I feel like I've been obsessed with sex for pretty much my entire adult life.
If I'm not having sex, I'm thinking about it. If I'm not thinking about it, I'm writing about it. I consider myself a fairly well-adjusted person - I have tons of other interests and hobbies outside of my work. So why is sex so important to me? Is it just the human condition? As I sit down to write again today I can't help reflecting on the fact that I've been writing these blogs for almost three years and I STILL haven't run out of ways to talk about 'getting it on'.
When I was a kid I had some funny ideas. I thought that people only used one of their kidneys and kept the other in reserve in case the first one got worn out. I thought that being left-handed meant I only used the right side of my brain (which would have meant a lot of grey matter going to waste!) I also thought that people only had heterosexual intercourse once - when they wanted to make a baby - and the rest of the time they stuck to 'normal person' stuff like watching television and making sandwiches. You can imagine my surprise when I lost my virginity and discovered that the act itself was much more enjoyable than I had imagined!
Our sex-negative culture has fucked up the way we think about intimacy. On one hand it's considered shameful: something one shouldn't do too much...or if you do it a lot, you certainly shouldn't talk about it. This is why it's not considered normal to discuss your love life over dinner with friends - well, not in the sort of detail that would be really educational, anyway! On the other hand, sex is also thought of as trivial, recreational. It's something we indulge in when we should be doing more productive things. Like working. Or watching television. Or making sandwiches.
The shameful/trivial designation is the reason we find it entertaining when pollies are caught with their pants down. It's the reason that hooker jokes in movies are considered funny. And it's the reason Justin Bieber copped so much flak for hanging out with an escort in Mexico. Sex is supposed to be a recreational pursuit with very little practical benefits, and not something to be open or honest about.
I'm continually surprised by how often people - even my clients - see my escorting services as a 'luxury'. I do understand that it's an expensive pursuit, and that for some people it is all about escaping from their regular lives. Being a higher-priced escort does come with a certain 'mystique': we market ourselves a luxury items because it helps justify the expense and also sets the scene for our erotic encounters. However, just as often my clients don't want 'feminine mystique' or indulgent distraction from their lives. What they need is something more...
Getting laid is actually a very non-trivial occurrence. A lot of the people I see have needs that are much more deep and essential than just 'escape' or 'indulgence'. Sometimes they have kinks that need to be seen and validated by another human being, but are too challenging to risk revealing to loved ones. Sometimes they need relief from celibacy, which can occur for any number of reasons (disability, trauma, a terminally ill partner...) Sometimes they need a safe space to work out what they like sexually without being judged or coerced. Even the people that do present to me looking for 'fun' or 'relaxation' often seek connection, that elusive contact with another human being that is so essential for our psychological and physical well-being.
'Special needs' aside, there's another reason sex is so goddamn important. We live most of our lives in a semi-conscious state: we're always thinking about the things we have done or the things we want to do. (This is what Buddha calls the 'monkey mind'.) This lack of focus gets in the way of having an immersive lived experience. You know that feeling when you start daydreaming and totally forget to pay attention to what's going on around you? That's what life is like pretty much most of the time, and time can slip away really fast. Being 'in the moment' is essential if you want to appreciate your life. Humans have used many methods over the centuries to attain a fully present state - meditation, drugs, mindfulness practices. Sometimes simply getting in a state of 'flow' is enough: that feeling you have when you're totally absorbed in something you enjoy.
For me, sex is the easiest (and most fun) way to be present in the moment. When sexual intimacy is working well, thoughts of the past and future drop away and I'm left only with the sensations of my body and my lover's body: the feel of them under my hands, the smell of their skin, the look in their eyes. All of my senses are engaged and everything seems much more intense because I'm only concentrating on what is happening right NOW. This is the time when I truly feel alive, and I don't feel like life is slipping away from me.
For me, sex is neither trivial nor shameful. To me, sex is everything. It's how I feel in my body. It's how I connect with other people. It's how I understand the world. It's about awareness of myself as a sexual creature. Maybe that's why I'm so obsessed - intimacy and arousal has always felt like a part of my body, my way of being present. So rather than the typical attitude, I'm firmly entrenched in the idea of sex as natural and essential. I understand how vital that intimate connection is for our minds and bodies. And I want to feel alive for as much of my life as possible.
It leaves a bit less time for television and making sandwiches. But I think I can live with that.