In our culture of instant gratification, desire is difficult to resist. But what if we started letting our desire flow through us, rather than try to always resolve its tension?
My body and heart are in turmoil.
I am in love–deeply and completely–with two wonderful, beautiful, kinky people.
And I can’t have sex with either of them.
N… we know why. And it’s okay with me. I accept that this relationship can be different. I accept that our desire can be sublimated into something deeper, more spiritual, more like art. Giving in to base physical needs wouldn’t quite fit in her idea of what we do together, and I’ve accepted this.
Don’t mistake me… I still want her. But I feed this desire into serving her, and her art, and her happiness.
E… I understand why as well. It’s sometimes difficult for us to keep it in our pants (hence the hand sex), but we do, because it’s important to him to repair his relationship with D and make sure that she feels secure and safe in their marriage before he heads out in the poly world again. And I respect and accept that.
I’m so fucking horny right now
All day yesterday I had 3 words going through my head: Tied. Hurt. Fucked. It was all I could think about.
I can tell you getting work done was… difficult. But it also spurred some thinking. About desire. About wanting. About tension. About our culture of instant gratification and impatient consumption.
Question: can we live with unfulfilled desire?
I know this intimately: we can get obsessed with the person(s) we want. It’s a scientific fact that all the hormones and chemicals in our bodies conspire to turn us into sex-starved zombies.
Because we obsess, we feel that the only thing that can release the inner tension is to be with the object of our desire. We want more than anything else to release that tension, to flood our brains again with pleasure hormones. We forget to eat, we neglect our work, we daydream and fantasize every moment we’re not with them (and sometimes even when we are).
In my latest meditation sessions, I’ve been looking more closely at this tension that we feel in moments of heightened desire. Unfulfilled desire is one thing; the way we are raised to gratify our every whim with the swish of a credit card is another. Easy gratification, I feel, has made it harder for us to really seep in desire, to see it for what it is, and to live in its unresolved tension without losing our minds.
Can we live with unfulfilled desire?
Yes we can.
It’s not like we actually give in to every impulse we have. We don’t generally kill or hurt people even when the urge strikes us. It’s not like we rob banks when we need money, or dine-and-dash when we’re hungry. As humans, we’re socialized, civilized, to control our violent, greedy, selfish impulses.
We live with unfulfilled desire all the time.
You might tell me: “well, killing someone is one thing; sleeping with the person I desire is another.” I guess it is. But what if that other person doesn’t want or can’t sleep with me? Most of the time decent people don’t actually rape others. I certainly don’t. How is this any different from simply living with the kind of desire I am struggling with right now?
Maybe it feels different because I let my mind indulge in fantasies. Because I know that somewhere, sometime, there is a possibility that I might actually get to, for example, have sex with E again.
What desire feels like
But I also, somehow, want to sit in that desire and let it smoulder in me. Have you ever paid attention to your body when you are in the grip of desire, especially sexual? It’s been really interesting for me to do that. To know that this desire is possibly the most pleasure, aside from orgasms, that I will feel for a while.
To me, desire feels like little balls of pleasurable energy beginning in my sex, that rise and spread to every inch of my skin. It flushes my face. It makes my breath faster, shallower. It makes me wet. Sometimes, when it’s really strong, it makes my hips rock back and forth. I close my eyes and let it flow in me, through me. It makes my fingers and scalp tingle.
It’s as if I’m being overtaken by some invisible being whose only purpose is to turn my body a receptacle of pure pleasure.
And usually, nobody has touched me to make me feel this way. I’ve sat alone, simply fantasizing, and felt this way. I’ve read sexy texts and felt this way. I’ve heard E or N or R’s voice and felt this way.
Sometimes the fantasies are precise: movie scenes with a beginning, a middle and an end… usually me lying in a puddle of sex on the floor, spent and used. Sometimes the fantasies are more vague: simply being touched, or talked to, a vague need to be tied up, beaten or fucked.
Sometimes, I just want a dick inside me, and the need is so strong I feel like I might die if I don’t get laid right this second.
And then I don’t die, because nobody dies for not getting laid, and things go back to more or less normal.
I’ve learned to live with these uncontrollable waves. I’ve learned to ride through my high libido periods through years of having them unsatisfied and ignored. But I’m taking another approach now: instead of repressing it through drinking alcohol or eating too much food, I’m letting it run its course. I’ll be horny for a while. Think about sex a lot. Maybe I’ll write about it (like I am right now). I’ll be distracted and find it hard to work, but I’ll manage.
But I discover now that there is no need to always resolve the tension. There is no need to satisfy every little bit of sexual need, because desire itself feels good. Desire itself tells me I’m alive, beautiful, worthy of love—if only of loving myself.
Desire is not something to be pushed down, set aside. Desire is something to be felt fully and deeply, to be seen for what it is and to be moved by. But desire is not a command, not an imperative. Desire is a reaction in our bodies, and just as with everything else, we don’t need to give in to it. We can just sit there and let it happen. Let it go.
And then maybe we can learn something about patience, about the value of waiting, about the silliness of being angry because we’re not getting our candy.
Maybe we can learn to appreciate the candy all the more when it comes.