Just for -L-, Sex Talk
Sister Three pointed out that faithful members of the church have been cautioned against being alone with members of the opposite sex to whom they are not married. This includes casual visits, email and chat rooms, even riding in cars. In the past, I've adhered to this counsel as a way to insure emotional and physical safety. No man can harm me if I don't put myself in a situation where I am alone with him. I understand that there is a moral safety implied in the counsel--it doesn't really apply to me. Sister Three asked how I deal with situations where I'm alone with another woman, especially one for whom I may feel attraction. Funny, I've never shared that with anyone before.
The truth is that I'm very aware of physical and emotional feelings that draw me to another person. I'm not afraid of those feelings, nor do I feel guilt or frustration anymore when they are manifested. I feel that I have every right to look at someone and admire her beauty, smile, eyes, etc. Women do it all the time, and I'm definitely a woman. It's not unusual for women to give deeply personal compliments to each other. I have a friend who tells me all the time that I look "hot"--no, she's not gay. I have beautiful friends (and I tell them they are) who tell me I'm beautiful. Women discuss physical beauty in each other as a matter of course. I willingly participate in that dialogue. It's fun. And of course, it has another dimension for me--and I love it.
So what's the difference between the above thoughts and actual flirting? Probably nothing. I have an adult piano student/vocal coach. She's also a very close friend. We flirt with abandon--she kisses me in public--if I'm sitting next to her in a meeting, she'll have her arm around me or even hold my hand. She's beautiful and fun and I adore her. But I'm not attracted to her in a romantic way. There's definite chemistry between us because we love spending time together, but it's not sexual. I admit to the physicality, and I think it's really important. Those loving touches fill spaces inside me that have been existent since I was about nine years old and realized that my mother didn't want to touch me at all. My friend heals me in ways she cannot know.
I don't recall ever feeling the giddy delights of infatuation. I've felt sexual attraction so strong that I almost felt nauseated by the need to be with the person to whom it was directed. But I've never felt the things that people describe when they are infatuated: caught up by a smile, word or touch from the person desired, fantasy of future events or sexual fulfillment, anticipation, excitement...I wonder why I don't feel that for people when I feel attraction. It's all pretty basic and very physical. There's no romance or happily-ever-after desires. This is as it has always been for me.
I'm sure this isn't the norm. I often wonder if there are others like me. I watch my friend Lydia in the first stages of attraction. Honestly, I hate being around her. She's giggly, energetic, completely focused on the person to whom she's attracted. She swoons when she's touched, sighs when snuggling...ick... I have to leave or I might want to shake her. But when I'm away from the sight, I wonder why I never feel that way for anyone.
A friend asked me recently about my feelings for Darrin. Those feelings are extremely complex and difficult to explain, and I rarely talk about them because deep in my heart I have a feeling that no matter how well I say it, no one can possibly understand. My love for him began because he allowed me to be who I am. He wasn't deterred from loving me and wanting to marry me when I asked him to date other people, or when I told him about my past, or when I told him how scared and unworthy I was. He was never overbearing or forceful, and if I had said at any time that I wanted our relationship to end, he would have granted me that. He let me know that he wanted to be with me forever, and then he waited to see if I felt the same. He gently and kindly taught me how physical relationships between men and women should be, and even though it took a very long time, he simply waited for me to figure things out, always letting me know how much he loved me--always making certain that I understood that he cared about all of me, even the bad stuff. He was interested in my thoughts and dreams. He let me talk incessantly about my students, favorite composers, and music history. He took tax prep and accounting classes with me even though he had no real interest in that, because he was interested in me and he wanted to be with me. He trusts me to do what is best for me. He has never been jealous or possessive. I feel beautiful and alive when I'm with him--as if simply by being together, I just became the very best I can be. Most of all, there are times when I'm aching inside, that I am soothed simply because he touched my hand or kissed my cheek.
I don't feel physically attracted to Darrin most of the time, but my desire to be with him physically has increased with time. Bluntly put, I enjoy sex with my husband-- a lot. Part of that enjoyment comes in knowing that I'm participating in something he enjoys, as well, and also in knowing that this is exclusively ours. I'll admit to feeling a certain triumph when the act is complete, for the simple reason that I never felt I would ever be able to express physical love for a man, given the abuse I've endured, and my feelings for women. I've proven to myself that not only is it possible--it's wonderful and beautiful.
Therapist once told Darrin that he was kind of lucky--he doesn't have to worry about me being attracted to another man. I realized a few years ago, though, that I've morphed a bit. I think, in the right circumstances, I could learn to be in love with any person (barring those that make me nuts simply because they're alive)--and I could figure out how to express that love in every acceptable way. Not that I'm looking for that to happen because I'm extremely happy with my current partner. It was just a passing thought as I was doing some soul-searching. Therapist also mentioned that if I were ever widowed at a young age, I would probably remain single for the rest of my life. It's the probable scenario because I don't believe I'll ever find another person like Darrin. But I'm sort of comforted by the fact that if I did encounter another with whom I wanted to spend the remainder of my life, I think I could do it. I don't know that I would choose to, but believing that option is available to me makes me feel a little bit powerful--as if I have control of my destiny in some way.