Sex is Not Love/Love is Not Sex
The act of engaging is sexual intercourse, fooling around, or “making out” does not necessarily mean LOVE.
Shocker, I know.
In my past relationships, sex has been a hot button topic. It has been used as a weapon, or a condition, of maintaining a healthy partnership. Until very recently, a new light has been shed for me, on what the act of sex actually means, and why couples engage in it together.
I have heard accusations like, “You must not love me, if you don’t want to have sex”, and “You rejected me. There must be someone else.”
Maybe, just maybe, I simply wasn’t in the mood for it, or, perhaps I simply didn’t feel like it was an appropriate time or place for it. In all honesty, the ability to say no when a partner comes at you full force, wanting to jump your bones, can be slightly intimidating, and even annoying, when you aren’t in the same mind frame.
The Anatomy of Sexual Desire
I am going to write candidly about my experiences and my perspectives toward sex, as a “slightly” middle-aged woman.
Menopause is not a turn on. In fact, it causes hot flashes, vaginal dryness, tiredness, aching joints, and lack of sex drive. In some women, it may look a little different, but for me, that is exactly what it’s all about. Further to this, I have gained a few pounds and feel less sexy than I used to. My hair is thinner, I have more wrinkles, and I can pick on multiple things I see in the mirror daily. The thought of being naked and sweating with another naked body does not always appeal to me.
The other side of my anatomy, is that I am a sexual abuse survivor, and my brain sends off silent alarms in my head and throughout my body, when I approached for sexual activities. I have learned over the years to turn off the noise of the alarm system, but every once in a while, it cannot be shut off.
With that said, I am still a functioning woman, sexually, and I still have desires to be intimate. Being with the right person has definitely made my world of sexual drive so much better. Finally finding someone who is on the same intimate page as me has changed my life.
Tenderness or Torture?
There have been times in my life where sex has been absolutely amazing. Being in love with someone and feeling the tenderness of touches, caresses and kisses on your body gives you such a high, and you remember tiny moments forever, that make you feel chills of excitement. However, the love behind two people intertwined is not necessarily what gives a sex-capade its lasting effects. Sometimes, it is just attraction-physical, mental or emotional connection. This does not necessarily mean LOVE.
Conversely, there have been times when I was with the one I love, and the sex was nothing short of torturous. Maybe I felt pain, or felt sad, or even dirty, after being intimate with a man, even when I knew I loved him. The act of being intimate and writhing around, in hopes of getting off, does not always feel like love. In fact, there have been moments, after we were finished, that I questioned everything about our relationship, unfairly. Sexual intercourse, oral sex or even just grabbing each other’s junk does not feel like love, nor should it. It is a small piece of a larger picture.
As a young child I was sexually violated, repeatedly, by a couple of offenders. Both of these offenders told me, time and time again, that they loved me. Of course they said that. They were family. I equated their abuse to love, at a very young age, and dragged that lesson into early and even later adult life. That violation changed my view of what intimacy meant, and most definitely triggered what penises, vaginas and other body parts meant. They meant shame, indignity ad secrets. With help, I got through that fear, and those triggers, but being with the wrong partners for years, made it all come flooding back. Not all the time, but often enough to make me not want to desire sex of any type.
Following my healing years, I ended up in a relationship where my partner used sex as a weapon. I am unsure if he comprehended the trauma he imposed on me. I told him numerous times that we saw sex differently, but it never changed him. To him, sex was equated with love and if I didn’t fuck him, I didn’t love him. He would say things like, “Well, I guess you just don’t love me the same way I love you,” as he stood naked and dejected. He found ways to push me into giving in, and he used sexual adventures as his focus, to feel satisfied. He would pout, stomp around the house and even yell at me if I didn’t put out for him, and then wonder why I was never really “into it” when I did give in. To him, sex was love, and that was ultimately the demise of our relationship-that and his overall narcissism. To me, sex was an expected chore and a duty, in order to stay in his life. In some ways, he gave me more power than I could handle, and in many ways, he used his powers of persuasion and coercion to make me feel dirty and useless. Either way, our sex life was far from healthy. We were simply sexually incompatible. I was a master at faking and powering through, just to make him happy, and to make him leave me alone for a while.
I was married for over 20 years, previous to my last toxic relationship. We both had sexual restrictions, for various reasons, but we felt at ease around one another naked. He had a crazy and wild life before I came along, and I had a terrifying life of sexual aggression and assault. We found ways to work together, but there was always an underlying, unspoken awkwardness between us. Neither of us could put our finger on why we were sexually nonviable.We went through the motions and had a great relationship otherwise, but I assumed he didn’t love me, because of our sexual oddities. Thinking back now, I believe if we would have sought help, we probably could have made it work. I just wasn’t in a mental capacity to talk it through. I honestly don’t think he was either. We built our 23 years of life together, based on a “few times a year” sex life. In the end, it wasn’t the lack of sex that divided us, at least that’s not what we blamed it on.
The Joy of Sex
I met my match last year. The man I share my life with, and intend to marry, is my sexually compatible best friend.
It has been wild ride to say the least.
When I say “wild”, it has nothing to do with our sexual activities. I will say, however, that this man has changed the way I see intimacy, love, and sexual pleasure. There is no faking it with him. There is no powering through the torture and dirtiness of it all. It is simply pleasurable, every time.
We don’t have sex because of love, and we don’t love each other because of our sexual moments. There is no expectation of one another, no implications, and no conditions. Sex is not classified as a duty for either of us, and it is something that we both enjoy with full respect for one another. We can take it or leave it, and still be completely enamored with one another. He turns me on by hugging me and looking into my eyes, yet I don’t feel any pressures to put out for him, when he wants it. We read each other well, and when one of us wants to engage in intimacy, while the other is too tired, it’s OKAY. We still love each other with ll of our heart and soul.
Sex doesn’t have to happen in order to prove anything to one another. It is a fun, loving, wonderful connection that we make, yet we can still connect equally by cuddling or playing a card game. It is a wonderful, freeing, and satisfying feeling that makes me want to be more intimate and gives me more sex drive. My libido, even during menopause is in great form, and everything feels better than it has in years.
This is all because I have a partner who views sex the same way I do. We both have our own inhibitions, yet we have the desire to wok on them together. We are both slightly timid, yet together, our shyness seems to fade away. It is an amazing experience to be with someone who doesn’t expect sex as part of ut love, yet he appreciates it, every single time.
We are both older, in our 50’s. We have known each other since I was 11 and he was 16, when we were shy, scared, kids. We have a long history and an exciting future. Sex doesn’t change that. It adds a certain condiment to our life together, but it will never make or break what we have together. Without it we would still love one another, to the end of time. But, we both LOVE our sex life!
There is this underlying, unspoken understanding that we share mutually, about sex. We never fell in love because of a romp in the sheets, and we never slept together until we were already head over heels in love. It is an added bonus that we are physically attracted to one another, and that we share an amazingly intimate life together.
And we BOTH understand that sex isn’t love, and love isn’t sex.