Intimacy comes in all shades, and the most intimate acts have nothing to do with sex: Brushing hair, shaving, painting finger and toe nails, feeding, things that invoke a sense of vulnerability and connection. Not that sex isn’t intimate–it is very intimate–but I’ve found that I need something more and so I’ve made a point to explore these over the years. I’m proud to say I’ve discovered another one.
It’s something our parents might do when we were kids. It’s also something we’ve done in school, being called upon to read aloud in class for all our classmates to hear our faltering voice and the words we fail to pronounce. Ergo, for the receiver it invokes security and affection, and for the reader it invokes vulnerability. Where the two meet there is intense intimacy.
I can’t shave Beloved’s legs, or groom her in any fashion; I can’t reach over with fork and bit of delicious food for her to savor; I can’t paint her fingernails or toenails; I can’t brush her hair and then run my fingers through her mane; I can read to her, however, softly over the phone and hear my faltering voice. I can let her hear my frustration at awkward bits of prose, dialogue, and difficult words some of which are from invented languages.
She can hear my voice and fall fast asleep, and I learn to trust her appreciation. It deepens my submission and my love for her.