In an early short by Lena Dunham, the perfect description of an orgasm. “Release of pressure”
Fitness is about more than staying in shape. It teaches you how to live.
Exercise gets a bad rap. thats
The most ambitious and successful people the world has known all have an appetite and a tolerance for hard work. This much is obvious if you subscribe to the American meritocratic idea of success, however you choose to define it.
In most cases, their success is not something they’re born with. It is not innate. Diligence, fearlessness, the ability to accept temporary discomfort and defer gratification, to resist the childish need for an easy way out— these are all skills that can be practiced and refined. In fact, they have to be learned if a person is to accomplish the things we were born to do.
OK, so how?
Physical exercise is a valuable opportunity to practice the virtues that every leader needs: patience, resolve, toughness, confidence, and concentration. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, and it definitely doesn’t matter what sport you choose. Swim, run, lift, fight, whatever. The point is that intense physical activity teaches self-ownership, responsibility, and the ability to live in the moment.
It’s sad how few people take advantage of this opportunity, or how rare it is to find people who see this more spiritual side of fitness. In my experience— particularly among artists and creatives— exercise just gets a bad rap. The value of sports and of hard physical exertion are not recognized. They’re all too often dismissed as a dull obligation at best, or at worst, an frivolous adolescent hobby that one ought to grow out of. But these people don’t realize that it’s not all about a smaller waist and a six-pack. Through exercise, there are life lessons to be learned.
To put it another way: I think there is only one kind of hard work in life. It’s the same whether you’re at the office, they studio, or the gym. So practice it as much as you possibly can. Do tough things and you will become tough.
The best athletes in the world take a sort of perverse pleasure in feeling the strain of exercise, of pushing their abilities to the limits. Yes it hurts, their thinking goes, but if it was easy everyone would do it. They know that if they can endure the temporary discomfort, by the time they hit the showers they’ll feel like superheroes.
You may think: sure, it’s tough to bench press 200 pounds, but so what? Life is painful enough. Why make it harder? Why waste precious time and willpower on something unrelated to my life’s work or my passion?
Here’s why: because over the long term, willpower is not an expendable resource. It may be expendable on in the short term— after all, there are only so many hours in the day, and so many hard tasks you can tackle in any time period. After a long work session, you just get too mentally exhausted to continue. You get fried. And that’s OK. It’s unavoidable.
But it’s impossible to get burned out over a whole lifetime. In the long term, hard work doesn’t burn you out. It only strengthens your ability to to do more hard work. It builds character. Grandpa was right after all.
There is danger in taking the opposite extreme, though. In his essay “The American Boy,” Theodore Roosevelt notes how foolish it is to obsess over exercise and physical fitness. Hitting the gym, playing sports, or running are valuable for a person’s development, he says, but it’s a huge error to not realize that they’re a means rather than an end.
“When a man so far confuses ends and means as to think that fox-hunting, or polo, or foot-ball, or whatever else the sport may be, is to be itself taken as the end, instead of as the mere means of preparation to do work that counts when the time arises, when the occasion calls—why, that man had better abandon sport altogether.” -Theodore Roosevelt
He tells a story of a man whose hobby is fox-hunting. He does it week after week, even as his country is engulfed in political turmoil. War approaches, and still he does not take action. He shows little interest in being involved in the fight, and instead merrily continues his weekly fox-hunting practice. Some in the community praise him for being so virtuous, his high-minded neutrality an example of how all should carry themselves in conflict.
But to Roosevelt sees the opposite. He sees a coward and an escapist. He sees a man who doesn’t understand the true purpose of fox-hunting. To Roosevelt, sport isn’t recreation. It is nothing short of practice for the wars and struggles and conflicts we all face every day. The athlete doesn’t exercise because it’s fun. Rather he does it “to keep him strong in preparation for more important tasks.” Physical, mental, emotional stress are branches of the same tree. Any hard physical work, and in fact any work at all, serves to steel our minds for harder things later on— “to do work that counts then the time arises.”
I’ve never been much of an athlete, and I never thought I would be, but since I’m started being more active this year and approaching fitness in this way, I’ve been able to reap some of the benefits I mentioned.
