Intimacy can refer to everything from a casual sexual encounter to a long lasting marriage. There are probably as many shades of intimacy as there are people, but a common thread is the sense of opening ourselves up to another.
For me, intimacy is also a practice, and one that is touch centered. In much the same way as playing the piano, or writing, or going to a fitness center, it’s an activity for which I set aside a space and time. There are people with whom I share the practice, and we structure this by setting aside a time and space with the intention of sharing an intimate and erotic journey.
At the beginning of each session, we consciously transition from the familiar world dominated by talk to the world of touch. As we shed ourselves of clothing, the silent ways of skin on skin communication take over. Touch has a knowledge that goes deeper than rationality, and one that can open profound vistas if we can but let it happen.
Invariably in the course of each journey, there is some sensation, some area of our bodies that opens itself up to us, and that somehow seems new and unexplored. In some magical way, this happens not only with more recent partners but with ones I have had an intimate practice of many years with. This points up a benefit of a long-term practice, that it is possible to break through inhibitions so that you and your partner can have the freedom to flow with each other’s energy and to discover new areas. It is very much like the insights I often have when interpreting a piece of music that has been a part of my life for many years – new voices appear, inner rhythms I had not seen, new dimensions. It has everything to do with being able to look into the other, regardless of how familiar, and to open up our senses so that we can explore with new eyes, fingers, and whatever else comes into play.
Sometimes the things in life that appear to be the most effortless require the greatest amount of work. The great musicians, artists, sports players, to highlight only a few, give the impression that their craft simply falls to them with ease. For the most part, this is anything but true, they work at it. So too with the practice of intimacy. Every time we cast off a veil that blocks something in us or in those we practice with, the horizon changes, and we reach new levels. The energy we feel in our bodies is more alive. When it flows freely, we discover new and invigorating ways to express ourselves. Yes, practice does make for perfection, and fortunately for us there is always something needing work.