The Intimacy Adventure

Curtis Friesen
4 min readDec 5, 2020

It’s been just over two years now since I resigned from a corporate position. I was managing a construction project in the Greater Vancouver Regional District in British Columbia, Canada. It was a challenging and rewarding experience that stretched me. Further than ever. Often, evolution comes with a price. My love life paid the price. It is still recovering.

I pushed pause on my sex life because of the pain pleasure cycle. There often seems to be a relationship between pain and pleasure in our intimate relationships. When pain or pleasure is overwhelming, we leave. Or get addicted. Either way, we allow ourselves to be removed from our center.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

While I was being stretched in ways that I could imagine there were times where I just couldn’t. Not. Even. A. Little. It was a test of my commitment and discipline to go the distance. Every Day. I had very little energy left over at the end of the day. I was thriving at work, but my personal life was shrinking. Then died. When that happened, I collapsed at work. At the time of resignation simple things were an act of will. Opening my computer. Composing an email, contacting a trade. During this time, I tried dating here and there. It felt like my entire world was in turmoil as I grew into a new role. New possibilities and new experiences. The me that I had been died. I grieved the loss of who I was. I celebrated who I was becoming. In limbo. No longer, and not yet a human with an identity. This brought a wild energy out in the women that I was seeing. Not in a healthy, sexy thrilling way. I brought something out of them, and out of me that I never wish to see again. In terms of pain and pleasure…. I was experiencing more pain than ever before. I also saw these women call out of me something that I had never seen before. I quit dating. Cold turkey. It was time to go to work on myself. I shed layers and went deeper than I ever had. I dreamed, got in touch with my desires and began to lay foundations. Foundations that I am building off of today.

Two and a half years later, I have wrestled myself to the ground. I have also wrestled myself backup and then back down again. It’s a dance. Rhythmic, purposeful, and perpetual. I won’t stop. Ever.

During the times that we are living in, my relationship to pain and pleasure is evolving. Changing. Transmuting? Finding a business partner and launching out on our current project has played a big role in the transmutation. I am using this project to explore how adventure has been my gateway to the soul. I am learning to understand the role that spirituality and adventure have played in my life. The yin and yang polarities.

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Recently the universe dropped a golden nugget. I am going to share that nugget with you now. What does the transmuted pain/pleasure cycle feel like?

When this question dropped, so did my jaw. I reeled. I became excited about embracing a new way of life. So here it is:

What if pain transmutes into adventure and pleasure transmutes into intimacy?

What if my next relationship could evolve into the adventure/intimacy cycle rather than the pain/pleasure cycle? The basic premise of the pain pleasure cycle is that we experience pain which leads to pleasure. This is the foundation of gambling addiction, impulse buying, junk food, toxic relationships and skeezy sales and marketing campaigns.

I love adventure, I love the connection that happens on an adventure. My best relationships have been built on this. Romantic and otherwise. So let’s game this out. What if deep intimacy is something that comes from inside. The blocks to intimacy are internal as well. More importantly, the blocks are unconscious.

Photo by Halacious on Unsplash

Often the internal blocks express as the well known “pain/pleasure” cycle. Going to the source of this cycle requires radical honesty. Becoming aware of the cycle, and our false substitutions for love is the first step. Then we begin. Consciously transmuting what was once unconscious. By replacing pain with adventure, intimacy begins to supplant old programming. An adventure intimacy cycle holds more potential for growth and collaboration.

By now, I think it is well known that crying and laughing require the same muscles. So do frowning and smiling. I’ve also heard that fear is simply excitement without the breath. What if the pain/pleasure cycle and the adventure/intimacy cycle are the similar. Perhaps pain and adventure meet a similar emotional need. Different result. What if it is the same starting point? Can we begin to guide seasons in a relationship out of pain/pleasure and into adventure/intimacy?