I like to exercise because it reminds me to be strong, put my whole heart into the task at hand. It reminds me that sometimes the quick fix is not as important as the slow, incremental progression.
It makes me realize that no matter how hard I’m pushing, my most difficult tasks are always yet to come, and that I am prepared to face them.
“In short, in life, as in a foot-ball game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!” -Roosevelt
I was in the sixth grade when I got my first period. Two white girls came up to me in gym class; tennis rackets in hand, stern-faced and whispering as they approached me. Um. We think you got your (they leaned closer and whispered) period.
The gym teacher handed me an unopened box of Supers cardboard tampons and whispered for me to come find her “if I needed help.” I stood in the bathroom stall and dangled a giant tampon in front of my face by the string. I watched it twirl slightly, my heart racing, my mouth agape.
I stared in horror at the pink and white foldout sheet of comic-strip instructional diagrams. After a few minutes of full-bodied panic, I folded the sheet of paper carefully and placed it back in the box. I threw the tampon away, pulled approximately four yards of toilet paper from the dispenser, and stuffed a giant wad into my panties.
I waddled out of the bathroom and stood against the wall of the gym until the teacher came over. Everything alright? She looked concerned. I nodded, silent and terrified.
Before lunchtime, I had bled through my jeans. I went to the nurse’s office and sat on a newspaper until my mom came to pick me up.
For years I felt betrayed by my body, like it was the scene of a crime I didn’t commit. I felt like a victim to my period. I resented it. Felt punished by this blood. Hated that it was mine.
I didn’t understand my period. I didn’t know how to handle my period. And I definitely, definitely didn’t talk about my period. For a long time, I didn’t realize how much shame I carried about what my body did once a month. Until I started to put it down, I didn’t realize how heavy that shame become.
As girls, we are socialized to make ourselves small. We’re taught – via subtle and explicit social norms – that our bodies and voices are not to take up too much space. Subconsciously, I followed this rule like religion. When I got my period, I felt like my body was waving a red flag in a white room.
The fact that no one was talking about their periods made me believe they were something to conceal. Other than the occasional PMS joke, everyone pretended like it wasn’t happening.
This silence complicated my menstrual cycle. My cramps were debilitating, my mood swings drastic and unpredictable. I endured these sufferings alone—accepted a life of discomfort as my fate.
It took me years to see my period as something other than cruel and unusual punishment. On that journey, I’ve been lucky enough to stumble across this wisdom: Anything I am told to conceal is worthy of my close examination. People in traditionally “othered” bodies—women, POC, trans and genderqueer folk, people with disabilities—are constantly told that our bodies are problems to be corrected.
Shame and oppression are inextricably linked. Shame is emotional and psychological bondage—a foundation of a system that serves to create and uphold the power of few.
Artist-activist Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of The Body is Not an Apology, asks us to consider, “Who profits from your self-loathing?”
Whenever I feel shame, I am compelled to ask myself: What power do I have that this shame is preventing me from accessing? Who is invested in keeping me away from that power? Why are they so afraid of what might happen if I claim that power as mine?
I started to think about what might happen if girls and women embraced our periods, instead of trying to pretend they never happen. What would happen if we stopped trying to hide our pads and tampons on the way to the bathroom? If we engaged in open dialogue about the ins and outs of our body’s monthly ritual? What if we redirected all the energy we spend on trying to fix and hide our bodies towards something else entirely?
What might shift—culturally, socially, politically—if we stopped apologizing for our periods?
I have a feeling the world might change. I don’t know for sure, but I’m trying to find out.
Image credit: Emilie Stovik
The most common case of custody we think of is when a family is splitting in a divorce and the parents are in dispute over who the child(ren) should live with. These battles are pleaded in a way that illustrates views on who the child belongs with. Both parents, if biologically related have equal claim to the child, but a person’s life, in the modern age, is unownable in that one person cannot be the legal property of someone else. Inevitably the child will group up and have custody of their self when they become 18 years old. Until then we use this word custody to describe who is in charge of making decisions on behalf of the child until they can make them for themselves. In cases where protection and safety are in mind, there are some objective criteria we need to consider with regard to whom the child might fair best with. If we take this idea an examine this paradox we see that custody is a thinly veiled euphemism for property. Beneath the surface though we find insight to a new paradigm for custody that is not based on ownership.
