Thanks so much for having me over, Tory. It’s a pleasure to be able to celebrate the launch of The Tutor with you and your readers. Today, I’d like to talk a little bit about intimacy.
“Intimacy is a process – not a thing. It takes place over time and is not stagnant.” This is a quote from a great article on intimacy I found on the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center site.
If two people who are attracted to each other can’t actually touch, can they still find a way to be intimate? What exactly is intimacy, and is it really dependent on being able to touch each other? I wanted to explore the elements of intimacy in my novel, The Tutor. I’m very lucky to live in a relationship with lots of touching. In fact, it’s a good bet if my husband and I are in the same room, we’ll be touching – holding hands, playing footsies beneath the table, even just catching each other’s eye across the room when we’re not close enough to physically touch. But what would that intimacy look like if we could no longer have physical contact? How much of what binds us to someone and what makes us close depends on being able to physically touch? Alexander ‘Lex’ Valentine and Kelly Blake must find their way to each other without touch. Can they do it? That was the basic premise for the novel – the journey to intimacy, and what it would look like when one of the perspective couple is severely haphephobic and has lived without human touch for the better part of his life.
As the story evolved, I found myself wondering if maybe being a little less dependent on the touch of our lover might just allow us a deeper, more well-rounded intimacy.
According to the article from the University of Florida page, intimacy is a process, and that became very clear to me as the strange relationship between Lex and Kelly grew and changed. When the chemistry between two people is right and it strikes a spark, if a relationship is to develop, a journey to intimacy follows, and that journey is a complicated one when those two people can’t touch each other.
The article talks about four types of intimacy. The first being cognitive or intellectual intimacy – the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Clearly this is the perfect place for Lex and Kelly’s journey to begin, since it’s safe for Lex, and it allows them both a chance to get acquainted.
The second level is experiential, as the two set about finding ways for Lex to experience something as close to physical intimacy as possible. This level can only happen because of the communication that has taken place in cognitive stage.
The experiential part of their journey evolves to emotional intimacy and a place in which the two are comfortable sharing dreams and fears and feelings, in a place of empathy. This is a level at which they can begin to understand each other more deeply.
Of course the last level is sexual, which is most often the way the world defines intimacy – especially in a romantic situation. And as The Tutor evolved and developed, I found myself wondering how often we sabotage our own intimate relationships by getting the final stage before the first three, or even by getting stuck in that final stage. In The Tutor, the progression was a natural one – though the sexual attraction was there from the beginning. That meant by the time Lex and Kelly reached the sexual level, they were intimate in more ways than I would have imagined possible when I first started the novel.
What also became clear is just how much each of those forms of intimacy are linked, and how they all evolve and deepen over time with the growth of the relationship.
But when physical touch isn’t possible, even sexual intimacy has to be very creative, and who is better equipped to be sexually creative than a writer and a sculptor? Below is an excerpt with an example of intimacy that has nothing to do with touch and yet everything to do with touch.
When physical touch is impossible, intimacy may become a powerful work of art or a devastating nightmare—but, above all, it’s an act of trust.
The Tutor Blurb:
He laughed softly. “How the hell would I know?”
“Well,” she stretched out on the countertop and rolled onto her side, resting her head on her hand. “you just have to try them out and see how they fit your mouth.”
“Good point,” she said.
“Not quite, but getting there fast, thank you.” Again, they both laughed, a strangely relaxed laugh under the bizarre circumstances.
“The thing is,” she said, rolling onto her back and staring up at the long rack of copper bottom pans above her head, “words are often as important in sex, and as erotic, as touch. I write in my other life, and I find that while some of my characters get turned on by waxing poetic between the sheets, others get hot by talking dirty.”
“How does your cunt feel when some fucker talks dirty to you,” he said, though not without a hearty blush.
“That would depend on the fucker and the circumstances and how badly I wanted to ride his cock.”
“And if it was a fucker whose cock you really wanted to ride, a fucker who was hard and heavy for you? What words would he use, and what response would he elicit?
“You mean like how lovely your breasts are when your nipples are so taut that even your areola are visible through that shirt, which I imagine feels like a caress every time you inhale. You mean like the way your lips are parted and moist. You’ve not completely shut your mouth for the past five minutes, the way you rock your hips, almost but not quite secretly, and grind you bottom against the countertop. Is that what you mean?”
“Jesus! We shouldn’t be doing this.” She sat bolt upright on the surface and then froze as though someone had hit the pause button. “Alex?”
The man perched on the edge of the counter, just far enough away that she couldn’t easily touch him. He had kicked his shoes off and his own nipples peaked to bullet points through his white polo shirt. That would have been enough to hold her attention indefinitely had it not been for the heel of his hand stroking the very obvious, very anxious erection through his jeans.
It was all right. It was fine, she told herself. She’d had more than a few occasions where her job involved watching and coaching someone while they masturbated. This was just her job. That’s all.
She moved to the edge of the counter giving him space, then motioned him onto it and she opened her leg. “If I weren’t wearing trousers, if you could see my panties, you’d know that I’m wet.” She nodded to his erection. “You’d know that the thought of what you’re doing, the sight of how your body is responding to mine, is making me wetter.” She cupped her breasts in turn, through the white blouse. “Every part of me feels heavy, Alex. My breasts feel like my bra can no longer contain them. My nipples ache. And my lips,” she touched her mouth, and then, holding his gaze, moved her hand down to rest on the crotch of her trousers. “My lips are swollen, so swollen and slippery and ready to be penetrated.” She nodded first to his mouth and then to his erection. “Do I want the fucker to give it to me hard and deep in my cunt? What do you think?”
“Oh God,” he managed. Then he stopped talking altogether. His breath came in tight little grunts and gasps as he moved against his hand, holding her in his gaze as surely as if he held her in his embrace; and it was in that instant, the instant she slid her hand down the front of her trousers and into her panties an action he mirrored, that she knew neither of them would make it out of here intact. She wanted to run, but she didn’t. She wanted to take off her clothes and feel his gaze all over her body, but she didn’t. She wanted to demand that he strip for her, that he come just for her eyes, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. She could only cup and grope her breasts until they hurt. She could only stroke herself while she watched him do the same.
The space around them crackled with their energy, and their desperate efforts to breathe were the only sounds beyond the stroke of skin against fabric. In a hungry attempt at relief, they both rocked and bucked, mirror images of each other with one hand down the front of their trousers while the other groped and cupped and tweaked and pinched whatever part of their anatomy it came in contact with. Then breathing stopped, time stopped. Everything around them disappeared until they saw nothing but each other, locked in each other’s gaze, more physical than any embrace Kelly had ever felt, and it was enough. Heaven help them, it was enough. He came first by a split second, roaring like a wounded lion, arching back until she feared he’d either break his neck or fall off the counter. But the sight of him so vulnerable in his passion, the fact that even in his release, he kept his eyes on her was all she could handle, and she convulsed against her own hand, convulsed as though she would break apart, never taking her eyes off him, never breaking that connection.
Voted ETO Best Erotic Author of 2014, and a proud member of The Brit Babes, K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?
KD has erotica published with Totally Bound, SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, Fulfilling the Contract, To Rome with Lust, and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Witches trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available.
K D Grace also writes hot romance as Grace Marshall. An Executive Decision, Identity Crisis, The Exhibition, Interviewing Wade are all available.
Find K D Here: