What do we look for first in a romantic partner? Sexual chemistry? Attraction? Perhaps. But what if these are the wrong things to be looking for if what we actually want is intimacy?
My teacher once said, “If you meet someone and you immediately are dying to jump into bed with them, then RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION!”
This seems so counterintuitive, and yet if we listen to our stories of meeting people, having great chemistry, and then getting sexy, what is the rest of the story most of the time?
“And then it just died. He never called back. It’s like there was nothing else between us. We had nothing else to talk about. I don’t get it.”
Getting Beyond the Animal Instinct
There are great parallels between animal mating rituals and the way we try to find partners. There is an initial sexual attraction, there is a little dance, and if all goes well, sexual union.
In the animal world, the job is done because the goal was procreation. It’s the inborn instinct to create little ones. It’s important. But once sexual union is complete, the job is finished. (Of course there are animals who mate for life, but the comparison still holds.)
And so with us, if the first thing that draws us in is the desire for sexual connection with someone, we have to step back and ask ourselves some questions. Is this just my primal desire talking? Would our genetics simply create strong offspring? Why is the desire so overpowering? Hmmm…
Sex Is Not Raquetball!
We often treat sex like a game that we would like to play together. We think that since we both like raquetball, we might as well play together. It’s fun. It’s pleasurable. It’s a great way to pass an evening.
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But true intimacy isn’t raquetball.
True intimacy is about you and the other person. It is about the depth of your connection. It’s about connecting with our whole selves.
Sexual intimacy is a function of that relationship. It isn’t just “something to do.” (Well, it can be. You can have regular, physical sex with anyone. But the satisfaction isn’t long-lasting. In fact, it just tends to make you desire more because you just aren’t satisfied.)
We Crave a Multi-Dimensional Experience
What if instead, our first thought when we meet someone was, “Wow, what a great person,” or “I’d love to chat more with this person.” How different would that be?
And then we chat. We do things together. I know it sounds very old-fashioned, but we start making connections in all kinds of aspects of who we are.
Soon, we enjoy doing things together. We want to know their opinion. We want to share our day. We want to hear about theirs.
And then perhaps it leads to getting sexually intimate… maybe.
And So, What Do We Look For?
It intrigues me that many people who I know are in truly loving, deep relationships often say that if they had had to choose their partner on a dating app or if they had had to decide whether they would see each other again after one date, they likely wouldn’t have chosen them. They say that it was only after they got to know each other that they realized how wonderful their partner was.
And once the love was there, it was deep and beautiful.
So, perhaps the new questions are very intuitive. Would I like to get to know this person more? Would I like to know their opinion on things? Would I like to hear about their day? Would I like to travel with them? Would I like to share my world with them?
This reality creates quite a multi-dimensional foundation to play within. Then, if you become lovers, imagine looking into the eyes of this person that you share so much with while you make love…
This is when things get really interesting.
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