First, we have to look at the basis for which something can belong to some in the modern era. Objects can be owned. People are not objects, they are subjects. Subjects are capable of disputing their ownership, but this is not a universally accepted concept. The idea of subject ownership has been expressed as slavery and lordship in the past. The idea here is that person who is providing the economic resources to continue the life of someone else has authority over their life. Applied to royalty over their followers, fathers over their children, and husbands over their wives it affects the economic agency. An individuals economic agency is directly related to the individual’s ability to be self-determinant because without it there is no visible proof of ability to be self-determinant. Simply put, if an individual is self-determinant they cannot belong to another person, but this ability is based on the individual’s ability to provide food and shelter for themselves. This definition has since changed to some extent.
After the 1948 U.N. Human Rights Declaration the more contemporary idea is that ALL people (with some exceptions) are presumed capable of being self-determinant provided their access to resources are unencumbered. One of these exceptions is children particularly in America they do not have legal right to take jobs or enter contracts, nor are they held to the same legal standards for criminal behavior. Children must defer to their legal guardians for resources and almost all major decisions. Still, these exceptions do not imply ownership in the legal sense, but they do indicate that children are dependent on support from their legal guardians to reach this stage of maturity, and that assistance is to be provided by guardians entrusted by the state. If the biological parents are deemed unfit guardians they can legally be taken away from them and put in the custody to foster parents. The irony is that these foster parents are paid by the state to take care of children who do not have biological parents, the term is to describe this is they become wards of the state. The state’s payment of contracted guardians prove their investment in the welfare of children and since the biological parents are the default guardians, they retain custody of the children until conditions are presented that challenge their qualifications to be capable guardians in the eyes of the court or, in the case of a divorce, if there is a dispute. The state then comes in as supreme to make a determination on behalf of the child as the state has interest in the child’s well being.
The way we talk about people belonging to someone else may have changed but it hasn’t entirely changed the way people are treated. Still, people who are not yet 18 years old (in the United States) must be under the custody of someone, and with that custody comes rights to determine what the person eats, the geographic area they live in, and their living conditions in nearly all ways. Not until a person becomes a legal adult are they seen as capable of being economic agents and proving themselves to be self-determinant, whats more we do support the personal cultivation of self-determinacy.
The paradox at play still seems to be that the right to be self-determinant is tied to the ability to be one’s own provider/protector. When it comes to children, their independence is withheld as they are not legally able to participate in the functions that would allow them to be economic agents, so they must be kept under the charge of someone who has economic agency. What we see is that the philosophical relationship between self-determination and agency has not changed where a person’s level of entitlement is directly correlated to their ability to operate independently of a higher authority. In this case, the child’s higher authority is the parent, and parent’s higher authority is the state, who reserves the right to revoke custody of the child should the parents not meet the standards set by the state. Whether democratically or otherwise determined this structure maintains the state’s ability to set priorities for the individual as opposed to the state being a vehicle to support the individual setting their own priorities.
Within this paradigm, entitlement hinges on there being no greater force of opposition than the individual’s agency and custody, or ability to determine where a person belongs, hinges on the ability of the individual to satisfy the conditions of the higher authority. While rhetorically we recognize subjects as self-determinant based in the underlying principle of individual autonomy, the practical exercise of law that we use to govern our behavior is but subtly different than the way we govern objects. This is illustrated when a legal minor, who is presumed to be incapable of self-determination does something that proves their ability to be self-determinant thus disrupting the notion of childhood. In the economic sense, a minor can file to become legally emancipated upon showing their ability to care for themselves. Criminally, there are conditions when a minor is tried as an adult given the court’s ability to show they are capable of making moral decisions associated with adulthood.
