In reading the latest posting in Sexuality Today, I ran across this excerpt from Edith Wharton’s The Fullness of Life.
“I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawingroom, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.”
“Your husband,” asked the Spirit, after a pause, “never got beyond the family sitting-room?”
She returned, impatiently; “and the worst of it was that he was quite content to remain there. He thought it perfectly beautiful, and sometimes, when he was admiring its commonplace furniture, insignificant as the chairs and tables of a hotel parlor, I felt like crying out to him: ‘Fool, will you never guess that close at hand are rooms full of treasures and wonders, such as the eye of man hath not seen, rooms that no step has crossed, but that might be yours to live in, could you but find the handle of the door?’”
I love the idea of relating the levels of intimacy to a house of many rooms. There are deeper and deeper places that we allow different people into throughout our lives. And in writing this space, I’m inviting everyone to peek into my windows. I’ve even pulled back the curtain for you.
But in reading this I want to shake this woman. If she wants him in her bedroom so badly, why doesn’t she invite him back? I know I would be quite offended if a guest in my home wandered down the hall and into my bedroom without permission. What is so difficult about coming to the sitting room, taking him by the hand and leading him back? I know that when I want Clint to join me in the bedroom, I certainly don’t just hide back there waiting for him to figure it out.
Back before we shared a bedroom, chivalry dictated that Clint only go so far as to ask permission to come inside. It would have been rude and assuming to just barge right on in. The same is true for deeper levels of intimacy. Your partner can only ask; you’ve got to take the initiative to let them in. You are the one that needs to draw them deeper into yourself.
Intimacy and sexuality go hand in hand. Each flourishes with trust and exploration, so long as you unlock the doors. If your partner isn’t exploring the depths of intimacy with you, maybe you need to let them know they are invited into the bedroom.
Of course, you can always do it in the living room too.