Learning The Difference Between Intimacy And Sex…

There’s a big difference between sex and intimacy, yet to an individual who gets molested early on in life, like I was at the age of 12, where my first experience with both happened during one tragic act, the wires became seriously crossed in my brain to where I couldn’t differentiate between the two.

Because of this, I spent the better part of two decades feeling that intimacy with someone, such as just being held, just meant the other person was only interested in having some form of sex with me. That unfortunately led to many complications with close friends who truly just wanted to show how much they cared about me whenever they showed me any signs of affection.

Unravelling this mess in my brain has definitely been a serious undertaking that’s for sure!

For the longest time I completely avoided dealing with this issue and opted to only allow a person I was dating to show me any form of intimacy. But recently, the Universe has abruptly moved me in a direction where I now find myself facing this issue head on.

It started a few years ago when I noticed my partner growing more uncomfortable with the closeness we had shared for the first few years of our relationship, i.e. prolonged bouts of holding hands, cuddling, or just regular acts of random affection. The result of this has been me feeling more and more unloved, because intimacy is a huge part of committed relationships, just as much as sex typically is as well.

Nevertheless, there are many forms of intimacy, some of which don’t even involve touch. Things like verbal intimacy where the listener pays close attention to something deep being shared by the other. Emotional intimacy where tears get shed during vulnerable moments of sharing, where no judgment occurs by the other, just silence and a nodding reassurance of understanding. Or spiritual intimacy, where one chooses to pray for the other. All of these have dwindled quite a bit in my relationship in the past few years, leaving me feeling frustrated and feeling unloved.

While my partner is working on this, it could take years for him to figure it all out. Heck, it took me a ton of years to figure much of it out myself. What has arisen out of all this has been many deep conversations between him and I on how I’m supposed to handle his present inability to show much of these levels of intimacy. In response, he’s encouraged me to pursue friendships where these elements are present, of which I have, especially as of late.

That in of itself has been challenging because, as I said, having someone touch me out of their unconditional love for me, screws with my brain’s programming which thinks sex is only going to follow suit. The only way I know how to work through this though is to keep allowing close friends and loved ones to show me their tokens of non-sexual affection, instead of constantly trying to prevent it from happening in the first place.

I just went through this the other night when a woman I know from the room of recovery took hold of my hand during a rough evening I had at a meeting we regularly attend together. She held it for a good five minutes, even though my brain was screaming at me to pull it away. Ironically, I felt a lot better after sticking through it.

The Universe has also seen fit to put a new friend in my life that is extremely affectionate. It’s certainly been a learning curve for me to allow that affection, but I must say when I do, it feels wonderful to be on the receiving end of it.

The bottom line is that I need to keep walking through my fears surrounding intimacy and remain open to it from wherever it comes, as the more I do, the more I know I’ll learn to separate intimacy and sex, two things that for far too long have gone hand-in-hand and never should of…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Downton Abbey”, An Intriguing TV Series And Film That I Related To Far More Than I Ever Thought I Would…

Mere weeks ago, I knew next to nothing about Downton Abbey, other than it was a television show surrounding some English aristocratic family from the early 20th century that ran on PBS from 2010 to 2015. Truthfully, I was never very interested in watching it mostly because I wasn’t too keen on seeing a show about wealthy people of great status I couldn’t relate to who were from a time I didn’t live in and a country I wasn’t from. But, after seeing the trailer for a theatrical movie being released for the same show and after hearing all the buzz surrounding it, including the many friends of mine who said how good the show actually was and how much they were looking forward to the film, I finally decided to start watching it on Amazon Prime with my partner to see what the hype was all about. Halfway into season 1, I was hooked and three weeks later I was all caught up, including with the movie itself, which I must say was thoroughly enjoyable for many reasons, but one most in particular.

Beyond the fact that I liked watching the lives of the servants and could relate more to them versus the aristocrats, I was actually drawn most to the journey of Footman/Under Butler/Butler Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier), a closeted gay man living in a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness and perversion at best. To the casual viewer, especially someone who isn’t gay, it’s quite easy to hate Barrow’s character, as he was always conniving some type of scheme to try to make it ahead in life, stepping over the feet of everyone else, and backstabbing without regard of who might get hurt. While my partner regularly expressed displeasure in Barrow’s character, I always saw Barrow in a much different light. What I saw was a spiritually wounded man who truly struggled to relate to anyone else, who just wanted to be someone that was appreciated in a world that rarely appreciated people like him. While most of Barrow’s selfish attempts to make something of himself usually backfired, he occasionally exhibited true moments of humility and selflessness that showed he did have a loving heart and soul. Sadly, they usually got overshadowed by all his self-serving actions though, which tended to keep most everyone at arm’s length.

Man, I can so relate.

Over the years of me trying to find acceptance, I regularly hid my sexuality, which often led to me doing actions that hurt others as well, leaving me with a lot of self-loathing and very few friends. Thankfully, I’m a lot more accepting of myself these days and have become far more open with my sexuality, yet there are still days I find myself wishing I wasn’t gay and have even joked about being a straight man stuck in a gay man’s body, all because our world keeps on struggling to practice the true teachings of Christ, instead using things like the Bible and other spiritual books to judge others as sinners rather than unconditionally loving them and leaving all judgments in God’s hands.

