Weeks before my wedding day in 1977, my future father-in-law handed us a copy of The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort. As a 23-year old, it seemed like a very forward thing for him to do. At the time, I was unsure what to think or do, so I quickly flipped through the pages, blushed, thanked him and discreetly placed the book on a bench in the corner of the kitchen. I had already lost my virginity. Admittedly, since my early teen years, intimacy had been a vital part of my life. It might have started with our family doctor telling me during early adolescence that I would have a vibrant sex life. I will never know how he knew that or why he told me that, but what I do know is that as a teenager, I hid Jackie Collins’ books under my pillow, and in college I read the journals of Anaïs Nin, a woman whom I still deeply admire.
I believe intimacy is a key element to happiness. As a recently widowed friend confessed to me, what she misses most after her 25-year marriage ended, is the touching and the intimacy. “Nobody touches me anymore; not even my children.” Intimacy does not have to be sexual, although most often it is associated with it. But consider the value of a simple hug. Physical intimacy is powerful in that it has the ability to soften us, bring us joy, and melt down the barriers between people. One of the main reasons both men and women stray outside of their marriages or enter into extramarital affairs is the pursuit of happiness and/or the search for intimacy.
There are two types of intimacy—emotional (sharing secrets) and physical (carnal desire). Sometimes the boundaries blur or even feed off one another. A relationship may begin with one and lead to the other. Physical intimacy involves lust or a form of lovemaking that is passionate and intense. Intimacy is also deeply connected to a sense of trust.
In his book, Kosher Lust, Shmuley Boteach wrote about three types of orgasm—the material orgasm, where an orgasm is attained in whatever way possible, whether through masturbation, sex toys or watching pornography; the emotional orgasm which involves a combination of a mental and physiological climax, with the mind at the center of the individual’s focus. When the mind is involved, orgasm tends to be even more intense because a higher state of consciousness is encountered. Sometimes called a transcendent state, the emotional orgasm is very powerful.
Finally, there is the spiritual orgasm which is considered metaphysical and centers on the soul. This type of orgasm is almost hypnotic in nature, in that the individual becomes one with everything around them, entering into a blissful state in a sort of Eden-like world.
The concepts of lust, love and touch have been addressed more recently in the popular magazines. My recent poetry collection, Lust, released on Valentine’s Day, now also available on Audible, read by New York actress Kate Udall, received stellar reviews from readers, applauding the collection’s courage and honesty. My sense is that most people crave intimacy but don’t always know how to attain it. The feedback from readers of my poetry collection told me that it offered ideas on how to bring lust or intimacy into a new or established relationship. It also shared the importance of the lust for life.
Just released in the August 2014 issue of Psychology Today is an article called, “Love and Lust,” written by Virginia Rutter, Ph.D. In this article, she shares research on the subjects of love and lust. One of the participants interviewed offered a poignant sentiment, "For me, touch and closeness have always been as important as sex is. We hold hands, we snuggle. Nine times out of 10, 19 times out of 20, that is as good—or better—for our relationship. Our society conditions us to believe we can achieve and maintain a peak sexual relationship for decades. That isn't the way it is. There are valleys and plateaus, and they involve other things in life, including careers and children."
Regardless of the type of intimacy, orgasm or sense of touch, the intimate experience offers the opportunity to tap into good feelings for all the partners involved. That, in and of itself, can result in emotional and physical well-being and healing, and consequently lead to happiness for all parties involved.
Life, love and lust