Sex! It’s fun, maddening, inspiring, revolting, clean, dirty, uplifting, depressing. It livens our soul and tortures us when we let it. It’s something we’re good at but something we can never truly master. It feeds our egos and our libidos and often can serve to take us down a notch or two if we choose incorrectly. Boy, have I been there! Finally, it puts in a zone where nothing can touch us, that is until the guilt slowly creeps in.
So, in this week’s blog I want to take a closer look at the way women handle guilt as it relates to our sexual experiences.
When I was between spouses 3 & 4 I became mildly obsessed with online dating. The act of actually logging on and relating to perfect, or in many cases imperfect strangers, held the same fascination for me then as reality TV does now. Once you start peeping into people’s psyches there is no end to the titillating, tantalizing and sometimes terrifying information that will pop off the screen at you.
Thankfully I now have my own cool, crazy man flipping channels on the couch as I type this; my prize for all the mildly insane ones I met online. Instead of spending hours composing messages for J-date and the like, now my focus is on more evolved pursuits like writing blogs, speaking in front of amazing groups, and working on my book. There’s progress for you.
But if you know anything about my past, it’s more than understandable that my drug of choice in surviving the craziest, most painful marriage-divorce period I’d ever known was to spend what little free time I had fondling -- dare I say stroking -- the keys on my overworked, underpaid, computer keyboard. It was exactly the escape I needed to help manage the rest of my life which included working as a Cantor in a big synagogue and raising my new infant and toddler on my own. Coddling my computer seemed a healthier alternative to sipping strychnine.
And pretty quickly, I discovered the payoff - sex.
For women wanting to get into or get over a relationship, marital or otherwise, online dating has for some time been the foundation of our social media inspired hook-ups. What better way to meet the man of our dreams than to sit in a baby food-stained bathrobe, papaya enzyme facial mask firmly in place, chomping a hand full of Oreos while the other hand pecks my deepest desires to an accountant from Allentown?
Is it any wonder after a decade of steadily rising internet-generated liaisons, that the newest dating generation, Millennials, have taken things further, brazenly going where women my age have not dared to go. Using a marketing term making the rounds, these crazy kids are “running the bases backwards”.
Where we braved cyberspace to send messages, IM each other, THEN tentatively meet for coffee in public places before even thinking about “going there” Millennials check each other out, text, tweet and meet - JUST FOR SEX! If they can face the other person the morning after (or themselves for that matter), then they work backwards to learn a name, get an email address, and maybe, form a relationship. All of it guilt free.
So why is it so hard for the rest of us who are seeking connection to experience carnal pleasure without some level of guilt? After all isn’t it human nature to satisfy our urges? But for me, every time I logged in with the intention of eventually getting lucky, I hesitated.
It’s as though I heard my long passed Grandmother tsk-tsking and trust me, no-one needs that kind of pressure. What a buzzkill for lascivious exploits if you envision Grandma peeking at you through the keyhole in Heaven’s door.
But somehow that didn’t stop me. There were plenty of hopeful hookups and maybe that was my motivation all along. There was the deli owner/rocker who preferred oral, the lawyer who gave me a touching moving away present (from behind), and the airline pilot whose jumbo jet freaked me out so badly, that I sent him packing before he even landed.
Yes, for me it was all about seeking connection, comfort and distraction from my day job, and if I needed to let these guys use their boy part on my girl part then so be it.
Bringing this topic back above the waistline, I can see now that my journey of self-empowerment and independence had to come from having enough bad, silly, scary and occasionally decent sexual experiences so that (as my mother used to say) I’d have something to write home about.
As a grown up looking back at my youthful and not so youthful “choices” (sounds better than mistakes) I can identify just how far I’ve come. I can see where my behaviors have led me, how guilt that my sleeping babies might hear me has served to temper my sometimes unwise decisions. My baby monitor was often the barometer for what I could and couldn’t do so I say now, thank you Fisher-Price. More on that in a future blog.
Though it sounds like something Carrie Bradshaw would write, I can see clearly that I was looking for love in some of the wrong places. Though it’s cliché, it’s not so bad to remember that the person who needed to love me the most was already smiling back at me from the bathroom mirror.
After filling an in-box full of sappy, half-baked emails from suitors who could never, ever be Mr. Right I confess that being sexy isn’t half as fun if the spiritual you isn’t walking hand in hand with the sexy you. It was never about the guy, it was always just about me. Funny how that works.
It’s not easy getting or staying there, but sometimes having negative interactions (sexual or otherwise) is intrinsically connected to the kind of human experiences that are necessary for the leaps and bounds we make in our personal lives. At the very least, my dalliances have created some decent topics to dish about in my blogs and upcoming book.
Now I ask you... what was YOUR sexy experience and how did it help shape the women you’ve become? I look forward to hearing about your exploits and more importantly, your lessons. Where did you stray and how did it serve you? Was guilt an activated torpedo on your sinking ship of life or the catalyst for your greatest growth? Send an email: email@example.com or if you’re like me and don’t care (as much) what your friends and family think, you can leave a comment here. But don’t worry, I won’t tell your Priest, Rabbi or Grandma what you write.
[Photo courtesy of blindgossip.com]