I've been thinking about sex a lot lately.
Probably because I haven't been having a lot of sex lately. :)
Sex seems to be important, but is it really? I mean, pretty much everyone likes sex, until you start to find their boundaries. Then you start finding out that they don't really like sex with animals, or sex with kitchen appliances.
So there are boundaries that everyone puts on their sexual experiences. Some people are very picky, and feel that they only want to have sex with a limited number of people. Why is that? It's certainly not the physical act or pleasure of sex, because sex with anyone who knows what they are doing can be pretty damn nice.
So it must be psychological.
Sex is hugely psychological. And that means that your sexual desires and limitations can be changed. You can learn to enjoy having sex with someone that you were never attracted to in the first place, and likewise you can learn to hate having sex with someone who you were attracted to.
So sex is really separate from attraction. But it is so locked together in our minds that we tend to equate sexual attraction with not only desirability, but value. For instance, when you see someone that you find amazingly attractive, you tend to want to be with them, you tend to cut them a little more slack when they screw up, and you tend to judge their work higher. They tend to be promoted faster, sell more, earn more money, and have fewer legal problems.
No real news there, right?
I've understood this for many years, and I've worked toward changing my attitudes and desires. Where I used to be attracted to a certain physical type, I have managed to make other things more of a priority. Creativity, passion, intelligence, humor, and emotional stability are all things that I value. Certainly I'm still attracted to physical traits, but far less so than I once was.
But there is also a separation between attraction and sexual attraction. I know many women to whom I am very attracted, but I would not choose to have sex with. That has nothing to do with them, really. It's more because the single most important trait for a sexual partner for me is trust.
You see, I have trust issues.
Really freaking huge trust issues.
Big, freaky green CGI Hulk-Smash Super-Happy-Meal sized trust issues.
It takes me a long time to get to know someone well enough to even consider them as a sex partner. I want to be friends first. I want to find out more about you and discover that we like a lot of the same things, and can become comfortable with each other on a personal level before ever really considering the physical level. And even if we do become fast friends, that doesn't mean I want to be boinking you.
It also doesn't mean I don't. :)
But really, if I am that attracted to you and I'm interested in sex-play, it's not something that I'm gonna keep secret from you. And by that time, you would be a good enough friend that you would take it well and either say yes or no. It's not going to hurt my feelings.
What does hurt my feelings is when somebody assumes that I'm hitting on them and gets all freaky. It's happened in the past, and it's caused me to be a little more wary around people (particularly women). How egotistical you must be if you automatically assume that just because I am paying attention to you, you assume I want to bed you. Got news for you honey, you ain't that good.
(Wow, did this just turn into a rant, or what?)
Most of us strive for a relationship. Or struggle to get out of one. Some of us, the lucky few, thrive in relationships. Some just hold on. Wherever you are on the spectrum, the single biggest truth of a relationship is that your primary responsibility is to yourself.
Sound backwards? It's not. Here's why:
- You can only change yourself. You can try to change others, but you are most often doomed to failure, either through failed expectations or resentment.
- If you love your partner, you want to be the best partner possible for them. You are responsible for being the best partner you can be.
- If you're not in a relationship, then the only relationship you have is with yourself. And if you don't like you, who else will?
Big question: if you're in a relationship with someone, should the sex be exclusive?
Should your relationship be one-only, or would you consider opening up to multiple partners?
There are a lot of different kinds of relationships out there. Open marriages, polyamorous relationships, triads, communities, exclusive relationships, primary and secondary relationships... it's just funky.
The most common in out society is the monogamous pair. It's probably not the most natural, and most guys who are honest with themselves will admit to being attracted to women other than their spouse (or significant other), and vice-versa. A whopping divorce rate, with a significant number of the splits being due to infidelity issues. Hell, I count myself among the casualties, though the issue is much bigger than that.
But I've come to the understanding that sex and love are two completely different things. You can have one without the other. And I've heard that sex is better with someone you love, and I say "hogwash". Sex is better with someone you trust. Love is a different issue entirely.
What is love?
I'll throw out a concept:
Love is the internalized feeling that you get from your interaction with someone whom you trust emotionally.
Is it possible to love more than one person at a time?
Hell yes. For instance, if you have a spouse and children.
But that's a different kind of love, you say.
I say Every love is different. It has to be because it's a product of the interaction of two different people. And different people are... well, different.
If you've been in a handful of relationships, you know how they were all different. They had a different feel to them. You may have loved several different people in several different ways. Or if you have a really close friend, you know how you can love them and still be comfortable in a relationship.
The big killer: jealousy.
Jealousy is a side-effect of a lack of self-confidence. If you are not confident with yourself, then you become jealous when your partner is out there flirting, or swinging, or hanging with their friends.
Think about your partner having sex with someone else. Like say your best friend. Or several of your best friends at one time. How does it make you feel? Why does it make you feel like that?
Second big killer: honesty, or the lack thereof.
If you hit a point in your relationship where you want to try to open it up to other patrners, it's really best to talk about it with your partner. If you don't, it's too much like keeping secrets. And secrets erode trust.
Did I mention that I have trust issues? :)
Most infidelity issues that dissolve marriages are not so much about the actual sex, as they are about the feelings of betrayal and the shredding of trust. Dealing with those issues is probably the single best thing you can do to help keep your relationship from becoming a painful experience in the future.
Communicate. Learn to talk. Don't be afraid of tough issues.
And that is enough for now.
In other news:
I'm working a lot, like 12 hours a day.
I like the hot tub in the hotel, it's keeping me sane.
And I'll have to do it again next week.