Monday, January 3, 2011

Intimacy


We were drinking in a popular wine spot in The Fort a few months ago when my close friend Ioannis, obviously inebriated and uninhibited, referred to sex as a "sport". To be fair, the sentiment wasn't completely out of nowhere: once you mix adults, alcohol and conversation, thoughts naturally seem to flow towards this more "primal" direction. But the statement was still interesting on several levels: Did he mean that it was competitive? Physically taxing? Something only a group can do?

When we asked him to elaborate, he said that he didn't mean it in the sense that it was a competition, only that the acceptance of one's inherent sexuality should be something fun and exhilarating. He underscored the idea that sexuality should be celebrated, not restrained. He found it unusual and unnecessarily restrictive to continuously dampen one's "natural" needs, simply to conform to an arbitrary societal standard. He said that we are all in charge of our own happiness, and that sometimes the bravest, and the most important thing we can do for ourselves, is to acknowledge the things that make us happy and to do something about it. He pointed out that if we refuse the things that make us happy, then what's the point of being alive?

We concurred, if conditionally. The idea sweeps at other ideas in too general a manner, and certain circumstances and factors must also be taken into consideration, but we did agree that he raised a valid point.

Afterward, he fell asleep on my other friend's lap, drunk and oblivious to the world. Ioannis has a lot of endearing qualities, but he is definitely not the classiest person when intoxicated. In fact, I consider it a minor victory that Ioannis managed to keep his shirt on while he was so obviously sloshed.

(Although, to be fair once again, I think that alcohol can sometimes bring out a person's brilliance. The lack of inhibitions it induces does not only refer to emotional inhibitions, but also to intellectual ones. I wouldn't be surprised if someone discovers that some of the world's best ideas were thought up during stages of extreme intoxication. In fact, I seriously think that someone should do a study on the relationship of alcohol and philosophy. I'm sure that a lot of the greatest philosophers in the world are non-classy, hardcore drinkers).

A few weeks later, Ioannis gets a boyfriend, whom he loves dearly. When asked about the status of their relationship, he said that they had an "open" one; that is, they are allowed to have sex with other people, subject to a few ground rules. When I asked him to elaborate on those rules, Ioannis said that he was okay with his boyfriend having sex with someone else, but that he would not be able to stand the fact if the connection between the boyfriend and the other person transcends sexuality and enters a more intimate and personal sphere. He said he can stand sexual indiscretions, just not emotional connections.

I didn't really understand what he meant, but when I asked him to elaborate further, he said he also couldn't explain it. Rather, he gave examples, such as "holding hands, kissing, going out on dates". He still believed in sex as a sport, so he felt that one could engage in it without any emotional investment, but as soon as it becomes more than sex, he said that he feels that that is where he should draw the line. When I asked him how he would know when, as he defined it, the relationship of the boyfriend and the third party becomes more intimate, he said he doesn't really know how, only that he would know. Sex can be just sex, he argued, but once it mimics the symptoms of love, then that is when there would be problems that would arise.

I still didn't understand, but I let it go at that. I have resolved, not too long ago, to try not to judge the decisions my friends make in matters of the heart. Is it possible to separate one's emotions when engaging in an act that is physically intimate in nature? I'm not so sure. In my head, it seems improbable, but I've been wrong before. Whatever works I guess. Whatever gets one through the day.

Photo taken here.

25 comments:

  1. at lahat nagmula sa intimacy. nice post!

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  2. I think women tend to get more attached than men. In the book "Change your Brain, Change your Life," there's a chapter on the a certain primitive section of your brain (the Limbic system I think? I hope I didn't spell that wrong.)

    Anyway, according to the book it's the primitive brain and woman have bigger Limbic systems. This means that things like sex, which cool it down, also affect us more.

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  3. Nice post as usual. Di ko rin po ma-G kung papaano napaghihiwalay ng ibang tao ang sex sa emosyon nila. Pero sige na lang. Baka nga anamn posible sa kanila kahit di ko ito maintindihan.

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  4. But I do believe he has a point. He will know it.

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  5. it's an interesting topic to be sure. i guess to each their own? :D

    ***ladyvader99.blogspot.com***

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  6. sex is way more emotionally involved to me. i cannot bear the thought of my boyfriend having sex with another person. it would devastate me.

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  7. congratulation may natutunan na naman ako.. and its so true...

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  8. Was surprised to see "Tagalog" in some of the comments. Didn't know you are Filipino like me. I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for visiting my blog page too.

    http://brownbugz.blogspot.com

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  9. I think I agree with him, and I've been married almost 20 years. As long as there is agreement from all people in the relationships, and I would be far more devistated by emotional attachment than sexual attraction.

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  10. from experience, emotional attatchment is so much more devistating. i can understand the need for something carnal and physically primative but to grow attachment to that thing which gives the carnal need and physical need it makes me feel like i am forgotten and no longer needed. I am the type that seriously needs to be needed

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  11. Hmmm....this post got me thinking...I've always thought that only women related sex to intimacy but your post tells me that that's some kind of a myth...maybe for some people it works...

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  12. I agree, most major discoveries must have been made under the influence... where else would one get the idea to go fly a kite in a thunderstorm with a key tied to the string?

