Liberated Christians
PO Box 55045, Phoenix Az 85078-5045
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality


February 1997 Fellowship Group News

Another Great Intro With Lots Of Enthusiastic New People !
At one point is was scary when we had 56 reservations - far more than Dave's house can hold. But with some couples having to cancel, having to work, getting Valley Fever we had 40 great people actually show up. That still made it the largest intro ever - surpassing the 37 from September 1996. We also had the largest number sign up for the follow-up workshops. The discussing, socializing and enthusiasm was among the best we have ever had at an intro. We look forward to integrating the new people with the existing people at parties or workshops. We are hoping to have a party in the near future. Other scheduled events are shown on the enclosed sheet. Feel free to re-attend any of the workshops, if you are interested in them and want to meet new people.

Communications Workshop: GREAT DISCUSSION
Thanks to Ray/Carol & Carol we had a great communications workshop in January, attended by 20 people.

Couple-centric Issues
Many issues were discussed, especially regarding feelings about the couple-centric relating vs open relationships as individuals. There was a huge difference in feelings between different people. Some couples only want to relate to other couples since that helps them deal with insecurity or jealousy. For others, they seek a total relationship and doing many non-sexual things with other couples. This makes couple relating more practical for coordinating schedules. We have had host couples with younger children being taken care of at another couple's home by older children while we had meetings. This couple-centric relating works best for many. Or the value of the advantages from a practical standpoint outweigh the disadvantages.

On the other side of the coin, some people can hardly imagine trying to relate just as couples since it is so difficult to find relationships where all four people involved really "click". Some feel strongly that being individuals, with the freedom to relate to another individual, is much more practical than trying to be coupled and do everything together. They may enjoy sharing their separate experiences with their partner. Those that prefer the couple-centric model enjoy doing it in the same room as their partner. At parties, or in the same house however, some couples felt they might be able to relate separately as long as each knew the other was safe and nearby.

One woman described both the pros and cons of group couple/couple experiences as well as a great description of how a great group session might be. She said, the woman was quite responsive to her partner and the man was "gentle and considerate". She said "we had a very nice give-and-take rhythm which I enjoy, letting each other take over from time to time. What I found off-putting with both of them and another couple we've been with was the distraction of checking what the other partner was doing. In the end, we all came like a row of dominoes which was kind of fun and wouldn't have been possible had we been in separate rooms."

What Is Required Before Physical Intimacy?
Another topic discussed was the different kinds of intimacy people seek. In the workshops we often stress the physical intimacy. But for most couples emotional intimacy is the most important before any physical intimacy. For others it is the intellectual intimacy that turns them on, and others aren't interested in just physical intimacy without first establishing an intellectual, emotional or sexual connection. Further, each partner within a couple may find he/she is seeking or is comfortable with different kinds of intimacy and may want to move at a slower pace in some areas than others.

I've noticed that some in the group have said they have no interest in physical intimacy without the emotional first, but sometimes they have acted the opposite. Or, the time to get the emotional intimacy may be very short. I raise the question that perhaps the real issue is trusting the other person which can take less time than building a deep emotional/intellectual intimacy bond. They key again, is that different people, are looking for different levels of relationships and different orders of intimacy. For example, I find I can relate with loving physical intimacy with someone I've just met. Out of the physical, often the emotional and intellectual intimacy results as we share with our mouths (not just sexually) at the same time we may be sharing loving touch. I've enjoyed many very intimate wonderful discussions, getting to know someone deeply while cuddling and holding them physically without it also having to be sexual.

I had a fabulously wonderful discussion with one woman who is the opposite of me in that she is turned off by physical intimacy if she doesn't first have the intellectual intimacy. This was especially interesting since as opposites we had an initial experience where we didn't "connect" based on my non-sexual touch. But once she got to know me she very much enjoys touch and intimacy at all levels. I share some of her very meaningful discussion, with her permission, in hopes it may be educational and helpful for others.

She says, "I do actually enjoy touching in a non-sexual way, it's 'being' touched that I have trouble with. I think it might be just a lot of conditioning, i.e. being touched before sex is foreplay, being touched after sex is intimacy." This was VERY interesting to me since all sorts of light bulbs went off at this simple truth I had not experienced or heard expressed by a women before.

My perceptions of my non-sexual touch is that I find it a way of communicating love for the soul of a person and expressing it through tender touch. My experience is this is how a woman starts to trust me and most women react very favorably to my touch. But I try and be very careful to test the waters with very nonthreatening touch and see what the reaction is.

She continued with another very insightful comment in response to my idea of trying to love the soul of a person by touch. She said, "There it is, my fear, what I'm protecting. My first reaction to that is 'I don't want anyone messing around with my soul until I'm ready to ENTRUST them with it.' I'm sure that comes from a lifetime of hurts, rejections, disappointments, but my reaction is not at all compatible with my vision for developing a group of people who are all comfortable expressing love for one another on whatever level, i.e. physical, sexual, emotional. This indicates to me that I really need to work on receiving non-sexual physical intimacy and lose all the baggage and preconceptions associated with it. That's not to say I want to let any stranger in the street touch me, but certainly in a group whose mission is to promote loving intimacy, I should be able to be a little more trusting."

I also made the comment that sadly with most men they also view physical intimacy as foreplay. But I enjoy the physical intimacy before, during and after sex. Combined with sex, when sex is desired, it can be fabulous. But in a social situation, nice deep hugs, sitting together holding hands, squeezing each other fondly and enjoying physical touch can also be enjoyed for its own sake and not just always as foreplay to "having sex".

Both myself and this woman share these insights and perspectives in hopes others might relate to it and be helped. The great hugs and other touch shared by those in the group once they have developed the trust has been wonderful to both observe and share. The idea of expressing love for the soul via non-sexual touch is what so many seem to enjoy in the intimate hug circle. But there always have been some people that seem uncomfortable and not as "warm" as others. Maybe this insight might help explain how it might be threatening for some.

There is nothing wrong with being more reserved in sharing loving touch. We don't want to force anyone to do or be what they aren't comfortable doing or being. But perhaps there is a barrier to intimacy that some people want to break, just as this woman does. Understanding why there may be a barrier is the first step in helping if someone does want to break barriers to intimacy, especially in a loving group where trust is developed. This is our vision of creating such a loving, sharing, supportive group.

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