Ask Mimi Anything: Presence in pleasure

Mimi Zhu

October 30th, 2023

“How much do we see ourselves through the eyes of another?”

This installment of Ask Mimi Anything will focus on presence in pleasure, specifically exploring how difficult it can be to be present in intimacy in this day and age. How much do we see ourselves through the eyes of another? And how can we meet somewhere that allows us to be present in intimate moments? The two questions below share a feeling of absence, in their own ways; of being unseen or unheard during moments when we reach for connection. Answering these questions led me to wonder what we lose sight of in the pursuit of pleasure, and furthermore, how can we stay grounded and present with it.  

Do you have your own questions? Send them to me here.

Q: I can’t stand texts or chats. I strongly prefer phone calls or meeting in person—I find it so much easier to make exploratory conversations, to find out more about another person, to share more about myself, when it’s face-to-face. However, I know not everyone feels the same. How do I infuse some of that energy into text, rather than risk rushing other people to meet my preferences? I feel like in my desire for authenticity I may be coming across as too keen or escalating things too quickly.

MIMI: Hi friend,

I see you and understand this sentiment completely. I have an extremely difficult time maintaining text threads as well. I’ve had people become annoyed with me because I found it so difficult to keep up conversation or I’d get overwhelmed and forget to respond. Interestingly enough, I think this is a common experience. Just because we have been conditioned to condense our conversation into text threads for efficiency’s sake, this does not mean that it comes naturally to us.

Before anything, it is important to communicate this feeling. From the beginning, let them know how you feel about texting, while at the same time, let them know that you are trying. If you have the capacity, perhaps integrate thoughtful questions into your texting, or send photos and songs that make you think of them. Creating a space of openness in text messages can create very authentic dialogue. 

Intimacy is about meeting each other. It is about hearing each other’s preferences and seeing how you both like to be present in the world. I see you doing the best you can to meet somebody where they might be, and I applaud you for not neglecting your preferences. Your search for authenticity is not too eager—it is real. Do not write that desire off in your head because of the possibility that somebody else might. Do not see yourself simply through another person’s eyes, and know that your preferences are valid too—perhaps even a portal of opening for you to connect deeper. 

Learning how somebody likes to engage with the world is part of the joy in forming intimacy. You deserve to be learned too. What is more beautiful than that? 

Q: I’m 62 and have always had a high sex drive, enjoying being adventurous and kinky. After years of having no problem finding others who want to connect or show an interest, I’m unfortunately finding it very difficult all of a sudden. Am I experiencing ageism? 

MIMI: Hi friend,

I appreciate you for sharing with such transparency your desires and pleasure; you seem very rooted in them. I hope you do not forget that.

You might very well be experiencing ageism, and I think it’s very important that you do not question your desirability, nor question your inherent worth, and instead observe and consider the ways that people around you may be shifting their attitudes and actions toward you. 

There is a deep knowing inside of you that is aware that you are sexy, adventurous, and curious no matter how old you are. While it might seem like a difficult question to ask, you could open up a conversation with potential lovers or people you are interested in about how they feel about your age, and whether that shifts associations they have with you.

Unfortunately, the older you are, the more discarded you are by society. We are told to be afraid of aging, and we are offered so many consumerist “solutions” to maturation. We are taught to continuously slow down, or halt time. We are rarely taught to be present in the current moment, in the joys of our aging, and in the beauty of our pleasure.  

Your pleasure is so important. Do not let it falter. 

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