I can’t tell you how to live your life or what to think, but I can share with you what I have learned and what has helped me in my life.
I am a sex therapist. I consider myself to be predominantly hetero-sexual, but I am open to whatever feeling possess me on any given day because I also believe that sexuality is fluid, in that in changes and that our sexuality lay on a continuum, with hetero-sexuality being on one extreme, and homo-sexuality being on the opposite extreme. Most people fall somewhere in between. We are conditioned along the way, mostly to become hetero-sexual, although some people who have a pull towards the homosexual end of the continuum will have more difficulty falling into this type of conditioning.
I believe we are conditioned to believe in love, romance and marriage. Sure, I believe there is a human condition of being drawn to someone for their sex appeal, chemistry, intellect, beauty, ambition, sensitivity, tenderness and whatever else draws us to each other, but I do strongly feel we are highly conditioned from the minute we are born to subscribe to this notion that there is one person for everyone. Thus, we are always looking for the one.
Okay, with that said, I understand we have to live in this society. The way it has been created, the way it has been conditioned. It is much easier to get on in a society where we are accepted, where we fit in. Being part of a couple gives us that, a place where we belong, despite what is happening in the big scary world out there, we have a home in someone’s heart. Do you see what just happened? What I just said? This prescribed couple-hood gives us a home from the rest of the scary world, where everyone else is coupled up.
We are taught to believe in the notion of the nuclear family: a father, a mother, and the children. These are your family, the ones who will be there when everything else falls apart.
Do you see what I am saying? All of this notions breed fear. If people are coupled up, and creating family units, which separate them from the rest of the world, then we begin to segregate, isolate, and the need to belong to a unit becomes greater for everyone in the world. The message: without a partner we can’t have a family, and without a family you are nothing, alone in this world, left to fend for yourself. What people forget is how much loneliness or as I like to call it alone-ness is a normal and healthy part of the human condition. We shouldn’t fear it, yet, from the moment we are born we do.
Every single day, people come into my office filled with sadness, fear, confusion and desire. Married and lonely, coupled up with children but still feeling lost, confused, and of course sexually frustrated, or single and wondering what is wrong with them. We are constantly trying so hard to fit in, to hold on to the things we have built, with the ones we love, desperation has set in. Society tells us these are the things that should make us happy, yet something is amiss. We are afraid of being alone, we are tired and angry at our loved ones, and yes, we’re still horny. We feel pressure to make more money, to be sexual, to be this, to be that that somewhere along the way we have completely lost ourselves. Does love really exist? Sure it does. But the confines of love are something we have learned, and it's creating a mess of the human condition.
Marriage is beautiful. As my friend said when I asked her about newly married life, “Hearts still beat the same.” Beautiful. Yes, our hearts still beat the same. But what so often happens are that the expectations set in. The expectation that your partner will be everything for you, will fulfill every need has somehow been spoon fed to us for so long, we actually believe this ridiculous notion can be true. We expect our partners to change, to conform like we did, to walk that straight and narrow, to do this, to do that, and we put pressure, we hold on too tight, we get angry, frustrated, we yell, we fight, but the one thing we don’t do is let people be who they really are, and who they need to be. And in so doing we don’t let ourselves be who we are.
We put ideals on marriage, such as monogamy, and expect that the reality is that we will live happily ever after, and never desire another person. We have bought a bill of goods and we want something slightly better that what happened for our parents, because our parents either fought all the time, stopped having sex long ago, or got divorced. Hello. Reality check. Do we constantly still believe that our parents didn’t know something that we did? No. They walked the same line we are walking now. Yes, history is repeating itself. Except, now we think because we’re more open minded about same sex relationships and polyamory that we should love better, and have more romance, and be more sexual than they were. Hah! Guess again.
I hate writing this cynical stuff, but the bottom line is we have to change our mind, and change our way of thinking in order to open our lives and get the love we want. We have to have love for others, in order to have love for ourselves. We need to be okay with being completely alone and to recognize it is the human condition, and not only is it okay, it is beautiful. I don’t care if you get married and subscribe to a monogamous lifestyle. If you love someone, do it with all your heart, but what does that really mean? It means let them be who they need to be, and you be you.
Here’s the bigger picture, if we ban same sex marriage, if we frown on polygamy, prostitution, we close our minds, we don’t let people be themselves and we create more suffering for the human condition. Also, we don’t let ourselves grow, expand, fly.
It’s up to you really. If you don’t feel stuck or frustrated, you’re doing really good, and there are many of you out there who have figured this out. I am not talking about being comfortable in a stable monogamous relationship, but if that is working for you, yay! I applaud you. But a monogamous relationship can be beautiful and not be stable and comfortable. This just means you are growing. So, if something is not right then ask yourself, what are you really doing? Why are you doing it? What bill of goods have you bought into that in the end is a bunch of lies that may work for someone else but doesn’t work for you?
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