our touch-phobic, sex-obsessed culture. We’re sublimating, kids.
Sure, I’m obsessed with sex. I’m also obsessed with food, status, security and avoiding pain and I’m willing to bet it is historic hard-wiring. It is my reptile brain. My mammal brain. My humanity. My femininity.
And, I suspect, my culture too.
Because other than my lovers, and my children are the only people who kiss and hug and touch me.
If I didn’t have two small, non-profit distributors of kisses and cuddles, my life would be bereft of skin-to-skin, lip-to-lip, chest-to-chest, and heart-to-heart contact.
And so in the sex dance the moments that most deeply thrill me have nothing to do with getting off. They’re about getting close. About skin and human heat and intimacy and together.
Like: the sweet shock of a suddenly bare chest-to-chest embrace.
Like: voluptuous, extravagant kissing that tells stories.
Like: permission to touch someone.
So I understand all the hullaballoo “adults” in the media are raising about pre-mature sexualization and teen hook-up culture (as if it is strictly a teen phenomena):
oh my god it will be The Death of Intimacy.
It is soul-less, mercenary, predatory, and if they keep it up, Those Kids Today won’t develop the interpersonal skills necessary to support lasting, loving, intimate relationships.
And the dyad is the cornerstone of North American culture, y’all! How will we fight about what marriage means and who gets to be allowed to do it if Those Damn Kids are too busy hooking up to settle down?
Those Kids Today are going to break society.
As if it isn’t already broken.
We worry, too, about the broken souls of promiscuous girls – when we’re not ogling them and eating them up – who use sex to feel loved. Who are lacking the love, affection, commitment and validation they (and all human folk) need, and so seek it in sex. Who shortcircuit love and emotional intimacy for carnal electricity.
They’re not the only ones sexting. Trust. They’re not the only lonely ones aching for touch. Believe.
When I was eighteen, a young man knocked on my dorm room door and invited me for a motorcycle ride. It was night. It was cold. We went back to his house and he offered me hot chocolate. He stood at the counter, mixing the cocoa, with his back to me, and I felt an overwhelming desire to hug him. So I did. I walked up behind him and slipped and tightened my arms around him. I leaned into him. I held him.
Then he grabbed and held my arms and hands that were holding him and melted into me. I can’t even put into words what happened in that hug. There was a fierceness and a hunger in that surrender. That connection is forever carved into me.
He told me that he couldn’t remember the last time someone hugged him. And when he worked at remembering he realized that his last hug happened when he was seven years old.
Four years later, I married that guy. That was probably a mistake.
But emotion-free, intimacy-lite hook ups are probably less of a psyche-eating danger to Those Kids Today than is untrammelled, soul-scarring, love ‘n unprepared early marriage.
And we’re all hungry. For touch, intimacy, sex, cuddling, communion.