Verbal Images of Intimacy

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from Victoria's Sex Blog

Tonight I give you the image of a man, not a baby, joyfully sucking on a woman’s breast. This is a drawing from the early series I did with Francesca from pornographic images. I would go through hundreds of porn photos, in magazines or on the Internet, trying to find those with a little bit of tenderness, then I’d draw them… tenderly… as if I was pencilling in the love that I felt was missing in the original image. After awhile I got more comfortable, courageous, even brazen, and was able to draw sexual positions or situations that disgusted the prude in me, and discovered that love, injected into anything, transforms it. It’s like looking at an act through different glasses, in this case a sexual act, but without applying shame or judgement, it loses it’s negative aspect and can show its simplicity and beauty because it’s being seen from a completely different perspective.

I have been thinking too much about how to express intimacy through imagery, and the thinking led me to think that it’s not worth doing. Right. No more thinking. What I decided to do instead, is the doing… by drawing, writing, expressing a perspective on intimacy. First I looked up some quotes, and found some VERY entertaining ones I’d like to share:

First of all, attributed to my namesake, Queen Victoria:

“I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous.” 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…


And this one’s awesome:  it’s by J. Edgar Hoover, American director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)


“I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.”


Here are a few others, more in line with the kinds of intimacy I choose to illustrate:


“Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy; among women, intimacy sometimes results in sex.”

- Barbara Cartland


“For a marriage relationship [or any relationship in my opinion] to flourish, there must be intimacy. It takes an enormous amount of courage to say to your spouse, “This is me. I’m not proud of it — in fact, I’m a little embarrassed by it — but this is who I am.”"

- Bill Hybels 


“Games are a compromise between intimacy and keeping intimacy away.”

- Eric Berne


“Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still.”

- Robert Sterberg


That last one is my favourite. Passion and intimacy come easy for me because I need to get close to people and to develop friendships that go deeper than the surface, but commitment to someone, to something, to a person or a project or a long-term vision, is much more difficult. Although as a woman who has had children, I do feel it follows quite naturally. Having children is a lifetime commitment, no matter what. Friendships, love affairs, flirts, can just be passing fancies, but I believe that once we have become intimate with someone, (not necessarily sexually); once we have touched someone’s soul, that something particular and special about that connection remains with us forever.


I finally found this other quote I had in mind to express this; yet it seems to lose alot in it’s translation from French:


If a man urge me to tell wherefore I loved him, I feel it cannot be expressed but by answering: Because it was he, because it was myself.   – Michel de Montaigne, French Essayist from the 1500s


The reason I love this quote is because to me, it describes the deepest ingredient of intimacy; the deep recognition of each other when two people come into contact. This can be done sexually or non-sexually, verbally or non-verbally, consciously or unconsciously, but when it happens, there is a spark of eternity between two people that makes them both feel profoundly alive.  And that is the something I want to continue to illustrate… intimately.

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I enjoyed your essay. As you say, the translation of Montaigne leaves something to be desired. I went to look up the French, and here's my shot at translation:

If anyone wants to know why I loved him, all I can say is this: "Because he was who he was, because I was who I was."

The man in question, his friend La Boetie was dead. Hence the past tense.

Matt DeCoursey

Again Montaigne

The translator Donald Frame has this:

If you press me to tell why I loved him, I feel that this cannot be expressed, except by answering, Because it was he, because it was I.

Essays Book I, ch 28 "Of Friendship"

p. 169 in Frame's translation of MIchel de Montaigne, Complete Works. New York: Knopf-Everyman, 1948.

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