What should you do when you need intimacy to enjoy sex, but there’s no promise of intimacy in sight?
You are a woman who loves sex. You live for those ecstatic energy exchanges. Sex grounds you, nourishes you, liberates you and sustains you. Sex reminds you of who and what you are: a warm-blooded animal being whose radiant, capable body holds the answers to all its own questions. But perhaps your inner goddess only feels comfortable emerging under the right conditions. Perhaps, like me, you’re a woman whose body needs trust and intimacy to open sexually.
It seems that my heart, my mind and my genitals are inextricably connected. Sex, for me, is a deeply emotional experience. I need to feel safe with a partner in order for the juices to flow. I recently came across an all-too-apt Simone de Beauvior quote: “Sex pleasure in women is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon; if words or movements oppose the magic of caresses, the spell is broken.” Cheers.
If I’m going to be physically intimate with a man—if I’m going to allow him to see me at the peak of my vulnerability—I first want to know his last name, what he’s afraid of, where he grew up, how many siblings he has and what his relationship with his mother is like. I want to know that he’s going to stick around to snuggle and eat breakfast with me the following morning.
There seems to be a stigma attached to this attitude. Society used to think of women who didn’t need intimacy to enjoy sex as “tramps” or psychologically demented nymphomaniacs. In today’s society, women are encouraged to take full advantage of their relatively newfound “sexual freedom.” The paradigm-pendulum seems to have swung to the opposite pole: women who require intimacy to enjoy sex are sometimes labeled “uptight,” “needy” or “overly emotional.”
The truth is everyone is built differently. Tune into your intuition’s cues and you’ll rarely go wrong. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing and delighting in lust for lust’s sake if that’s what your heart and body crave. By the same token, if you fully enjoy sex only within the context of an intimate relationship, it will behoove you—perhaps even heal you—to accept and embrace this reality.
All this being said, let’s get down to brass tacks: the subject of plain, no-frills, animal release and its practical necessity. Frankly put, our bodies need sex. Although I can steadily rely on my right hand and my trusty vibrator to drive my corporeal desires home, masturbation isn’t an equal substitute for sex with another human being. There’s nothing like skin on warm skin, nothing like feeling your own pulse twitch against someone else’s body to remind you that you are, in fact, here (I am seen; therefore, I am). And yet, casual sex is not a viable option for me, considering its impact on my emotional health.
Like many women, I have a history of “acting out” when I don’t feel seen. When I can’t figure out a way to give my authentic sensuality the expression it needs and deserves (which—let’s face it—rides on the presence and participation of another person), I tend to seek male attention in ways that aren’t true to who I am or what I want. These frantic, unsavory attempts to temper my loneliness consistently backfire. They don’t quell my loneliness, they deepen it, leaving me feeling like a hollow tin doll.
If you’re a woman who needs sex to feel balanced and completely embodied—who also needs intimacy to enjoy sex—what are you to do when there’s no promise of intimacy in sight? Where do you turn when you’ve searched high and low, and still can’t find someone worthwhile to open your heart to? Where do you put that blazing abundance of energy? How do you channel it responsibly?
I’d love to hear your answers.
Jeanette Geraci wears her big, mushy heart on her sleeve. She’s always had a penchant for boundary-pushing, a drive to play on some of life’s darker edges and a burning desire to seek and speak truth. Among other things, she’s a yogi, a belly dancer and a serious dance club enthusiast. Her poetry and literary non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications. You can find her on Facebook or take a gander at some of her musings at Jeanette-ic Disorder.
Editor: Alisha Kay Bull