Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Intimacy and Freak Out ! part 2

The author offers some practical suggestions to help us look at ourselves with a sort-of  IntimacyChecklist. . . suggestions which may assist in our own personal inventory.  Prudently, he does not enter into any therapy here:  one size does not fit all.  We need to personalize things for ourselves, try different things on, etc.  Good luck. . . .enjoy intimacy.  Those who can't/ won't do know what they are missing. . . .a little any way. . . . . justin

Posted: 27 Dec 2010 05:01 PM PST
Intimacy Freak-Out & Gay Men - Part 2 This is the second installment in a 2-part article series about struggles with intimacy that are relatively common in gay relationships. In Part 1 of the series, “intimacy freak-out” was defined and the reasons why gay men are prone to this phenomenon were discussed. This article will address some of the common intimacy fears that could block your potential for true connection with your partner and will offer some tips for enhancing your comfort with intimacy to help you achieve ultimate relationship bliss!

The “Freak-Out” Checklist: In my training and work with gay men, I have found some common intimacy fears that can prevent us from experiencing the depths of fulfillment that love can offer. Take a look through this list of fears to determine if there may be anything getting in the way of your ability to be uninhibited and free with your lover. Identifying your emotional blocks to intimacy is the first step toward freeing yourself from their grip. Add your own to the list.
fear of abandonment fear of rejection and being neglected fear of engulfment or being suffocated/smothered fear of loss of control threatened by loss of personal freedom fear of being disappointed or “let down” by partner low self-esteem, fears of not being “good enough” fear of affection and sex fear of exposure, of being known for who you really are difficulties with trust difficulties expressing one’s emotions/feelings fear of failure other
Self-Analysis: As you can see, any one of the above intimacy fears can stifle you to the point that you’re not fully able to be “at one” with a partner because you’re holding yourself back. Fear may be too strong a word for some of the items---any hint of uneasiness or discomfort is indicative of an “issue” of some form. While it’s important to have boundaries and protect yourself from emotional harm, these characteristics can act as a barrier to experiencing love to its fullest capacity if they become a patterned response.

In addition to these fears, it might be helpful to examine some of the contributing factors that led to the anxiety in the first place. Here are some questions to ponder to get you started in looking at how the difficulties with intimacy you may have could have developed.
·How did your parents show affection and intimacy when you were growing up?
·Any childhood wounds, abuse, or loss from the past that make relationships difficult?
·Any unresolved family-of-origin issues that create baggage for you?
·Are you unable to grieve and “let go” of the break-up of a prior relationship?
·How about internalized homophobia? Low self-esteem?
·Any negative experiences with other males growing up that left an imprint on you?
Whether you’re partnered or single, knowledge of your intimacy blocks and contributing factors can help armor you in defeating them so you can have the most ultimate relationship possible.

Become An Intimacy Champ: So you want to be a pro at this intimacy stuff and really super-charge your relationship and knock your partner’s socks off? While it won’t happen overnight, with persistent practice of the following tips, you’ll begin to see a positive evolution take place in your relationship with more connection and emotional intimacy.

What You Can Do As An Individual:
·Face your anxiety head-on. The more you run from it, the stronger hold it’ll have on you. Learn and practice relaxation techniques to calm and soothe you.
·Identify your triggers. How are your “freak-out” symptoms manifested and under what conditions?
·Combat your male gender socialization script by becoming more proficient in emotional intelligence and expression.
·Develop positive self-esteem and confidence through taking risks to further your personal growth and work aggressively at defeating any internalized homophobia.
·Identify any negative, limiting beliefs you may have about relationships, masculinity, and being gay and counter them with new, affirming messages. Read up on cognitive restructuring techniques for help with this.
·Gain closure on unfinished business from the past. Your past doesn’t have to keep you stuck, no matter how traumatic it may have been. You have the power to shape a new destiny. 

What You Can Do As A Couple:
·Make your relationship the number one priority in your lives. Devote lots of quality time together and protect your partnership from competing outside sources.
·Build a relationship tool-box filled with skills in communication, conflict negotiation, boundaries, and problem-solving.
·Cultivate a hot sex life together, filled with creativity and passion.
·Develop a shared vision and goals for the future together as a couple.
·Give each other frequent “positive strokes,” appreciate each other for who you are, share your feelings, take responsibility for your issues, and practice the art of forgiveness.

Through a relationship with another man who is just as motivated as you to nurture a positive connection on all levels, you too can experience one of the most powerful and healing forces life has to offer. It’ll mean confronting some of your anxieties directly and being receptive to encountering a wide range of emotions and experiences. It’s worth it! After all, the road to gay self-acceptance and happiness has been hard enough to then rob yourself of one of life’s most precious gifts; you shouldn’t have to sacrifice what’s rightfully yours to claim and enjoy. You deserve love! Cheers to your intimacy quest.

*References: The term “intimacy freak-out” taken from Crowell,Al(1995). I’d Rather Be Married: Finding Your Future Spouse. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
©2005 Brian L. Rzepczynski
Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: “I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.” To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs,and teleclasses, please visit .

~~~~~ many thanks to MICHAEL at GAYTWOGETHER for allowing me to repost these articles at JustinDunes.  Some of us find these quite helpful ! 


Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful article, Justin.
I identify with a lot of things on the freak out checklist and I face them head on. I also get in touch with my emotions.

Coop said...

I want to enjoy intimacy... and I think I can. I know I can.
This is one of these articles that I'm glad I paid attention to. I may have easily brushed it off and said. Nah! Doesn't apply to me.

JustinO'Shea said...

I agree, Coopsta. . .;-)
Brian gives some pointed indicators to do a "fearless emotional inventory" and nail things on the head, so to speak. . . .

AND, as "J" was looking for in Part 1. in Part 2 he gives some simple, direct, experienced things we can do to deal with our "fearless emotional inventory". . .

Ye can't face the divil until you NAME him/ NAIL him. . .LOL Our capacity for denial and/or self-deception is quite. . umm. . er.. yeah...extravagant. LOL

AND in all this, we need to have a sense of humor about ourselves and our sitz. . .

****remember, emotions are neither good nor bad, moral or immoral: they are facts and can teach us agreat deal about ourselves and how we relate to others.

Enjoy the inventory...I bet you find a lot of excellent stuff you never knew, realized, admitted.

bon jour. . .

J said...

There is a show playing on Broadway now that stars PeeWee Herman, who famously lost his job running the children's TV program PeeWee's Playhouse after he was arrested for jacking off in a porno theater. The show, which is based around the world PeeWee created for children, is a success. What makes it interesting is that PeeWee's entire world was and is based on an absence of human intimacy. He wears a celebacy ring,and his only quasi sexual relationship is with an anthropomorphic armchair that likes to be sit on and have its arms caressed. His friends are animated objects, and encounters with adults terrify him. In other words, this man built a successful career on the absence of adult human intimacy in his life, and kids loved him. The difference is that now large crowds of former kids pay good money to relive those memories. It seems to me that a thoroughgoing psychological analysis of this character and the origins of the popularity of his act would make a hell of an academic thesis.

JustinO'Shea said...

Facinating idea. . . yes!
Question: Would the analysis find enough factual data without the entire thesis being based on and filled with conjecture and/or projection?

This needs some thought. ;-)