Operating from this framework an individual belongs to their parents and the state can revoke this right by deciding who they belong with. A self-determinant individual is capable of both choice to decide where they belong AND economy to secure their own place which proves they do indeed belong to themselves and consequently belong wherever they see fit. Economic or physical agency does not prove cognitive maturity moral acuity.
Here we find a window into a relational definition of both custody and ownership where entitlements are protected and not endowed. If we are to truly live up to the presumption that people are capable of self-determination we must adjust the philosophical criteria for proof from the state-backed right to be an economic agent. If we have an economic mechanism in place to support individual appraisal of physical agency and a criminal mechanism to appraise moral acuity the numeric criteria for adulthood is arbitrary. This set up keeps people inhibits mature young adults under the age of 18 from being self-determinant and grants immature people access to rights they may not be prepare for. Furthermore, this idea reinforces the idea that self-determination is a physical activity alone, when we upon basic investigation the ability to move, does not prove the ability to choose a destination. Age does not always equal maturity.
With two-fold criteria for self-determination we are able to more accurately identify subjects versus objects, and honor the full autonomy of all the individuals in our society without regard to age, gender, class, and education level. Custody can then be tied to the ability to support the individual’s presumed moral autonomy via economic means.
For many of us who are seeking to live big lives, follow our curiosities, and accomplish significant things we can sometimes find ourselves in the midst of a narrative that we are not entirely in control over. We might compare ourselves to other talented people in an ensemble, or not feel as though we measure up to others at a conference, or be worthy of the acclaim that we are receiving, and all this can fall into imposter syndrome. This feeling is usually one that attacks our sense of worthiness and pride, and replacing them with anxiety and shame. But what if this feeling is actually a very old symptom that has been faced by great leaders, thinkers, artists, and business people since the beginning of time and by acknowledging it this way we can see how it connects us to a lineage of greatness that actually confirms our legitimacy.
To understand this we have to think about who has faced it. Besides this list of women who openly acknowledge their feeling as fakes, there is also a long list of musicians, kings, and even prophets who have admitted to feeling unsatisfactory in who they are. Everyone from David Bowie, to Serena Williams, Maya Angelou and Tom Hanks have come out as having difficulty with this. When you see people onstage crying in gratitude, and speaking about how they never thought they would be where they are it is a sign of their surprise and shock at the level of success they have reached.
With so many great people commenting on imposter syndrome it begs the question of “What makes us ‘great’ anyway?” When we label the people themselves as great, we add on a degree of qualification that may not be fair. It is not as if winning a Grammy, makes you a better person, it simply means you are more well known and that you do great work. This is a critical distinction that we must make and realize, the difference between acclaim and character. When we grapple with the darkest parts of ourself and come out better, that is what makes us great. Often times these moral tests can result in deeply honest performances, powerful speeches, or heroic actions but as Joseph Campbell expounds, “the heroes journey is about the death of who we were and the rebirth of who we have become”. So it is important to note that the world can be cheering for our accomplishments, even though we have not done mush to contest those parts of our character that are truly challenging.
If you are feeling imposter syndrome it may actually be that you have a sensitivity to your own level of growth, and while you may feel undue praise or as though you are an outsider in a room of “great people” remember that the words of William Fredrick Halsley Jr. “There are no great men, there are only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet.” The feeling of imposter syndrome itself should align you with all of the other people who have recognized their own humanity in spite of the acclaim the world might cast upon them. It is humility at its most pure form, and if you can manage to honor that humility and seek to live up to the image in which you are cast, then you stand a chance of being truly heroic.
The current criminal justice system is openly and admittedly imperfect. We know that we have an evidence based system, not a truth based system and that makes it impossible to claim that we deliver real justice when we can not claim absolute truth. In addition to the fallibility of jury verdicts, the sentences that are handed down are based (in many cases) on the inconsistent rulings of judges across the nation. Some judges are prejudicial to particular kinds of crimes, others have implicit biases that effect severity of sentences, in 2017 U.S. Sentencing Commission reports avg. sentence is 20% longer for black men.
