The value of the personal relationship to all things is that it creates intimacy... and intimacy creates understanding... and understanding creates love. -Anaïs Nin

Intimacy is a popular topic with both men and women. I like the ‘into-me-see’ adaptation of the word. It pretty well sums up what intimacy is~ an invitation to create a safe interpersonal space in which to reveal your real self in all of your divine humanness.

In the last couple of days, several conversations have led to the discussion of sex and intimacy. Each time, I was talking with male friends and they were noting that the women they were courting were physically compatible but not necessarily willing or able to go into the realm of deeper intimacy. This seems counter intuitive and diametrically opposed to what most pundits would say about how men and women discern sex and intimacy.

I suspect about 100% of us have been hurt in a relationship before. We have opened up to a partner and exposed our vulnerable parts. Wide open, we have felt the pain of rejection and vowed not to allow that to happen ever again, closing down our hearts thinking that will somehow ease the hurt. That is how a fear of intimacy develops and then manifests as a decision to not allow another to see into you.

You might think that an open heart would leave a person vulnerable and defenseless, but I have found the opposite is quite true. Our best 'defense' against pain is to let it move through the heart, shake us like a storm, and pass on. It is only after the heart is broken open that the cleansing winds of forgiveness can blow through. Forgiveness starts first and foremost with ourselves. When we let out hearts break open and feel the waves of pain and tenderness, it connects us to all sentient beings that have ever suffered.

If we clamp our hearts down tightly to avoid pain, we trap that pain inside. Then our hearts becomes knotted with all that bitterness, anger and sadness captured inside. That can lead to situations where a loving physical relationship doesn’t cross the into me see threshold. The risk may seem too great. In that case, sex can often become the way to fill the gap of loneliness and longing for meaningful contact while avoiding the chance of getting hurt.

Like you, I’ve been hurt in relationships. It has felt very risky to allow others to see me. I am exceedingly selective in those I co-create that safe space with. A sexual relationship may or may not be a part of that intimacy. Most often it is not. It was really scary at the beginning to do so, but now I wouldn’t even consider trading that intimacy for a knotted heart. I have made mistakes, shared triumphs, cried both in joy and pain, and revealed my dreams with a few people. My heart feels like it gets bigger and fuller all the time. And, though I still get my feelings hurt every once in awhile by being so open, the benefits of allowing into me see far surpass the consequences.

©2012 Cristina Smith.  All rights reserved.

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