"date." it may as well be another four letter word. we brush it off like scarlett o'hara reasoning, "i can't think about that today or i'll go crazy. i'll think about that tomorrow." this single word is so far loaded it's been reduced to "hanging out." that way we don't have to worry about it. we don't have to worry about rejection if things don't go right. we don't have to adhere to traditional gender roles because everyone is on an equal playing field. it allows us to be non-committal, obtuse. but what it really does it just confuse everything.
but i'm going on a bunny trail here. that's another post for another time. but with any luck, ultimately all this "dating" eventually leads to a blossoming relationship, one rich in communication, mutual respect, understanding, and admiration. wait, did i detect a hint of sarcasm there? because here's where it all goes wrong. i can't tell you the number of times i'm relayed a story. a story in which a person addresses a major concern only to conclude he or she is lacking empathy and being selfish in the relationship. but really, that's not the problem. they just want to avoid any "confrontation" sharing their feelings might bring. and they worry they'll lose their relationship. so it turns into a quest to avoid one's feelings in an effort hang on to the relationship, no matter how dysfunctional it may be. after all, something is better than nothing, right? of course not you stupid head! but you have to figure that out on your own. i just hope sooner rather than later.
but again, i'm going on a bunny trail. because my ultimate goal in all this, which i have been very lax about getting to the point of is.... drum roll please! SEX. oh yes, sex. wonderful, glorious sex. something very near and dear to every one of us. a mystery wrapped in an enigma. a basic need, a want. exciting, but scary. immediate, consequential. it's something we all understand but yet have such difficult time dealing with. a simple three letter word that changes everything.
a friend of mine recently wrote a beautiful blog post telling the story of budding love. boy likes girl. boy asks for girl's number. boy and girl go out. but what happens when sex enters the mix? the thought terrified him. to the point that it had hindered dating in the first place to avoid the sexual temptation it would surely bring. because sex is sacred, and it should be treated as such. i'm going to go out on a limb here and make a blanket statement that i'm pretty sure is true, regardless of whether or not you agree: sex and commitment go hand in hand, whether you like it or not. casual sex doesn't exist. it's a rationale for non-committal relationships to satisfy this "basic need" without consequence. (but there are always consequences.) but the problem is, in a world so sex focused, what if the whole casual sex thing isn't what you're all about? what if what you want is to establish commitment first and enjoy sex later? are you laughed at? are you frowned upon? do you get dumped just because you're not willing to go there?
a couple of months ago, a gorgeous superman look-a-like (and i'm not joking, this guy really did look like a young christopher reeve) chatted me up on one of my many karaoke escapades. as the conversation turned to religion, he told me about a girl he had recently not only dated but fell in love with. (apparently i'm not very good at small talk and like to get to the nitty gritty.) she was religious and extremely conservative in her sexual values, wanting to wait until marriage. he was not. undetered by the boudary presented, he continued his pursuit and soon fell in love with her. as his first sex-free relationship, he was taken back at how well they were able to work through problems and grow closer together without having sex to muddy the waters. unfortunately in the end, she didn't feel the same for him and the relationship ended, but their mutual respect and understanding for one another allowed them to part on friendly terms. this isn't to say that taking sex out of the equation always results in such happy endings (if you can call this a happy ending) but it certainly eliminates the many emotions and bonds and complexities created when two bodies become one.
i am no sex expert. but i am human. and 100% sexual, whether it's agreeable to me or not. (i wrote about it -- trust me, most of the time it's not. damn hormones.) and my own conclusion? communication is key. communication and mutual respect. sex can be a wonderful and glorious thing, or it can rip you apart. but anyone that truly cares about you will listen and will respect your feelings and boundaries. and if not, you should question whether or not you should really be with that person. now i am not promiscuous, wait, i should rephrase that, what i mean is experienced by any means, but anyone that reads this blog might think otherwise. okay, okay, so i full on admit i used to be a makeout whore, kissing basically anything with a fifth appendage, (so there's your promiscuity,) but when it comes to the bedroom stuff? totally not. i have not slept around. and at least i can say (okay, even with a little pride,) that other than the entire irish soccer team on my 21st birthday, i can name all but one of the men i have made out with. oh, but there was that german dude in santa monica... i guess that makes two. ooops. and i just might have gone to the goonies 20th anniversary reunion on a date with hickies and a bruised lower lip from the night before... (i blame the red sea!) but again, totally not sexually promiscuous!
being naked (or lets face it, even half-naked) with a man takes things to a totally different level. if i could change anything about my life, in all honesty, i would take my virginity back. i went through so much pain over such a long period of time trying to deal with the feelings and emotions sex created in me. because sex is sacred, and i hadn't treated it like the treasure it is. once you go there, and once you know the pleasure it can bring, it's hard not to keep going. it's hard to take a step back and say you're not going to anymore until the time is right. and because in the modern world, where sex is so easily dismissed as just another flirtation, it's no wonder we sit in contemplation, trying to figure out what the right thing to do is. (although you already know. you just don't want to.) i commend my friend for he wrote. i commend him for being honest enough as a guy to say, "this is an issue i know causes me grief, and this is how i feel about it." because for most people it does. but what to do? that ultimate choice is yours.