Sebastian Callow explores his path of inner fulfillment from lady’s man to evolved boyfriend
I can’t lie to you.
In the beginning, sleeping around was really satisfying. It was exciting, unpredictable, sexually gratifying, and it gave me a sense of self-worth.
I didn’t lost my virginity until 19 and until I was 25, I’d only had sex with one woman. What’s more, I was coming off a long spell of unintentional celibacy. I’d been starved for the kind of sexual gratification shown in music videos and talked about at bars.
After a lot of work on myself, I developed the ability to express myself with more power and clarity. This allowed me to open up to the possibility of an endless cycle of seduction.
After being starved for so long, I was ravenous and wanted to satisfy my sexual hunger. Initially, I reveled in this experience, moving from one sexual partner to another with very little concern.
However, over time, I noticed that my appetite was never really satisfied, not for long anyway. Whatever satisfaction I acquired from one sexual encounter soon faded, needing to be replaced by another.
The excitement dissolved, the gratification disappeared, and the sense of self-worth that I seemed to get turned out to be all-too-fleeting.
I came to understand that my hunger for sexual gratification could not be satisfied. It was bottomless, insatiable. After each sexual encounter, there was only a transient satisfaction, quickly followed by a return to the normal surge of desire. Sleeping around was satisfying, but on a surface level. It only served to occasionally stem the otherwise unrelenting tide of desire.
Trying to achieve any lasting fulfillment through sleeping around was like running on a hamster wheel and expecting to move forward. It just exhausted me.
Letting go of this pattern though was very difficult. What helped to pull me out of it was the emotional understanding that my behavior would never satisfy me with the depth that I really wanted.
I then became celibate for a year, this time intentionally. Over this period, I came to see the negative consequences that sleeping around had inflicted on me.
The tendency to look outside of myself to feel good was strong, but it became clear that I’d created a childish identity of a guy who was “successful with women,” an identity that I was clinging to. My stage of celibacy served me well in helping me let go of this unsatisfying identification.
Some time later, I met my current girlfriend and I began to understand how an intimate relationship could provide lasting satisfaction for me in ways that sleeping around never could.
Of course, having a relationship with one woman isn’t always as exciting and unpredictable as sleeping around, but what it did provide me was a new level of depth in sexuality and a lasting sense of self-worth.
Sex with my girlfriend was deeper and more fulfilling then anything I’d ever known before that. It’s the kind of sex where boundaries dissolve and the intimacy becomes intense, overwhelming and ecstatic. What’s more, it’s sex that I can come back to again and again and again.
Within the relationship I gained a sense of self-worth that was now stable, grounded in her continuing love and adoration of me and my continuing love and adoration for her. The relationship served to amplify and expand the love that I already have for myself. She became a mirror, reflecting back the love that I have for myself through her eyes.
Of course, one shouldn’t search for fulfillment through relationships. It’s very important to find fulfillment within yourself. But once you’ve established this, a relationship can magnify that inner fulfillment in ways that sleeping around couldn’t, at least not for me.
The contrast between the level of fulfillment I got by sleeping around compared to the level of fulfillment I got through an intimate relationship is enormous.
For those men who are searching for happiness and satisfaction in their dating and relationship lives, neither one of these paths is wrong. But we have to ask ourselves: how much emotional depth do I need and is this relationship giving that to me?
image credit: Flickr/h.koppdelaney