[…this is going to be quite personal…]
Since it’s just you and me here tonight, let me tell you a private joke.
As with everything that goes on in my mind, this connects past-present-future as well as this-that-those-these. Anyway…
Back around this time 12 years ago, I was on a solitary retreat in a caravan in North Wales, a few months after my mum died, and I had some kind of psycho-spiritual awakening. I’m not going to say more about it than that it didn’t last (the conditions to support it lasting were not there), but I thought for several months that it was with me forever – until I took a good look at myself, and laughed and let go, with some final relief.
During the holding-on time, though, I met up with the Portuguese surf god I’d used to live with at a Buddhist retreat centre (he was back over from Portugal for a visit), and he told me his partner was pregnant. In a rush of self-deluded grandeur, I said: hey, I’ll come over to Portugal and teach with you, help you out! (Spoiler: I got over this…)
Before I got over it, I went out and bought a Teach Yourself Portuguese book, and a Portuguese-English dictionary. I went to a café and got the books out to look at them, but got distracted by a beautiful Brazilian woman who’d noticed them, and offered to teach me Portuguese – I sadly declined (we lived in different cities), and after she’d sauntered away, I picked up the dictionary, and opened it for the first time, at random. And behold, the headwords at the top of the two pages seemed to say it all:
Masturbate … Meditate
My private joke with my Portuguese-speaking friends I’ve shown this to is escolhas, escolhas – choices, choices…
There’s a reason, apart from the approaching full moon, why I’m thinking about this tonight, and telling it. For a couple of days now, it’s been on my mind to wonder about why I always seem to be oriented so strongly towards being in a sexual relationship? Because of late, I’ve been faced with the certainty that although I yearn for a relationship, I know I’m in no fit state to be in one – because of my PTSD, because of my transitioning, but chiefly because…
The thing is, being sexually abused by my parents (among the other weird mind-messes they made) has left me with a pretty unhealthy relationship with sex. Many selves:
- someone in me believes that the only way to get love is to be sexually available
- someone in me believes that being sexual gets you rejected and abandoned
- someone in me believes anyone who loves me wants me sexually
- someone in me believes anyone who wants me sexually just wants to use me
- someone in me believes anyone who doesn’t want me sexually doesn’t love me
…and so on. It’s not easy to stay beyond this, watch all this go on at once and not be sucked into one or the other someone, like a chromed ball on a wire, wandering randomly between magnets on a 70’s executive toy (dammit, this is too specific, and I can’t find a picture to explain this). What I mean is, when I’m sexual with someone, I flicker between these states of “certainty” about what’s happening far more than I stay beyond them, actually experiencing what’s actually happening.
What’s been on my mind the last couple of days is choice. I know I’m not asexual – I have desires towards people. But I think I don’t actually want to have the sex I seem to desire, because it scares me, and I’m tired of being scared. And it’s seemed as though on some level (because of the manifold someones above), I think I don’t have a choice about whether I’m sexual or not.
But I do.
What I want: I want everything that I love about being in a relationship – except the sex. I don’t know that I can get that from one person, and maybe I don’t need to get it just from one person. But I want intimacy, and affection, and continuity, and love, and laughs, and friendship, and depth of communication, and openness, and vulnerability… and giving, singing, and dancing!
(…oh, and I want kissing… kissing is way more fucking amazing than fucking is amazing…)
Well okay, what I’d really like is not to be frightened by sex, but I have no idea whether that’s ever going to be possible. (My experience of it is going to be “different” once I’ve had surgery, but I have no idea in what ways different and in what ways not-different.) And meanwhile, alongside of all that amazing list of possibilities with people, sex really doesn’t need to be a priority – I’ve just been conditioned (by my culture, and by my damaged parents) to see it as a priority, even though (as I’m finally admitting to myself) it’s more frightening than it’s enjoyable.
Over the last week, I’ve had some truly lovely interaction with people that’s reminded me of how rich and fruity friendship can be, in and of itself. I have no idea… I really, really, have no idea… whether I’ll feel like this a week from now, I have such strong conditioning towards the old story. But I wanted to tell this one while it’s in my mind.
I’m evoking a reality where the someones that are me get to give and get love, without sex (and therefore fear) being a price, because I don’t want there to be a price in love.
So if there ever comes a day where sex no longer costs me what it always has done, I may give and receive it with as much joy as I do love – but until then, I choose its absence.
[…moth dances in the dark…]