Friends and lovers


Active member
My life is rich with relationships. There are challenges, sure, but my overall experience is that of abundance.

I can’t make time to stay in touch with everyone close to me as much as I would like. This is never going to change, unless I consciously cull my ‘friends list’, which I’m not prepared to do. I’d rather adjust my own expectations of how much time I can spend with people, how often. My sprawling backyard of friends and lovers flourishes at times effortlessly.

I heard an idea that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. (Of course, they are also potential enemies, acquaintances, etc. I like my glass full – half of water, half of air.) Another quote I read, on a t-shirt, said: “a world without strangers.” Imagine, no one alienated by difference. Strange, diverse, but never estranged. My kind of utopia.

I don’t quite understand the distinction some people have between friends and lovers. Is it about the sex? Intimacy? Romance? Is closeness a kind of skin, that you’re either outside of, or broken through? Then what about ears, nostrils, assholes, vaginas… I can get inside you, friends!

But seriously, the compartments don’t really work. At least, not always. Categories (fuck buddies, friends with benefits, partners, lovers etc) are useful short-hand, can help us discuss and compare and understand, but the complex taxonomy of relationships is just a scheme, a generalisation, that can never replace the wondrous chaos of each specific connection.
My current constellations

I contemplate the vast stellar smear of folks who light up my night sky, each a peculiar intensity, shimmer and hue. I connect the dots; picture frames of camels and kettles, scimitars and goddesses. These shapes are familiar fantasies. The brightest points have names of their own.

Ocean, a dark heavy stillness to his depths: we replenish each other. To know him is a ritual blessing.

Grotto, a sacred place of profanity, my own swamp chapel, warm baptisms of mud.

Underneath the velvet drapery is scaffolding and mechanics. Frank conversation. Scheduling. Shared meals. Hours spent dreaming side by side. Ocean and I want to live and make a home together. Grotto and I want to have children. If that happens, we’ll need to figure workable living arrangements so everyone (especially Ocean) has their own personal space.

We have other lovers and flirtations. Djuna dated Grotto, once, and now the two of us are… something. (Girlfriends?) She’s a lesson to me. I want to go camping with her. She’s good at pitching tents. We’re penpals. Slack at Skype dates.

Plinth: an unexpected lover, the dessert that made room for itself. He knows how to cook and knows how to fuck. His spit is a much-loved lubricant. We are grateful and hopeful and unexpectant.

Other intimacies – those I imitate, those I transgress and transcend with, people I play with and pray with, compasses and sundials, sparklers that are meant to burn out, shooting stars that blaze trails with the grace of miniature comets.

Ink, a girl who I’m fascinated by… Every last conversation is both sufficient, and foreplay to the next. Thus far, a quivering contradiction: naked minds and clothed bodies. I’m content to not touch, but then wonder – almost dispassionately – are we having sex by not having sex? Is tracing all around the edges akin to dipping a finger in? This bag contains a scroll on which is penned a faint map of a maze, look closer it’s the universe
Love your writing fuchka. I enjoyed your previous blog, and am now looking forward to the updates on this one!

I've called her Grotto's "flame", but she's more ethereal, more potent than that. In times past, he's been tragically open-heart over her, often reeling from her hot and cold flashes, wanting her to have some solidity towards him, needing to grasp.

He's more relaxed now, taking her at her stride. Says he's made peace with how she is and what she wants from their relationship: the freedom to be fluid.

But I - get jealous over her. She makes me the most jealous I remember being in a relationship.

She's exquisitely sultry and seductive, and enjoys toying with sexual tension, the slow smoke.

I can't shake the feeling that every act of honesty towards her is taken as a point to her (against me), every vulnerability I reveal seems to be thrown into the sack of the spoils of some game she's playing which involves eating people, maybe simply because she likes to know that she can.

But when she reveals, oh, it's a show of strength, a calculated creep of the veil that opens by hiding. Expression by a thousand teases. She is in charge of what's going on here.

The only way I can think of answering that is in kind. And - really- I can't be fucked.

Grotto sees something similar - at least, how she's meticulous in her performance - and he appreciates the art of it, is a willing victim. She's a lobster, prickly-shelled, but when she decides to let you get a fork in she is butter, soft flesh and finely chopped parsley. The morsel you get is part of the game too, just enough to be bait.

I'm not gripped. How can I put this? Dear, I've got plenty of people I'd rather be a meal for. I'm not fond of your attitude at the table. We're of a different degustation.

By demanding such subservience, of others to your whims, you make me prefer to be unmoved by you... And I can be unmoved. Decide to ignore you exist (the greatest sadism one can inflict upon a starlet?), or - more likely - just get distracted by other things and not let you feature too highly on my priority of people I spend time thinking about.

