I was taking a walk down in the park with my partner when I talked to him about my relapsed desire for a Muslim man. Just a day before, my partner sat me down and coached me on the difference between a genuine man and a sexual predator. He lamented:
“Sumi, you are too naïve; you do not know the ugly ways in which this world functions. I do not object to you kissing a man or even sleeping with that man. But see that, that man respects and cares for you and does not exploit you to satiate his one-time sexual urges.”
He is right indeed. In the past, I had acted on my sexual impulses and was physically hurt by a man. On top of that, the man remained emotionally unavailable and only called me to his home to have sex. Even writing this down, makes me hate myself that I allowed myself to get exploited. It is not that my lovemaking experience with that man was not fantastic. I did enjoy the lovemaking with that man but bliss cannot be sans respect and care.
I think my experience has taught me that even if it is ok to act on sudden sexual urges with someone you may get hurt at the end. Masters and Johnson explain the why:
Because sexual desire and love may both be passionate and all-consuming, it may be difficult to distinguish between them in terms of intensity. The key feature is the substance behind the feeling. Generally, sexual desire is narrowly focused and rather easily discharged while love is a more complex and constant emotion.
In pure, unadulterated sexual desire, the elements of caring and respect are minimal, perhaps present as an afterthought, but not a central part of the feeling. The desire to know the other person is defined in only a physical or sensual way, not in a spiritual one. This end is easily satisfied. While love may include a passionate yearning for sexual union, respect for the loved one is a primary concern. Respect allows us to value a loved one’s identity and integrity and thus prevents us from selfishly exploiting them.
I still get attracted to other men but I now know that there is a strong probability of me getting hurt and thus I pause. Often this helps me as men looking for instant gratification slip away soon from my life as they lack patience. So I believe patience is the key. Even if you feel like becoming intimate with a stranger; take time. Things will reveal themselves in the due time.
Coming to my infatuation with this Muslim man, I was struggling to keep him at a distance. The more I mused to not talk to him, the more I found myself drawn to him. My resolutions fell flat like dominoes. It seemed that my mind is incontrovertibly converting my no’s into yes. I felt helpless in fighting desire against that man.
I now know that I was more attracted to that man because I’m expected not to. Often, we are driven by the very things that we are stopped from. The lure of forbidden is crazy simply because you want what you cannot have. This is my new quest in redefining intimacy between couples. Can you want what you already have? Can amorous desire flourish in the safe turf of home? It is possible and I experienced it that day. I could not express that urge to my partner and the suppression of that urge increased its power on me. By evening, I was restless!
I asked my partner to come for a walk in the park and there I blurted out all suppressed feelings in front of my partner. He did not react as I anticipated but said that he knew this and I’m free to do what I want. Surprisingly after I had this intimate sharing, the urge diminished in its intensity. I no longer wanted to meet that man rather I clung closely to my partner as we walked back home, hand in hand together.
This was my learning that day:
Unless intimate partners are willing to set aside many of the ordinary defenses they use in everyday life, it can hardly be said that it is an intimate relationship. It is hard to be intimate with a person who continually denies the reality of his or her inner feelings (for instance: someone who always pretends that everything’s great). On the other hand, people who are able to relinquish such defenses in favor of being themselves, authentically and spontaneously, are apt to find intimacy more rewarding.
How to begin this journey of intimate sharing
Very often when we’re encountering strong emotions in the couple, for example, the woman might come with a lot of intensity, a lot of emotion, and then the man will naturally have that instinct to try to fix it, to help her, to give her solution. But actually, an incredibly powerful thing, that we can do for someone when they are expressing is just being there. Doing nothing and yet that you’re doing everything. Did that make sense? So it’s like a space of being, a space of pure presence, and being fully there with the partner, fully available, fully present, and hearing, really hearing what the person has to say. It’s so nourishing. It’s so important to be able to be just heard. Cause this is what we often times need. Just to be heard.