All too many men today have had to mentor themselves into manhood. As a result, a toxic masculine culture has evolved which glorifies a man’s aggressive, competitive, and controlling nature. Bolstered by our media culture, it perpetuates the myth of the “self-made man” compelling men to lead lives of isolation, void of deep, meaningful and intimate relationships.
Yet when asked, most men long for true intimacy. They deeply desire to truly know a woman or love one intimately. They also long to be intimately known by a woman, their children, or a close friend.
However most men don’t have a clue as to what true intimacy really is. It wasn’t modeled in our homes by our father, uncles, coaches, or any other men we’ve known growing up. It’s surely never been taught to us, so we have no reference for our self-guided mentorship to manhood.
Most of what we understand as intimacy has been “caught” not taught. Much like in the movie, “Forest Gump,” where Forest, in an effort to fulfill his promise to his best friend Bubba, started fishing for shrimp.
After being discharged from the Army, Forest bought a boat and nets, sailed smartly out of the bay into the wide open ocean, because everyone knows that’s where the shrimp live. After going “far enough” Forest dropped his nets and began dragging his nets mile after mile along the ocean floor. But for all of his hope and efforts, he never caught more than four or five shrimp. Forest knew that he wanted to catch shrimp and he knew that shrimp lived in the ocean. But he didn’t have a clue where to find them much less how to catch them.
Men are like that when it comes to intimacy. We desire true intimacy, but truthfully most men don’t really know what true intimacy is! Moreover we haven’t a clue as to what true intimacy looks like, much less how to nurture or develop it in our relationships.
Consequently we journey through life watching and hoping that, much like Forest, we’ll catch on to what intimacy truly is. Or at least capture something useful that resembles intimacy. Anything that we can use to at least make it appear like we know what we’re doing.
Men rarely ask questions regarding intimacy, because questions would reveal just how ignorant we really are. Therefore, we trudge through life harboring an intimacy ignorance that haunts our longing heart. All the while, fearful that our wife or girlfriend will uncover the truth before we can figure this intimacy thing out on our own.
Usually a man’s only reference to what he believes to be intimacy came as the result of emotional revelation. In his younger years, he met a woman whom he truly believed he loved. During their sexual intercourse, he will experience his first real extremely emotionally laden orgasm. At that moment, he experiences a physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional closeness to her like nothing he has ever known. The lingering feelings are intoxicating and permanently tattoo the euphoria of that moment on the hallway of his heart. As a result he mistakenly concludes that this is what intimacy is. He also mistakenly concludes that she feels the same thing therefore they need to do this again as often as possible.
And this is what he’ll spend the rest of his life pursuing, not realizing that this is only a small part of what true intimacy really is.
What is Rogue Intimacy™?
Rogue Intimacy is when a man takes all of the virtue and strength that healthy intimacy bestows, then focuses it with blow-torch tenacity into a single-minded pursuit of sexual gratification as his primary measure of love and being loved. Thus his pursuit of relational intimacy has gone “Rogue”!
Tragically his intimacy ignorance will compel him to highly prize and pursue thiskind of intimacy as to what it means to be loved. Blinded by passion, emotion, and ignorance he begins a life-long plummet in to the pursuit of sexual gratification or “rogue intimacy” as the measure of love.
As therapists and relationship coaches, we need to take two steps back when discussing intimacy with men. Take time to explain in detail what healthy relational intimacy is and how a man can develop healthy intimacy in all of his relationships.
They need concrete examples of what intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical intimacy looks likes. Because most men have never learned what healthy intimacy is, they will need time to wrap their minds around these new concepts. Time to process, grow, and apply what they are learning.
In my work I have found that through patience education, coaching, and encouragement, men will purposely pursue developing healthy relational intimacy. As they do, subtle but significant changes will begin to take place in their head and heart. They begin to embrace a relational intimacy life-style that results in deep, meaningful relationships, which is just what their heart has longed for all along.