Monday, 2 May 2016

Love Is A Drug, Not a Therapy

I've been going through the “Chastity Blues”. This is a few days when, in the hectic pace of my life, for some strange reason, I mind that I’m not enjoying intimacy with another human being getting laid. I’d be lying if I said “it doesn’t bother me”, but most of the time I don’t notice it. This is because I’m a bachelor and I live alone. No woman has ever cluttered my wardrobe.

So I did what I do when this sort of thing strikes, and after that, I went looking for kindred spirits on the Internet. And came across this old post on Average Married Dad

The post begins by referencing M3’s famous Confessions of a Reformed Incel post, and summarised...
For most men this is what it boils down to from his post: It’s not just about ‘sex’. (well, for me anyways) It’s about the connection sex implies. Of being wanted, desired, to be loved both mentally and physically, to be validated, to share, to connect, feel alive, be human. His post breaks this down to the point that the lack of this basic need led him to be suicidal. He’s a single guy, but the need for affection and, yes, sex is something that is born in our very DNA. Single, gay, married, straight… we need this bond, especially with someone who we love, to feel like a man. When it doesn’t occur, or occurs only enough to keep the marital hounds at bay, it haunts us and becomes a depressing focal point for a depressing life. For men, there’s sometimes only a pencil thin line separating love and sex. Sex is both a biological need and a way for us to express our love. If we don’t have sex with our lives, the love we feel starts to erode. Sometimes men can deal with the scraps they’re given, but even if they do, resentment can build and eat away like a cancer.

Okay. Stand back, but...

It's not the lack of sex that makes his love erode, it's being in a relationship with a woman who desires him so little she doesn't want to have sex with him, and gives so little of a shit about him, she can't be bothered to fake it. The resentment he's feeling is towards himself, for not leaving and changing the locks on his way out the door.

I admire M3’s post as much as anyone. I found it liberating to read someone being honest about the pain, anger and resentment bred by long-term chastity in one’s twenties. But. The problem isn’t that M3 and I didn’t get much sex: it was that we thought sex would give us some relief from the empty, corrosive feelings we had about ourselves and life. Sex is the wrong drug for the problem.

In the same way that a child can grow up physically diminished by too little food (or for that matter, overweight and flabby from too much junk food) they can grow up emotionally diminished and needy because they didn’t get the support, hugs, guidance, discipline and affection they needed when they needed it. If that happens, just as no adult diet can add the three inches a kid missed because they didn’t get enough calcium to grow bones (or whatever), no amount of affection, sex, cuddles and assurances at age thirty can make up for what was missed at age ten.

That’s what happened to me, and I guess to M3 as well. Anyone walking around with that big empty space inside them (if you have to ask, you don’t have it) will look for ways to fill it up, but nothing can, and certainly not sex. Sex does what it does, and what it does is drugs. Sex doesn’t bond anybody: the oxytocin it sometimes releases in some people make them feel as if they have bonded. It has no effect on the other person, who may just be glad that all that uckiness is over.

You want bonding, get some Superglue. Sex has nothing to do with connections, being desired, validation, sharing, feeling alive, being human or any other damn thing. That’s the Protestant work ethic talking through pop-therapy books, telling you why sex is productive and has a proper place in a good worker’s life. If you want or need any of those things, someone didn’t feed you right when you were growing up, and you’re still feeling the resulting emotional starvation.

You want to feel human? Well, are you feeling sad, frustrated, angry, depressed, bored, pissed off or disappointed? Welcome to the human condition.
You want to feel alive? Take a day off and go to the coast.
You want to connect? What are you? A plug?
You want to share? Share some of your money with the next waiter who gives you good service.
You want to be validated? What are you? A parking ticket? What does it even mean?
You want to be wanted? Heck, these days you couldn’t be wanted if you committed a crime. The police would have to give a damn, and they don’t.
You want to be desired? Lose that flab and gain some muscle. Also take a shower. And get a job. Lose the tracksuit and wear proper clothes.

A man who needs to have sex to feel like a man is, well, how can I put this kindly? What would you think of someone who said “'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man / When I put a spike into my vein”?(*) Thought so.

It’s not a good idea for a man to explain how sex makes him feel, and how its lack makes him feel. For one thing, she already knows or she wouldn’t be withholding it. For another, if she really doesn’t, she just won’t understand the words he is using, because clearly she has no experience of sexual desire to relate to. But mostly it’s a bad idea because it makes her responsible for how he feels, and that’s deeply unattractive to her: she needs to know she can emote all over the place and it will not affect him, and he will provide the grown-up stability she needs. Those relaxed cocky guys are getting laid because they are cocky and relaxed, not vice versa. Also, if wifey turns off the tap, they have no compunction about getting their needs met somewhere else, which is why wifey never turns off the tap. This is basic stuff.

Sex can be as good a way to pass an afternoon as anything else, but that’s what it is: it’s entertainment. It’s not therapy and it’s not relationship management and it’s not a trade-off for getting the rent paid. All those other feelings you have are caused by drugs and are yours alone. Just because the drugs are natural doesn’t make them any less drugs. Treat oxytocin like any other drug: enjoy the high, but recognise that it’s not telling you anything about you, her, the both of you together, or the real world.

(*) Lyrics courtesy of The Velvet Underground’s Heroin

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