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CategoriesIntimacy and SexualityThe I Column

Traversing the Landscape of Intimacy, Penetrative Sex, Sexuality and BDSM

Today, I will take you on the journey of my experiences with intimacy. You may not relate to it, but I do hope you will try to understand it, and appreciate how experiences that shape human sexuality can be so different from each other. Oh, and I won’t get directly to the point as I usually do. So, bear with me please!

When I was 18, I finished my school education. I grew up in a small town and a middle-class family, without the luxury of the Internet, which was still relatively new then. I had studied biology as one of my optional subjects, and while it explained the reproductive system in detail, it still didn’t explain the act of coitus. Textbooks then (and I suppose even now) mentioned that the word  and euphemism in common parlance was ‘intimacy’. I was told and taught that coitus led to conception, and moral science taught me that losing one’s virginity, or being an unwed mother was a cause of shame. Naturally, I was scared of ‘Intimacy’ as I understand it now.

With these notions and zero interest in sex (I was to be a good girl, or so I thought in my limited understand of ‘submission’), I came to Delhi, in love with a guy who lived elsewhere. He and I professed we were in love, only to meet in Delhi, once I moved here at the age of 22. We kissed in an auto, found the French kiss disgusting, didn’t know what more to do (I think he knew; he was four  years my senior and a medical student). The poor guy however, satisfied himself AND me, with the fact that he had got me medicines for my cold. A gesture of love, delicate and gentle affection, or so everyone thought. Intimacy, the way I understood it.

We split up. I was broken and shattered and didn’t believe I could ever get intimate with anyone again. Still a virgin, I managed to discover BDSM. My understanding of submission evolved drastically. My definition of intimacy changed. It still did not include penetrative intercourse.

However, my understanding of intimacy, did drift towards my sexuality. It drifted towards my awareness of my own body. Late bloomer or not, it drifted towards my realisation that what I had done to comfort myself was called masturbation and could be done in multiple ways. My definition of intimacy now included hugs, cuddles, contact with a male body and comfort with those I could trust and call friends. It also included discussions about sexuality, sexual acts, and questions I wanted answers to. It still did not include penetrative intercourse.

Ten years later, when I finally chose the man I would first have sex with, I had traversed a wide spectrum of sexual and related lifestyle choices. I had experienced intense emotional intimacy with men as well as women. I had experimented with polyamory in its multiple nuances. My experiences with pain were far more profound than what I had hoped for. I had survived family casualties, my own accidents, career changes, toxic relationships (when all I had hoped for was intimacy) and damaged friendships.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that intimacy is not about penetrative intercourse. The man I had sex with became clingy despite knowing that for me, the relationship was a purely selfish act of unleashing myself and not a commitment to him.

The point is that intimacy can be experienced even without BDSM despite the fact that you may be a seasoned practitioner. I still fall in love with ‘vanilla’ people and feel hurt because I know that BDSM is necessary for compatibility with me, and that I have to let them go.

The point is that intimacy can happen in non-sexual BDSM-centric relationships.  One of my most fulfilling relationships was with someone who used BDSM to empower me, gave me a structure using it as a means, never had sex with me because I met him as a virgin and he knew virginity mattered to me, for whatever reason.

The point is that intimacy can happen with any gender.  I identify as heterosexualI’ve had intimacy only with one woman, who I did not however have sex with. There were other non-sexual interactions with women, but none of them had the element of love.

She was a sadist, I a masochist, we were friends and extended family at the time when we experimented. We were deeply attracted to each other, explored each other physically and sexually as long as it didn’t include penetrative sex of any form. We shot pictures, I trusted her. Truth is, she kept me safe, and taught me a lot while she was with me,  and when she wasn’t, and even when she returned as a friend again.

The point is simple. Intimacy is not about sexuality, penetrative sex, gender, BDSM or any one parameter. Yet, intimacy is about all of them AND MORE. Intimacy is about who you are and who you are with. Intimacy is about honesty, trust, communication and kindness. It is about the freedom to be who you are and the freedom to say ‘no’, should you want to.

It’s as Alain de Botton said, “Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.”

Cover Image: Wikimedia

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Article written by:

Asmi is an active BDSM practitioner, lifestyle coach based in India, a writer and a vocal, empowering person, who experiments actively with BDSM, feminism, LGBT, sexuality and erotica. She is very active in several real-world BDSM communities and has close connections with a wide spectrum of other practitioners both in India and globally. She has authored a series of 3 books about various aspects of BDSM, available on kindle. She can be reached on Facebook or via email at: asmi.uniqus@gmail.com

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