    Maybe drunken sex is the best way to avoid emotional attachment, brilliant right?

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  13. I can easily have sex without any (or minimal) emotional investment. I guess being single but sexually active for so many years has taught me to appreciate the sexual act without having to be emotionally invested in the act or the person I'm with at the moment. One can choose to be totally selfish or one can be very give-and-take in such sex-only encounters. Fuck-buddies are the example of sex with minimal emotional investment--you guys just have to be friendly to one another.

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  14. This post is right up my alley…

    Ioannis has a point. Why can’t humans connect, without reservation, with someone else?

    That said – we’re human, which is our undoing.
    As humans we need contact with other humans, yet we have a hard time separating contact from ownership.
    We want to own the person we connect with in a relationship; most would deny this, but, it is a fact.

    Now, about sex, in the name of sex – here’s my take, for what it’s worth.

    I like sex, and as a woman I like it just as much if not more than making love.
    I think the expression “making love” is such a lame-assed expression I want to vomit every time I write it. I’ll try and hold back…I don’t want to mess up my laptop!

    A little story…

    When my daughter was just starting Grade 8 (ten years ago) she asked me about sex. Not love making, but sex. Specifically she wanted to know if it was fun!
    This was my answer. “Yes!”
    And then after letting that settle around us, I said, “and No!”

    And then I elaborated…
    Sex is fun when it’s your choice and your decision all round; gender choice, location, mood, time and all the other good stuff that sets you up for success in the sex department. If even one of these things is off, you’re screwed, literally.

    I mentioned to my daughter that the hardest thing about having sex with someone was still maintaining anonymity – still being a stand-alone human with your sense of self firmly intact and not needing or seeking validation from this person based on this carnal connection.

    And yet, what do we do?

    As mere mortals we want validation and attachment.
    Sad lot we are in this department because if we could just lose the ownership and control issues we have with one another we could have relationships that fit all of our differing and varying needs, without our self-imposed guilt.

    I could go on, but you get the drift…

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  15. This is a really interesting post. Personally, I can't separate my emotions from sex but I don't expect everyone to feel the same way. This was very thought provoking! (I'd also like to believe I'm a brilliant philsopher whilst inebriated.)

    Incorporate Grace Kelly & Audrey Hepburn into your every day life: http://ongraceandaudrey.blogspot.com/

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  16. i find that there is so much more to a relationship than sex,

    so i agree...sex is in fact a sport.

    love is a game. with very complex rules.

    but connections. true connections. i mean the ebb to your flow, the completion of you. the kind where life would suck, truly suck, without that person in it, type of connection...

    that is where love and sex become equal.

    been a long time since i have felt that...

    Bruce
    bruce johnson jadip
    evilbruce
    stupid stuff i see and hear
    Bruce’s guy book
    the guy book

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  17. I guess its possible to separate sex with the emotion (love) and sex with lust. Many people can forgive their partner for sleeping around with others but no one can forgive for emotional betrayal even though they have not slept together. Love is more than sex.

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  18. In the noun sense, which refers to sport as a competitive activity, the metaphor doesn't make sense.

    But in the verb sense, [ intrans. ] "amuse oneself or play in a lively, energetic way" it kind of works :-)

    Though being strict to the definition, which seems to pertain to a single individual, doesn't that sound more like pleasuring one's self vs. engaging in intercourse?

    Haha

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  19. I understand what he is saying. Sex is just sex, two people touching body parts to make it feel good. You can have sex with someone and not only not care for them, but not even care who they are at times.. Some relationships are better open, some are not... Great post!

    amberlashell.com

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  20. Live,Laugh,Learn and Grow. Great read. I look forward to ready more. You have got me thinking now. Have a great day.

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  21. @Lady - I think, given the context, Ioannis was reffering to sex as a self-enriching activity. You know, something that you do that releases endorphins while building camaraderie among equals. Competition is not always the end of sport - can be self-actualizing too. The same feeling of fulfillment when playing basketball with your friends. Or the same joy you'd feel when you shop with your friends. That part of sport.

    I must say that Ioannis is a genius. Quoting an Opinion piece from the PDI: "The possibilities were endless. Without recognizing it, (Jose Rizal) had undergone a paradigm shift. He found a new way of seeing and, no matter what others might say, he vowed to tell his friends." http://bit.ly/hQM7i8

    And lastly, I must agree with Pearson. I think Ioannis POV comes from a similar context. "Sex is fun when it’s your choice and your decision all round; gender choice, location, mood, time and all the other good stuff that sets you up for success in the sex department."

    Sex is fantastic. =)

    www.vthefantastic.blogspot.com

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  22. Whew.. I'd be devastated if my partner would have sex with another. Still, I respect those who have an "open" relationship.. meaning, that they can have sex with a person other than the partner, as long as there's no emotional ties.. In my head, I'm not so sure if I agree with that.. still, to each his own.

    This is a great post... IDOL talaga kita. =)

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  23. This is one of the most intellectually compelling blogs I have read in a long time, and it was interesting!

    I am sorry to say however that I am still rather on the fence about the whole subject discussed. I agree wholeheartedly that certian situations and circumstance must be taking into account. Perhaps when I am older I will understand.

    http://amystocker.blogspot.com/

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