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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %MEANING SIGNIFICANCE SEXUAL INTIMACY KIND COERCION 891024 The meaning of various kinds of intimacy depends upon the context of the intimacy and the intentions of the participants in intimacy. Authentic intimacy entails mutual vulnerability. Authentic intimacy is unlikely in a context in which participants in the intimacy have significantly different kinds/amounts of power, because in such contexts mutual vulnerability is unlikely to exist in balanced ways. Authentic intimacy entails openness and honesty. Authentic intimacy is unlikely in a context dominated by collusive games of mutual self deception such as those of characteristic of addicts and their codependents. Authentic intimacy entails balance. Authentic intimacy is unlikely in a context where there is a major lack of balance in what participants in the intimacy have available and/or are willing to bring to the relationship. Authentic intimacy entails personal and communal integrity. Authentic intimacy is unlikely in the context of personal and/or communal disintegration. That which is unlikely does sometimes occur, and authentic intimacy does occur in contexts where it is unlikely to occur. It is difficult to know whether that which appears to be authentic intimacy occurring in an unlikely context is in reality authentic and meaningful. Objective studies are unlikely to shed much light upon such a question, for the question is essentially a reflexive question. Objective and legalistic rules and procedures are unlikely to speak creatively to the dilemmas present in such contexts. Authentic intimacy is not created through coercion, violence, pretense, command, legalism, moralism, or demand; but may occur in spite of such inhibitions to authentic intimacy. Authentic intimacy is not controlled by any participant in authentically intimate relationships, or by any systematic set of rules or requirements; whether internal or external. The meaning of authentic intimacy is not defined or controlled by any participant or observer, though some may think that they exercise such control. Those who through coercion seek to control the meaning of authentic intimacy are not participants in authentic intimacy. Those who think that they are in control of such meaning are not fully aware of the powers which operate in their lives. Fully authentic intimacy is not bought or sold, it is not an item in contracts of trade, a good which is traded in exchange for another good. Prostitutes as prostitutes do not engage in fully authentic intimacy, whether the trade involves cash, board & room, power, respectability, or any other consideration. Authentic intimacy involves the use of symbols and pointers which stand for (or point to) intimate realities. These may be words, gestures, body language, body contacts, etc. Authentic intimacy does not involve doing violence to such symbols and pointers; does not involve manipulating them in misleading ways or confusing their meanings and pointings. Authentically intimate people do not try to make the symbols and pointers mean or point to other than what was the desire and intent of a partner in intimacy. In authentic intimacy there is an integrity in the use of symbols and pointers; the language of authentically intimate persons is transparent, open and honest. They do not manipulate the symbols of intimacy in ways which do violence to the integrity of the symbols. Sexuality is related to intimacy and intimacy is related to sexuality. Any attempt to define a clear boundary between sexuality and intimacy is bound to do violence to the symbols and pointers of intimacy. Intimacy and sexuality have to do with personal acceptance, trust, risk taking, vulnerability, caring, support, encouragement, gift-giving, receiving, appreciation, forgiveness, etc. Too often attempts are made to be in control of the dynamics of intimate and/or sexual relationships. The desired control is not achieved, and what is achieved lacks the significance and/or meaning which was desired. Control is not a means to achieving the meaning and significance which is often desired. There is little satisfaction in trying to control that which is essentially beyond human control. It is more meaningful to seek to participate meaningfully in relationships which are characterized by personal and communal integrity. In such relationships there are meaningful intimate and sexual relationships which are not characterized by control, manipulation, coercion or violence. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================