Notes On Intimacy

One day, several years ago, we had sex for the last time. We didn’t know at the time it was going to be the last: it may seem that a quickie on the sofa was an unworthy ending, but actually, that’s very us. They had walked into the room while I was lying on my stomach on the sofa, typing or reading something I can’t remember, and had been overcome with the urge to fuck me; sitting on my thighs, they reached up my skirt, pulled my knickers down a couple of inches, and proceeded to do just that. 

It was the last, but it may not be the final. We’ve been in a relationship for over 13 years and our finals have never actually been final, but mere pauses. So let’s say our sex life is on pause, while our romantic life continues in full bloom. Even without sex, our partnership is intensely, effortlessly intimate, in all ways; physically, emotionally, intellectually. And even though we don’t indulge in the physical acts, we are still connected sexually, since we talk about it and our experiences and our pleasure and our kinks and my writing all the time (both being poly and slutty and having sex with other people, we have a lot to discuss). 

Because of that intimacy, we are thriving without sex. That’s not to say we don’t fancy each other, or there aren’t times I am desperate to lazily suck their cock or feel their cum coat my skin or their fingers tease my clit, it’s that we have ample intimacy to weather the pauses. 

These are some of the moments we feel the most intimate, the closest, both big and small:  

When we talk; about everything and nothing and about nonsense and as much as we need to. 

When they hold me like a trophy they’ve just been awarded. 

When we dance in the kitchen to that one song, every single night, to make doing the dishwasher more bearable. 

When we come up with a new nickname for the cat (this happens every day). 

When we come up with new nicknames for each other (this happens every day). 

When we have “creative time” at the same time, in separate rooms, while gently chatting through the open door. 

When we’re cuddling and I noisily smother their cheek and neck in wet kisses.

When our feet touch and play as we lie on opposite ends of the sofa.  

When we share something we’ve never shared before and learn something new or beautiful about each other or us. 

When we watch a film and then have an immediate in-depth discussion about the themes, the meaning, how it made us feel. 

When we host (frankly, awesome) parties and dinners and work as a team, a partnership.

When we have breakfast together; them eating the blandest of cereals, me eating eggs, the same as we have done for over a decade. 

When we shout through the house whenever either of us returns home, seeking one another out. 

When we encourage other people to use the correct pronouns for each other. 

When they blow raspberries on my stomach. 

When they tell me they are experiencing anxiety and I tell them they’re OK, safe, and ask them what they need, how I can help.  

When I tell them I feel an urge to binge and they tell me all the ways in which they’re proud of me and ask me what I need, how they can help. 

When they enthusiastically run and jump on me while I’m sitting on the sofa, enveloping me into the biggest, most crushing hug. 

When one of us turns to the other, late at night, and asks in a whisper if it’s bedtime yet? 

When we rant and vent and complain, and we listen, patiently. 

When we give each other the space to be our own people, not two halves of a whole. 

When they tell me how cute I am, at that very moment, and squeeze my face hard with both hands. 

When we ask each other how we look before a night out or date, and we answer “I would.” 

When we have “family sleeps” (when we nap together on the sofa and the cat joins us). 

When we take the piss out of each other and laugh and laugh. 

When I’m going away and they insist on walking me to the car, about 5 metres from our front door. 

When I need to grieve and they simply let me. 

When I cook dinner for us and their girlfriend, and we eat together while watching Bob’s Burgers. 

When they ask about my latest date and all the ways it was lovely, and tell me how happy they are for me. 

When we give each other a quick “car kiss” at the end of every drive.

When we point out the latest news to each other and passionately defend, attack, agree, or despair. 

When they buy me cheesecake, because it’s Sunday evening. 

When we go on walks and I tell them what the breed of that dog is. And that one. And those over there. 

When we imagine winning the Euromillions and plan how hard we would lunch, the house we would build, the artist’s community we would create, and what we would give away. 

When they say goodnight to me and sing our very silly lullaby. 

When we urge each other to look at the cat, look at how beautiful she is, look at the baby. 

When we go for dinner at our favourite restaurant (the one where we met) and we talk about how we met there.  

When they rub my inner arm and comment on how soft it is. 

When I paint their nails. 

When they hold my hand when I’m not expecting it. 

When they show me what they’ve painted or composed and I show them what I’ve written or recorded, and we share in each other’s pride. 

When they nibble my ear lobes and I tell them to stop, in case they nibble me away completely (but I never mean it). 

When we visit a gallery and we know what the other will like, or feel for, before they even see it. 

When we send each other pictures of cute or absurd animals with the message “This is you”. 

When we talk in our own, strange, language and wonder what other people would think if they heard. 

When we tell each other we love one another, multiple times a day (perhaps over a hundred); sometimes just “I love”, others “I love you so much”.

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