That sounds pretty harsh, but it's one of the essential feelings I can distill from this concoction.

On the other hand, here I am, caught up in thought about Bijou again. Ah, but (as far as I can tell, ha!) it's mostly by choice. Freezing my mood at this frame, enhance, enhance, analyse. I am fascinated by the rise she gets out of me, this dense emotional compound.

Another aspect is that I barely know her, really. This character is some Frankenstein monster of what she is, what she projects and what I imagine. I'm aware that I don't really know how things are for her and I'm probably not empathising well, not making fair judgments. Quite intriguing to process.

I've agreed to go to a party at her place tonight with Grotto. Haven't seen her since before I left town, about three months' back. Much of me would rather not catch up with her. Then again, Grotto dragged himself out of disinclination - two nights ago - to come to dinner with my father (!) who was in town for a surprise visit. I recognised a main motivating factor for me wanting Grotto there, was that I like the people I'm close to to be in the same space as each other sometimes, just getting to know each other. I think it's similar for Grotto re: the party at Bijou's. He said that he would like me to be there. I get that.

But to go means that I'll have to be around Bijou, and I don't really want to. I don't like her? I don't trust her?

I'm not good at moderation. I'm either open or closed. Wish I didn't have to spend any energy on this. Really can't be bothered. But I reckon it might be something I need to do for Grotto. And it probably would improve my understanding of (if not relationship with) Bijou. And no doubt I'll get to see even more of myself.
A potassium quickie

The shape of my weeks these days is: in general, Tues-Thurs in the city where I work (the next closest city to where Ocean, Grotto and Plinth live.) As many weekends as I can manage/afford, coming back into town for a visit.

After I bought a rail pass (unlimited intercity rail travel for the next three months) the "affording" part is much easier, in terms of money. There's also energy, time (train takes 11 hours each way) and mental health, of course... but it's very much a relief to not be too cash-strapped to see people.

Other days of the week, I try to work on my own projects - some writing, some volunteering and some creative things. Plus I like to move: swim, dance, climb, bike, walk, stretch, fuck... however. And do quieter things like cook or meditate.

Today, I'm at Ocean's place and we're both working from home. (He's an academic doing some paid research work.) It's been a while since we worked side-by-side like this, and it's very reminiscent of our uni days, the late night essay scrivening with brief outbursts of connection and release.

A few minutes ago, for example, I peeled a banana for a snack. Meeting Ocean's gaze with a come-hither, I flicked my tongue across the tip of it and made as if to give it a wee suck - but then, all of a sudden, I bit the end off savagely.

Me: [cackles]
Ocean: That's more of a turn-on than you might imagine.

Haha <3
Bijou pt 2

For all my ideals of being good to people, to be gentle and understanding, I have a stubborness towards Bijou. A hard heart. You can't hug wearing armour.

Before the party, Grotto reassured me that Bijou doesn't behave the way she used to, that she's mellowed out a lot. She definitely had a more relaxed attitude.

But, I simply didn't feel like talking to her, as if I'd decided not to give her another chance.

What exactly has she done, to make me bristle so much?

- be serpentlike. Seductive in a way I'm not, and don't aspire to be, but that still makes me jealous. (It's a particular kind of jealousy that I find very intriguing, despite how much it hurts. May write more about that later.)

- not be honest with me early on. First time I met her, she'd been telling Grotto how she would fuck better than me. I called her up on that, and I said that it's not a competition to us and that's not how we roll. Later, she apologised and said she was just trying to test us. That explanation made no sense to me, and apparently wasn't the real story anyway (according to Grotto). I kind of can't be fucked talking with someone I can't trust to tell the truth to me.


And that's it, maybe?

Well, she wasn't comfortable with the poly aspect of our relationship... She didn't think she could handle it. Which is why she and Grotto scaled back to a flirty, sometimes-fucking friendship. So maybe it's partly also feeling like she would prefer me out of the picture? But not really, I don't think she cares that much. Like, I'm not sure if she'd actually want to date Grotto even if he was single. It's more a reason why she's unwilling even to try it.

There are a couple of other things that come to mind but I don't think they're at issue here.

I need to fix my attitude towards her. It's gross and unkind.

Fuck, I wish I trusted her.

I've been thinking of writing her a letter, laying it all out. How I feel towards her, my lack of trust, my desire for things not to feel tense. It's quite possible she feels like everything's fine between us (though I think my coolness towards her, at the party at her place, was obvious).

