Damien Bohler is taking a break from sex in order to pursue other things that make him happy. Does that make him less of a man?
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” she said.
We had seen each other a few times over the past couple of weeks and now I had travelled to visit her within the communal, musically oriented living space she currently resided.
“Sure” I replied as I followed her down to her room.
There, sitting on her bed she proceeded to tell me that she was not feeling sexually attracted towards me.
“…And I really want to be” she added “you are really hot and switched on, I like hanging out with you and I learn a lot from being with you. You seem like the kind of guy, that if I asked, could shove me up against the headboard and ravish me hard if I asked or whatever, and I thought you would come here and we would get to play and experiment… but I’m just not feeling anything.”
As I got curious about her world, she shared anxiety and fear that I may be disappointed in her, that I may have been expecting sex and I’d be annoyed that she didn’t want to.
I asked her if she would like to hear what was going on for me. She nodded, eyes slightly nervous. I honoured her vulnerability in sharing this with me and then, with a smile, I said “I imagine it would be difficult to feel sexually attracted towards someone who just isn’t feeling all that sexual.”
And it was true. In that moment, and for a while now, I just haven’t felt that interested in sex. Other things were more important, things such as getting into deep alignment with my health, focusing on my writing and movement, questioning the next steps for my life, rock climbing and most importantly the process of discovering what it is I truly want. Stepping fully into my life and becoming really clear on how to live it in the way that is most inspiring to me has become much more significant than chasing sex and dealing with the complications that often unfold with that seemingly innocent and natural act of penetration. It seems to me that having my external life reflecting my inner dreams will naturally lead into the juicy kind of connections I most desire.
It is a weird experience as a man to just not be that interested in sex, or at least be valuing other things as more important.
My culture, many of the men around me, and the media have told me again and again that sex is my primary motivating factor in this life and I grew up for a long time believing it. Finally I’m discovering that is bullshit.
I am not just a disassociated penis searching for the next hole to stick in to, as some aspects of Western culture tries to say about me as a man. Everything I do isn’t aimed at how I can increase my chances at getting laid.
I have vulnerabilities, tenderness and desires for connection. I also have goals, plans and dreams and putting these first feels masculine to the nth degree! Honouring these parts of myself feels so nourishing and rewarding that it far outweighs the simple pleasure of finding my next lay.
There is something contracted in my sexuality and rather continue to numb that by pushing into experiences I don’t really want I would much rather take the time to completely nurture a deep wildness I feel stirring in my loins.
I believe in the healing, connective and spiritual possibilities within the union of sex and I want that for myself and anyone I choose to be with.
I have decided to take sex off the table for a while, at least until next year.
“Big deal!” Some of you may cry as you say you have gone much longer than a couple of months without sex, and the truth is so have I, plenty of times. The distinction is in the choice, to say and hold to a “no”, not because circumstances have given me some kind of ‘dry spell’. And at the same continuing to cultivate connection with radiant, open-hearted, open-minded women.
The question, for me, becomes… how do I explore intimacy, sensuality and touch without sex? I’m interested to hear from Shana on this one.
I feel like crying and jumping for joy at the same time as you find your truth and dissolve layers of expectation and cultural conditioning that had seemed like “reality.”
Men come to me with so much shame about the number of women they’ve slept with, their penis size, how long sex lasts… Most men don’t have energy left for inquiry or communication about how powerful sex could be. It’s often an unquestioned frontier. Sure sex feels good, relieves tension and can bring you closer to another person, but not many ask, “What is sex really about for me?” “What do I want out of this?”
Your shift reveals the ability to disconnect your manhood from the stats of how many women you have sex with. It reveals the healing, connective and spiritual potential of sex, and the freedom to make choices aligned with your unique truth and desires. As a woman who has longed for men who see sex as spiritual, are emotionally available, and can also ravish me, I am grateful you are stepping into this next phase.
Congratulations on not getting caught in the shame that could have you think that sharing your truth makes you look foolish, or be abandoned. In reality we usually get to be closer when we share vulnerable parts of ourselves (with someone who respects and cares for us). It’s the only way to create intimacy.
To answer your question about exploring intimacy, sensuality and touch without sex: You can create fun, deeply nourishing and incredibly pleasurable experiences without “having sex.”
When you let go of being goal oriented you can evoke more pleasure touching fingers, breathing together, or even looking into each others eyes, than many people feel during sex. Seriously! Choosing a limitation (such as not having sex) inspires creativity and play. Find out more about that here: http://dirtytalkshow.com/)
To start, ask yourself: Beyond my usual way of being sexual, what do I want to explore in sensuality, touch and intimacy ? What would be fun or nourishing for me? What do I crave?
You might crave massage, hugs, cuddling, or even a specific kind of attention, listening, or a way of being seen. It might be fun for you to read stories to each other, to use your voices and sing, to lay in water together and feel what awakens in your bodies. You might play with your sense of taste through cooking, or explore intimacy through gaining perspective about humanness through looking at the stars and planets.
As a human being you are a sensual being, so everything has the potential to be full of vitality, connection and spark. Let yourself be surprised by what you find you want. Then share your desires and ask others what they want. You’ll be able to-create fun, inspiring and deeply healing experiences.
I can’t wait to hear how it goes!
Photo: Flickr/Jesse Newland