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…Over the years, one day at a time, the role for each partner in a bed evolves. Slowly what each needs from the other may not even be the simple animal coupling. It becomes about control and power, giving and taking, bartering and trading. About giving in or holding out.
About comfort and belonging.
If one gave it, then the other would get up with any sick child that night, and let the other sleep in the next morning. If the other gave it, the first would tell a little secret about a neighbor. That little piece of sharing, like this bartering for sex, became a part of intimacy. And the next step in sexual development was wanting sex with no strings, because the strings were so scary and weird like walking into a dark room and right into cobwebs.
Often times, sitting there on my bed in my new condo, my mind blending with that abstract couple on my wall behind the bureau, my little voices would begin reminding me about all the voiced and unvoiced thoughts about sex that I had had since I had been having sex.
Sex can become a weapon.
Have you had a fight, and one refuses to be close to the other one? For days or weeks?
And if one is not satisfied, they may be upset at the other’s touches? One could be upset or even angry, and having something to be angry about with the other, has a value. The upset one is a victim, and the other one must make amends. Or is it that the upset one is the bully and the other one is the victim?
Sex can be used to control through guilt.
“We’ve had sex three times this week. Nobody needs it that much.”
Another time, “We’ve only had sex twice this month. Is something wrong with you?”
And what was this all with counting?
Guilt and blame in small amounts, sometimes with a touch of humor. Ways to control and to manipulate.
And each person’s concept of sex was altered, bit-by-bit.
“Guys can go without it longer than girls can.”
“Yeah? We’ll see about that!”
(Where was that one leading?)
I’m not sure if I ever used that god-awful line that Adam undoubtedly used with Eve (after they left the garden, of course), “It’s a woman’s duty.”
I hope not. But I have thought it.
How do you know what kind of mood to expect, or what would cause it to change? Should I keep quiet during sex, afraid to say something that would change the mood? Sounds outside the house or in the children’s room might shatter the fragile moment.
Headaches. There’s a whole book waiting to be written on “sex and headaches”.
Or once a person realizes that an orgasm wipes out a tension headache, and even migraines, then sex becomes medicinal.
And I promised myself, as I painted my new condo, and thought about my new life as a single, that I would get laid before the end of the year. One good event at the end of this incredibly, unbelievably, shitty year. It was the reward that I promised myself. And, that would force me to start dating again. And dating would (hopefully) prove that I was a good and interesting person, and not pond scum.
Is sex related to self-image?
And was I dating for all the right reasons?
While I never considered what the right reasons might be, and I never really debated within myself whether or when, I just was in the water without thinking, I was aware of myself for what felt like the first time, and what felt good now that I did not need to explain or rationalize.
And if you enjoy pleasing yourself, you may do this more often. Not only are there no objections, but also it’s done just the way you like it that particular day. The day goes smoother with that release of tension. It adds to the guilt a little, but then the rationalization kicks in and quiets the guilt.
Fantasy. It’s a parallel universe. One that you control. At least more than you control this world. If you get into it deep enough, you can even smell and feel the fantasy person you are with. Once you are going down this path, there’s no end to the fantasies.
One of the shocks about my divorced person’s awakened sexuality was the intensity and variety of new sexual fantasies. Almost as if thinking about sexual fantasies had been a betrayal or was somehow morally wrong. So when a person does start enjoying it, it is new and invigorating.
And the variations are endless.
Away on the business trip, out on the hotel balcony and meeting the person on the next balcony.
At the motel in the mountains, with the clean smell of the river splashing through the pines.
In the laundry room against the washing machine as it switches cycles. Ker-chunk’. Ker-chunk’.
On the kitchen table with butter and flour covering everything.
In the tent beside the fire at the lake, sweating and dirty, with an army of crickets chirping all around.
In the woods on a hot August afternoon, at the base of a giant tree with a basket of freshly-picked mushrooms on the side.
On the window seat by the bay window looking out at the sea and stars.
The abstract naked forms on the wall helped me think about and understand these sorts of thoughts for what seemed like the first time.
Besides the visual promise of possible future hot sweaty debauchery, which I thought of every time I walked into my bedroom, that bed was whatever I wanted, and none of what I was leaving.
For example, I did not have to shower and put on pajamas to flop into that bed. I could take off my pants and flop in with my blue oxford shirt and over-the-calf socks still on. With the dirt of the day and all my sweat. Or if I had showered (if I wanted to), I could flop in naked. With the sheets between my legs, and with my manhood free. Just as good, I could flop kitty-corner across the bed, taking up the whole thing. Or sideways. I didn’t have to share. Or be too careful not to use more than half of the blankets or more than two of the pillows. I didn’t have to worry about offending someone with my tobacco breath or unshowered body smell. I didn’t have to worry about waking someone or encroaching on their space. Or about making noise from the bed springs when I got up to pee or to go to the balcony for a smoke, or whether it was from farting or dropping a book on the floor before sleeping. I could hop in, flop in or crawl in.
In that bed, it was all about me.
And I could wake up in the middle of the night, and walk, wearing only my undershorts and T-shirt, to the living room to get a glass of vodka and take my smokes to the balcony and smoke a couple of cigarettes and come back to bed smelling of tobacco and without brushing my teeth. And I didn’t have to apologize or ask permission.
I could just flop in again.
I kept the condoms in the drawer of the nightstand beside that bed. They came in that “sampler” box that I had ordered from the back of a magazine when I first moved into the condo. Two of each variety. Two with ribs. Two lubricated. Two with “French Tickler” things on them. Two that glowed in the dark. Two of a lightweight material. Scented, vibrating and lubricated. And several combinations of all of the above. It was fun to think they were ready, and so was I (at least in my fantasies).
I never cried in that bed. I cried on the balcony. I cried in the car. I cried in the office and at the beach at night. But I never cried in that bed. That bed was a reflection of my potential life.
And the blue shapes on the walls watched me as I watched them. And we talked. And I began to understand something about the connectedness, and the luck, in my life.
excerpt from “The Dogs of Luck” by William Kenly
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Originally posted 2013-09-22 10:51:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter