294 Days Remaining
Whenever someone hears that I am on a dating sabbatical for a year, I usually get one of two different reactions: either the person nods their head and says "Good for you" and looks thoughtful (ah yes; I may have some converts...heh heh heh [rubbing fingers together in glee]), or she (usually it's a female) gets the most panicked, wide-eyed look and exclaims "But don't you miss SEX?!" What follows is often a torrent of different exclamations of "I couldn't do it" and "I'd be going crazy". I'm always slightly surprised by women's reaction; society seems to have this idea that women don't have that same base, animalistic sex drive that men are always assumed to have, but many of the women I've talked to immediately see a yearlong dating hiatus as a dry, starved, seemingly endless desert of no sex. And apparently that is enough for them to never consider doing it.
Sure, of course I miss sex. We are made to enjoy sex, and our bodies - for the most part - seem to react to it exactly the way they were designed to. However, this year off is not a year off from sex, and it often surprises people when I tell them that I've gone much longer than that without it.
Lest any of my readers of other faiths cast dispersion on my ideas here, and dismiss them as simply those of someone of Christian faith who doesn`t believe in sex outside of marriage, I`m going to talk about this completely outside of the Christian perspective. It`s not about being told not to do something; we as humans are by nature going to rebel against "rules", and I certainly have gone against rules many times. The biggest thing for me at this point is this: I've had enough sex without love in my life; I'm at the point where I would rather have love without sex.
No, my ovaries haven't dried up and no, my hormones have not stopped working. I am nowhere near menopause (wait; maybe I am...hmmm, gotta look into that) and I have just as much of a sex drive and physical urges as anyone. Of course going without sex is difficult at times, just as it's sometimes very easy. But as much as I have those moments where I just wish that I could get the urges out of my system (c'mon now; who doesn't have those moments?), I have to stop and remind myself that I`ve been there and done that, and that for the most part it was wasted time, and more often than not, made me feel worse instead of better. Outside of my dating hiatus, I`m not interested in spending any more time doing something that makes me less of a person. Momentary satisfaction followed by immediate guilt is absolutely not worth it to me.
So, you say, what about in a relationship? Of course when you're in a relationship, sex is a natural part of things. I will agree with that; it certainly is natural, but it shouldn't be the basis of a relationship. Those bonds I mentioned are created when two people sleep together, and they create an unreal feeling of intimacy that really has nothing to do with how well you know each other, or even whether you like each other or not. If you sleep with someone too soon, you may not even know that person, yet suddenly you feel this warm feeling of affection and intimacy. That feeling is false. I'm not just talking through my hat here. This is all stuff I've experienced myself, and isn't the whole point of my blog to reflect on what I've done incorrectly so that I can apply it to a future that's healthy and real? I advise people to wait when they are beginning a relationship. I know that I can't tell you what to do, but I hope to give a bit of food for thought from my own experience.
Girls - especially the younger ones, who are just coming into recognizing their beauty and physical charms - often use sex as power, holding it over the male in order to get what they want, which is sometimes a relationship, sometimes material things or money, and sometimes just plain attention. This power doesn`t last forever, and it`s a terrible basis for a relationship because the partners are not truly "partners"; they are not on an even playing field. The female who is using her sexuality to lead the man on ends up being trapped in a cycle of needing her sexuality in order to keep him. She can't ever just relax and be herself, because she's set herself up in such a way that he expects her to be beautiful and charming and sexually available at all time. That's not a real relationship. Who's the one with the real power then? And why do either one of them need it?
I've been in relationships where sex was where they began. They didn't last, and they weren't particularly satisfying. I've been in a relationship where there was no physical intimacy whatsoever - we did not even kiss - and that relationship was one of the best that I've ever had. You know why? Because we didn't fill our time together giving in to physical urges. We did a lot of things together, we talked, we listened to music, we built a foundation. That time with him made me realize that this is the way I want to build a relationship: I want to truly know the person inside and out. Ultimately that relationship didn't work out, but I don't regret not having slept with him. Sometimes I have moments when I really wish we had kissed - argh, yes, that was incredibly difficult sometimes - but in the long run, the fact that we were not intimate with each other meant that we could easily melt back into being friends when we knew for sure that our relationship was not going any further. I can see him and spend time with him and it's not awkward in the least, like it may have been had we just engaged in a sexual relationship. If we had continued with our relationship and gotten married, our first time together would have been amazing because we had built such a strong basis for what we had. I adored him, and that love and affection that was building up would have reached amazing heights by the time I was finally able to express it in a physical way.
You know what I do really miss? Intimacy. That is not the same thing as sex. HB and I did not have a physical relationship for much of our on/off time together (and yes, I know I haven't filled you in on all of that - I'll get there!), but we had developed such a huge level of intimacy between the two of us that I have had with very few other people. I miss the little things like an affectionate touch of the hands as we`d pass by each other in the hall. I miss how, when HB and I would lie together in bed watching a movie, he'd cross his ankle over mine just so that we'd be touching in some way. I miss knowing that I belong to someone, like when my husband occasionally brought me flowers while I was at work and they would sit on the desk all day like an announcement that someone cared about me. I miss the way that I could look across a crowded room at the man I loved and he would instinctively turn to wink at me. I miss the casual "Love you"s that Stringer would throw at me as I dropped him off at school and he ran through the rain to his class, or watching HB serving tables in his crisp white shirt & tie and knowing that he was all mine and no one else's. Those are the things that I miss. Those things are not defined by or earned by sex. Sex is, or should be, an extension of that intimacy, and I want to take the time to build that intimacy before we launch ourselves into that expression.
So, although I am on a dating hiatus for 365 days, I already have a lot more than 71 days under my chastity belt, and it will likely be a lot longer than simply once the year is finished. When and if I meet that right man for me, I want to do it the right way for me, which means taking the time to build a foundation, and falling in love before the hormones of sex trick me into thinking I already have. I look forward to that tense and exciting moment when someone who I care about is
leaning in for a first kiss and I am wondering what his lips will feel
like on mine. I think I deserve to feel that again, and I don`t mind waiting for it.