But I have this block, which is, I don't want to expose myself to her. Why? Hmm. It's something like: I don't trust her to respond with honesty, when I'm being honest with her, therefore I don't think she's worthy of me being honest to her in the first place. She's not going to be vulnerable with me, so why should I be vulnerable to her?

On the other hand, if I don't make some kind of effort, olive branch, something, we're not going to get past this. Well. I'm not going to get past it, I don't think. Jesus, I'm resentful eh.

Another option is to somehow find a middle ground. Ha, moderation!

I don't think I can avoid her. She's in a circle of friends I occasionally hang out with, plus Grotto really likes her, and probably will hook up with her from time to time, so I gotta deal with this. Bleh.
Love your writing fuchka. I enjoyed your previous blog, and am now looking forward to the updates on this one!

Thanks for this comment, Cleo! Glad you've enjoyed my writing so far. It's nice to have company on the journey x
Fold the plane then let it fly

I have a pretty good deal at the moment, in terms of time with lovers. Enough scheduled quality time so that we can mostly be spontaneous. Lovers who are first and foremost friends - with me, and with each other.

The last couple of days have been a good example of this.

Friday - Movie date with Ocean. Went to see a film with him and a couple of friends.

Saturday - lounged around with Ocean. Went for a walk. Made dumplings. Both Grotto and Plinth got in touch at various points, with Ocean and me, saying they wanted to drop by to catch up. Ocean had evening drink plans though (with his g/f, and others) and he ended up having to leave before they got there.

So, without planning to, I found myself hanging with Grotto and Plinth for a few hours at home, by late evening. I just felt like chilling. I could have done with some time alone, but it was all good. Low key. We had some drinks and chatted, ate more dumplings...

I had organised to go dancing with a friend later that night, and the two boys decided to join us. Mmm... Grotto rarely dances with me, but when he does, it's luscious: our bodies pressed in close and slow slidin, like two wet mouths kissing, yummm

Grotto (and probably also Plinth) was keen to end the night with some naughtiness, but he got tired around 2am and headed home. Stayed out another hour with my mate, her partner and Plinth. Then Plinth dropped me home... where Ocean was awake watching movies! The three of us had MORE DUMPLINGS, chatted for a half hour or so, then Plinth rolled off and Ocean and I went to bed.

Today - I had planned to spend the whole day with Grotto (actually it's part of a bet we mutually won/lost) so got up earlyish and made my way over here. He's playing the new Civilisation, while I'm writing this blog, e-mails, etc.

Tomorrow, I take a train back to the city where I work.

Yeah, I love my life.
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

Grotto's flatmate hands me a book: "remember this?" Oh shit, yes! Been years since I read that.

From memory, it was a pretty short book but it's actually quite a story.

A quote from the last page:

No book ever ends
When it's full of your friends

Ah, sweet.
Well, yesterday was a rough morning for Grotto and I, but we pulled through.

How to summarise a storm?

It started the evening before that. I'd talked with Grotto in the afternoon, and he'd said he was feeling anxious, and thought he might lay off drinking for awhile. I asked if he thought the drink was contributing to his mood, couldn't it be other substances he'd recently quit? But he said, nah, it couldn't be those other things - he thinks it's the alcohol.


That evening I ring him to check how he's feeling, and he seemed happier, and said he'd planned to catch up with Bijou that night, and another girl the next night. The night after (tonight) we had a Skype date scheduled. Now, meeting up with Bijou (and the other girl too) generally involves drinking of some description, so I said "hah, have fun, good luck not drinking" and he also laughed.

After that conversation, though, my mood went really dark re: Grotto. I suspect it's PMS related (small things triggering BIG emotions) but... the core fears were not fanciful.

I did feel some part of my mood was coming from my not-so-grand feelings about Bijou (which I am separately processing).

But I also had a panic around Grotto specifically. One of his mottos is "better living through chemistry", and he's bold with his drug use/experimentation. I don't have any issues with that in itself, apart from when he runs himself ragged... and in particular when it affects me. I hate feeling like I'm his come-down girl, when his emotions crashland on me.

A couple of times (and once recently) I've said some clear things to him about this, about how I feel. The recent time I was very explicit: I'm trusting you to take care of yourself (he mostly does this quite well) but also to take care of how your drug use affects our relationship. He thanked me for speaking up, and nothing's been especially problematic since then.

However, the combo of "I need to quit alcohol for a bit" and "oh I have just scheduled a couple of dates with people who I always drink with when we hang out together" dredged up this issue for me in a major way. What am I meant to think or feel about this, from a distance? Especially with the next scheduled time being Thursday, like I am the unfunny punchline to a three-part joke... Two nights drinking and on the third night, he's feeling hung over and shit and talking to me. Wasn't looking forward to that.