In addition to the sentencing disparity across various social groups, we have inconsistency between the severity of sentences based on time of day, Psych department Univ. of Washington reports harsher sentences in late afternoon. Shifts in the socio-political climate also effect sentencing, sparking debate over whether sex offenders should face harsher sentences after #metoo movement brings to light systemic issues around sexual harassment and abuse. Given all the opportunities for bias and inequity the answer may not be harsher sentences, but smarter ones.
Fundamentally the U.S. judicial system is based on punishment, not rehabilitation. We see to separate those who have committed crimes into isolation as if there is nothing that can be done. There are many reasons this can happen but one of them us the idea that a prison is a place where bad people are sent, as opposed to a place that people who have done something bad are sent. If we hope to improve our society by decreasing crime, making safer communities, and keeping families whole we’ve got to change the way we are doing things.
Instead of judges handing down punishment based on the nature and severity of the crime, with priority on legal doctrine, we should have doctors with expertise in criminal psychology prescribe treatment based on the condition of the plaintiff. Psychologists and social workers have the opportunity to provide greater insight in to the reason for criminal behavior in the first place and can more accurately suggest corrective or medical, or penal interventions to prevent further instances. Our legal system categorizes crimes relatively well, but it does not go very far to address the nuances in the mind of the people who commit them.
When we see an offender express remorse, a psychologist can better asses the legitimacy of this remorse and help diagnose ways to alter behavior and for the accused to understand themselves. Research in leadership published by the Harvard Business Review illustrates that self-awareness leads to better decision making. In cases where there is not remorse clinicians can work to understand the reasoning for lack of empathy or guilt that justified the criminals behavior in their own mind, this can be helpful in steering them to understand where they are at fault and developing the desire to change.
Of course therapy is not a silver bullet, but it does change the approach to justice, by making is a more human centered enterprise that prioritizes addressing the conditions surrounding criminal activity as opposed to one that prioritizes responding to the type of crime that was committed.
“No”, It is one of the shortest words in English but it seems so seldom used. We have a tendency to skirt around the rejections we give. If someone asks you for a favor, you say, “I wish I could, but now’s not a good time.” If someone asks for a job we say “We decided to go another direction.” It seems as though in an effort to be more polite we find ourselves curtailing the truth of the matter in some cases. Which can be pretty clearly laid out to be a simple disinterest in what is being offered.
But in it’s succinct brevity “No” feels rude. Though it is a defense, it feels like an attack. Negation is an obstacle that for some means defeat, and for others initiates a challenge, not only of the offer but of elements of a person’s identity. We can see that with people who are told know, they want what they are denied even more, unable to accept “no” as an answer. So while there is no more clear way to express a refusal of any kind of offer, there also no more inflammatory. In some ways, a cold flat, “No.” is more incendiary than a”Hell, No!” because the latter expresses somewhat of a finality and emotionality that is harder to contest.
When we are rejected, we often wonder why, and when a rejection can be attributed to a logical reason, it can make sense and be accepted, but it can also signal that some kind of negotiation could assuage whatever concerns are leading to this conclusion. Conversely, personal preference is very difficult to contend with as it is irrational, a refusal of “I don’t want to.” or “I don’t like it.” admits a closed perspective rooted in subjectivity. There is less room to argue with a personal preference, but it also means that there is a value judgment made about the invitation that can be hurtful to the person being rejected.
But should this hurt be acknowledged or apologized for? Do we bear any responsibility for the insecurity, invalidation, and self-consciousness associated with rejection in a world that can seem to be preternaturally antagonistic? If this is the case, it might explain why so many people go out of their way to soften the blows of rejection by so-called “sugar-coating” the bad news. When we get the sense that our refusal to accept an invitation might cause unintended harm, it is not uncommon to issue a disclaimer by stating “nothing personal” or backpedal with a thank you afterwards. By acknowledging that rejection can cause harm we accept some responsibility for the feelings of other people, but in doing so we might also leave ourselves open to insistence by not creating a hard line.
There certainly an art to delivering a rejection, just as there is an art to receiving one.
