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I am well aware that single is the only way for me to be right now. In no way am I ready for a love interest, no matter how ravishing or ‘perfect’ for me. But in looking at love and relationship, and who I want to be, and who I’d like to be with, these are the questions and ideas that come to mind . . .
Dear future lover,
If these quotes intrigue you, then we’re off to a good start:
“The feminine belongs to boys AND girls, for men AND women. The feminine is not a gender but an essence, and whoever understands that, also understands the feminine.”
~ Tami Kent
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.”
~ Anais Nin
Will you get lost with me in the space between sensuality and sexuality?
Will you reverence and worship my body as a body, not just a set of sexy curves that appeals to your eyes, but compels your hands to feel and explore, and causes your heart to swell when my skin and muscles and heat responds to you?
Will you listen? Even when it hurts you, and especially when you don’t understand?
Can you understand that loving me results in my loving you, and your being filled and loving me back, and my being filled and showering you with love? Can you see the cycle of intimacy that’s possible when you live without keeping score?
Will you show me your soft side, and let me hold you there? Can I show you my softer sides, my rough edges, and will you hold me and not flinch, judge or look away?
When I need space, will you realize it isn’t about you?
Do you have a healthy love and respect for The Beatles? Led Zeppelin? Janis Joplin, Weezer, Sublime, the Grateful Dead?
When I express myself, will you witness it?
Will you let me be wild without asking me to be calmer, quieter, smaller, more manageable?
Will you express yourself to me?
Will you whisper how I affect you, how you value me, why and how often I capture your attention?
Will you be honest about what you desire?
Will you tell me your secrets?
If I’m frustrated, can you inspire me to smile? Laugh? Surprise me with pleasure?
Do you understand that underneath the color of skin, outside of different cultures and religious beliefs and spiritual practises, and despite language barriers, we are all connected and worthy of love and respect?
Most of all, do you feel that you are responsible for your own happiness?
Do you believe that Guys Night Out is just as necessary as Girls Night Out, even when in the throes of early romance or the routine of long-term love?
And how, exactly, do you feel about cats?
(Answer this one carefully, dude.)
I got my wish: he sent me two messages today. Short, simple, full of love and fully aware that this weekend would be our eighth anniversary.
Even though I wanted to hear from him, the words still weren’t enough. I’m not sure what I want to hear, or even if enough words could compensate for tangible action.
I’ve got plenty that I want to say to him, though, because well, he was my best friend.
But as a girlfriend, everything changes. I can’t just send him back a page long email about what’s happened in my life since I last saw him. I can’t just go hug him because the only hug my body craves is from him. But as a girlfriend, what I most want to tell him would be that my definition of love has transformed from this to this. And that’s part of why I hesitate to go back.
But I hesitate to seal the door shut because I realized this weekend that, essentially, I was hoping to find him plus the extra potential I’d hoped he would grow into.
And perhaps the ability to get this quote from Anais Nin:
“I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically;
but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated.
I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, be all that I am capable of doing, but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding.”
I’m in the habit of lying.
Not in a “I was at my friend’s house watching a movie” when truly at the bar sort of lying.
Not, “No, officer, no crack or crack pipes in this car. No, sir.”
More along the lines of: No, I’m fine; Yes, that works for me; Sure! That wasn’t what we talked about, but it’ll be just fine … Those sort of lies. The kind of lie where I shoot out an answer to keep the other person appeased before I even consult with myself. Or even realize that the other person doesn’t need appeasing.
As soon as I say Yes! I’d LOVE to! I feel it in my bones that that isn’t really true. Because I didn’t really even consider my options before agreeing.
These lies apply to a lot of valuable areas in my life. Dinner, What To Do This Weekend, How I Feel in a Disagreement, if I’d really prefer the heater on….and a biggie: Sex.
It’s crazy, but for a while (which means most of my sexual career) I knew I was missing some of the dreamy adjectives you hear related to sex…. but I didn’t have a clue what to do differently, so I didn’t say a damn thing. Nor did I realize how deeply being quiet affected my body, my soul, my life.
Thankfully, little lightbulbs of possibility started showing up:
The Five Hour, Enlightening Conversation at the end of 2009.
The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden.
The ridiculously intense journaling, which included ranting, blaming, complaining, lamenting, designing What I Might Be Missing and finally, ownership & responsibility.
Ordering Sheri Winston’s book.
And this snowball of clarity culminated in:
The Bodily Epiphany.
A night of such intense arousal that not only did I understand FUCK YES, I’VE BEEN MISSING A LOT, but I also understood that every orgasm I’ve ever had was forced.
And forcing sucks out the juicy.
And explains why I felt kinda sad and let down sometimes after sex.