I tried to chill out about it. I had things planned with other friends, and when I was spending time with them, it distracted me from this. But travelling home afterwards, gross. Another mostly unrelated issue (money) was also rearing its head and getting tangled up in this. I hit a low point on the train when I was seeking counsel from a magic 8-ball.

Oh, let's remember I have just done a full day's work after an 11-hour overnight train commute with exceedingly broken sleep.

I, too, need to be careful of my head weather.

Anyway, I crashed out that night. Didn't want to call Grotto in case he was hooking up with Bijou or something. But in the morning, I woke up feeling just as grim. I tried writing him, but it came out awful. So, despite both of us needing to get ready for work, I rang him. Attempted to talk, but he had no idea what was upsetting me - just that I was upset. He kept repeating "I love you so much" but it wasn't connecting. Obviously I needed to express the things I was feeling. He asked me to please write to him.

So, I did. I wrote it all out. The drug stuff, the money stuff. These are really hard topics because they are the intersection of how what someone else does, in their own life, affects me. I really value autonomy, and I'd rather adjust myelf to a position of being cool with however someone else is choosing to live their lives. Give them space to take their own path, and then decide whether I want to join them too. One of the best terms I've thought of for the people close to me is "travel companions".

But when I'm struggling to cope with how someone else is behaving, I need to speak up. Preferably before the emotion explodes... Grotto frequently (and understandably) has no idea something is an issue unless I bring it up. So I gotta be more explicit. On his part, I need him to pay attention more to what I'm saying, and - if he thinks it's fair - do concrete things to improve the situation.

Grotto replied to my e-mail, and we chatted for a bit. That communication 100% defused things. Wow. I still get surprised by the way you can make it through seemingly impenetrable forests, just by holding hands.

Skype date tonight. I feel we can just enjoy each other's company. Condition was critical, but now stable. Obviously we will talk a bit more about heavier stuff but mostly I simply want to spend time with him.
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... and family

I have two younger brothers, who I'm quite close to.

They both know and like Ocean, and can't get their heads around the rest of it. Partly it's difficult because they both live overseas so don't get a chance to spend time and hang out with the people in my life. Partly they just don't understand how this arrangement can be okay, and because of this they don't approve. They feel that Ocean and I are taking a foolish risk, and that we haven't given our marriage a chance (I've been with Grotto since before Ocean and I got hitched) etc etc.

The younger of the two is most similar to me - a bit more experimental with his life, takes his caboose off track. I know he'd be more likely than the other one to empathise with me.

Recently, I've been talking with him quite a bit as he's been finishing up some major exams and wasn't feeling great about them. So I was checking in on him regularly. One of those days he told me "sorry that I have been judgmental about you and Grotto. Once my exams are over, we'll chat about it." That gave me a lot of hope... maybe too much hope.

Yesterday we had the planned chat, and it was kind of awful. His views had not advanced from the first proper heart-to-heart we'd had about it, back when I first got together with Grotto four years ago.

He's still worried that Ocean is actually okay with this. Asking questions like: What happens when two people want to hang out with you at the same time? Who gets priority? Things which just haven't been issues for us, at all. I knew he was just trying to get it... and he was just voicing his concerns, but woah - so disconnected from my real experience.

I need to be patient, cos he's my brother and I'd love him to be able to have a better grasp on how this works for me.

My other brother has told me he doesn't want to talk about it at all as it makes him uncomfortable.


I'm conscious how definitively I'm choosing one family (the one I'm making) over my biological family.

I don't know if I'm making the right choice.

No. I know I'm making the only choice I can. Here's hoping there's enough middle ground.
To be implicit

About a couple of months back, I slept with one of Grotto's close friends. This was a boundary for Grotto, and the fallout from this continues... I feel I'm in some strange friendship/love triangle, just having to trust that all of us have a common allegiance to treating each other well at the core of it all. Their friendship predates my relationship with Grotto... There's some gender stuff in here too, like there's some boys' club, and I'm Yoko Ono that broke up the Beatles.

As for the dude himself... I'd only just been getting to know him (since moving to this city) but ah, attraction. I felt that moisture-to-dry-ground thing, when you can tell you're easing somebody in a way that's good for them. A cousin once accused me of needing to be needed - there's some truth in that. I like being a good thing in someone's life. But I also seek the reverse (perhaps less so, admittedly.) In any case... I'm soft for this guy. He reminds me of an old boyfriend, my first good relationship... that I also happened to have in this city, 12 years ago when I lived here (ahhhh, yup.)

