I’ve been thinking about sex lately.
That’s nothing new, of course, but the way I’ve been thinking about it has been different this year.
Rewind to New Years: I’m ringing in the year with some friends, and after a few rounds of intoxicating, someone suggests we play Never Have I Ever. And it quickly becomes apparent that I have never have I evered basically everything. Which I expected. What I didn’t expect was this: My friends thought this was weird.
I should back up again. I grew up homeschooled. And homeschooled in the conservative Christian Midwest. So my friends at the time were generally either other homeschoolers or kids from my church. Abstinence was the norm, not the exception. There were probably people shacking up by high school age, but they certainly never let it show. As far as evidence was concerned, our homeschool co-op was chock full o’virgins.
Then I went to college. Specifically, to a conservative Christian college in the Midwest. Not BJU crazy, but still fairly old-fashioned. Our student conduct policy (I’m sorry, “Life Together Covenant”) forbade dangerous activities like smoking, drinking, and “social dancing”.
And you knew that the jocks were probably getting it on with the cheerleaders, and that there was a reason the secluded TV area was called “The Passion Pit” (No, not because they used it for showings of Passion of the Christ). But even there, nobody would really openly admit to doing anything toooo sexual. There was a tacit understanding of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, and of pretending that absolutely nothing was going on.
So now I’m in my late 20s, and for the first time in my life, I have friends who think it’s weird that I’m a virgin. And that means I have to actually examine what I really think about sex, where before, I could always just ignore it. And the conclusion I’ve come to is…I have no fucking idea.
Like violent car crashes, sex was always something that just happened to other people. If I liked a girl, there was some thought in the back of my mind that if I liked her, and she liked me, and then we started dating, and then we got engaged, and then we got married, that eventually, somewhere down the line, there would be sex waiting. And that sounded cool, but it was all very abstract.
And then, of course, there was masturbation. But masturbation really isn’t sex. There’s no risk involved, no vulnerability, no relationship, no emotional connection. It’s just fulfilling an urge, like sleeping or eating.
I’ve got a lot of emotions tangled up with my thoughts about sex. There’s still an instinctual feeling of guilt that triggers at sexual fantasies (probably a holdover from religious upbringing). I worry about getting into a relationship I feel trapped in, or of leaving that relationship and letting down someone who depended on me. And on the flipside, I worry about becoming emotionally dependent on someone who would leave me.
It’s been a good year for conversations about these sorts of things. I’ve had talks with friends who are married, single, asexual, pansexual, demisexual, and it’s been really helpful to hear from people who relate to this issue in so many different ways.
Sometimes I wish there was a word that summed up the way I feel about sex. I’ve considered asexuality and demisexuality, but neither of them seems to fit. I don’t have a lack of sexual attraction, or feel it only in the midst of a strong emotional connection.
I feel like a firehose that hasn’t found a fire yet. Not like I’m bursting at the seams, unable to contain myself…just at the ready, should an inferno present itself.
Well, thanks for letting me bare my soul in this free therapy session, internet. I’d promise to write more often, but you probably know by now that my writing habits are even more inconsistent than my sexuality. Thanks for reading!