Let’s talk about sex, baby… Let’s talk about why we have it, reasons not to have it, and how to be more aware and deliberate and emotionally safe around sexual encounters. 

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This sounds like an obvious statement, doesn’t it? Sex without connection sucks. It’s worse than masturbation–at least in that case I’m connecting with myself.

I don’t have much recent experience of hookup-type sex–although we didn’t call it that in my days. Although I did have a phase in my early 20s, between serious boyfriends, where I chatted with some guy on the internet for a few days or do, met them to have sex, then didn’t really talk to them again.

Hookups before Tinder, facilitated by forums on “hot or not”-type sites and early dating websites with chatrooms.

I had sex with guys for no other reason than that they wanted me. (I was easy to want.) Most of the time I wasn’t even attracted to them. But then I thought, “I’m here and I turned them on, I owe them sex I guess.” How un-feminist of me.

And after a decade with a man with whom I thought I connected, and then didn’t connect at all, I was forced to reflect on the nature of connection, and its link to attraction and love.

First: what’s a connection? How do you know if you connect with someone? In my experience, sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it’s not. Connections can be instantaneous (like the one I have with N) or built up over time (like the one I have with E). Forgive the woo-woo; for me, in connection, there is an attraction of energy. It’s not always obvious. Intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual energies can all be involved. In connection, there is somehow a melding of energies. They are attracted to each other and they reach out to each other and they somehow link the people, through a, yes, connection.

Sometimes connections take a long time to build. Friendship is an obvious way to develop a connection that could (but doesn’t have to) lead to sex. This is the kind of relationship I’ve developed with E: first he was my friend’s husband, then my friend, then we flirted, then we became lovers and fell in love. And then we had to stop being lovers, but we still love each other. It took months to make it through all these steps. Although sometimes I do wonder if my relationship with M might have slowed things down… how much faster would things have gone between E and I if M hadn’t been in the picture?

In any case, I am digressing, and I should return to the topic at hand: connection and sex.

There was another sex party not long ago–I had been looking forward to it, given that I had tons of fun at the last one. And yes, I did have fun, but… something wasn’t quite right. It’s not like I did anything I didn’t want to do. I consented to everything, and in the moment I did want to do those things.

But then when I got home after… it dawned on me that it meant nothing. I felt empty, lonely, weepy. My bed was cold, my heart was stuck in a cold, hard grip. It might have been a bit of a drop, but since I didn’t really feel a high at the party, I have my doubts that drop is the real explanation here.

In the end, I was still alone.

I recently saw a video that made me reflect on why I actually engage in sexual activities with people. Give it a watch–it’s only 10 minutes, and it might just change the way you approach sex emotionally.

For me, pleasure isn’t a reason I have sex. Well, it is, but it’s not the PRIMARY reason. Pleasure can be had alone. I have a Magic Wand for exactly that. (Get yours here… because it’s awesome.)

If pleasure was the primary purpose, it would be easy to grab any mildly attractive person off the street and use them to get my rocks off. But after reflection, it’s not why I have sex. Here’s what I came up with:

  • I have sex because I want to get to know someone better and be more intimate with them. But it means I know them beforehand!
  • I have sex because I want to deepen a connection that’s already there. I want to be vulnerable and see my partner vulnerable as well.
  • I have sex because I want to express love through giving (and receiving) pleasure, but always in the context of the connection. I can only feel love for someone I connect with.

I don’t have to be “in love” to have sex with someone. But I at least have to have a basic connection, something special, a spark, an ability to look in their eyes and think, “yes, this person is precious to me”.

At the aforementioned party, I kept my eyes closed for most of the stuff I was involved in. Not because the people were ugly, but because I preferred to go into my mental fantasy land rather than face what was really happening. It’s a bit sad, really. And it didn’t really help. My fantasy landscape couldn’t mask what was really happening. I had some pleasure, but nothing satisfying. Total honesty: I dried up rather fast after the first few minutes of whatever was happening.

When I think back on that night, there is a mild feeling of shame accompanied by sadness. It links deeply to my feelings of shame from my early 20s… the things I can’t believe I actually did back then, for want of attention, for want of validation, for want of love.

I’m older now, more aware, and more capable of controlling my actions instead of letting my old scripts control me. This was the last gasp of an old script, I believe, one of which I have now become aware enough to be able to say “no more”.

No more sex without connection. No more sex without meaning. No more sex without being able to look the other person in the eye. No more sex without being able to welcome this person in the larger context of my life. If I can’t take this person to a munch or a casual drink with friends, then I probably shouldn’t have sex with them.

Have you ever thought about the emotional side of sex, and why you have it? Are you deliberate about the people you have sex with? The moments you have it? The reasons you have it for? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

 

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