Here’s the clincher: I told my lover that that was the best night of my life. So on some level, he gets that whatever he did, he did well.
I didn’t exactly explain that I don’t ever want to force sex again. Or that my amazing night changed my mind about sex completely. As in, fuck having sex when I’m mildly interested. I want juicy, wild and uncontrollable desire.
And: I am willing to admit that I am a sexual beginner.
Even though I’ve been having sex for a long time, have all manner of sex toys, and am my circle of girlfriends’ go-to girl for sex talk.
I just want to be brave enough to admit all this to my lover.
And that’s where the truth comes in, because it’s scary for me to admit when something is less than perfect. I know why this is. But what’s more important is letting perfection go.
Just as important is owning what I know now, and taking the time to re-learn sex. Because I like to read about it, write about it, talk about it. The actual exploring part is where I feel hesitant – and I suppose rightly so. I realize I’m not sure where to start, and that’s difficult to admit to myself. Because in the past, it’s been a dry experience with a goal. And even now, I know it can all be different, and yet I still have a bit of a goal: I want to feel that incredibly alive again. All by myself, for the sheer pleasure of feeling that way and knowing it’s part of me. An accessible part of me.
It’s just that the goal part makes it feel like work. Or a pass/fail test.
Which isn’t incentive to play, let me tell ya.
So that’s where I am: telling the truth and starting over. And one way I’m telling the truth today: not wearin’ a bra. Yep, I’m at work. And yep, it’s probably obvious, because the girls are less padded than usual.
But I feel a lot more like me.
It all started with a delicious Girl’s Night Out and a five hour conversation about relationships, gender, the state of feminism, sex, and personal growth.
Next came copious journaling and the start of a new book: The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden.
In the course of my Seduction journey, I’ve read my fair share of books on Better Sex. And most of them include sections about body image, cultural affects on sexuality, religion, and sexual abuse. So I’ve certainly perused my sexual history before, and of course, I’ve ranted and raved in journals about the ill affects of being raised in the Bible Belt where Abstinence Reigns.
I may have felt a little bored reading over those same sections in this book, until I started noticing personal trends I’d never thought about before. More writing. I meditated using her suggestions. And even though I’m new to the concept of integrating spirituality with sexuality, I started to realize how dramatically separate I’d always kept those parts of life.
Precisely because I’d been taught to.
I’d never really considered that an ecstatic sex life could be spiritually meaningful. I’d been very passionate about the need for an ecstatic sex life …. mostly because I wanted to feel normal. And normal people who weren’t fanatically religious like my family seemed to be satisfied with their sex lives, and subsequently, happier people. More relaxed, for sure.
But I realized this morning: maybe the religiously fanatical people dislike talking about sex because then they’d have to acknowledge the melting pot of paradoxical bullshit that they created to keep teenagers from having sex … or even healthy desire.
If you think sex is inherently wrong before being legally married, what do you do when you feel sexy while single?
I was operating from a place of wanting to be good for so long that internally, I equated no desire as being good. I spent my teenaged years in Fundamentalist Christian school covering up my cleavage, always being conscious of what I wore, trying not to give the wrong impression of myself. And by that I mean, the impression that I am a healthy, sensual woman, aware of her femininity and capable of feeling pleasure.
So when I started having sex, and wanted to have better sex, and dammit, to feel sexy, I felt weird because all of that felt new and uncomfortable. I remember journaling that it felt like a mask that didn’t quite fit.
I felt jealous of every woman who exuded sexuality.
Now in retrospect, I see that I was trying to prove to myself that I was capable of feeling – being – sexy. And the more I felt I failed at that, the harder I tried to get it right.
I didn’t want to fail at being a woman.
With all the anti-pleasure training, it had never occurred to me that we were all naturally sexy. I simply thought something was wrong with me in that department.
Because coupled with the religious bullshit was the more ‘normal’ insecurity of not feeling pretty.
Couldn’t tan because of my delicate fair skin – felt inferior.
Felt fat because the other girls in my class were so lithe – counted calories. (Turns out, all that ‘fat’ was actually a set of voluptuous hips that I’m now proud of.)
Shy, shy, so shy, could barely speak a word to any of my crushes. Meaning: no dates til maybe senior year.
As I’ve grown into my body and my femininity, I know that the more I find to love about my physical beauty, the more there is to love. And that feeling sexy is much sexier than looking sexy.
It’s possible that my mom never felt sexy. She’s never felt pretty, I know that. She’ll talk about that, but sexy isn’t something that’s talked about – she’s shy about showing her cleavage, even now. Maybe she doesn’t know what she’s missing.
So that I did know, and sought out desire, makes me feel grateful.