The extent to which we are so connected as a generation, yet so isolated as individuals, is an odd tension. It’s challenging to escape our peers and the technologies that bind us, but almost more difficult to foster the intimate connections that provide nourishment to our essential selves.
While this struggle manifests itself in many aspects of life, it is perhaps most pertinent to the unrelenting quest for intimacy and companionship.
This concern grew more serious after my recent move to New York City. In a city with millions of people who make up countless subcultures, I have genuinely never felt so alone. I have never felt such a deep need for a singular connection with another human so greatly before in my life. This need could very well be a result of the numbers game – with increased options comes increased pressure and expectations – or it could be a product of a certain previously unknown, possibly ignored, sense of lacking in life.
I marry my desire for a relationship with my need to be single – desired and therefore empowered versus independent and therefore unbound. While my thoughts rarely result in any sense of resolve, I am grateful for and motivated by the opportunity to dive deeper into my mind. I simply wish for somebody to share my journey with me.
I constantly hear that my journey toward companionship should be lined with self-discovery, heavy play and heavy petting, whether this involves a single person or a hundred people.
My friends are not entirely wrong in their suggestions. However, as much as I want to be around other people and have different experiences, I don’t necessarily want to sleep around randomly. It’s not that I don’t enjoy physical play. I love the eroticism of touching bodies. I love the satisfaction of release, of taunting and teasing and triggering and tiring. I love the very concept of love, of lust, desire, pleasure and pain.
My issue relates to what our idiomatic understanding of sleeping around means — the connotation tied to “sleeping around” is not for me. I recognize that my feeling is a reflection of personal taste and desire and (many) others may not agree. And as a result, I feel even more isolated.
In realizing the liberated era in which we live, it is even more disappointing to feel alone. I challenge my peers (and myself) to move beyond our ill-conceived understanding of intimacy. Let our daily grievances serve as a reminder that despite how connected we are as a society, sleeping around keeps us fragmented as individuals with temporary and empty interactions.
To achieve the level of intimacy and companionship that many desire, we must recognize that touch transcends a physical connection. It necessitates penetration of the soul; penetration of a person’s essence is what we really need in order to decrease the tension to which so many of us submit.