. I will ask for support when I need it. I do not owe anyone access to or control over my body. Others cannot force me to take actions or enact behaviors (if they did that would be assault). I have the power to choose what I do/do not do with my body.
  2. My feelings (yes, all of them) are my own. It is my responsibility to take care of my emotional health and needs. I will ask for support when I need it. I do not owe anyone explanations, excuses or apologies for how I feel, nor do they get to dictate to me what my feelings are/are not. Others cannot force me to feel a certain way. I may not have a choice on what I feel at any given moment, but I do have a choice of how I treat myself/others and the actions I take.

Go on now, own it.

own_it02

Lovingly yours,

Clara


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What is Intimacy & Why Should You Care

Some of the stuff I write about today is going to sound very basic, a few of you might even think to yourself ‘duh, doesn’t everyone know that?’. But for each person who finds this information to be obvious I hope there is another who has never given it much thought. The goal is to spark self-reflection, discussion and ideally positive development. So whether this is all new to you or not, I think an introduction that dives into some of the nitty-gritty is a good place to start.

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What Do I Mean Why I Say “Intimacy”?

I will do my best to define terms in order to combat ambiguities, because it is frustrating how ill equipped English can be to discuss the nuances of interpersonal relationships. The vocabulary is sadly underdeveloped so that even when I use the word “intimacy” your mind may jump straight to ideas about sex and/or some vague concept of a sacred emotional bond between “soul mates”, without considering the full range of possibilities. No worries, Clara is here to clarify the shit out of some terms and concepts.

What do I even mean when I say intimacy? Distilled down to its most essential, intimacy is a bond forged between people through knowledge and experience. The word itself comes from the Latin intimatus, ‘make familiar’. To truly be intimate with a person, to form a substantial and secure bond, one must know them as they really are, which is achieved and maintained through authentic experiences. This definition may seem like an oversimplification, but I promise you, while it is very simple it is also very powerful.

Most of us will recognize that the bonds and attachments that form intimacy are important to our quality of life. They can bring pleasure, comfort, satisfaction, happiness, excitement and fulfillment to our lives. These bonds can take many forms: the bond between parent and child, platonic friends, respected teammates, sexual partners, co-parents, etc. I will even argue that it is possible (and ideal) to build and cultivate intimacy with one’s self. As far as types of intimacy, most psychologists agree there are four main paths of development: physical, emotional, cognitive and experiential.

Even Aristotle thousands of years ago recognized the importance of intimacy. Every relationship, he argued, is based on one of three things: utility, pleasure and virtue. With the first two it is easy to see how transactional they can be and that neither requires knowledge or experience of the other – I don’t need to know you to take pleasure from you or to make use of you. But a bond built on virtue (a person’s characteristics, personality and the integrity of their deeds) does require knowledge and experience. Aristotle valued these virtue based relationships the most and predicted they would be the longest lasting, because he believed they are the only ones in which a person is appreciated for who they are and not what they provide. I personally agree with Aristotle for the most part, but I would insist that there is nothing inherently wrong, lacking or degrading about bonds built on utility, pleasure, or what have you. As long as they are respectful and consensual they all have their place.

A lot of emphasis is put on trust and communication in relationships, and it is true they are important. Both will bring you experience and knowledge of others, but the whole process of building and maintaining intimacy can be difficult in and of itself for anyone. This is due to the challenging reality that often the same avenues through which intimacy is achieved can be the same activities/states of being that frighten people: dialogue, transparency, vulnerability, and reciprocity.

We humans are undeniably social animals. While it may take different forms and expressions, love, closeness, affection, recognition, and validation are all things we each crave. Even the most fiercely independent people have social needs and, as I will argue again and again, you are your only true life-long companion. So building intimacy with yourself can only enrich your life.

You might ask though, how could you develop self-intimacy? Aren’t you already and always by default intimate with yourself? Having a healthy functional relationship with yourself works much the same as having a working relationship with others, it is built on knowledge and experience. It is true you are always in close proximity to yourself, but too many people go through life ignorant, sometimes willfully so, about themselves. Without a good working knowledge of who you are and what you want, or without the experiences that bring you such knowledge, you may go through life feeling lost, anxious and estranged. I will write about self-intimacy/love more exhaustively in a future blog post. Honestly, every concept I touch on today could have its own dedicated post. But right now we are just talking about the basics and hopefully I will persuade you that intimacy matters – it matters for your satisfaction and your happiness.

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Why Intimacy Matters

Many people feel depressed or unfulfilled in life because they sense something is lacking. Some are lonely, some feel deprived, some feel insecure and some are making unconscious choices that are hurting themselves or others. Still others do not have a sense of who they are, what they want, or where they are going. Feeling estranged from yourself and/or others is a good indicator that you need to work on intimacy. Many people spend their time and energy chasing things they think will make them happy only to feel deeply dissatisfied in the end. Happiness can become an elusive goal with ephemeral results, or a poorly defined destination point; the myth that once we make it to graduation, marriage, or a particular threshold we will live happily ever after. Happiness is not a destination, because life is a journey that is in constant flux.

What many of us have been taught to believe is happiness I would argue is actually just pleasure. We have been taught hedonism, to focus on pursuing one aspect of happiness, as if it were something we can unlock and achieve, but instead of long lasting content it is a short-lived thrill. Our culture values infatuation rather than secure, lasting bonds and immediate pleasures and instant gratifications rather than long term satisfaction. We have been told that you can love someone and not be “in love” with them and that if this happens it means the relationship is flawed or doomed. The truth though is that infatuation never lasts, it can come and go, ebb and flow, but that chemical excitement a person feels can only last a few years at most. If we valued intimacy as much as we valued infatuation then perfectly good relationships need not be abandoned when the fireworks fade. There is nothing wrong with either, and one isn’t right or better. My argument is that constantly pursuing what is easy, quick and pleasurable and ignoring the rest will lead to hurt and countless issues. It creates a life of coping instead of thriving. I believe all these experiences satisfy best when kept in balance, when you have stability and security as you chase your thrills.

