When you are young and adventurous you want to live expansively. You are recently away from your repressive childhood home or your hometown and its values and you want to get into sex. You want to throw off the yoke of guilt and religious shaming once and for all. You want to leave a boring stuffy or painful adolescence in the dust. You want to explore your own body and the bodies of others. You want to get into the powerful sensations that can be felt through flirting, sexual contact and negotiated scenarios. And if you are politically awake, you may also want the sex to be radical and political and somehow justified because it challenges social rules and the status quo. You want to believe that what you are doing is not just for your own pleasure, not just selfish, but that you are changing the world while doing it (which just fortifies the guilt thing doesn’t it? Like, is it only ok to get into sex if it is revolutionary?) And it cannot just be personally revolutionary–it has to be a statement against all those other repressed, and repressive, people who want to control you and the world somehow, and/or who are too ignorant to realize they are being controlled. So, when you are young, you want to have tons of sex, different kinds of sex, with tons of people and you want it to be revolutionary but not just personally revolutionary but societally revolutionary. You want your sex to literally change the world because then you can feel really good about it.
Unfortunately, in the process, lots of people get hurt–they feel passed over, unseen, abandoned, rejected for someone better, sexier or more desirable somehow–but you are changing the world right? You all need to be suspicious of your jealousy and insecurity because it is just a remnant of “the Man” in you making you possessive, territorial, and controlling, and smaller than the evolved human beings that you can be. You need to identify only with your capacity to be expansive, communicative, exploratory and adventurous–these are the good values, the ones not based on fear. The ones based on fear you need to ignore. The problem is that you actually end up judging yourself for being inadequate when you sense those feelings–you feel small and less than you can be and you need to get with the program and get with the revolution and get over it for fuck’s sake!
But the feelings persist and they get bigger and you start to feel sick and really really sad and there is nowhere to talk about it because you are supposed to be beyond these unevolved regressive feelings and you feel shame for having them, and so you keep them inside and then you start to get depressed and anxious and you blame it on an oppressive world or you blame yourself, or, when you are feeling a little stronger, you try to blame it on your partner for being sloppy, or selfish, or unclear, or on how you are both not doing poly right, and you need to have endless discussions that last all night trying to renegotiate poly because it is not working or because people who are “fucked up” are doing it all wrong and being assholes and you talk this over all night long and then you don’t sleep and you don’t go to class or to work because you were processing all night and this makes you feel more anxious and perhaps more depressed.
But meanwhile, sometimes, you are at a dance party and you feel so great, and everyone is happily making out with everyone and you feel and know that this is a way better and more evolved and cool dance party then any of the straight or conventional ones because the lines the regular unevolved people draw about sex don’t make sense anyway, and they are having a less good life than you, I mean, look at us–we are so cool and having such a good life–and you go home with your main partner and you feel like you have it down pat, and you understand– like we really get it now. All feels good. You don’t realize that you feel safe and connected to your partner right then, and that you needed that. And you don’t yet realize that your partner’s new flirtation with that person at the party is going to become a huge issue that makes you feel terrible in a matter of days…and so then the cycle starts all over—blaming patriarchy and repressive forces, blaming yourself for having emotional needs (bad needs) and the depression and anxiety, and then the endless processing and intellectual reconfiguration of the way that you are doing poly with your partner, and then the high of feeling like everything is working and then something feels really bad—like you do not reach your partner for over 24 hours while you know and imagine they are bonding with their new date from the orgy party and the cycle starts all over again. But then you meet a couple who has happily managed poly for over 5 years, and you take a theory class which defends polyamory and critiques monogamy and you feel renewed and refreshed and you know deep down that this is the right way to live and you feel tremendous affection for all of your community members and you know that you are all right and the rest of the world is wrong.
And then, at a certain point, after 10 years of this, or less, or more, you get tired. Sex in its various superficial, casual and playful forms, starts to be less exciting and compelling, and you long for something more spiritual, deep, slow and meaningful. You might long for a partner who also feels like this and who will not likely leave you–a partner who is really into their work and who likes sex, and wants to explore it, but who doesn’t have energy or time for the endless processing of sex parties and polyamory. You might get tired and long for that one person who will always prioritize you and who has had enough sex that they are not compelled to follow that sexed-up person into the bathroom stall. You might even get so tired of all of that that you rarely find yourself in the place that even has sex in the bathroom stall. You might just want to acknowledge that your participation in the world, and in changing it, is no longer primarily sexual, and in fact, it might not be sexual at all. In fact, sex might be a beautiful feature of getting closer to that one closest person who supports you and your revolutionary work in the world. You might tear up when you hear about people celebrating 40 years together or getting married in a hospital room after one partner’s deadly diagnosis. You might start to feel incredibly accepting of your emotional needs, and you might stop thinking that you just need to try harder not to be jealous. Sometimes, you might miss the hotness of those years–the drug of lust and adventure mixed with politics, and you might, frequently, have that kind of day or night with your partner where you are just so connected and so delighted with the beauty in the world–with art, with music, with each other’s being in the world–and you might just feel like it is warmer than ever in that magical place where your skin meets theirs.