Sitka was the final stop on my last big physical-journey where I carried baggage. I still carry baggage on this spiritual-journey. And some of that baggage involves...
There I said it. It's in print. My next bridge but with baggage. Well, some of my baggage anyway.
I know I need to address it, and I know I will, some day. One friend suggested I just go get laid; have fun; after all, I'm single now, live it up! Another suggested I go on an actual date, but don't preclude the idea of sex afterwards. If it feels good, just let it happen.
After coming out, I had my share of casual encounters, and felt very empty and hollow afterwards. This was what I call a 'delayed adolescence' many gay men go through when coming out later in life. Since we didn't or couldn't openly date guys in high school, we needed this exploration of self now that we could openly admit our attraction to other men. I was, after all, trying to discover this new side of myself and more specifically, what I did and didn't like about sex, as well as learn what two men actually did together and which of those activities did I really want to do. All of this left me in a mild state of confusion and depression as I was trying to align my behavior with the values I grew up with. So, my early gay years were a whirlpool of emotions trying to discover my sexuality while reconciling it with my Christianity.
While I have shaken off the majority of the beliefs and ideals I learned when I was a practicing Christian, like being gay will send you to Hell, there are a few so ingrained in me I still live by them. Casual sex is one of them. It just doesn’t necessarily suit me.
As for dating? That would suggest I'm actively looking for a boyfriend or relationship. I’m not ready for anything. Right now, my emotions are still all over the place. I have too many changes going on in my personal and work lives to be worried about getting to know someone else and what he likes, both in and out of the bedroom. Also, right now I don’t have the time and energy to focus on dating someone and that’s not fair to him.
With my emotions still all over the place, I fear that if I do find someone to fool around with, I may end up becoming too attached too soon, for too long and for the wrong reasons. Been there done that, twice. Sex, for me, is more about the intellectual-spiritual-emotional connection to the guy than the mechanics, though the mechanics can be fun as well. However, separating the emotions from the mechanics has never been easy for me.
Yet, emotions shouldn't be discounted. Fear and trust are very strong. Yes, I am afraid. Afraid of becoming too attached too soon to someone for the wrong reason. I'm still hurting a little from my divorce, though the pain is subsiding. Other recent events have left me a little shaken still, but time will heal that as well. Dare I also add fear of my performance; will I be good enough? the fear of feeling empty and hollow again? the fear of rejection; will he call me in the morning? or next week? ever?
Trust is also big with me. I just don't hand my body over to anyone to do with as he pleases. I mean, yes, I am there, too. But, sometimes things can just get out of control. Though, to some people, relinquishing control is indeed part of the pleasure. I'm not one of them.
And the biggest fear: diseases. When can you trust someone to be honest about their health? When you first meet? After a cup of coffee? Just play safely and it shouldn't be a problem? Yeah, right. It can be a problem for some even before playing. I've been out of circulation for 26 years, it's a fear I haven't had to confront in all that time.
A friend had also suggested finding a friend with benefits. A friend with benefits? Sounds like something from Social Security. "I need to see my friend for my monthly benefits." Not for me. As I said, I’m way too emotional to separate the friendship from the benefits-ship. I eventually want a long-term partner again, so when I meet Mr. One-and-Only, how do I end the benefits-ship without the possibility of someone's feelings getting hurt? Or if both parties are agreeable to just ending the benefits, what if Mr. One-and-Only is the jealous type and doesn’t want Mr. Benefits around? I then have to make a choice. Call me Sophie. Or worse, what if Mr. One-and-Only and Mr. Benefits want to compare notes? Kill me now.
Yet, I long for the touch of another man. I won't deny the drive is there. Sometimes. But, mostly, it's the cuddling I miss; the leaning against him watching television, or reading together; it's the kissing, the caressing, the hand holding as we go to the Pride Festival, or to a club. It's the having someone to come home to after a long day of teaching, to talk to of world events; not the character development in our latest reading selection or the numerous fragmented sentences in the last essay I graded, or how am I going to explain Wegner's theory to non-English speaking students.
For me, sex is not the cornerstone of the relationship, like it is for many people. I've known couples who've fallen in love "at first sex." If the sex is great, then the rest will be, too. And, there are some couples who can separate the emotion from the sex. "Emotionally faithful but physically unfaithful;" an open relationship. I don't get it, it's not for me. I salute those who can, if they choose it.
For me, it's the communication and the connection. The brain is the most sexual organ, in my opinion. Seduce my mind and you seduce my body. How well do we communicate with each other? May I share my innermost fears and/or dreams with him? Will he share his with me?
I know it will happen, and the first couple of times may not be the best. After all, I will be getting used to touching another man, and getting used to him touching me, while confronting all my emotions and fears. All things happen for a reason and at the time they're supposed to happen. And then I will awaken from my dormancy, like Mt. Edgecumbe.