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Fear of Success and Intimacy

A collection of thoughts on an issue that is a real problem for me. This started as a personal thing to help me put some of my thoughts in order but in case anyone else suffers from the same I'd thought I'd write around it and post it. This is mostly a personal view - I'm no psychologist. Putting this together has been a useful exercise for me personally, but I still hope this helps someone else.

Avoiding Sex and Relationships: Fear of Intimacy

Honestly ask yourself if any of the following apply to you:

1. Fear of being vulnerable to being hurt 
2. Avoidance of risk
3. Inability to let go of hurts and fears even if they occurred a long ago (especially those from previous relationships)
4. Chronic defensiveness
5. Fear of being too exposed or being found out for who you "really are''
6. Difficulties or an inability to show affection, tenderness, or caring
7. Difficulties or an inability to be open and honest with people

If you can recognise yourself and your own behaviour in many of these, it is likely you may on some level have a fear of intimacy. While a small amount of anxiety is common, if the magnitude of these fears reach the point of stopping you from experiencing intimacy with another, then it poses a significant barrier to what is a essentially a basic human desire and possible detachment from meaningful relationships.

Introduction

Many people's problems with intimacy (both emotional and physical) and sex are not likely to be as deep rooted or for the majority of reasons mentioned here. This article is for the minority of people for whom the obstacles to having sex and experiencing intimacy run much deeper than a lack of ‘game', simple lack of confidence, dressing badly and playing WoW too much. If this isn't you, you may be better served reading PUA literature rather than ‘self help' type material.

The issues dealt with here are likely to also affect other areas of life, particularly relationships. Even if having sex does not pose a significant problem to you; if you have problems getting into or feeling uncomfortable with close relationships much of the later section may still apply. It will also briefly cover the commonalities with Social Anxiety since this often also include problems with intimacy and is caused by many of the same reasons.

For those experiencing difficulties like this, advice like "just ‘man up' and stop being so pathetic" is worse than useless. These are issues that if not dealt with are likely to continue to severely impact any relationships the individual has in the future. Advice like this is like asking someone with a gaping wound to just put a brave face on it – continuing to cover things up is avoiding the problem and likely to make things worse in the long term.

Firstly, how is an avoidance of sex and intimacy manifested?

Principally, in two ways:

1. Lack of trying at all – Total avoidance of romantic interest. This is dealt with by MANipulation's ‘Fox Grapes Theory' (http://www.intellectualwhores.com/foxgrapes.html) which alludes to the classic Aesop fable, where the fox fails to get the grapes, so he comforts himself by deciding that they were probably sour anyway. Creating a skewed view of the world to maintain self esteem and justify not having sex or experiencing intimacy. Examples—a ‘nice guy' self-image, religious/scientific/moral justifications, a victim mindset, or escapism in one of it's many forms.

2. Self sabotage – This is likely to happen subconsciously and is probably more common but less obvious. People will actually think they are trying hard to achieve their goal of sex but have subconsciously sabotaged their chances much earlier, making success close to impossible. This way, the fears detailed in the next section do not have to be dealt with – this defence protects them from acknowledging them.

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