So I can hang out with him, but I can't... what?

I'm not exactly clear what the boundary is. Definitely not sex, probably not intimacy of certain vague natures.

My current self-imposed rules of engagement are: Do not flirt. Do not discuss with The Friend any desires that are not able to be fulfilled given Grotto's current boundaries. Err on the side of coolness.

But sometimes, sitting and talking with him, he puts his arm around my shoulder... Ah... what am I meant to do about that? I want to lean in, cuddle... but is that too far? Gee, I'm really not sure. I'm trying to behave platonically without really understanding what platonic means.

I've brought this up with Grotto occasionally, but it's hard cos he's so tender about it. Still bruised, still healing... why do I keep poking it? Maybe I should admit that I need to step back and let things settle more. But this friend has been feeling depressed, and I'd like to be able to be there for him a bit, give him excuses to leave the house, etc. Basically, be caring. But not too caring. Almost as if this is a professional relationship. Maybe that's a workable analogy, for me.

But - ugh - gross. I don't want to conceive of relationships with people like that.

One of the last few times I talked about this topic with Grotto, he started freaking out about the idea of seeing his friend again, after what had happened. This was bad, the paranoid growth. The only way to fix it would be for them to hang out together - and that was largely out of my control. I was patient for a bit but it seemed to me that his friend was also avoiding him. Previously he'd visited regularly, but since the Transgression, he hadn't.

So, I... meddled. A little. I not-so-subtly mentioned to the friend - "you planning to visit there anytime soon? Grotto's still a bit tender and just hanging out with you would probably help untangle things." He replied "Ok, will sort something out." And - this weekend - he went. The boys hung out, all's good. Phew.

I felt I had to admit to Grotto my part in it, because I hadn't told him that I'd said anything. I felt a bit conniving - although it was with good intentions. I really don't like sticking my nose in other people's business. But I needed something to shift here because I felt a bit alone on it.

His friend isn't being particularly helpful. I've figured he's an implicit sort of guy. Just goes with the flow of things, and doesn't always feel the need to clarify what's going on. I'm not naturally inclined towards that... it's been challenging.

What I want: to explore this relationship with Grotto's friend like any other relationship... which means any restrictions need to be an understood part of the adventure for me.

I've got this precious nugget of lust left over from the experience, too. Fucking him was righteous. His cock knew where it was going inside me, and he came a sticky mess all over my chest.

Whatever happens, I'm glad that were were once that close. No regrets.
Felt lonesome yesterday evening. I'd met a workmate in the afternoon at a whisky bar, which was fun. But then I had to go home and pack (moving today, to another sharehouse about 15 minutes down the road - yay!). On the way home, my mood slumped. Wanted a hug. Missed having people around who know me, really know me.

I hung out with that feeling for a while, then called Grotto for a chat (he was busy with friends; said he'd call me back) and then Plinth (he was getting ready to go out to dinner, but we talked a short while and he said he'd also ring me back.) So later that night I got two return calls, which was nice :) I did think to myself - making those phone calls - eek, am I dependant? Can't I be alone?

But... I know I can be alone, when I'm in a solitary mood. Just I felt like company right then. I wouldn't have broken if I didn't have anyone to talk wth (I can make peace with loneliness) but why ache through something you don't have to? If I thought this was a bad addiction, that would be a different matter (though, obviously we don't always realise when we're trapped by our behaviour. Hmm.)

Have been missing Ocean a bit too. His phone has been broken this past week and it's e-mail only contact (and he's generally not checking e-mails), so no casual nuzzles through the day. Nawwwww... that shit adds up. I want to touch.

Space is good, though. As much as long distance blows, it's good to have so much time to be by myself.
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An unstable element. This guy, Grotto's friend - was avoiding giving him a name here because I've been trying to contain this experience (ha, yup. Doesn't work.) So: Lobe. He's great. We hang out to do things we both like doing. "Activity partners". But it ain't easy...

I am being extremely cautious. I don't talk about my feelings with him. Well, not my feelings towards him. I have no idea whether he's finding this fine, sticking to a non-physical friendship. But man... driving me a bit nuts sometimes. I need to find other ways to get release. Channel this into creativity somehow?

I have two unsent e-mails.

One to Grotto:

Finding it hard with Lobe. I'm really attracted to him, and not getting the release of exploration is building up, sometimes a bit crazy. We've been catching up platonically but that's just made me like him more. And not touching is becoming pretty !! at times. My tactics have been to avoid talking with him about how I feel, which has helped to keep things in check between us. But I'm not coping too well always. We had plans to do a few things later on this month but I'm feeling like I should probably back out :( I guess I need to acknowledge my limits.

