Love and sex – 2

True love versus the quick fling:

The waking share one world in common, but each sleeper turns away to a world of his own. – Heraclitus (6th century BC)

Do we separate mind, heart and body when we have sex?

The best sex is when mind, heart and body are all involved together. Without the involvement of the heart, sex is merely mechanical pleasure.

A ‘sleeper’ in Heraclitus’s meaning is not necessarily one who is physically asleep, but one who is asleep to the reality of now, not here in body and mind, away with the fairies, in imagination of things not present.

Being truly present to your beloved is to enjoy a union far more pleasurable than the mere friction of body parts. At the same time, being present is the only way fully to enjoy the physical pleasures of sex.


Casual sex

Casual sex because what you really want is a stable intimate relationship? An unusual take on casual sex comes up in this woman’s blog post. She writes:

…the emotional aspects of sex were actually hurting my search for a stable intimate relationship.  I, like many women I know, had a difficult time separating emotion from sex.  The two were interlinked in my mind.  If I had sex with someone, if I shared myself in that intimate way, I was supposed to feel an emotional connection to them and I did.  There was no such thing as casual sex for me even when it was clear at the onset that sex was the only thing on the menu.  I was what my blogger friend referred to as “chickastalkarazzi.” I would be desperate to drag out something that never was, only prolonging my misery.

It was instilled in me before I hit puberty that women only had sex with men they loved and that the gift of giving yourself to a man meant a connection that would last a lifetime.  It meant forever.  In essence I grew up believing sex meant you were automatically in love and that in some way sex meant a relationship.  As I became sexually active I learned that this was not the truth yet still I felt that my relationships with men were anomalies.  So I tried over and over until I became frustrated with the idea of a lasting relationship and stopped dating until earlier this year when I found myself hurt, yet again, by the myth that was ingrained in me as a youth.

After a considerable amount of heartbreak I decided to address the one thing I felt was truly holding me back from an honest connection that could result in a relationship, my premature emotional attachment.  I began to date casually; the sole purpose for those dates was to develop a physical connection with someone I found attractive without becoming irrationally emotionally attached to men who were not emotionally available.

So, this woman’s need for sex got mixed up with her need for love. It’s an easy mistake to make, and I’ve made it myself.

Everyone is different, but we all have a need for sex (however this is expressed) and we all have a need for love. The two are not the same. If one person just wants sex and the other wants love, there’s bound to be unhappiness. I’ve known people get married with this confusion of desires. Perhaps neither of them knew what they really wanted or saw clearly enough what the other wanted.

I’m not necessarily advocating casual sex as a solution. Another woman posted a reply to the blog post I have quoted from:

I was set to start an argument about your defending casual sex but you laid it out in a way that made good sense. I so wish I had it in me but I can’t do it. Sex, whether casual or not, is a very intimate act…

I doubt whether casual sex can lead to finding the stable intimate relationship that the blogger (and quite possibly you, the reader) are looking for. But at any rate she was avoiding settling for someone unsuitable because of the confusion of needs.

This is how she explains what she was doing:

It really wasn’t about the sex for me but about changing a mindset that had crippled me emotionally. (I also abstained from sex for thirteen years so having lots of it was nice as well.)  I had rules during this exercise.

  • No more dates once we slept together.
  • No one spent the night and I never slept at anyone’s house.
  • I forced myself to be open with them.

I stuck to the rules and not once did I confuse what I was feeling.  I also learned a lot that I have carried with me as resumed my search.

  • If you are completely open without fear of judgment the judgment seems less harsh if there is judgment at all.
  • You realize far earlier on whether or not there is potential for something more significant than just a few dates.
  •  If you are honest and unashamed then men will be honest too.  You may not like that honesty but then you can make an informed decision about whether or not proceed.  You are basing your decision to proceed on things he has admitted to you rather than what you assume.

Presumably if she falls for someone she won’t sleep with him. That makes sense too, if you think about it. I’ll leave you, gentle reader, to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s in the comments section.

Plug time! Readers of this blog will know by now that I am a big believer in finding a real soulmate. That’s why I wrote my book on dating.

US Amazon link here: Dating – the missing manual (paperback, 130 pages) – $9.50

Love and sex

Of course it’s not an either/or question. But which is more important to you, now, love or sex? You need to know.

Being clear what we want at a given moment in our lives will help us to make choices that affect our success in these areas and will also help us to avoid hurting others.

Love and sex are mixed up because, as Plato pointed out in the Phaedrus, beauty on earth reminds us of heavenly beauty, and who we fall in love with we also wish to unite with. We want to connect with beauty.

