Words by Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo.
These past two years will go down in history as the years that changed humanity forever. They’re the years that—despite the embarrassing footage of animalistic savagery exhibited via *checks notes* fighting for toilet paper—have made us more human.
“Sex isn’t intimacy to me,” a close friend recently told me in a voice memo. “To me, intimacy is being able to be with someone without a mask on, and to be able to talk about anything and express what you feel—from your heart—about life, a book, or a bottle of water…without having to take on another persona. It’s that trust, that sense of knowing that you don’t need to protect yourself because you are protected and know you’re in a safe zone.” This wise friend is in the middle of a heart-wrenching breakup with a person who he’d fallen profoundly in love with, and I find myself suspended mid-air in the middle of a fall. We’ve found comfort in our somehow comparably scary situations, and, unsurprisingly, on this front, we vehemently agree.
To me, intimacy is found in the relished moments that go beyond skin contact. It’s in the moments imbued with the joy of souls intertwining and heart-to-heart bonds. It’s in the silence we let breathe in the middle of 3 a.m. phone calls; the effort to make someone who’s thousands of miles away feel as if they’re lying besides you. It’s the sharing of a song you both connect to on a spiritual level; the kind that says what words cannot. It’s in a glance from your partner across a crowded room. In the Wojak At A Party meme, it’s the thought of “wow, they have no idea how much love I hold.” It’s in the pocket of what we know and they do not, what we choose to carry together, and the layers we feel safe enough to shed. Intimacy is the magic of being completely naked in front of someone, while being fully clothed.
Perhaps it’s because this is the year I learned I was right about what the most important forms of intimacy are for me all along; or, perhaps, it’s because this is the year our largest organ was the least touched; or, perhaps, it’s because this is the year we learned millennials aren’t prioritizing sex. Whatever the reason may be, this September, I feel a discussion around intimacy is timely, timeless, and one we can (and hopefully do) chat about forever. For now, I hope you’ll join us and our writers on this journey of exploring intimacy with you as our first theme this Fall.
In this first chapter of this new iteration of ILY, we’ll explore the depths of intimacy though an examination of what it can be in its healthiest of forms, what it feels like through lifestyles celibacy, polyamory, and, finally, through the music of Silvana Estrada. It is my hope that you would experience the utmost deep forms of connection and intimacy in this lifetime, that we’d learn the power of listening to our soul tugs, and always choose love.