How often does the average man talk with another man about intimate issues? Now, to be clear, I’m not necessarily talking about sex here. We’re not talking about bro-ing down over a few beers, either. In case you missed it, I don’t do the “beers” thing. This is more of a “How things are REALLY going” type of intimacy.
My wife, not knowing how much I talk to friends about intimate topics, presented me with a YouTube clip of Trevor Noah (not my favorite propaganda sensationalist) explaining, and often confusing, two different ways in which men seek out intimacy. Now, he starts out riffing about “a right to sex”, whatever that is. I tend to agree with Jordan Peterson’s approach that would look something like, “if a man cleans himself up into something presentable, he won’t have to worry about a right to sex, he’ll have all he wants”. The personal responsibility approach is where it’s at. Next, however, Noah wonders allowed if men really don’t want sex, as much as they do intimacy… and that’s where it gets messy before he takes it home to arrive somewhere good, decent and worthwhile. I’ll get there sooner.
In one example, he uses that guy who pays a prostitute to simply talk with him or to just hold him. This request stems from a lack of intimacy with a partner. Personally, I’ve never thought to pay a prostitute or a stripper to just talk with me or hold me when my wife was going through her “I’m going to withhold my love from you to punish you” phases – and they’d last weeks. I see that as a form of cheating, so I never went there. That form of intimacy can only come from my spouse… and today I would say that if I’m not getting that from my wife, there might be something I need to clean up so she’s willing to talk with me and hold me more. If I think I’m cleaned up enough for that, it’s time for a peaceful, quiet negotiation with a goal of more intimacy, holding and talking.
That might turn into a fight, though it would be a worthwhile fight to have before one turns to cheating or ends up with a conversation that concludes with “the marriage is over”. Now, if one doesn’t have a spouse or female companion from which to derive such pleasure, one should first go about cleaning oneself up enough to attract one. If, whilst in the process, one wishes for some of the good stuff, by all means, pay away. The important point here is the personal responsibility of this.
Then there’s a second kind of intimacy. The between two men intimacy. How often, and with how many other guys do I talk about intimate subjects? Well, up until about eight months ago, my wife had a point. I’d have to go back several years before I talked regularly with anyone other than my wife about intimate subjects. Since, I talk with many of my friends because I want to share with them something that made my life profoundly better. Immensely better. First, my sponsor, Pete. A few guys at bowling. My old sponsors (two of them), my old pre-marriage housemate, and about a half-dozen guys at meetings… in fact, one just last night… and my wife’s dad.
This is what my wife thought I might be missing the other night. She thought it would make a few things in me make sense if I was missing that form of intimacy. She was just trying to look out for me and bring up her own flaw of withholding her love and that closeness out of fear so she could get over and put an end to that.
It was a very tense conversation at first, but it was one of the more healing discussions we’ve had in our marriage. And, truth be told, that led to a massive breakthrough just this morning that will have to be for another day, after I’ve unpacked it and fully vetted the subject with Pete and my wife before a post can see the light of day.
Still, even though Trevor mucked the subject up something fierce, if it wasn’t for my wife and and that clip, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get to where I am just a short couple of days later.
The point is, I think he’s got a point. I’d embraced it long before I ever knew he had it… and while it may be more than the “guy hug with a double side pat”, it isn’t curling up with another dude and saying “hold me”, either. (3:16 in the clip). That just isn’t going to happen.
Maybe we can aim for something in the middle.