5 things that shaped my views on intimacy
1. Mom and Dad
They sat me down as adolescence approached, they had the book with all the pictures. They explained Part A and Part B and how they interact. Yeah, I got that. I also understood the crazy noise that bellowed from their bedroom; they were young hippy, liberal parents in that respect so all that noise was apparently an open reflection of their deep love for each other. They made a lot of racket; if they weren’t in a knock down drag out fight, they made an equivalent level of noise when they made love. I don’t know which one I hated more as they were equally awkward. But they drove into me that there IS a difference between having sex and making love. They talked about how sacred my body was and how it should be reserved for those who love me deeply and not for casual, the fleeting or the unloving. So my expectations were high from the get-go, and rarely if ever were they achieved. Some days I wish I had been taught that sex was simply a mechanical act, a means to an end; it would have made my life to this point much simpler.
2. The Babysitter
I wish mom and dad had got me to a little earlier with the details but what parent would consider having the talk with their child any younger than they did? Yeah, I happen to be one of those lured kids; the one that still struggles with wondering how I could have never realized as a giggly little girl, awkwardly crawling into that man’s lap that what was happening was wrong. I’m still the one that struggles with wondering if the fact that I didn’t say no or stop or get the fuck away from me makes it less wrong. I fight with the fact that I wasn’t scared because he was cuddly and affectionate and even though his parts were different than my parts, it was just skin. I battle the guilt of telling no one and hoping desperately that he didn’t pray on anyone else because of my silence. I now know that this experience was a key building block of my love-sex requirement. I was taken advantage of, I was touched and instructed to touch another and there was no love anywhere in those mechanics. So for the adult me, I am never fully connected or genuinely turned on unless I feel fully loved. Looks like mom and dad were bang on.
My first experience with porn was from the bedside table drawer at our family’s rental cottage. Penthouse magazines and some frame-by-frame book that demonstrated 100 ways to have sex. My sister, my uncle (who was the same age as us), and I would sit there giggling as we ate our powder lollipops, Fun Dips, and Bubbalicious gum learning everything we could about sex. Harmless coming of age stuff I guess.
My first true boyfriend who was also my first sexual partner at 16 years old would get a hold of porn tapes from his friends and we’d watch them. It was funny, terribly acted out content, but it was a some good learning. I mean, where else would I learn how to do it and to please my partner?
Now porn is everywhere; not hidden in bedside tables but in browser favourites. I don’t know if porn was really my teacher but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to think that if two deeply loving, trusting and fully enamored hearts are the guide, an unlimited, unscripted and intensely indulgent degree is ecstasy is possible. I’ve never really felt it, but I know that this will be the only key to my true pleasure.
One partner of mine was fairly porn-pleasured prior to our relationship and throughout it. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with it but he continued to watch and to hide his viewing. When I found those POV facial videos on his computer, I was gutted and ready to end our relationship. I’m no prude but love, respect, and honesty are for me, integral to sex. When in bed, that’s all I’d see in his eyes; not his love or his hunger for our shared passion and oneness; he’s playing out the imprinted scenes, watching the friction of my swollen red stained lips, asking me to look at him while I perform, grabbing a tight fistful of my hair and waiting for the final moments that provide him with the most beautiful thing his eyes could ever witness; his glistening eruption. While I won’t judge others’ use of porn, I just don’t want it in my life. I see it robbing people of originality, creativity, real passion, and all that shit my parents talked about. It robs people of tenderness, love and respect. It robs couples of their ability to be raw and wholly themselves with one another and of finding their own turn-ons and pleasures. It teaches unrealistic and often inhumane behaviours. Imagine making love without any preconceptions? Imagine building, exploring and fulfilling our most deliciously vivid fantasies based on our own innate desires rather than someone else’s story line. How amazing if we could un-see and unlearn those images that are imprinted in our minds. However unrealistic and impossible, how mind-blowing the idea of sex without design.
4. The Media
I’ve waited my whole life for one night like they have in the movies. How cliché: a romantic dinner with fine wine, a beautiful bed, a sexy negligee waiting in a box, rose petals, candles, soft music. A slow build up, a soft touch, a partner who takes his time, explores me with endless curiosity, and looks at me as if I’m magic. To be adored and desired, for my partner to feel fortunate and grateful, to have a man stop at nothing to please me as I do the same. Maybe that shit doesn’t exist and this is just a tragic example of how media influences unrealistic expectations. However I can’t imagine how all those R&B songwriters envision then assemble those supercharged and sexy lyrics without being the kind of people who could deliver that sweet, sweet love.
At 44, I’m like a 13 year old boy most of the time. I’m blushing and horny and hungry for (meaningful) action. I lose all rational thinking, I can’t come down from the surge of ecstatic impulse, I fantasize about putting myself into compromising situations. I push through those moments with fervor until the flame starts to flicker and is eventually extinguished.
This is where my standards, values and needs collide and where I’m left wishing once again that I could view and accept sex as nothing more than the simple mechanics of Part A and Part B.
In all honestly, I like mom and dad’s version better.