How are we to know the difference between a failure on the part of the other party to see our value versus, a failure on our part to communicate our value, and what might simply be a mismatch? How can you tell the difference between haters and those offering constructive criticism? This requires a sense of trust that is not always present in our relationships and leads to well-meaning suggestions to generate a mire of resentment.
We will cover this and more as we progress through this month, and we hope that you do not reject us, but if you do, hopefully our investigation will give us the tools to cope with that in a healthy way.
Founder, Citizens Of Culture
While generosity is certainly a virtue, it is not necessarily an action. The simply act of giving something doesn’t mean a person is being selfless or altruistic, it could be that they are hoping to get a return on another favor of their own. This is a quid pro quo, but when the agreement is implied, it is not actually an agreement. Sometimes we help a friend move, or we go their birthday party, or cover the tab at dinner, and we have the subtle expectation that there is an unspoken exchange between us. This might be true, but there really is no way to know.
If covering the tab at dinner implies that the other person should buy the first round of drinks at the bar, it might be best to settle that matter before the cash is handed to the waitstaff. This leaves room for complicated conversations later about expectations that were not acknowledged or clearly defined and obligations that can go unfulfilled, causing emotional harm along the way.
Generosity is giving without the expectation of any return. That is actually a tall order, because in some sense it means that fortune is required for generosity. If you can not afford to give, and you need a return, then you can not give freely. Banks do diligence to ensure that there is a high likelihood that their loans will be repaid, but in the case of defaulted loans, if you were to read more, you’d know that they have insurance and cash reserves that make it possible for them to continue on without harm. Most people can afford to lend something, but in general they do not have the kind of financial resources at their disposal that banks do.
For all the passion that we might have for a cause or person we must also temper our desire to be of service so that we don’t end up over extending ourselves, this not only puts us in harms way but can put stress on our relationships when it is time call in all the favors.
The Drugs & Health Centre aims to promote a better understanding of drugs and the drug safety process and provide support to patients and their families, their doctors, the media and other interested parties. We strive to provide users with accurate and up-to-date information about drugs, health care professionals and facilities in Canada. More importantly, we strive to help educate them about health and safety, the use and abuse of drugs, and their own rights when it comes to drugs. This can be a very powerful tool when you consider that over half of Canadians have used drugs in the past 12 months! That’s a large number, and we know that our discussions with consumers can have a significant impact on the use of drugs.
Online pharmacies work very well, but there are some that are unsafe, and some that are actually scams. If you are applying for treatment from a prescription or over-the-counter medication, especially over-the-counter medications, be cautious when ordering online. Many online pharmacies have no control over their products and may not stock your medication. Many doctors have published the same medication on multiple websites. Some sites and vendors have not been responsive to consumer complaints. And, many pharmacies are hesitant to state that their products are safe and effective. When you purchase a prescription medication, you should know what it does, its dosage, and how long it lasts for. If you are ordering a generic medication, make sure to get information about the manufacturer, the active ingredients, and the manufacturer’s packaging. Ask the pharmacy where you are ordering from, especially if they offer a free shipping option. Ask the pharmacy to state that their product is made under the strictest quality control practices. You can always check with your health care provider before taking medications on a trip abroad, or even from another country. Ask the pharmacy if they provide medical records. In some countries, you can also find out if the medications they sell contain stimulant ingredients. If you use a medication in a new country, consider learning about the dangers and side effects to ensure you are not hurting yourself or others. Make sure you know the drug’s brand name (the generic names) and dosage (how much) and how it compares to the medication you are already taking. Additionally, read up on your medication, safety, and side effects before use. You may not be told about any problems if you ask a knowledgeable person in the health care system. Canadian pharmacy is the most trusted name in high-quality, affordable medications.
When you are looking for the truth, the Canadian Drug Information Centre (CDIC) has a wealth of resources to inform you about drugs. Every year, the CDIC offers approximately 1,200 events for the public, health professionals, legislators and the media. This year’s CDIC theme is Mapping Your Global Drug Experience. If you are a victim of drugs, you are a valuable partner in our efforts. As we continue to do our work, you can be assured that we take your safety and well-being very seriously. If you feel that you have been harmed by drugs, the Canadian Drug Information Centre is here to help you. Visit our Victims of Drugs page for more information.
