All my life, I was taught to “be nice.”
Many times this meant biting my tongue, withholding what I really wanted to say or not expressing how I really felt.
Where did being nice get me?
It got me doing a lot of things I didn’t really want to be doing. It got me telling untruths to make others feel better, and simultaneously made me feel bad for avoid saying what they probably really needed to know, instead saying what they wanted to hear.
In my mind, I was either protecting them from something that would hurt them or protecting myself from the outcome I assumed would take place.
I recently realized just how often and how pervasively this pattern of being nice showed up in my life. I began to wonder: What would my life look like if I began to tell the truth? Not only to others, but also to myself?
Here is my truth:
I recently got out of a long-term relationship. I know I’m not ready to be in a committed relationship in which I give someone my heart. It’s just too soon. I’m also clear that I don’t want a rebound relationship.
My next boyfriend will be my boyfriend because I intend to have a committed relationship with him. I am not interested in hurting someone by using them and letting them think I want or am capable of having a “real” relationship right now. Because today, right now, I’m not there.
My truth is also that I am a woman with sexual needs and desires.
For the past few months, those have lain dormant while I worked through the devastation of the breakup. Then, roughly a month ago, the sexual aspect inside of me woke up. With a vengeance. She was ready to go, ready to make up for lost time. That’s right, she was ready for Spartan Sex.
[Spartan Sex is raw, uninhibited, wild sex with a man who isn’t afraid to throw me over his shoulder and take me, in much the way I imagine Vikings (or Spartans, whichever) took women in the villages they plundered. Spartan Sex is not about being in control or knowing what to do or making something happen. It’s about something happening to you in that wonderful way that certain men have when it comes to sex.]
So, I was ready to find myself a Spartan. But how was I going to do that, since I didn’t want a boyfriend? I didn’t want just some random stranger. Did I just start asking around for it? What were people going to think about me? Would they label me a slut? Ugh, that was all I needed.
This was new territory for me. I wanted something, but I wasn’t exactly sure about how to get it. So what did I do? What comes most naturally to me: I started talking. I started telling my friends I wanted Spartan Sex, and that I wanted to find a Spartan. I let go of what others would think about me and embraced my truth for what it was. I was willing to accept myself for who I was right then, in that present moment.
I found that when I did so, what people would think about me no longer mattered.
This is what was so: I wanted to find someone with whom I could have great sex. You know the kind I’m talking about, where you kiss this person and it’s like nothing else in the world exists, where you’re not predicting what the next move will be because it just happens.
The sex I was looking for was not the kind in which you play the part, but where you just are the part. The sex where thinking stops, and instead it’s all being and doing and passion and connection.
It’s funny how quickly things appear when you’re clear about what you want. I find they come even faster when I communicate them with intention. Within one week of my imagining and creating this relationship that sounded impossible, the darn thing landed in my lap.
OK, he didn’t literally land in my lap, but it was close to that. One evening on our walk back to my car (we were acquaintances already), he asked if I was serious about the type of relationship I wanted—I had shared my desire for Spartan Sex with him and another friend.
When I said yes, he put his hand on my waist, turned me towards him, leaned down and gave me one of the most passionate kisses I’ve ever received. It felt like one of those kisses that you know was meant to be; the kind that feel like they go on for hours, where their style matches yours exactly, and you never want it to end.
We never made it to my car. We did make it to his place, which was around the corner.
But on the walk to his place, my internal mind chatter started to chime in. Did I really want this? Was this really about to happen? Did I want this guy to be my Spartan? Could he even be a Spartan? What if the sex was really bad? Then what? What if he hated my breasts, which sag when I take my bra off? Yes, all of that was really there on our walk. And don’t tell me you wouldn’t be thinking your own version of these things. We all do it!
Then he blurted out, “I have to be honest—I’m a little nervous.” My eyes widened; I was surprised and also inspired by his honesty. I wanted to be honest, too. “I’m convinced when I take my bra off, you’ll be turned off,” I replied.
Did I just say that?
Yes, I did, and I felt relieved. It was as if once I said it, all the stress about it left my body. More importantly, in those few statements we set the tone for a relationship I could have never anticipated. After we shared our anxiety, he picked me up, I wrapped my legs around him, and we kissed again. God, this guy could kiss! And yes, the kissing led to sex. Spartan Sex. And as it turned out, the best sex I’d ever had.
The conversation after we were finished was like none I had ever had before. We actually said what we really wanted to say, not what we thought we were supposed to. This was a new concept for me. We began to talk, but everything said was what we really thought or felt.
We weren’t “nice.” We were honest.
We shared our first impressions of each other—neither of which were good! We shared that we both really loved what had just happened, but neither of us wanted to date the other. Since we were on the topic of truth, I also threw this one out there, which was a huge risk for me: “That was awesome. I want us to continue to do this.”
I was afraid he would say no. He didn’t. In fact, he was on my page, and by the time the night ended, we agreed this wouldn’t be the last time we saw each other “that way.”
It was very late. It was obvious we were very tired; we were both falling asleep. He turned to me, asking whether I wanted to sleep over. Crap—I knew I didn’t. I like to sleep in my own bed. I considered being nice, but again, chose truth.
“Actually,” I said, “I prefer sleeping in my own bed. But I’ll sleep over if you want me to,” I added, then paused. “Do you want me to?” I asked. “No,” he said, “I also prefer to sleep alone. But you looked tired, so I wanted you to feel OK if you wanted to.”
Well, look at that. By telling the truth, we both got what we wanted, rather than something we both would have been uncomfortable with. This whole speaking my mind thing was really starting to look good.
Thus began how we’ve been operating in our non-relationship relationship ever since. What started as me just looking for someone to have sex with turned into something much more meaningful.
I have gotten a person I fully trust. I know he’ll tell me whatever he’s feeling, whether I deem it good or bad—and I can do the same with him. We have created a safe haven where both of us can share what we feel. We talk a lot. In fact, we talk for hours on end. I love this about us.
As of late, he is also the person I’ve been going to when I have something to work out in my life. I know he will allow me to explore myself, guide me to my own solution and do so with honesty and integrity. This man allows me to be me—whatever that may look like. He enjoys seeing me living my truth, and if I don’t know what exactly that is, he is there with me to unearth it.
Just a few short months ago, I was simply looking for someone to have sex with—I just wanted a Spartan. I got more than I could have ever imagined.
I’m having the best sex I’ve ever had with someone that is quickly becoming a very good friend and with whom I can be 100 percent honest. While I now sleep over from time to time, I still don’t want to be his girlfriend and he doesn’t want to be my boyfriend. We’re both OK with that. Because we’re not”‘nice;” we’re real.
What is really true for him? What is really true for me? Whatever it is, we can be certain that we will share it. Our interactions don’t consist of what we should say or how we should feel, but what is actually so. And that is a huge turn-on in more than just the sexual sense.
In short, at the age of 38 I am learning one of the most profound life lessons I ever have: that for me, there is nothing sexier than being honest.
Sandy Rosenblatt graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in health and human development (family studies) and a minor in women studies. She also serves as Executive Director of an assisted living home, overseeing care and treatment for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Sandy is an adventure junkie with a soft-but no-nonsense coaching style, who drives her students to improve themselves even when their own insecurities are holding them back. When coaching, she applies “a strong hand in a velvet glove.”
Editor: Cassandra Smith