I wanted to be okay with this, but I'm not.

I don't mean I'm not okay with how you feel and where your boundaries are. I mean, I'm not okay with managing to hang out with Lobe platonically. I don't even really know where the line is and I think that's the problem. I end up avoiding this, and that, and - you know me and expression. What do I do with it all?

There are heaps of things that are totally not sexual that Lobe and I can do and I was hoping I could just do that shit and ignore the rest but fuck it, I like him.

Maybe fallen a wee bit :/ Man.

Sorry to vent on you but I'd rather say this shit to you and maintain the boundary you need, than talk about this shit with Lobe. Wouldn't feel right about doing that.

The other to Lobe:

I really want to hang out with you, because I like you and like spending time with you. But I'm not sure if I can. Struggling a bit with boundaries.

This sucks, cos I'd rather see you than not see you.
But this is making me slightly mental, I don't quite get how to behave towards you, I'm driving uphill against my instincts a bit and I don't know if I can always be good at doing that.

Catching up to play around with making and breaking things sounds like fun, for instance. But it also makes me panic, oh my god, how will I get through not touching you.

Anyway, sorry to bail for a bit. Need some time out.

Luckily Lobe's away on work this week. And Ocean comes to visit (YAY!) the day after Lobe gets back. Then I'm away. So it will be a fortnight we won't be alone together. I might use that time to let things simmer down a bit.

Probably won't send the above e-mails. I think I mostly just needed to write. Eep... this is what monogamy feels like? Maybe a bit! Haha.

I do NOT want to put pressure on Grotto to shift his boundary. Yes I would love if he didn't have that restriction on me, but it's something real that he's working through and I need to give him space to do that. And I also need to be okay if the boundary will not shift, in the end. I think I can be okay with that, because I trust Grotto is doing work on getting to the root of the issue.

Some reasons he's identified for needing me to respect this boundary:
  • Wanting one special thing (sex? intimacy? not sure what) that was just for him (at least in the context of his inner friends circle) – a small symbolic monogamy.
  • Fear of an existing close friendship transforming, if it is cast into a new dynamic. He doesn’t want to fuck with the friendship he has with Lobe
  • Wants his close friendships to be a safe space where he can go to be himself, to be something familiar. He doesn't want to risk losing that assuredness
  • Since I broke this boundary, there's some added complexity around feeling betrayed by me, and other associated bruises

I see where he's coming from, and I'm not sure where we're going from here.

It's almost like I'm waiting to see if Grotto and Lobe can open up their friendship to me!
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Just a question: do you always feel the need to act on every attraction you feel? Man, if I did, I'd be fucking 20 different people every day. ;)

There is something delicious about enjoying the attraction itself and not making it about getting with someone. You've been spending lots of time with this guy and you care about him, like him, feel attracted to who he is. That's intimate and real. I can tell you, it can be wonderful to experience intimacy without sexualizing it - Western culture is so very deprived of intimacy, so it becomes either/or - either we have a lack of intimacy or we run roughshod all over it and take it to the physical instead of just being with it and feeling all the colors: excitement, intensity, vulnerability, admiration, respect, closeness, curiosity, and so on.

I wrote about this in another thread awhile back - hope this helps you:
. . . I also think that vulnerability is a key element of intimacy, and that Western society doesn't have a clue about how to "handle" intimacy in all its forms. I will offer examples of what I mean by that.

Oftentimes, we will read that two actors met on a movie shoot or while appearing in a play together and got involved in a torrid love affair, only for it to all fall apart after the film or play is over. A film shoot, especially if far away from home, or a stage production, is an intensely intimate setting, where people are in close proximity with other people for an extended period, actors let their guard down to dig deep into parts of themselves in order to portray characters, and crew members have to cooperate closely with one another, all while everyone is, at the same time, immersed in this insulated small world working together on the project, and perhaps meeting personal challenges that they wouldn't normally have in their everyday life. They eat all their meals together, look out for each other, take risks, and find camaraderie with folks they never would befriend in real life. If one person catches a cold, everyone does. It is intense and it is intimate. So, oftentimes, two co-stars will start up a romance out of that situation, but it doesn't last after the film shoot or play ends.

Or we know people who met at an office job, and had to work closely together on some project, having become immersed in each other's "work life" in an intense way, and thought that the level of intimacy they experienced during this process was a basis for a relationship, so they start dating. But if one of them moves on and leaves the job or even just transfers to a different department, the relationship fizzles. This is because they tried to build a romantic relationship, not out of a connection that could be a strong foundation but, rather, out of the intensity of feelings they experienced in an intimate setting.

My theory is that people have a tendency to get confused about intimacy in a setting that is simply interpersonal and not sexual; they then try to turn the intimacy they shared and experienced together into a romantic and sexual relationship because they don't know what the hell else to do with all this closeness and revealing of themselves that went on during whatever situation they were in. They became vulnerable with each other, and then got confused about the intimacy. And especially if there is close proximity and some touch, even just hugs or hand-holding, for example, it is even more confusing because Western culture, or at least in North America, is much less comfortable with non-sexual touch and most people don't know how to handle it. So instead of allowing themselves to experience the intimacy, they rush into sexualizing it. They have sex and try to make relationships out of it. But when the intense situation, in which they first experienced the intimacy together, ends - whoa! - then they have the real person in front of them with whom they aren't actually compatible for the long term, and they didn't see that before because they don't really know each other as well as they thought they did, and they rushed into sex and let all those chemicals cloud their judgment and ability to see the actual person for who they are.

The initial period of intense intimacy was based on one aspect of who they are, the vulnerability might have been scary or risky and exciting to feel and share, the sex was based on confusion about what intimacy is, and then ultimately, the relationship didn't have enough of a solid footing to stand alone. Now, of course, some people are right for each other and make it work for years afterward, but more often than not, it doesn't happen. I think that, when intimacy - emotional, intellectual, sexual - can develop over time, in all aspects of being with someone, then there is a basis for a solid, loving relationship. And intimacy can keep growing. But, just because there is such a thing as sexual intimacy, we shouldn't just equate intimacy, per se, with sex or romance. We can be intimate in many ways.

I have thought about this a lot over the years.

Hi nycindie - thanks for posting.

do you always feel the need to act on every attraction you feel?

Urm. Yes, and no? Yes - I feel it, otherwise it would not be an attraction (?). And no... most of the time it's not a good idea, or I don't have time, or there are some other such practicalities. I mostly want to live a full life, and get enough things done of what I'd want to get done (from boundless "desires" I try to sift out "possible to achieve", and from these arrive at enough "actually achieved" to feel like my life hasn't been a total waste of time)

I'm talking here about attractions of all kinds, not just to people.

Not sure why I think this is relevant, but I feel I should point out - quite often, I sleep very little. I can be quite energetic. I'm a morning person and a night person and a middle of the day person.

I also can crash... I've recognised I cycle a bit. So it's an ongoing process of entropy and consolidation. I dunno, I don't think I do too badly at it.

This thing with Lobe... May be the first time since Grotto and I got together that I've felt something like NRE. This one is freaking heady.

I have many attractions, but this one is particularly powerful and difficult to resist. Maybe because it is forbidden? Not sure, trying to diagnose which bits are NRE, which bits are forbidden fruit, which bits are me going from having heaps of sex (in a city where my two long-term partners are, plus a newer 'fuck buddy' style friend) to a new city where I've only had sex... twice... with people other than my partners when I visit/they visit me. In three and a half months. Once with Lobe, and once with a friend and her "it's complicated" boy. I haven't really been looking for sex - been plenty busy with other things. And I don't think I'm particularly sexually frustrated, as such. But... fuck, I've got a good build up of energy that needs out, at the moment.

I hear you're coming from a place of concern. What you wrote made sense to me, but didn't strike a chord (but, I will read again later a few more times. I know a knee-jerk reaction to entirely spot-on criticisms/insights is to think "I'm not like that!", ha.)

By the way, though, I don't really come from a Western culture. If anything, I feel that I have perhaps fewer boundaries between all kinds of intimacy, than the issue you described. Sex to me is a kind of conversation. I don't understand why we can't mess about with paint, go for a trek, smoke cigars and talk, fuck, talk some more, and just do this or whatever it is we want with whoever we feel like. And only leave out the things you don't feel like doing (at all, or with that person, for whatever reason). The people you don't play poker with because they're infuriating to play with. The fact you hate smoking cigars.

I mean, reasons like sexual health comes into it, but apart from that, and other practical restrictions...


... what's wrong with fucking as part of a balanced intimacy diet?

Perhaps I need to become more at peace with non-sexual intimacy. When I feel sexually attracted, I usually need to take an active step to "prune" that branch. It may bother me til then, but after I've fixed it (sometimes just by thinking through the consequences clearly) it's generally good.

What's difficult to manage is cases where the attraction is obviously mutual.

Or particular situations, when in that moment, there's a sensuality which makes me crave touch.

But eh - what's wrong with touching if you want to touch? Or not touching, if you want to let the anticipation grow, or have space to dissipate?

