The Elusive Nature Of Intimacy In A Modern World

The other day I had some friends over, we partied a little too late, and everyone was getting a little drunk. At the end of the night I was taking a friend home who is slightly disabled to the point where he can no longer drive. Several years back he had been stricken with a brain disorder that paralyzed one side of his body, making it difficult for him to get around. He has been recovering in the past year or so since I have gotten to know him, but the recovery process is slow. He is a single man who lives alone, in his mid 30’s, and extremely attractive. On the drive home we began to talk about relationships and what the modern sense of dating is like in this time. My heart was filled with such agony as he began to describe his constant connection to others online, and how painful the loneliness of his life has become, just trying to connect with others. Connecting for sex is not the problem, but connecting for any kind of intimacy seems to be elusive. I made an off handed remark that this seems to be the way of our modern gay culture. This idea has really been haunting me the past couple of days as I have been thinking about that loss or lack of intimacy in our modern world. I don’t think his disability plays much of a part in his loneliness, because he is a good communicator, has a great personality, and is very easy to hang out with, but lies more with our culture becoming so disjointed that we have become desensitized to personal interaction. I know we live in a time where everyone is so busy trying to live their lives that fitting others into their world can become difficult. Do they actually need someone to share their lives with? When you can readily have sex with people you meet on the internet, hook up for a half hour and move on, it seems to make life easier. Many of the younger gay people I talk to are not even looking for any kind of relationship because they don’t want their lives to be complicated by others. They can get what they need and move on without any kind of entanglement. I guess it surprises me how uncomplicated the basic needs of a person becomes as the world we live in becomes so complicated. When I was a young gay man, it was intimacy first that sex came out of when I was with someone. It always seemed to heighten the encounter. I don’t think the fact that people are picking each other up has changed from my earlier days, then now. Perhaps it was even easier then because you could do it anywhere. The gaydar would go off, you would make the connection in public place, and follow each other to private spaces. But again it was the height of the sexual revolution, before HIV. There was a thrill to be able to be this intimate with another person and you often lingered in the afterglow of what had just happened because it was so sensational. But this whole connection online or texting, through minimalist words or phrases, with glimpse of a dick or ass taken in the mirror from a cell phone, in a padded profile, seems to remote and distant. Now the act of sex is mistaken for intimacy and nothing is really shared other then the body. And Now my heart is broken for a friend who feels so isolated and alone and living on the edge of others actions and words that never come. I think the real disability here does not lie with my friend but in what we have become because we are too afraid to let others into our worlds.

One thought on “The Elusive Nature Of Intimacy In A Modern World

  1. BDSpellman

    >I think you're absolutely right, Terry, in questioning the loss of intimacy in today's on-line hook-up world. What the younger men today will find out, I fear, is that it is a younger man's world. Those of us who are past our "sell-by date" can spend all the time we want on Manhunt or or any other such site, but that doesn't mean that anyone will talk with us, let alone hook up with us. At least that's been my experience.

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