It was even worse in Barrow’s time, when homosexuality was considered a sickness by medical standards. These days, while that’s no longer the case, being gay is still far from being widely accepted on this planet. And even when it is, I’ve regularly seen many still make plenty of stereotypical judgments around gay people including why they tend to be such perfectionists, act so prim and proper, and often have incredibly ornate homes and yards. Truthfully, I think it’s because so many of us try to over compensate for being in a minority that continues to hold such a negative stigma of sorts. In Barrow’s case over compensating translated into wanting to be in a higher position that held more responsibility and stature, as in his mind, then and only then, might he become more accepted in the world and make up for his reality that the world was never going to fully accept him for who he was.

Nonetheless, while I was thoroughly engrossed in a number of the other Downton Abbey character’s backstories and growth throughout the series and movie, it was Thomas Barrow whom I found myself the most drawn to, not in a sexual way, but in one where I silently cried quite often for the pain he and so many others like myself have endured throughout the ages, all for being born with a sexuality that frequently has led to rejection and religious persecution.

All in all, Downton Abbey is a phenomenally written series that I’m more than confident no matter what walk of life one may come from, rich or poor, gay or straight, black or white, man or woman, etc., that anyone will find at least one character to really relate to like I did with Thomas Barrow. I highly recommend watching this series and film if you haven’t already and sincerely hope that a follow-up sequel may be on the horizon in the near future.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Struggle I Have With Apostle Paul…

There is one notable figure from the Bible that I’ve had countless discussions around with many people. It’s the one Biblical person I really struggle with and probably the biggest reason why I often refute the Bible being the emphatic word of God and that figure is Apostle Paul.

I’m sure most know his Biblical story in which he formerly was known as Saul and a terrible persecutor of Christians, that is until one day he became blinded on the road to Damascus, during which time Jesus spoke to him and asked why he continued to persecute his people so vehemently. For three days after that, Saul remained unable to see whatsoever and refused to drink or eat anything because of it, until another man named Ananias became instructed by God to lay his hands upon Saul’s eyes, at which point scales suddenly fell from them, allowing Saul to see again. From thence foreword, Saul would take on the name of Paul and become one of the biggest proponents of Christ.

While I always applaud the story of Paul’s miraculous transformation, the part I struggle with is how I feel Paul went from one extreme to the other. You see as Saul, he walked an angry path of violent persecution of the young Christian church in Jerusalem, going from house to house, dragging men and women off to prison, making sure believers of Christ were found guilty of blasphemy and calling for them to be stoned to death. But then as Paul, while he often said how humbled God made him, he still went from place to place preaching about what he felt to be the exact things needed to follow Christ, almost as if he was now the know-it-all on the subject. And some of those very things that are listed in the Bible as what he said to be God’s truths, are now being used to persecute an entirely different set of people, people that include individuals like me.

Paul’s words state same-sex relations is a sin three separate times in the books he wrote. He also claimed in them that women were meant to remain subservient to men and supported slavery as well, amongst a number of other strong beliefs too. And it’s because of those strong beliefs and that belief of the Bible being the irrefutable truth of God, that followers of Christ now persecute in similar fashion as Saul once did, claiming what they know precisely to be a sin and what is not, persecuting many of God’s children along the way.

A good example of this is a guy I once knew who was formerly a Satanist, regularly worshipping the Devil himself, persecuting anyone who believed in God, but then went through his own transformation that led him to be someone that believed the only way to enter the gates of Heaven was to follow the Bible exactly, which he said included following all of Paul’s beliefs. When I spoke about how I believed that God loved me as a gay individual and accepted me in my monogamous same-sex relationship, he angrily told me that Paul’s words were part of the irrefutable truths of God, which from my perspective, made me feel like I was being persecuted all in the name of God.

But here’s the thing. Paul wasn’t a prophet nor was he God in the flesh. He was nothing more than a man doing his best to rectify his former negative ways of being that highly persecuting and judgmental individual of Christians. In doing so, Paul became flawed like the rest of us do on our own quests to find Christ and God. Where we make claims that we know what someone needs to do to find God, yet in all reality, the only one who should EVER be making that claim is God or Christ themselves.

So, while I honor Paul’s spiritual journey and appreciate the great lengths he went to glorify God after his spiritual transformation, that doesn’t give him or any Christian the right to claim their words are coming from the absolute and irrefutable truths of God just because the Bible says so. Using Paul’s words or the Bible in general in a way that persecutes anyone is the very behaviors that Saul did prior to his conversion and on some level, Paul did himself on his path to rectify his past tyranny.

The fact is, none of us truly know Paul’s story, as he was human with human tendencies, human opinions and human flaws. We don’t know his whole back story, what made him tick, and what “demons” he might have had within him back then. Regardless, we know he did his best to follow Christ and preach on what he felt Christ wanted him to do. But, does that make his words the irrefutable truths of God? No and that is precisely why I struggle with the Apostle Paul and the persecution that has followed in his wake because of the words he left behind in the Bible.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson