I come from a long line of lifetime marriages. My grandparents enjoyed 65 years of marital contentment, if not bliss, before my grandfather passed away at 98. My parents just celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary, and I still catch them, on occasion, holding hands. Their complex, compassionate example was my daily life until I ventured off to college.
And now that I am fortunate enough to have found and committed myself to the woman I will spend forever alongside, I understand that a piece of the marital bliss puzzle rests between the sheets.
In a world where sex has become sensationalized, advertisements have adorned themselves with overt affection, and songs sing the praises of this position or that, I feel defeated. Not because I think all women should remain virgins until they are married. And certainly not because I think they shouldn’t. Rather, I simply feel that the intimacy is gone from, well, intimacy.
While adult choices directly imply adult responsibility, I believe that where sex is concerned, this is one of the benefits of growing up. After all, sexual intimacy is good for you, too. But being an adult means we must factor in the risk of heartache, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. Balancing these concerns with our own barometers, our inner indicators, and our true womanly gut that guides us, we have to decide what’s right for us.
I believe intimacy is meant for those who love one another to go to profound new depths, together. Just as in life, when we choose a mate, we share all of the joys, sorrows, imperfections and embarrassments together, side-by-side.
The same is true of the sharing that takes place in our beds. Our giving of our selves is special, whether we choose to have one hundred partners or only one. It may also be wild, fun and sometimes funny, even.
It is, dare I say, a microcosm of our lives.
One day, you will grow up and decide life is too short to waste time on things that don’t matter. You will listen to yourself more, and others less (including me!) You will dance in the rain, stop and smell the roses, buy lemonade from neighborhood children and travel to lands where you don’t know the language. You will make mistakes, and learn from them. You will do the right thing, and learn from that, too. You will start a revolution, begin a new job, birth a family, bake from scratch, or build a company.
You will choose passionate paths that lead to a better understanding of yourself.
And this, dear reader, is true intimacy. Choosing your partner based on how you live your life represents the epitome of intimacy. If you are lucky enough to be given the gift of love someday, finding another with whom you want to share a part of your life, or each and every moment, you may want to give them a gift in return. Emulating in bed the connection you feel in your heart is a great place to start.
Amy Andrews is Positively Smitten’s resident woman of worldly wisdom and will be sharing her advice through a weekly series published every Saturday.