Thursday, October 21, 2004

Desires and Honesty

How do I tell my husband that I have these desires? My God, he'd think I'm the sickest deviate in the world!

My wife would call me a pervert and try to get me deballed if I suggested that!

Running hither and yon among blogs lately, I've found that to be a terribly recurrent theme on blogs that deal with sex and sexuality. People seem to be pretty consistently afraid of sharing their fantasies and desires with their spouses or significant others. Personally, I hold with the philosophy of the late, great George Smith Patton, who reminded us, "never take counsel of your fears." If you're in a long-term relationship, a marriage or a relationship resembling a marriage, you've already placed one hell of a lot of your trust in that person's hands, and if you did so while you were flying under false colors, you've already screwed the pooch way back at Square One. And yes, I've made these mistakes too, and came to regret them, but I learned from them, and when I got involved in my current relationship, I put the cards right out on the table for her to see, and I think we now have a good relationship for that. Neither of us is afraid to express our desires, and I think that's far the healthier. How many of us have read blogs from couples that are ecstatically happy in their relationships because they opened up and expressed things to one another? Raise your hands. Okay. Now, how many of us have read blogs from men or women who are miserable in their relationships and horrified of their significant others learning of certain dark and hidden desires? And now for the clincher question: if you were forced into someone's shoes, but you got to choose, from which category would you make your selection? Yeah, it's a no-brainer, huh?

None of this is to say or imply that your partner is obligated to share your interests, or to participate in them unwillingly. And it's entirely possible that you might find the incompatibility to be insurmountable, and something to end the relationship. So I can understand why it's frightening to admit to your partner that you may have desires that are other than the missionary-position-only-and-no-more-than-1.4-times-weekly cultural expectation. But I think our cultural mores, fed often by people living to mind their neighbors' business, make us afraid of being publicly declared perverts, and labeled with a scarlet "P" in the town square. When we toss that in with the attitudes that anything "deviant" is tantamount to "pedophilia," it's understandable where the fear comes strongly into play. Having said that, I think we've let the holy-rollers and other pundits (read nosy fucks who should mind their own business and not anyone else's) have completely overlooked something that it utterly undeniable. We humans are sexual beings, and we are driven to have sex by instincts probably coded right into our DNA. Your computer runs on Windows XP, but our inborn biocomputers run on SexDrive.

Life itself is sexually transmitted, as the anti-abortion bumper stickers often remind us, but even they overlook the reasons why. Our artificial concept of sexual purity and mores is only very recent in human history, from about the time of the Renaissance. In Medieval times and before, it didn't raise eyebrows when couples screwed right there in public like mating dogs, and it wasn't seen as dirty or sinful. It merely felt good, and the libido is a strong motivator in human conduct, even in casual circumstances. How often have we flirted, just to flirt, just to play a little game of "what-if?" It is a base instinct in any species to reproduce, and that's what's at the bottom of our urges to have sex. We're not as far removed from the Neanderthals as we'd have ourselves believe.

Getting back to my main thrust, no pun intended, our urges and desires are too strong in most cases to just stuff in a box and pretend are inexistent. In the animal kingdom, sex is about power. The strong breed while the weak merely need, to coin a phrase. We also hear this called Darwinism or natural selection. Henry Kissinger is oft-quoted with his remark that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, and he was one thousand percent correct about this. That's not to say that it's good or even desirable that the only successful human breeders should be mere brutes, but it is to say that the exchange of power is undeniably sexy, and is absolutely nothing about which one should feel one iota of shame or insecurity.

Having said all this, sexual compatibility is more necessary in a relationship than culture would have us ever admit. I recently heard an interesting phrase about someone trying to dispense with guilt about sexuality. This person was self-described as a "recovering Catholic." I'm not going to go on a rant about religion and sexuality here, but in many ways, the attitudes of religion infect our attitudes about sex, all based on a Bible that was selectively edited by what I think were very sexually repressed churchmen of yesteryear who figured if they couldn't get it up, we shouldn't either. What a crock of crap that was, and I really wonder if these long-dead churchly bastards are still slowly roasting in the fires of Hell. To be honest, I kind of hope so.

If you have needs or desires in sexuality or your relationship, tell your partner, and tell that person as soon as you can, the moment you finish reading this, if possible. If you get shot out of the saddle, then at least you can stop wondering and start dealing with it. How deeply important are those desires? Are they strong enough to be fairly termed "needs?" To be honest, from my observations, they most often become needs. Around the BDSM scene, it's more or less accepted wisdom that nobody ever goes back to the vanilla life and stays there very long. I've personally met several of these people who returned to the fold, starved for passion after an excursion into a world where nobody speaks their language in the bedroom, so to speak. It took me a bit too much of my own personal experience to learn this lesson, and as I've said and re-said many a time, I'll never look outside my own species for relationships, ever again.

Look at it another way. Honesty is paramount to the success of most relationships. That's commonly accepted wisdom. Of course, lawyers and the like (we won't even go into the topic of our benighted priests worldwide) have labored hard for successive generations to redefine "honesty." It seems that many of us believe that honesty is achieved merely when we don't lie, but what's really the difference in actively hiding the truth? If the truth is that you want more, or need more, in your relationship's sexuality, then you're lying to your partner by not just saying so, aren't you? Success is never going to find the faint of heart, and if we cannot be happy in an area of our lives so powerful and all-consuming as our sexuality, why are we bothering to try to live a lie? For the record, I'm defining a difference between sexuality and sex. Sexuality includes sex, by my definition, in other words, what we do in bed with each other. But sexuality is broader than that, to my way of thinking, including all our interactions with those people who might be our partners or potential partners. Flirting, for instance, falls under sexuality, as do our fantasies and desires.

I hope some of you reading this are going to take my advice to heart, and take the leap. I recently commented to a friend in the blogosphere that it's much like falling up when you take that leap. Where would we be in our lives had our forebears not often taken the guts to roll the dice? Imagine us still living in Europe, still afraid of a flat world and falling off of it if we ventured beyond the horizon. No thanks!

--Patrick H.--
--21st October 2004, A.D.--