Either choice sounds fine to me.

I'm going to have to read over your comment again in a day or two I think, nycindie. I appreciate your perspective as always. Thanks for posting, and I hope I don't come across as overly dismissive.
Had a great, frank conversation with Lobe today about boundaries. A conversation I was nervous about having because I felt to say some things in themselves would be crossing whatever line. But... it was good.

Shared responsibility to make things work.

We both genuinely enjoy each other's company, and would like to hang out and not fuck things up.

Being able to talk released a lot of the anguish I had around this. I was afraid of talking, that it would fuel sexual tension or something, but it really didn't. He's an ace dude, seriously.

Also - heartbreak, ha! - he said from past experiences he now feels more inclined towards finding a simple, monogamous relationship right now. So this would be pretty much the opposite to what he's looking for.

I fully support people choosing their own life paths and achieving their dreams etc so would want to enable his happiness rather than mess anything up.

On the other hand, gee... I wonder if I can turn him ;) Kidding. Hmm. Mostly.

Skype date with Grotto now. I really don't want us to have to keep spending time to work through this Lobe stuff. My immediate tension has been released, so hopefully relaxing for a bit.

Though. Something I realised today on the train home (which meant I missed my stop, and took an extra hour to get home) was how swiftly and completely I'm gravitating towards Lobe. I don't know why, but this is... unusual for me. I think. I mean, I'm often impulsive and have expansive emotions. I'm a walking hyperbole. But. I also reckon I know myself pretty well. And this is...


... foolish. But special.

I've fallen in love, folks. Fuck.

But really, it's great. This is going to be a wonderful friendship regardless of what happens. And the effort will be worth it I think.
Oh, I didn't feel dismissed by your response, and I hope you didn't think I was judging. I also see sex as a form of communication and think it would be lovely if people weren't so uptight about it so that there could be sex as just part of a nice close friendship without all the angst about "What does this mean? What are we now?" that so many of us often go through. I guess the point of my previous post was that it is possible to enjoy intimacy and closeness without sex when there are boundaries in place that would prevent it from happening! But it looks like you've fallen a bit for him now... mmmm!
Long-distance relationships - check

Just had a funny half hour that, I realised in retrospect, had a check in with each of my four ongoing LDRs

Last talked: 5 mins ago
He is: happy. Met his best friend's friend yesterday (who has recently moved to the city. In fact, got a job that Ocean had applied for) and they really hit it off
Relationship status: chilled
Next seeing him: Monday! He's here for four days, then we take a train together back to the other city

Last talked: 15 mins ago
He is: still hung over from two nights drinking in a row
Relationship status: ok. tender. Skype date last night was a bit bleah. He was sad about the thought of me staying in this city more. Kept saying he was missing me, but I felt like I couldn't connect with him because he was caught up in gloom. Baby, I'm here, spending time with you, this present moment. Be here too. I said as much, and our conversation went better afterwards. But he was hung over so not the greatest mood.
Next seeing him: Next Sunday. I told him I wanted to spend the day with him together, doing something. Go out to the beach, whatever. Just... quality time. Craving that.

Last talked: 20 mins ago
She is: chirpy, keeping busy and well
Relationship status: ... It's good when we find the time to connect. When we don't, there's no urgency. I like it this way. Anything more wouldn't work for me. She seems to be okay. Hmm. We have been long distance for pretty much the whole 'relationship' (since May last year). There's a slow unfurling literary intimacy about it. Pervy pen pals?
Next seeing her: CAMPING! At some point in the next couple of months. Still planning this. We have a Skype date tomorrow morning, discuss camping is on the agenda

Last talked: 30 mins ago
He is: on an upswing. Rained out of work (he work in roadworks, mmm)
Relationship status: casual. wonderful. It is what it is, and we're happy for it
Next seeing him: next Saturday night? I have something on during the day, and the evening is free. I have been struggling to express clearly the kind of plans I want to make with him. To me a "date" is "me and you", the purpose is - quality time between the two of us, and it's just the two of us (or more of us, if it's a date between three, or whatever). A "catch up" among other plans could involve other people, be more fluid. I'm pretty sure he gets that, but I think I need one more clarifying conversation to ease my worries around this. It's a concern that's come up for me a few times over the months we've been seeing each other, so I should deal to it.

Actually, funny... those four ended up in reverse order of appearance in my life. May as well do a time check too, since I'm being all 'stock take-y' :p

Ocean & I - together 7 1/2 years, civil unioned 4
Grotto & I - together just over 4 years now
Djuna & I - since May last year
Plinth & I - since Mardis Gras this year ;)
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