I wrote a love poem, once, to someone I was in love with who was in love with me, and the first line of that poem was In bone, marrow – the poem was about how we might have a hard, safe shell, but without the soft, live core it’s there to protect, that produces the red, red blood, it’s just a dead skeleton.
I don’t have this poem, because I gave it to her without making a copy, and then we broke up, and then she threw it away.
Funny how these things keep coming back to mind. Funny how you can write something one day that is an aside to something else that seems very important, and then that aside moves to the centre. I wrote in my last blog-thing, For me, love without fear means love without sex (for the foreseeable future); for some reason, that’s ringing in my head now, and the semicolon feels important (because nothing’s written in stone – well, okay, but even things that are written in stone eventually weather away).
What I want to write about here is a connexion I’m making in my mind-heart between asexuality and love.
I’m still settling into this awareness that I am in some way asexual. By asexual, I mean that I don’t really like sex, and would prefer not to have any. I still (definitely) experience attraction, but though I want everything that surrounds sex – affection, intimacy, sensuality, touch – I don’t want the sex itself. This is definitely partly because I’m afraid of it (abuse has made sure of that) but it’s there in its own right too. We’re so bombarded by the Cultural Certainty that anyone who’s normal and healthy wants sex, it’s very hard to see around that. And since abuse led me to mistake being abused for being loved, my compulsion-fear has made seeing clearly pretty much out of the question until now.
But since I began realising that I don’t actually want sex, I’ve been feeling increasingly freed up and, I don’t know, somehow “able to move” in a way I’ve never felt before. And the space I’m able to move in has something very intimately to do with love.
I’ve always had this intuition that we all have soulmates – but that we all have many more than one, no matter what the Romantic Myth tries to sell us. There are a few people in my life with whom I’m very strongly, warmly, passionately connected, who are my loves, but not my lovers. And there’s something about stepping out into this thing I’m calling asexuality that makes me free to release love hidden away in myself (protected by way too much bone) and it’s spreading out in waves.
I don’t know what more to say about this than that it feels as though there’s a slow, quiet, gorgeous bomb going off in me, that’s shattering barriers to being able to love people more generally. As I write that, I can feel myself in danger of spiritualising the experience – but I think it’s a very ordinary extraordinary, to be freer to love.
Buddhism has a strong tradition of celibacy, but I’m not assuming that’s where I’m heading. It does, though, for the first time, seem something possible in a way that’s not an austerity or a fleeing from the fearsome, but a blossoming forth of something else.
This is another of those “ah well, this is how I’m feeling right now, no matter what comes next” celebrations.
It’s interesting to me that many of the people I’ve talked about this with so far have come back at me with variations on “don’t worry, one day you’ll be able to enjoy sex”, as though being asexual were some kind of treatable condition. And it’s interesting (and wholly unsurprising) to me that I can feel the pull towards assuming This Is How It’s Going To Be, because certainty and labels are very comforting badges of office. So no, I don’t know where this is going. I just feel it’s something growing, rather than something being built.