A lotus in the bog
For someone like myself, for whom sex is such a major part of my spiritual practice (at least in theory), I do not have a lot of sex.
An old friend who hadn’t seen me in awhile once asked,
“So, are you banging dudes now?”
“Oh, so you’re back to banging chicks?”
“I thought you were banging all the time.”
Wouldn’t that be nice! In fact, I’ve lived a predominantly sexless life. Really?
Y’all have heard my story a thousand times. I first fooled around with a good friend in 2007 at the age of 22. After a year of exploration – mostly fantasy, some in the flesh – I met my first girlfriend. I found myself single again a couple of years later, and then began to investigate the company of men when I was 26. Kinda fun, actually! For awhile, I had a very low-key sweetheart who understood my free-range nature and my preference for folks with “innies.” Then I met Kali, who was the first woman I had slept with since my first girlfriend. It wasn’t meant to be, at least not at that time. I moved to Carolina and spent another year without a consistent partner. Well, there was a singular romp before my “new in town” shine wore off and then an ill-fated tryst with someone who could not share me.
Then, along came Simon. I knew from the very start that Simon would be one of my great loves. The kind of person you tell stories about until your hair turns grey. The kind of person, the kind of connection you imagine you’ll be seeking for the rest of your life. In that first moment, my synapses flashed like fireworks and for a split second, my unconscious mind took over. The sweet, fizzy rush of oxytocin flooded my nervous system and I knew no more.
Six months later I reconnected with Kali, yet in a capacity that did not allow for consistent visitations. Less than a year after that, I was individuating from Simon. A familiar feeling returned – a feeling of fumbling in the dark for my glasses. I found myself examining through blurred vision all the pieces of what I thought I had, wondering how on earth they had ever fit together. The edges were sharp, some pieces were completely warped, melted and discolored. Those were the pieces that most exquisitely refracted the light I was emitting. The hot, garish illumination of a reborn star – full of fire with no moon in which to see her reflection.
Well, perhaps not no moon. But Kali’s orbit can be so. very. wide.
With me out of the way, Simon seems to thrive. With me out of the way, the love he shares with another now seems to flourish, where my influence only seemed to cause strife. That may be the most heartbreaking part. All they needed for their relationship to be successful was for me to bow out (crumble). Of course it’s far more complicated than that. Far, far more complicated. I know that. Tell that to the pit of my cardiac organ.
I have never, ever had so much trouble leaving other lovers to walk their own path. As trite as it sounds, Simon touched parts of my beingness that I had no idea were even there. I’ll be seeking that feeling for the rest of my days. Does it go away? When you lose one of your great loves? Maybe you never bounce back from a love like that. Maybe you’re not supposed to. Maybe that’s the point. I am permanently altered. He will always hold shards of me.
Then, Kali, whose life is intertwined with mine by gossamer strands which at times barely fall within the visual spectrum, now asks for a period of review and evaluation in which sexual engagement is lain aside. Why? Because I want orgasms. Because I want more. I want it all. I want every good thing there is to have in company with another human. To Kali, that desire is imbued with pressure and expectation. What my soft animal underside hears is, “This is too much. What you want is too much.” Of course, asking for orgasms is not “too much” – and neither is asking not to feel the pressure and expectation of certain outcomes. That’s what makes it complicated. No one is right or wrong, here. I believe this is temporary. I believe this is just the place each of us now inhabits. Given adequate time, and the necessary emotional resources, we will each adapt to be better suited to physical intimacy with one another. That day is ever nearer.
For now, though, I am fundamentally lonely. The muck of rejection and sticky, relentless feelings is ankle deep (thank goodness, only ankle deep). Where I want to be dancing all the way to kingdom come, I take awkward steps that are rather like marching.
I am still moving. I am not sinking. I am my life jacket. I am my boots.
I am planting seeds that will drink up the water, reach for the sky, and make the ground beneath my feat sturdy and strong by their roots.
Sex or no sex, with or without a partner, missing pieces and all. I keep trying to practice the religion of love. And that’s all it ever is, for me, for us all, is practice.