At the same time sex is a powerful instinctive drive, and it can and often does operate independently of being in love. The sex drive can convince us we are in love because that is the way to get sex. I’m sorry this is a rather cruder point than the one Plato was making, but it is also true.

To be clear, we do not (I assume) want to be the man who vows undying love to a woman only because he wants to get her into bed. There are women who, like many men, want sex without commitment. If you want sex without commitment (see also my blog entry on ‘fuck buddies‘) then you need to hang out at the sorts of place where you are likely to meet such women (and of course learn the signals and techniques of chatting them up).

If on the other hand you are looking for lasting love then of course your strategy will be different (although many of exactly the same techniques will still be useful at times).

Of course, in any real life situation the two desires are likely both to be present at the same time. Therefore it is important to be clear which desire is uppermost right now. Do not be blinded into imagining you love somebody just because she has a sweet face and a sexy body and you’re imagining ripping her clothes off and doing it right now.

There is nothing wrong in having a friend-with-benefits, as long as you don’t fool yourself and don’t fool her. You should both be more-or-less on the same page, as far as possible.

You may think that all this is too obvious to state. But much unnecessary suffering is made out of not being clear what you want.

Premature ejaculation caused by not caring

Another blogger looked at my blog, specifically the post about foreplay. The link to a relevant post of hers is here. Here is a quotation:

When he was fucking me last night he was on top and he didn’t look me in the eye at all and didn’t care that I didn’t cum. I suddenly realised why it maybe is good to have sex with someone you actually care about because there is that connection and you build up a sexual relationship. I also think thats was why the sex was so rubbish last night, I couldn’t give a shit about him and he probably feels the same way about me.

So there we are. That’s one reason why I have a problem with the ‘fuck buddy’ idea. And maybe because he didn’t care about her is why he came so quickly.

‘Fuck buddies’

I like to see what bloggers who read this site get up to.

I already made a discreet link to Snarkysnatch in my post on the most sensitive part of the vagina. She writes extensively on the physical side of sex to the almost complete and deliberate exclusion of any emotional intimacy. People who do this are looking for what they call a ‘fuck buddy.’

Snarkysnatch lays out the rules (page not safe for work) which are, in brief: no social contact – meet up only for sex; make it clear to each other that the relationship (such as it is) is only about sex and nothing else; always use a condom; separate after not more than 90 days.

I have a number of misgivings about this, which I’ll share in a moment. But it can be helpful sometimes to look at things without all our usual assumptions. The reason for examining things in this way is that we shall come out of it either with the ability to do things differently or with a deeper understanding of why we should continue as we are.

For myself, I am and always have been a romantic, in search of real love. My ideal (which is achievable – more on this another time) always was to find a soulmate, someone I could share with on every level: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and sexual. But not everyone is made this way. And even for those who are, the sexual makes its demands on us whether we will or no and whether we have a relationship in which the other aspects work or not.

For those of us in a time of sexual famine, the ‘fuck buddy’ option might suggest itself as a possible alternative to lonely masturbation or paying for sex. The rules at least are intended to minimise damage.

If there is no clarity then the age-old story frequently unfolds: man woos woman, he is driven largely by sex, he seems to promise or does promise both excitement and emotional warmth, she falls in love with him, he leaves her and she is heartbroken – with or without resulting children to look after. Men were deceivers ever, as Shakespeare put it.

Another story that can arise from the confusion: man marries woman he cannot really love, or who cannot really love him. No fault on either side – they just picked the wrong partner. Sex can be part of the mixture of desires that leads us to make wrong choices.

The ‘fuck buddy’ idea promises a certain amount of clarity – sex without deception and without permanent attachment to the wrong person. It sounds clinical, but so many people play the ordinary dating game with unclear rules – one wants sex more than love, the other uses sex as a way to get love – and from this lack of clarity all kinds of unnecessary pain result.

Personally I doubt whether the ‘fuck buddy’ idea can be turned into a satisfying way of life. We are mortal, our time is limited and we need more than just sex. It is clear that even our outspoken blogger Snarkysnatch falls in love (unusually this one is safe for work, at least at the time of writing) and has emotional needs. Emotional needs do get tangled up with sex. For those who practice sex in the ‘fuck buddy’ way, it is perhaps a temporary, and in its own way honest solution to the demands our sexual nature makes on us. For myself, I could never do it, because for me sex and love are too closely linked.

What I would suggest is this: whatever choices we make in our sexual and love lives, honesty and clarity are paramount: clarity, so that we don’t fool ourselves, and honesty so that we don’t hurt anyone else.