adulthood · authenticity · change · intimacy · sex · sexuality · writing

Eat, Pray, Sex

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“If I understand you correctly,
this whole year is about your search for balance between devotion and pleasure.
I can see where you’ve been doing a lot of devotional practices, but I’m not
sure where the pleasure has come in so far.”
“I ate a lot of pasta in Italy,
Felipe.”
“Pasta, Liz? Pasta?
“Good point.”
Eat
Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Unless you choose to live a life of asceticism, you are
bound to come to a point when you have to attend to your body’s needs. There
are so many ways to go about this, and we all probably have our own patterns
for doing so.
There’s serial monogamy, adultery, the hands-on approach.
There’s serial hooking up, prostitution, polyamory, and even the somewhat “normal”
approach of having an intentional monogamous relationship.
In this age when sex outside of marriage is often par for
the course, we really do have a buffet of options. And chances are that we’ll eat
from one tray or another at various times and emotional states in our lives.
There is no handbook for this. There really are no rules. As
the saying goes, “You can do anything you want—as long as you’re willing to
accept the consequences.” Sometimes, consequences of actions are marvelous; not
all consequences are negative.
I remember the first time I had sex in adulthood sober. I
honestly hadn’t had sober sex since I was in my teens, if then. God, it was awkward. I
was so aware of everything: the way the
room looked, the sound of our breathing, the exact touches. And also, very
aware of the intimacy of the act.
That is something that drunken sex does not allow for. You
might get off, but you are so far from present; this is not an intimate act.
SURE, it can be and was fun; as Dr. Seuss puts it,
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.
And I’m not sure I ever really knew how. I mean, I lost my
virginity while I was drunk. Which isn’t uncommon in many of the women I
know.
So, to exist, sit, breathe, be in the intimacy of sex with
another person – well, it really is no wonder I was celibate for so long! Though,
I can admit, too, that distanced/detached sex is also very possible sober.
Which is usually how it’s been for me. Like I told you earlier this week about
the two-way mirror: I may offer you entrance, but I’m not giving you anything
in return. Here’s part of another poem I wrote during that celibacy time:
every inch closer you come toward
me is
every inch farther from myself
that I am.
so by the time your cock is pressing
against
the putty of my cervix,
i have found a home inside your
wall.
(And that was with a boyfriend!)

I suppose part of my reason for sharing these poems with you
recently is to normalize the experience for me, as I think I’m bringing these poems
to my Writer’s Group today – my all male
Writer’s Group. Though there’s absolutely a titillation factor to my work, the
reality is, this is my writing, this is what I’m working on, was working on
when I wrote them, and I guess, if there is feedback on how to improve my
craft, I want it. But, I also know it may be hard (forgive me) for people to look
past the word “cock” and get toward the structure and craft.

We’ll see. I haven’t decided yet if I’m bringing these poems
there. It feels exposing, but then again, sharing any of my writing feels exposing.
And I guess that’s what I’m getting at – showing up without
retreating. To know that I am safe and thereby be able to show up with vulnerable work, to show up physically and
emotionally during sex. To let myself be present with the cacophonous
heartbeat of it all.
I have little experience being present in flagrante delicto; but, by
escaping it, I do think I’m missing out on some of the fun.

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