Most men would love to be in a relationship. But many men are also afraid of being in a relationship. Some men don’t even realize that they have this issue – they just find one reason after another not to become too intimate.
If you are looking for help in intimacy, therapy can be very successful. It can help you to understand what is going on, and help you with identifying the underlying issues, including traumatic experiences from the past, that prevent you from enjoying intimacy today.
Here are a few steps in a guy’s guide to intimacy
Letting your guard down
If you wear your armor, if you have a weapon ready at all times, if you are alert to the danger of being invaded – well, then you have your guard up.
Nobody can hurt you. And nobody can touch you.
The first step towards getting close to someone else is to let them touch you. Physically and emotionally.
Think about it: this person is not an enemy.
Boys are often taught not to show emotions. But men still have feelings! Sometimes these feelings can even be stronger because they are hidden away. Most of all, getting close to another person involves outwardly expressing emotions.
If you have always been told not to show your feelings, you may be nervous when others show them. It might even be a reason to push them away. Maybe those ‘clingy’ women you knew were really just showing their feelings and it was up to you to respond by showing them yours.
If you have a lot of trouble with this, there are Oakland-Berkeley Men’s Groups that may also help you get accustomed to showing emotions and expressing them in a safe space.
Being a man
Men are told to ‘be a man’. That’s the most important thing in life. And the fear of being thought ‘unmanly’ immediately brings that guard back up.
However, there are many ways to be a man. Becoming cold and distant out of fear is only one of them, and is it really? It is the one that keeps you from intimacy.
Taking the big risk
Once you have your guard down, once you let somebody touch you, you are taking a big risk. That’s real. Yes, you can be hurt. Yes, you can inadvertently hurt someone else.
But, once you get close, who knows what may happen.
Letting someone else know you
When you have decided to take that big risk and let somebody touch you, they will know who you are. You won’t be able to keep up a façade. They will know how you act, in bed, in the morning, after a hard day at work.
You will need to overcome your fear of giving that knowledge away. Yes, knowledge is also power. It’s just what happens in intimate relationships.
Getting hurt (that big risk!)
And when you stay close to someone, at some point, you will get hurt. It’s inevitable.
Are you man enough to take that risk? Can you tolerate that pain and transform it into the foundation of a long lasting partnership? Just like when you’re working out in the Bay Club or at 24 hour gym you’re building muscle.
Remember when you were a toddler and asked to share?
You knew the joy of sharing then, before you were told to be an alpha male and take more than you gave away to others.
An intimate partnership is all about sharing. And sharing is a skill – just ask the toddler inside you! You can learn it every day. And it will bring you a lot of enjoyment.
Being a man
Taking the risk of intimacy is a big bold thing to do. It takes a lot of courage. You’ll be in charge of your love life, instead of being ruled by fear.
Like being close
Try it. Feeling intimately connected to another person gives you a place where you belong. In addition, it expands your ability to feel and empathize. And it surpasses any connection you might have with a pet, or a place, or even with a friend.
Feeling your heart
No, that’s not a soppy romantic phrase. When you start to like intimacy, you will also discover more about what is going on in your own heart.
The joy of intimacy
… just like the ground-breaking book ‘The Joy of Sex’ that made it easier for people to talk about their erotic desires and explore them, the joy of intimacy comes with talking and listening. Listen to your partner and also to your therapist along the way.
Being a man
Being a man means being human. To experience the full range of being human. Getting close, staying close and liking to be close and intimate with someone else is a vital part of that experience.
Give yourself a chance to go for it. If you aren’t already interested in someone special, Oakland has a very rich and varied dating scene. Out there is a person looking for closeness and intimacy who may already be waiting for you.