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Ask Yourself…

Are you getting your needs met? We each have numerous needs and each and every one of them is valid. Do you feel that you are fulfilled in your need to be known, to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be loved, to be touched? Are you secure in your own ability to fulfill these needs? The questions go on and on and on and each of them is serious. Never underestimate the weight of basic human needs and desires. If it matters to you, whether it is sex, companionship, love, good banter and/or stimulating conversation, then it is not trivial. Even the most independent loner still has their needs. Wherever you might feel lost or unfulfilled in your life, becoming literate in intimacy can help.

Are you afraid of stagnation and boredom? I know I am. Often a fear of stillness, stagnation, quiet and/or being alone is really a fear of being alone with yourself. If deep down you have trouble liking yourself and enjoying your own company you will do whatever it takes to avoid/escape being on your own. Building intimacy with yourself can help relieve these fears and even help you ultimately overcome them. This can be achieved through cultivating a healthy curiosity about yourself, courting yourself as you would a new lover, getting to know yourself and experiencing the person you are rather than the person you wish you were. If you can learn to appreciate the person you are then you will always find yourself in satisfying company.

Are you making conscious choices? I mean choices, especially major ones, that are grounded in awareness and security rather than desperation and insecurity. For example, how familiar does the following sound?

‘I don’t know what I’ll do without her.’

‘I feel lost without him.’

‘The best part of me was always you.’

‘I can’t go on without you.’

‘I don’t know who I am without you.’

‘What is my purpose without him?’

‘What is my reason to live without her?’

Being in a relationship or being intimate with another person, whether it is your family member, your mentor, or your spouse, should be a conscious choice. When fear, insecurities and/or desperation are the driving force behind choices of how to spend our time and who to spend it with, we will inevitably hurt ourselves in all manners of way and cling onto unhealthy behaviors or situations far too long. How do you leave an unhealthy relationship if your whole sense of identity was at risk of being lost when it ended? When relationships end it is sad and sometimes painful, but it isn’t supposed to feel like amputation. Intimacy, in all its forms, cannot be demanded it can only be invited. So it takes a conscious choice to invite intimacy into our lives as well as to share it with others. It is truly my dream that we all learn to make conscious choices so that we spend time engaged in activities that we actually want to be doing, in places we actually want to be, with people we actually want to be with, and all the while no one, including ourselves, need to suffer for such content.

My hope with what I’ve written today is that I took you on a little hike through the wild expanses of what intimacy is, what it can mean and how it can affect your life. As you see I have much (maybe too much) to say on these matters.

Till next time!

Lovingly yours,

Clara


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Welcome to Love(r) – So You’re Curious About Intimacy…

Welcome to Love(r)! I am very excited to be writing this and will be even more excited if anyone actually reads it.

As to why I am starting this blog, it seems to me that there is a real need for a resource about intimacy. When researching online, I had trouble finding anything that focused on intimacy to a satisfactory level that did not also have a strong emphasis on traditional marriage or a particular religious view. They likely exist, but I haven’t found them yet. If you know of some, please point me in their direction!

Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with religion and one of it’s favorite institutions, traditional marriage, but what about all the atheist, kinky, and/or non-monogamous people out there? I want them, as well as everyone else, to have a place to explore intimacy and feel honored and included in the process. In the end I concluded, if you feel passionately about something and can’t find what you are looking for, might as well make it yourself. For better or for worse I have a lot to say on the subject.

  • What this blog will strive to include:
    • Frank and open discussions about the good, bad, beautiful and ugly things that can happen in all kinds of relationships
    • Frank and open discussions about sex/sexuality
    • Resources for further education
    • Research from psychological and social studies as much as possible
    • *Answers or advice to those who request it about intimacy, love, relationships, sex, etc
  • What this blog will try not to include:
    • I will try to keep personal anecdotes to a minimum. This isn’t supposed to be a blog about me, and besides, if I wrote too much about myself half of you would be scandalized while the other half would be bored to tears. That being said, I have no shame in sharing my own experiences when it seems relevant or helpful to the topic at hand.
    • Any prescription about what sort of relationships are right, or in what context you should be intimate. I want this to be a resource that is welcoming to everyone as much as possible: whether you are hetero-normative and monogamous, or pan-sexual and polyamorous, whether you want to get married and have children, or if that will never be what you want, or even if you’re asexual and looking to learn how to understand and strengthen your romantic/emotional intimacy with non-sexual partners. In short, I want everyone to feel welcome. My hope is that there will be something for anyone who finds there way here. For the sake of inclusivity and intersectionality, I encourage anyone who reads this to call me out on any biases or ignorance you read. Everyone has their blind spots.
  • Blog posts to look for in the near future:
  • How to contact or follow Love(r):
    • Email Love(r) at theintimacyblog @ gmail.com
    • Follow on Twitter @TheIntimacyBlog
    • Please comment! I would love to hear from you.
    • *I will always ask for permission before using any questions/comments/etc you send me on the blog.
  • Posting schedule
    • Love(r) will be updated for sure every other Tuesday, usually the 2nd and 4th of the month with substantial content.
    • The hope is that every other Tuesday I will be able to publish a less substantial, but just as awesome, post.

If you would like to know more about Love(r) or me, check out the “About” page.

Lovingly yours,

Clara

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