Perhaps I should introduce myself and how I ended up on this path. I am a single mother approaching 40 and after many passion cycles, long periods of sexless loving, breaking up with generally wonderful people, going through the subsequent confusion and pain, and ending up with a child (no, I don't regret that!) and an ever expanding 'what I want in a new partner list', I felt dumbfounded. These past couple of years I have poured through way too many relationship books trying to figure out how a normally healthy, compassionate, mindful, intelligent, sexy (by some criteria), open-minded human being just can't seem to get this long-term sexually intimate relationship thing to last! I then read Sex Before Dawn and The Ethical Slut and was pretty much ready to give up on monogamy completely until I finally stumbled across Cupid's Poisoned Arrow.
I've read it from cover to cover and now I'm hooked...on the idea that is. Reading the book was like reading the story of all my relationships. I have truly been caught in the passion cycle my entire life, and until my most recent relationship, I would say all of my partners were just as caught in it as I was. Our sexual energies always started in the same place - intensely passionate desire and we just went for what we knew and wanted (great orgasms) until it broke down (within a few months to a year).
My most recent relationship (I'll call him X) was different. He was the first person I met who sincerely wanted to move slowly (which I wanted, but had no idea how), who had a 'guttural' instinct that being friends was where he wanted to be (regardless of his attraction to me), and who repeatedly said that sex would mess us up (although couldn't really explain why. Now I think it's that amygdala memory thing from all the relationship break-ups he's been through as well). But I, being intensely horny, (and ironically very turned on by a man wanting to be friends and withholding sex!) regretfully pushed for the sex and got what I wanted. X was right, although the sex was fantastic by my standards, it was short lived and it messed us up. We're no longer having sex and are still working on rebuilding the trust and the friendship. I hadn't read 'the book' yet.
At the time of meeting X, I had been practicing solo tantra masturbation and having daily, sometimes multiple orgasms that were, I felt, 'driving me crazy'. After about a month of seeing him, I was so aroused by his withholding sex that I was even having orgasms in very awkward places just thinking about him. I've never 'needed' porn, although I've watched it a little, but I did 'need' to come home in the middle of the day just to masturbate cause the arousal was painful.
Since reading 'the book' 2 months ago, I have stopped masturbating completely which has helped me shift my moods and sense of 'need' or neediness when it comes to sex. Although I was really wanting to be close friends with X after we stopped having sex, I found it extremely painful to even to be around him, that is, until I started seeing my behaviours from a neuroscience perspective and at the same time stopping masturbating. After a couple weeks, I started to feel comfortable around him, could see more of his flaws (he was god to me before!) and at the same time feel a much deeper love towards him. I am now very clear in my own head about my boundaries and no longer feel like I want something from him (except closeness).
Furthermore, I find myself being more giving with him and others, and am suddenly seeing the possibility of love and intimacy in many people around me and yet not feeling a desperate search for it. Seeing my past behaviours in relationships through this lense is also allowing me to see my past 'mistakes' as kindof comical, rather than being angry with myself for getting into and staying in unhealthy dynamics.
So in terms of relationships, I feel like I'm in a better space, but now that I am seeing the real potential that a sexually intimate relationship with bonding-based sex could possibly mean a life-long relationship, I'm finding myself thinking much more critically at how a new partner would fit into my family life. I haven't ruled out X (unless he's ruled me out). I wonder about even trying the exchanges until I find someone who is ready to make the full commitment to living with me, which also means making a commitment to being in my child's life.
Thus, the questions I've posted for this blog.