The Drugs & Health Centre does not support the use of the ‘new’ opioid prescription drugs. To ensure the safety of patients we encourage our members and patients to learn and use the information provided by the National Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. See information about how to access this free program. While we will continue to offer the most current information on current laws and regulations, if you want to get a specific, past version of information, just call us and we will deliver it to you.
There is something particular to consecrating a union between to people who might otherwise be platonic friends. It is not an uncommon phenomena actually, for the bond between two people to be irreparably altered by a single phrase, “Can I borrow some money?” Even the strongest of marriages have fallen prey to financial issues, money is the second highest ranking reasons for divorce according to Marriage.com after an extramarital affair. What is common about both sex and money is how complex our feelings are about it, and how it things tend to make irrational shifts once one or the other are involved.
It’s generally accepted that intercourse is an intimate act. As any continuities linguist would point out we relate to our emotional connections in metaphoric terms that describe distance closeness and there can be no closer proximity than sharing unfettered space in or surrounding someone. It could be argued that basis for our language around emotional intimacy is comprehended only in relation to these embodiments. But why we code physical touch as a signal for emotional intimacy is a much longer tale that has to do with our evolutionary desire to continue our species.
The social significance of sex, is in some way tied the inherent importance of procreation. Creating offspring is among the most basic natural programming that we contend with and so much of our social order is entangled in fulfilling this task. This biological aversion to death is permeates our psyches directly and indirectly in numerous ways, but in our cells there is a nascent idea that we are entrusting our shot at immortality to whomever we have sex with. When conflated with monogamy we feel entitled to specific commitments from the person we are partnered with, whether they have explicitly consented to these commitments or not.
On the other side of the coin, (pun intended) we have the other faculty that helps us reconcile with this biological aversion to death, and that is our ability to live as long as we can for ourselves. This is only possible with the material resources to do so like food, shelter, and clothing. Of course, in the modern age, all of those needs and more are met by putting to use the technology of markets and that means money is a critical device needed to survive.
We might initially think that finance is not romantic, but when we consider what is at stake, our passions quickly arrive. For those who have reached a level of financial independence where all of their material needs are met, it may not be a precious commodity, but for many it is literally the difference between a life saving treatment, housing, or food, and death. With this level of importance, money, like, sex becomes about something more than the actions or objects that comprise it but takes on a significance based on the impact of failing to handle them appropriately. A glance at two siblings in the animal kingdom fighting over food shows how scarcity in survival resources can alter relationships in tribe, the same goes for humans, but can often be about things related, but seemingly trivial.
At the basis of intimacy is a vulnerability, either to a literal death or harm. The physical metaphor speaks to letting someone get close enough to us to hurt us, but we also find that these analogy holds true in the way that allows us to be harmed emotionally by people who we have given some personal authority to influence the choices we have made.
Both sex and money, force us to make decisions that might be counter to whatever inclinations we have to be self-interested, and when we go against these impulses we do so with some kind of return on that decision. Emotional openness is as much an investment as giving someone a loan. Letting some one borrow money, opens us up to hardship and suffering just as if we had given them our hearts. In either case we give what is has been coded as precious and is inherently significant, our bodies, and our livelihoods.
Notwithstanding, there are exceptions to every rule, which should illuminate ways that might allow us to put less weight on both actions given that these so-called inferences are not absolute. There are many that do not idolize money, and who do not sacralize sex only as a means of procreation.
Still, there is an undeniable social value placed on these two that can shift relationships that had no money or sex in them to be almost exclusively centered around them. In other cases we see some relationships are entirely held together but one or the other, and in some cases, the exchange of them is the basis of the relationship.
Giving in these areas can be the point of no return, solidifying bonds that were already strong, anchoring them in a trust and satisfaction that is unshakeable, or it can dull or weaken some connections and put pressure on our partners to make up for deficits in these areas. Each one of us is different and must orient ourselves around the importance of finances and fidelity in relationship without relying purely on social norms. Doing this, we give our relationships a chance to be valuable to us in the most important ways.