Sunday, June 13, 2004

Women and Sex

Women want to sleep with me. At least that has been my experience. Given a chance, then more likely than not, women will sleep with me. They won’t have sex with me, nothing like that. They just cuddle up and go to sleep. This has even happened after my marriage on occasion, although certainly not as much as before my marriage.

I have some very mixed feelings about this and now is as good a time as any to explore them.

I have a demon* inside of my head, with a corrosive voice that tells me that women relate to me this way because I am ugly and no woman in her right mind would want to have sex with me. In a calm, rational tone it explains that women use me to meet their emotional needs, but will never care about my needs because I’m stupid and unattractive. Women, it continues, can tell that I am weak and harmless. They sense my fears and doubts and take advantage of that at my expense. Other men, real men, strong men, men who aren’t as socially retarded and worthless get to have sex with these women, but I won’t.

*In my mind I can see the demon now, it looks just like me, but it has a cruel smirk on its face and a cigarette in its hand. As I am typing it out here, the arguments it makes seem prima fascia ridiculous and I feel I can dismiss them. The demon knows better though. Today I am okay, so it is quiet. It will wait until I am one or a combination of Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired before it springs this argument on me. When I am in that state I believe that evil little voice. That voice wants to light me a smoke, pour me a drink and dig me a grave. It has worked to kill my for thirty-five years, and I have some physical scars to show how close it came to succeeding.

The sex thing is important here because I do feel like I got cheated somehow. How in all the hells can I be a free love liberal and only had intercourse with two women and other forms of sex with only three other women in thirty-five years? How did I miss that train? What is wrong with me? My first girlfriend ever, right while we’re dating announced that she is a lesbian. Now, I know I am sexual poison, right?

All of the above has a common flaw and that is that it is based in my ego. Reading the above it sounds like I have some sort of super power to turn women off and the fact is I am simply not that powerful. If I have not had sex with many women, it is because I was too frightened to approach women sexually. Looking over my past, it is plain this is the case. It is also clear that my concept of what a normal sexuality is comes from the proud boasts of other men and from pop culture that feeds the myth of male worth coming from having sex with many women. My view of sexuality is distorted by my willingness to feed it pornography which also supports a myth that men have worth only if they can fuck many women, that this is normal and men who cannot do that are LESS THAN.

Take the same set of facts: women trust me, women feel I will not harm them, I have only has sex with five women in any form or another, my first girlfriend ever tells me that she is a lesbian in the middle of what appears to be a good relationship, take this set of facts and view them from a different perspective. Put the voice of the demon in the dungeon of my mind and now listen to that small voice, the still voice in my head.

My first girlfriend ever, Robin, chose to take the risk of exploring her sexuality with me. Out of all the boys she knew, I think she felt safe with me. She knew that if she did not want to go there or do that, I would not make her. And when she knew that men were not her interest, she knew she could tell me. Robin was aware that it would hurt me, but I am guessing that she felt that there was no way around it. And I think it was very important to her that the friendship be preserved. Up above I wrote that she told me she was a lesbian in the middle of what appeared to be a good relationship. I was right. It was a good relationship then, it is a good relationship now.

After college Robin and I lost touch. I never stopped looking for her; about once per year I would get online and look her up (she had changed her name and I could not remember it). She was doing the same. After almost ten years, she found me. That first email she sent, I don’t have the words to describe how happy I was. I got to visit Robin last year. How cool is that? I met her wife, Amber, who is an incredibly neat person. We do not talk nearly as much as I would like, but life is like that. Oh, it is a great relationship and I would not change it for anything in the world.

Women trust me and feel I will not harm them. I can look at that and say I am cursed with the “just friends” syndrome. Or I can realize that I have been given a great gift. Rabbi Harold Kushner in his book Living a Life that Matters relates what his teacher often said to him, “’When I was young I admired clever people. As I grew old, I came to admire kind people’” p. 5. I am a kind person. At least I think so and my wife tells me so. Even my alcoholism did not kill that part of me no matter how it tried, nor did my depression and cynicism. I think women like me because they can tell that I am kind. Goddess, this sounds so ego filled, so prideful, but I believe it is true to some extent.

That is why, even while I was drinking, I was trusted with the key to a women’s shelter. They even let me work nights alone. I think the women who ran that shelter saw in me something worthwhile and they trusted me. Of course, I was an active alcoholic, and I eventually squandered that trust (not through inappropriate behavior but simply not being on time). That loss of trust represents to me the biggest failure of my life, much bigger that being asked to leave law school.

I have had chances to have sex with more women than I have. I chose not to do so. There are specific instances where I knew the girl (woman) would say yes to please me but they were not really sure they wanted to and I did not ask. There were times when I could have psychologically browbeaten or manipulated my may into intercourse, but I did not do so because I did not want to hurt them. I am no saint, the flip side is that there are two times (that I am aware of) when I went too far and did hurt the feelings of my partner. They may even have felt physically violated. I don’t know.

I do know that I never want to do that again, and I have not done so.

As I grow older, I have come to appreciate that when I have been told by a woman that she want us to be “just friends” I have had one sort of opportunity close and another one open. Rather surprisingly, my experience has been that when a woman has told me she wants to be “just friends” she means it. She likes me, she enjoys my company, she trusts me, and she wants me in her life. My observation of my male friends has been that straight or gay, relatively few of them have the ability to develop deep, close and lasting friendships with women. I have been able to do that and it is a wonderful gift. I have never had too many friends.

I also have a wife who knows me and trusts me. How many wives, I wonder, would happily let their husband go alone to another state to spend three days with a former girlfriend? My wife is not stupid, nor did she exercise poor judgment. She has known longer than I have that kindness and friendship are integral to me.

With all that said, as I age I still want to have sex with other women, I still feel cheated to have been with so few sexually, I still feel like I am missing out on something. I think this is the start of a midlife crisis maybe. Or possibly I still believe the messages I get from the pornography I choose to view so frequently. Maybe some is biological and instinctive (I believe a great deal, perhaps the majority of human sexual behavior can be explained this way). Probably it is a little of all of the above.

One day at a time. Goddess let me be the best husband I can be today. Let me be the best friend I can be for today.

Good afternoon Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober one day at a time since Imbolc 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I’d like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power, for this, my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be SOBER.

Please be with me today, all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine be done. Inspire me to act and create in Your name. Be welcome in me and to me: body, heart, mind and soul.

Adjuva Brigittia! Thank You! Blessed Be!