Sex is something most of us feel like we need. But how far does this need go – how much does it shape our lives? Prompted by a recent conversation, I started to wonder how our lives would be different without it. Who would we be – as a society and as individuals – without sex?
If you care to, take a moment to ask yourself: “who am I without sex?” or “who am I without the physical act of sex?” The first word or words that come to mind reveal some of your beliefs around sex.
For me, the first word that came to mind was “boring.” Then “lost.” Then it got more complex. So many marriages that I’ve observed have broken down because the woman stops having or wanting to have sex with the man, while the man stops being affectionate and conveying his attraction to her, making her feel less receptive to sex. Both are left feeling unappreciated and start looking elsewhere for validation. It wasn’t just the lack of sex that lead to the sense of under-appreciation, however, it was everything from smiling at each other, hugging each other, giving each other shoulder rubs, complimenting each other, and saying “thank you” to showing up for each other and remaining solution-oriented in disagreements.
In the process of distancing themselves from each other in this multitude of ways, these couples found it harder to get to sex. They didn’t know how to start a conversation about it either, because when they got married 10 or 20 years ago they figured their happiness in the beginning would carry them right on through to the end. They had never had a conversation about what they might do when things weren’t so great or when their connection waned, and they didn’t want to rock the boat by starting a conversation now. Without a clear solution, they also found more comfort in sticking to their routine and blaming their partner rather than admitting they had some responsibility for where the relationship currently was.
Watching this growing up, I started to ask adults uncomfortable questions about why they really got divorced, and vowed to do things differently. A side-effect, however, is that I now perceive regular sex as an essential element in a relationship; if it’s not happening it means something is wrong with the foundation and things will quickly fall apart. Regular sex, in general, is good for relationships. Studies have proven this. It feels great to connect, touch, receive pleasure, offer pleasure, and be vulnerable with each other. Sex can even be a healing balm. But this belief I have around sex is still limiting because it involves fear. Fear that things must be a certain way or I too may lose that feeling of connection, wanting and feeling wanted.
Upon further consideration, I thought about the purpose of sexual energy – how it motivates us and how alive we feel when we have tapped into that part of ourselves. Sure, it has the potential to run amok, but it is also the source of so much joy and creativity. Without it, I’d probably be a scientist, not an artist. I know I wouldn’t be as colorful or expressive; I’d be missing something, some spark of life and twinkle in the eye (hence the initial “boring”).
On the one hand, if sex was no longer a factor in my life at this very moment, I might actually be a calmer person and discover a new emotional palette. But on the other hand, in my current reality where my body, mind, and spirit want sex, that feels nonsensical. I also feel part of the larger population whose responsibility it is to procreate and keep the human race going, so without the physical act of sex, without raising children, I wouldn’t really be contributing or living up to a sacred duty (another belief around sex – the fear of being selfish).
As I get a better understanding of where these beliefs come from and where they might go I get a bit excited — because these beliefs are not set in stone. Once we’ve brought something into our conscious mind, we can change it or at least accept where we are.
I suppose that’s what this whole post is really about: understanding and accepting where we are in our beliefs around sex (if acceptance is not currently there), and opening up the possibilities as to how those beliefs could evolve.
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