SAV­AGE LOVE It ain’t broke if that’s your na­ture

The Georgia Straight - - Music - By

bDan Sav­age

I’VE BEEN spend­ing a lot of time lately think­ing about my­self and my sex­u­al­ity and my ro­man­tic self. I can log on and eas­ily find some­one to fuck. I’m a bear-built top guy. There are ladies in my life who choose to share their beds with me. I can find subs to tie up and tor­ture. (I’m kinky and bi.) What I can’t find is a long-term part­ner. The prob­lem is that af­ter I fuck/sleep with/ tor­ture some­one, my brain stops see­ing them as sex­ual and moves them into the friend cat­e­gory. I have friends that I used to fuck reg­u­larly that now it’s a chore to get it up for. Sure, the sex still feels good, but it’s not pas­sion­ate. And when it’s all said and done, they’re still in the “friend” cat­e­gory in my brain. Some of them have sug­gested be­ing more, but I’ve re­coiled. There’s noth­ing wrong with them but they’re friends, not po­ten­tial part­ners. I’m 32, and my sib­lings are mar­ried and hav­ing kids, and the peo­ple I grew up with are mar­ried and hav­ing kids. And here I am not able to find a long-term sig­nif­i­cant other. Am I bro­ken? Should I just ac­cept that, at least for me, sex­ual part­ners and do­mes­tic/ro­man­tic part­ners will al­ways be sep­a­rate cat­e­gories?

- Al­ways Alone

What if you’re not like most ev­ery­one else? What if this is just how your sex­u­al­ity works? What if you’re wired—emo­tion­ally, ro­man­ti­cally, sex­u­ally—for in­tense but brief sex­ual con­nec­tions that blos­som into won­der­ful friend­ships? And what if you’ve been tricked into think­ing you’re bro­ken be­cause the kinds of suc­cess­ful long-term re­la­tion­ships your sib­lings and friends have are cel­e­brated and the kinds of suc­cess­ful short-term re­la­tion­ships you have are stig­ma­tized?

If your sib­lings and friends want to have the kinds of re­la­tion­ships they’re hav­ing—and it’s pos­si­ble some do not—they will feel no in­ner con­flict about their choices while si­mul­ta­ne­ously be­ing show­ered with praise for their choices. But what are they re­ally do­ing? They’re do­ing what they want; they’re do­ing what makes them happy; they’re do­ing what works for them ro­man­ti­cally, emo­tion­ally, and sex­u­ally. And what are you do­ing? Maybe you’re do­ing what you want, AA, maybe you’re do­ing what could make you happy. So why doesn’t it make you happy? Maybe be­cause you’ve been made to feel bro­ken by a cul­ture that holds up one re­la­tion­ship model—the part­nered and prefer­ably monog­a­mous pair—and in­sists that this model is the only healthy and whole op­tion and that any­one who goes a dif­fer­ent way, fucks a dif­fer­ent way, or re­lates a dif­fer­ent way is bro­ken.

Now, it’s pos­si­ble you are bro­ken, of course, but any­one could be bro­ken. You could be bro­ken; I could be bro­ken; your mar­ried sib­lings and friends could be bro­ken. (Re­gard­ing your sib­lings and friends: not ev­ery­one who mar­ries and has kids wanted mar­riage and kids. Some no doubt wanted it, AA, but oth­ers suc­cumbed to what was ex­pected of them.) But here’s a sugges­tion for some­thing I want you to try, some­thing that might make you feel bet­ter be­cause it could very well be true: try to ac­cept that, for you, sex­ual part­ners and do­mes­tic/ro­man­tic part­ners might al­ways be sep­a­rate, and that doesn’t mean you’re bro­ken. If that self-ac­cep­tance makes you feel whole, AA, then you have your an­swer.

I might make a dif­fer­ent sugges­tion if your brief-but-in­tense sex­ual en­coun­ters left a lot of hurt feel­ings in their wake. But that’s not the case. You hook up with some­one a few times, you share an in­tense sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ence, and you feel a brief ro­man­tic con­nec­tion to them. And when those sex­ual and ro­man­tic feel­ings sub­side, you’re not left with a string of bit­ter exes and en­e­mies but with a large and grow­ing cir­cle of good friends. Which leads me to be­lieve that even if you aren’t do­ing what ev­ery­one else is do­ing, AA, you’re clearly do­ing some­thing right.

P.S. An­other op­tion if you do want to get mar­ried some­day: a com­pan­ion­ate mar­riage to one of your most in­ti­mate friends—some­one like you, AA, who also sees po­ten­tial life part­ners and po­ten­tial sex part­ners as two dis­tinct cat­e­gories with no over­lap— and all the Grindr hookups and BDSM ses­sions you like with one-offs who be­come good friends.

b

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