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Disembodied Undersider Sex
Dispatch #9

Wanting, Needing, Knowing…

It's the most wonderful time of the year…there's parties for drinking, lovers for loving, lips full of good cheer…it's the most wonderful, it's the most desperate, it's the most depressing time of the year...

The holidays are here again and for some single folk, they bode a low point in their self-esteem. Nothing can be more depressing than a houseful of relatives asking the predictable questions around dating, marriage and children. Of course, the same relatives would be aghast at the idea of you asking them how their sex lives were faring in their golden years. Or if their marriage would survive another holiday debacle like Uncle Morty passing out face down in the punch bowl. Imagine if you were as direct and rude - what kind of evil fun you could have by asking the uncles and aunts, the cousins and old weird family friends if they have resorted to Viagra yet, and if the wife is so dried up they buy KY in bulk.

But holidays aren't necessarily for family bashing. It's just that family brings out the old question of love. When they badger you for details of your "love life", do they mean they want to hear about the great sex you've been having with several different lovers, with whom you clearly have no long-term future? Or do they want detail on the flowery affairs de l'amour that don't really exist in the world of dating? Does the family only want the run down on people you may want to marry? What if you DON'T want to marry, ever? What happens when you are confronted with the idea of couple-hood for the sake of family, fitting in, procreation? Is this love? Or merely conformity?

It is a very difficult to have to face every holiday. On one hand, the idea of love, true love, while holding hand under a big old tree, sipping cider and schnapps is quite lovely. Or at least an interesting proposition that has been programmed in you since discussions of love began long ago in the nursery. But the nursery rhymes also included the foreshadowing of love gone bad in classics like Peter Pumpkin Eater. Remember, put the old lady in a pumpkin and kept her there…?

The family who crowds you for answers, for hope there is a heir somewhere in your loins, is also the same group that bickers over toilet seats, driving speeds, snoring too loud and fucking too little. Their children swarm around you, breaking things, making noise, being abusive to each other and their parents, who coo and chide in the most delicate of voices or bellow and slap like Joan Crawford. Is it their misery they want to share? Join their suffering, so they can relate better?

After being married and a live-in lover, I pretty much understand love and sex in a much different way than the horde that wants life-long commitment and fireworks. Love isn't marriage, co-habitation or passion. Love isn't a situation that evolves out of habit, and love isn't kids, a two-car garage and a mortgage. Love isn't running away or staying true or compromise or becoming one. Pardon my French, but that's just Hallmark bullshit.

And most of all, LOVE IS NOT SEX.

Sex is a beautiful thing, if done well. Sex is a natural function of who we are as beings. We are hardwired to enjoy sexual function. The most nerve endings are clustered in the groin area on both sexes. Between the clitoris, the penis and the anus, there is enough potential for pleasurable sensation in the area its almost impossible, when stimulated properly, NOT to enjoy sex. Men and women both physically react to arousal - engorgement, wetness, pre cum, flushed skin. The possibility of bliss is so very high, so very near. Sex is as much fun as laughing and we don't do either enough.

Somehow, sex became moralized. To have sex with different partners, especially for women, became a sign of "looseness", "whorish" behavior, that endangered the tribe, the egos of tribe members not getting as much sex as they would like, the tracking of lineage. Sex became a subset of love, and within its confines, love is seen as the only way for "civilized" people to interact with each other. In this paradigm, fucking does not exist.

And so, somewhere along the way, we got in our own way. We stopped having regular sex, necessary, wonderful sex, and regulated it only to "long-term" relationships. We buried our sex drive in our morality. It has been suffocating ever since, bursting to the surface as fetish, sexual violence, fundamentalist railing against unholy physical interaction, sexual compulsion and sometimes extremes - pedophilia, necrophilia, paraphilia.

So now sexual behavior that has been considered for a long time promiscuous is becoming more popular. Are we awakening, understanding that physical need is just as important as emotional need? Is "Sex in the City" making it understood that women have sexual drives just as voracious as men's? Are CakeNYC parties spreading the word among the single and beautiful? And while sex is perfectly wonderful as a regular pursuit for women, how are teens translating this new openness, while still not getting decent sex education in school? Are we on a slippery slope, responsible for generations behind us whose parents are a generation ahead of us and still repressed? Or is it their responsibility, the very same parents who don't allow discussion of condoms, safe sex and AIDS in their schools? Should we cross our legs and pretend we don't want sex because we know the kids are watching us? Well, hell, set a good example, dammit - have sex, do it responsibly, and if the kids ask you about it, be honest and open in ways their parents might never be. It takes a village, right? You can share your experience without being creepy, weird or mildly Humbertish.

Meanwhile, love still entangles us in its elusive grasp - we want it, but what really is love? And why does sex make the leap to love easier? You know nothing more about a person after having sex except how they like to be pleasured, how their face looks when they cum, how they move and moan and sweat. Their beliefs, dreams, perspectives on the world are not transferred via some sexual osmosis. Love is not some chemical reaction of fluids intermingling, nor is it some erector set, some physical LEGO, in which parts connect and make you "one", in love. The human body is made to fit with one another, gay or straight, and filled orifices do not equal a fulfilled heart.

Love it me is respect, consideration, communication, connection, understanding and letting another person just be. If you can be, simply be, with another person, where you don't need to fill the air with action or speech or emotion, you may be closer to love than you think. Love is not settling for what you've got, but working toward what you can be, as people separately, and together. Love isn't jealous, angry, selfish, rude, dismissive, cruel, withholding, too busy or too clingy. Love is that state where an understanding is created, where boundaries exist and where encouragement comes freely. Look to your best friend and there you may see an example of healthy love. Can you feel as happy about life without your closest friends? These are people you choose and who choose you to love, not through obligation like family.

True love is true friendship. Celebrate this during the holidays, the people who love you for who you are. Give this gift to yourself. And, of course, keep giving yourself the gift of really great sex. Cheers!

By Melissa Ulto
multo.com 2002

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[email protected] | January 2003 | Issue 34
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