While I love sex just as much as the next guy, it has not been a top-priority of mine for some time, now. I feel like I should be sad about that—for some reason—but I am not.
As I discussed in my last post about “physicality,” I do not assign any correlation between my body and my “masculinity.” Since things do not get much more physical than sex, it stands to reason that my attitude towards it should be just about as neutral. Now that I am older, the value I place on it has changed. I means something different and I use it towards different ends.
Constantly getting laid for the sake of proving my “manhood” was never a mission of mine. That idea always seemed pretty silly to me, especially after having taught public school. On more than one occasion, I surprisingly encountered middle-school-aged fathers in my English classes. They did not have licenses to drive, yet, they were having sex and helping pick out baby names. Regardless of their fertility, they were not men, which made the whole thing tragic.
Certainly, things were different for me when I was that age. I thought about sex all the time, but I waited until I was “ready.” All we heard—at that time—was that we would magically know when the right time to start having sex would be. I am sure for most that meant finding the right person. For me, it meant being frustrated enough to get naked in front of a complete stranger without the slightest hesitation. We all have our own processes, I suppose.
That whole concept ruled my life for twenty-one years! Of course, it is no surprise that my first time coincided with the legal drinking age in Texas, but why pick at nits. Like most men in their 20s, I had fun with it. Sure, I had my fair share of random encounters, but I am a serial-monogamist at heart. I preferred the security of being in exclusive relationships and enjoyed the benefits. Having a regular sex partner was just icing on the cake.
I did not always use sex, correctly, though. It was an important part of my relationships, but I often used it as a substitute for intimacy and emotional connection. Inadvertently, this would put increased pressure on my partners to perform, physically, to meet my emotional needs. Funny that I could not see that, then.
All that changed when I fell in love for the first time, however. Sex meant something, and emotional intimacy did not seem so elusive. After that, my attitude changed, tremendously. Sex outside that context seemed empty and unfulfilling, making me wonder why I had not just opted, instead, to clean out my closet or balance my checkbook.
Not all the people I have been in-love with have been the best for me, nor have the relationships been consistently healthy; however, I learned from them. Ultimately, I matured within these couplings, becoming more familiar with myself, accepting the good with the bad. I not only learned self-love in my late 30s, but self-respect, as well. It was all over after that. No more playing hard and fast (pardon the puns) with this body. I wanted more for myself and the person I cared about.
Now that I am older, I think my view of sex is very healthy. I look at it as an expression of me, not the other way around. Keeping in line with that theme, what I do and who I do it with also says a lot about the narrative that is playing inside my head. It is a lot to think about for something that is supposed to be “fun.” Managing one’s sexuality, however, is serious business. Doing sex responsibly says more about my “masculinity” than the number of notches on my bedpost. I truly believe that. That being said, I can honestly say, “I am finally ready.”
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