Exes and Razor Blades

April 10, 2017

Last night I had a dream that involved my first “real” ex-girlfriend. We were together in the dream, or at least living together. I told her things about our relationship “then” (at the “time” of the dream) that would apply to anyone who would be my mate now.

After I woke up, I wondered if she was a symbol of “The Female” in ALL of my past relationships…and if my words to her in the dream were meant to express (to my conscious self) my attitude now.

My real-life relationship with her began a very long process of extracting out of myself an inner brokenness that attracted me to females who personified something lost in me, a battle not won, a love not attained. It was like other romances (both before and since) that brought angst instead of love–dysfunction and demands, incessant emotional vitriol and high sexual energy.

I thought about contacting her today. “Hey, I had a dream about you last night. Is everything OK?” And I didn’t. There’s no reason to.

——–

I wondered today if my dream applies somehow to a more recent ex, or if it even could. But I don’t believe it could. Being in a romantic relationship is like giving your partner a razor blade and letting him or her shave your throat. When you give someone a razor so she can shave you, and halfway through the shave she tries to cut your throat, you don’t want her to “shave” you again.

Short of cutting your throat, even ranting and raving at the sky and waving the razor wildly in the air while you rest your head in front of her is plenty of reason to end the shave (and be reluctant to repeat the experience). Similarly, holding the razor to your throat and “only threatening” to cut it is sort of a deal-breaking incident…even if the rest of the shave was just fine.

I’ve had all of these figurative experiences in romantic relationships.

One ex showed me repeatedly that she can’t be trusted near my neck even with a letter-opener. After a couple of botched shaving experiences with her, I figured we could start again with that and work our way up–first a letter-opener, then a small pocketknife, then maybe a bigger one, and eventually back up to a razor–but every time I was proven wrong.

If you can’t trust someone to shave you without cutting your throat (especially on purpose, but even by accident), that person can’t be your mate. Or am I missing something? Is there value in just giving someone a razor and letting them cut your throat?

——–

Recently, in the absence of both relationship drama and the angst of the pursuit of romantic love, I’ve turned more towards broader ideas about “truth, justice, and the American way” (to quote Superman) or “the nooks and crannies of life and the human experience” (to quote myself).

And I spend time with my kids. And I work. And I write, when I can, about things that I’ve learned in these 42-plus years of living.

What matters most is what matters most, and I’ve learned that what matters most is learning and knowing myself. Romantic relationships, more than any other experience, have taught me this, and they also have brought me my life’s greatest joys: human connection, self-knowledge, the ability to express it in words…and my children.

For that, I am grateful for the romances in my past, whether or not I have one in the future–but I’ve also learned that I can shave my own throat just fine. Or I can keep my beard.

Advertisements

Why We Have Sex

September 16, 2011
There is only one distinction between humans great enough to divide us into two distinct groups: we are male and female.  Ultimately, we are male and female for many reasons—not just for making kids.
Most adults either have or are looking for a companion of the other sex. Such a mate can make our life experience more enjoyable and fulfilling, even though we often have more thoughts, feelings, interests, and activities in common with same-sex companions.

Some couples don’t want or plan to have children together, though, and yet they stay together.  That’s because there’s another facet to sex besides procreation and pleasure, which I think is even more important than either of these. We long for closeness with another person, and we want that other person to allow us to be that close to them.

Every human ultimately wants to be and feel accepted by another. The ultimate acceptance is to agree to join your body (and deeper parts as well) together with another person’s through the sexual act. When you have sex with someone, you say in a physical (and deeper) way, “I accept you.”

(This is true especially for females, who actually invite their partner into their bodies.)

Our genitals are very near our center of mass, the tanden in Japanese, which is located just below our belly buttons. A woman’s uterus is her body’s center of gravity. Maybe that’s why she typically feels a deeper connection than the man does when she has sex: the male literally touches the center of her.

There’s a reason why our genitals aren’t on our heads, or buttocks, or feet. When a man and woman copulate in the missionary position (or its variants), their tandens are pressed together. Their bodies are as close as they can be, and they share the same center of mass.

They are as close to being a single body as humans can get.

In this position, their bodies are mirrors of each other: eyes to eyes, mouth to mouth, pelvis to pelvis. This closeness (physical intimacy) is why our genitals are near our tandens, and it’s one reason why we desire other-sex companionship, even briefly.

It’s also why neither males nor females can have this same level and kind of intimacy with a same-sex partner. Other sexual positions and acts are less intimate than the male-female (vaginal) missionary position, and other bodily configurations don’t offer the same potential for physical—and thus emotional—closeness.

A true other-sex companion isn’t only an intimate sexual partner. The mate we seek also has some of the qualities of our same-sex friends: we share many of the same thoughts, feelings, interests, and activities. Sexual intimacy isn’t enough to have a fulfilling mate if we don’t share the rest, too.

Of course, it’s still important for both males and females to have same-sex companions. With them, we can share a mental and emotional connection that can be hard to find in the other sex. But having a partner who connects with you in other ways, too, is one of life’s great joys.

(Written in 2005 and freshly edited on December 19, 2016.)


%d bloggers like this: