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Women and sex: Changing my views, and realizing the lie we are all told.

April 11, 2013

Some Initial Remarks.

I have been thinking a lot about women lately, and thinking a lot about sex.

I am 40, still single, never been married, and not had a whole lot of sexual experience.

My thinking about sex.. the way I have been thinking about it, is immature. I have been thinking of sex in the way so many people do. Sex is portrayed a certain way in movies.. I don’t mean  porn, just regular movies.. tv shows.. the media in general, and in our conversations.

Living in this American culture, with sex portrayed a certain way, it is easy to have a naive attitude regarding sex.

My Conscience.

Even though I have thought about sex in the context in which it has been portrayed in the media and in much of our society in general, I have always been a person of strong conscience.. overly strong, in fact. I have so often worried about hurting women’s feelings.. even though they agree to do whatever they and I decide to do. What I have done has been fully consensual, and what I have fantasized about doing has been fully consensual. And yet I have worried about the consequences of our actions, and wondering if the women were going to regret later what they had agreed to do with me.

These feelings have not totally stopped me from enjoying sexual pleasure, but have hindered my enjoyment somewhat.. and maybe this is not a bad thing.

Like almost all other men, I have not moved fully beyond perceiving women as sex objects. It is what we men do naturally. We perceive women as sex objects first, and people second.. some men can hardly think of women as actual people, but view them as sexual tools… as having only one function, and that being to satisfy men.

Unlike some men, I have always enjoyed at least some women as people. When I say I like women, I do not just mean sexually, I mean I like them as people too. Yes certainly, there are thousands of women I have lusted after, but those I’ve lusted after who I’ve eventually gotten to know, I have been able to appreciate as people.

Lately, I have been feeling especially bad about perceiving women as sex objects. I have been thinking about this a great deal.

I am arriving at a moral awakening that has been building for sometime.  I will write more on that in a moment, but first I want to address how I, in the past, have coped with sexual need, and have at times avoided feeling strong lust. In the past, I have not needed a moral awakening and new perspective, because I have had ways I naturally avoided dealing with my sexual needs.

How my obsessions have helped me cope with lust.

These past months, I have been dealing with a lot of lust. Through a lot of my past, I have kept lust at bay by being obsessed with other things. This is not something I have consciously chosen to do. Being fixated on other things has been a subconscious effort to avoid thoughts of women, and of suicide, when I have felt severely depressed.. often depressed because I didn’t have a woman in my life.. but depressed for other reasons as well.

I have had obsessions because I’ve long suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder. For many many years, I was obsessed with musical instruments.. reading about them.. almost infinite product research, then eons of time spent shopping for many kinds of instruments online and in stores.. buying the instruments.. slowly paying off the debt I always went into to buy the many many instruments.. and trying for countless hours to learn how to play the instruments.

When I have been in the throes of the musical instrument obsessions, I’ve not experienced as much lust.

Instruments were not the only things I have obsessed about. My other main obsession has been religion. I had a sort of circular obsession. I was a Christian for at least 20 years, so Christianity was at the center, and orbiting around Christianity were my fixations on Paganism, and especially Buddhism. I also would occasionally read about other forms of spirituality.

Here’s how the religious obsessions have gone.. When a time of being obsessed with Buddhism had passed, I became obsessed with Paganism. And back around to Buddhism.. with perhaps a little diversion into Taoism.. But, I always had Christianity in my mind somewhere. When I’d write a post about Buddhism or Paganism, I’d almost always also write about Christianity.

Being obsessed with religion, like being obsessed with musical instruments, kept my mind busy, and less focused on women.

Some months ago, I finally got passed, or at least mostly passed, my obsession with musical instruments. I am still dealing with my religious fixations, and I will write about that later tonight.. perhaps in this post, perhaps in the one to follow..

Even though I am still dealing with religious fixations, the instrument fixation is mostly gone, and now I am having to deal with increased feelings of need for women. And therefore, I’ve been thinking a lot more about women.. dating, sex.. etc.

A dose of reality.

I had put up a profile on a dating site, hoping to meet a woman I could eventually have sex with. I also put an ad on craigslist. That might seem crazy, but there are still plenty of normal folks who look for dates on craigslist. I know, because as recently as last year, I went out with a woman I met on craigslist.. and she was not a prostitute or any sort of deviant.

It was a response to my recent post on craiglist that really got my attention.

A women wrote to me, said she liked what I’d written, and was perhaps interested in meeting me. The thing that caught my attention was that she wrote that she suffered from something I’d never heard of before. She said I should make up my mind about dating her based on her having what I presumed to be a disease.

I looked up the series of initials she wrote down.. not AIDS, not HIV, but something else I do not remember. The initials and the number that went with them turned out to be a form of herpes.

This woman was incredibly kind.. she was honest about her disease. She could have avoided telling me, and we could have become intimate, and I could have been infected with a nasty and incurable sexually transmitted disease.

I was polite in my response. I thanked her for being honest, and said that I wanted to avoid that illness, so I did not have an interest in dating her.  I wrote that I thought she was a good person, and that other women would not have been honest like she was.

If I had not received her letter, I would not have looked up the initials and read about the disease. One site mentioned that the disease is ubiquitous: “present, appearing, or found everywhere,” according to my online dictionary.

And THAT got my attention.

It is only on very very rare occasions that any news media will do a report on STD’s. But lately, whenever there is such a story, the message is the same. STD’s are rampant.

Nobody talks about this regularly. The hook-up culture continues. And I was thinking of being part of this culture.. or rather.. at least being somewhat promiscuous. I would not want to go to a bar once a week or more, and take a different woman home each week. I was looking for someone to be in at least some kind of relationship with for at least .. a few months? Maybe longer… but that is a form of promiscuity. Sex with a different woman every few months is not as bad as sex with a different woman every few days, but it is still not a healthy way to live.

The lie we are all told.

The fact is, we are all being lied to by the media.. by our sitcoms, movies, books, magazines, advertizing, by our culture. On TV and film and in other forms of media, characters have sex with each other with no consequences. It is a very rare film, such as “Juno” or “Knocked Up,” that presents any sort of consequence at all as being a main part of the plot.

Characters in the vast majority of films and TV, even my favorite TV show, “Community,” have sex with each other without a thought, and there are no consequences.

And so this is the way so many of us think about sex, and this is the way so many live.. only to find out that there ARE consequences.

Sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies that result in abortions (and abortions result in death), damaged emotions, kids raised outside of wedlock, often in poverty..

All because so many people have believed the lie.

I have seen the lie for what it is. Even though I certainly still feel a need for sex, I am thinking about it much more seriously now.

Sex, Marriage, Religion.

I am not an expert on any religion, but I have done a lot of reading. I know about Christianity because I was a devout Christian for so long. I know about Buddhism because I have read about various forms of Buddhism.. off and on.. for many years. I know a little about Judaism from studying what Christians call the Old Testament. I know little about Taoism, Islam, and Hinduism, but have spent at least some time reading about these religions.

I do not know about the Taoist view of sex, except for all that business with yin and yang energy that I read about.. so I don’t know how Taoists feel about marriage vs. promiscuity.

All the other religions, as far as I know, teach against promiscuity, and stress the importance of marriage, or at least being in some sort of monogamous relationship. I even encountered this teaching in a service at a Buddhist sangha I attended two years ago.

Why do the big 5 religions.. from oldest to youngest.. Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.. all teach that marriage.. or at least a monogamous long term relationship.. is the right way to live?

Doesn’t that make you think? These religions all teach the importance of sexual fidelity.. of being in a committed relationship.

I am thinking there is likely some reason for this.

I am thinking the ancients figured out the simple truth that sexual promiscuity is unhealthy and dangerous. That is why it is forbidden.

So where does this leave me?

For many many years, I have wanted desperately to be religious. At the time I am writing this post, I have over 260 posts already written, that are still on this blog. The majority of posts are about religion and spirituality. I will eventually delete many of these, because writing about religion and spirituality is an obsessive behavior.. one I am still dealing with.. and a lot of what I wrote in various posts, I had already written in earlier ones. As the wheel of obsessions kept turning, I would write more about Buddhism on some days, more about Paganism on others, and almost always address Christianity.

The conclusion I kept coming to was that I could not live with any religion. I would go through a period of false hope and renewed interest in this or that religion.. I would write more blog entries.. and then my mind would burn out on the subject, and the wheel would spin again. And again.  And I never found peace or became religious.

But even though I am not religious, I can continue to try to live in a sexually responsible and respectful way.

I’ve hid my profile on the dating site, and am allowing my craiglist post to expire.

I will do my best not to lust after the women I see, and instead accept that they are people.

I will try not to fantasize as much, because when I fantasize, I am not being honest about sex.

I will avoid sexually explicit programs, films, and other media.

I’ve been avoiding sexually explicit material for years. I never got into porn except for a very short while  when I was into soft-core porn.. playboy magazines and unrated films. I was absolutely disgusted by what I saw the few times I looked at hardcore pornographic magazines, and so avoided watching any hardcore films.

I’ve always felt that.. to put it one way.. sex is not a spectator sport. It is something do be done.. in private.. with no one watching.. and not to be later discussed in detail (except with one’s partner) or bragged about. I’ve always had that attitude toward sex.

Now.. my attitude toward sex is becoming more mature than what it already was.

I am finally learning.

I do not know what the future will bring for me. I do not know if I will meet a woman sometime soon, and end up having lots of sex, in the context of a committed relationship, or if I will continue to be celibate for many years, as I have mostly been for many years. I do not  know.

What I know is what I have learned in the past, and what I know now.

My attitude toward women and sex has changed. I have seen the lie for what it is.

I have become a more mature man.

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