Dear Baroness, The number of my sexual encounters has risen exponentially . . .
Over the last decade, the number of my sexual encounters has risen exponentially. As my journey led me from one adventure to the other, from the normal to the abnormal, I realized that I’ve become emotionally colder and my heightened sexual desires and expectations might reflect negatively on my potential partners. I fear that I will become unable to fully enjoy the moment and thus destroy serious love at some point. What can I do to escape this vicious cycle?
A few things struck me in your letter. You mention abnormal and normal. I’m curious about these terms. I think we as a society like to label things and people and actions. One could argue the (sexual) things that would be considered ‘normal’ would be monogamy, one man and one woman involved, (though, of course I would hope we all agree by now that two men together or two women together is also ‘normal’) missionary position sex, in bed. Though there are certainly myriad other things within the realm of what one would deem ‘normal’, this is a start.
Things that may be seen as ‘abnormal’ in the eyes of the world would be anything from BDSM, sex in public, rubber or latex fetishes, polygamy, swinging, foot fetishes, voyeurism, and so on.
I would caution the use of these terms for us all. Because for those who are engaged in these ‘abnormal’ activities, they are completely normal. And when we label others, we risk marginalizing them and this is one way hatred and bigotry spreads.
Personally, I think those who act upon their kinks (responsibly) and know what turns them on and go for it are far braver than most. Everyone has a dark side, it’s just that most are afraid of owning it, of acting upon it, for fear of judgement and even retribution. So what we do is label and judge and even persecute those who we deem ‘abnormal’ so we can point the finger and distract the attention away from ourselves and our own perversions.
So let’s say that maybe vanilla, monogamous sex is not turning you on anymore. I get that. It happens. I think internet porn is partially to blame. We become desensitized as we watch and experience more and more extreme and less common acts and scenarios and we crave and need more to get to the same starting and even ending point. It’s an addiction of sorts, and if you are an addictive personality to begin with, it can prove quite dangerous in the end. Nothing and no one is ever enough. When you are not pairing or tempering sex with love, it can be argued that it’s a bit empty.
Kant argued that outside of a monogamous, love relationship, sex was not acceptable or even enjoyable because it treated the other person merely as an object, an instrument to contain one’s wants and desires and not as a partner in the act.
We’re told that intimacy and love are the greatest joys in life and that we should strive to achieve them. There are those of us who have spent our entire lives running away from these things and searching instead for the quicker fix, the momentary connections, the one night stands, the short term flings, the affairs with no strings or commitments, thinking this will make us seem less needy, more independent, and dare I say, more invincible. But I think that when someone who has felt and acted this way throughout their lives really stops to take stock and realizes the inevitable emptiness which surely accompanies this behavior*, the resulting enlightenment and fulfillment from changing their ways may not be so far off. When one becomes vulnerable and open to another person, the greatest connection - far greater than sex even - occurs. (Or so they tell me.)
*This does not mean that people who choose not to be in relationships are missing out on intimacy and love. Some of the happiest and most fulfilled people I know are single by choice and love it. They are not necessarily celibate or have sworn off dating, but they are also not searching for this temporary ego boost, this connection that comes and goes and often leaves you lonelier than before the encounter began. The get their love and intimacy from friends, family, pets, nature, etc ... sounds kind of hokey, I agree. But I’ve heard it’s true. Something to consider.
Darling Mr. Spicy, you asked what you could do. . . I would argue that you are already doing it. Keep fighting the good fight, lay off the porn and maybe get a hobby. I hear War Studies is terribly interesting.
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