Each season of the year brings about a bit of nostalgia. In fall, it's for apple picking and subsequent pie baking. In summer, it's for falling in love for the first time. Charlie and I were introduced through mutual friends and experienced an immediate intimacy. We poured our stories and secrets out with the sort of intense urgency that only teenagers can muster, and came to know each other completely within a matter of weeks. Yet although we were deeply connected emotionally and wildly hormonal, we never slept together (which I credit for the existence of our friendship all these years later). It was summer and there were plenty of opportunities, but we weren't ready. So we held hands and kissed endlessly, sweetly, in front of the mall, at the movies and everywhere else. And that was plenty.
Recently, I was rewatching an episode of Sex In The City in which the sassier of the token gays tells Charlotte that she better get laid soon or it would "grow over." Once we become sexually active, the expectation seems to be that you must be having sex all the time, but what if that is more than we need? What if it becomes a compulsion, an addiction or a debasement rather than a beautiful, transcendent experience that two people share? Sex does have the potential to be an act of love, but far too often, especially in our younger years and despite how intimate of an exchange it naturally is, sex is used as a way to keep people at a distance while feigning real intimacy. You can pretend to really care about someone in the hot and heavy of it, in the intensity and passion, but will you be there when it counts? When your partner's world is crumbling around them, or they are experiencing incredible joy and success, will you be there to witness and share in those moments?
This is true intimacy and it has nothing whatsoever to do with sex. Sex is an animal act inspired by instinct and hormones. The only thing that makes it different is the intention we bring to it as supposedly conscious beings. You can continue to fuck like an animal, but is that really what you need? Other than a temporary rush of pleasure, what is this doing for the development of your consciousness and the elevation of your soul?
For the first decade of my sexual history, I had no concept of this. I had had two partners, both of whom I loved. It was not until my late 20s that I came to understand how base sex could be, how terribly lonely and unloving it could be to be so close to someone and yet so far away. Don't get me wrong! It's been a valuable experience and I've had a lot of fun, but no matter how satisfied I've been in the moment, it never lasted. Each let down hollowed my heart out a bit more, stole a bit of my shine, and developed within me the terrible ability to not care about someone with whom I'd shared such a personal moment.
It was the startling recognition of this growing misandry and jadedness that led me to decide that when it comes to sex without love, it is more than I need. In inviting in these experiences, I have given up my freedom to live with a soft, open heart and to love without fear. I have become hard in some ways, learned how to use sex to put up walls and feign closeness. In all this, my sexuality has become a burdensome cage, these unhealthy habits limiting and degrading. The time has come to set my heart free. It is the time of a Revolution of Innocence.
Therefore, from here on out I give myself the gift of time and space: Plenty of time in which to slowly get to know potential partners. Plenty of space between us, allowing hands held and kisses shared to once again be plenty. Sex is not a mandatory requirement of adulthood; taking wise care of your own physical and emotional safety, however, is. No one can do it for you. It's up to you to draw and hold firm boundaries.
It is my intention that the next partner I have be my Beloved. There will be many obstacles for him to overcome on the path to my heart, but he will be so honorable, so courageous, so strong that nothing will stop him. Anyone who is not those things, who cannot keep up, is simply not my guy. I will wait in the middle of this ocean of time and space, buoyed by the knowledge that I am worthy of someone with the ability and the determination to make the long swim to meet me where I am.
For as long as it takes, I will wait.