Relief, that’s what we should be feeling. Getting over the fear, past the shock. Yes, you are a sexual creature : enjoy. It’s time to stop behaving as if every sexual engagement is still a matter of life and death. We are the fortunate fornicators -the new model humans. Put the inconveniences of morality to one side for a moment (something we’re all very skilled at doing) and accept that sexual indulgence ain’t what it used to be. Sexual indulgence has been civilised. It’s much easier to find, better understood, relatively unlikely to to kill you and a lot more sophisticated than you think.
This kind of progress is what humans do best. We have an amazing ability to convert our survival instincts into social activities. The hunt for food became target shooting on its way to the x-box ; outrunning the wolf inspired an Olympiad, the Epsom Derby and the Grand Prix. The primal urges to chase, mount and fuck were choreographed into complex rituals of seduction that led us inexorably towards – well, what exactly?
Not, perhaps, a guiltless Eden of unlimited, uncomplicated sexual pleasure. But let’s not pretend we’re stuck in a collective rut, if you’ll pardon the pun. You already know you are one of the lucky ones. Every item on your your twenty-first century menu comes with a side order of sex. In the world of informed consent, no good idea goes unpunished. Only your compulsion is compulsory, however tightly you may be roped, bound and gagged. The force that binds you is your will joined with a will beyond your own. Pleasure does not inhabit a whip or a boot, but the space between yourself and the source of your desire.
But here’s the rub. Desire remains the hook on which our hopes get hung. And drawn and quartered, if you’re not careful. It’s a pain in the neck conundrum. We are hard-wired for judgement: to observe, approve and possess. Check out the talent, select the winners, pick and choose, we can’t help it, we just do it, unthinking. Until the thinking begins. Where might this desire lead? What changes might happen? If…
Like infants we tremble in the face of change. Lying awake in the dark we hear the ticking peg-leg of fear that hops in the footprints of courage. Which is a bit weird, considering how little most people have to lose by expressing their honest desires. Singletons should never fear rejection, because rejection is just the truth train arriving early. If the object of your desire is uninterested, move on. For people in relationships, however, the subject of desire is more often an issue. The fear that an honest expression of your desire might torpedo the relationship you already have. Afraid because you believe the nature of your desire is itself problematic (darling, how would you feel if I / you / we / he / her / them / that / this / in the conservatory with the candlestick…) But if your relationship cannot survive an honest conversation about sexual desire, you are effectively amputating your libido. Common enough behaviour -among primitive tribes, religious maniacs and poor people who got lucky with a rich partner. Not, however, a recipe for those in search of the sexual satisfaction that seems to be central to human happiness.
Because asking for it, whatever it is, will set you free. Free of the ache from a long-buried wish. Free of the living, breathing lie. Perhaps only free of the tie on your tongue, which is, I believe, the most wicked bond. Freedom isn’t measured in kilos or litres. Take all you can get, in any measure.
My woman lived many long years in the shadow of desire imagined but not embraced. It was our good fortune that she found the courage -eventually- to ask for what she wanted. There was only ever going to be one answer.