I like my metaphorical porridge the same way I like my real life men: not too hot and not too cold. I want them juuuuuusssst right. And, lately, I’ve been trying a lot of different porridges. Some of these men want to wife me down and guard my vagina against all dicks except theirs. Too hot. Some of the men want to have sex with no other communication. Too cold. As I asked Sugar in a text this morning, “is it too much to ask to have intimate and connected sex that includes a caring and engaged friendship with no entitlement, jealousy or possessiveness?” I want warm porridge, but I don’t want to eat that same warm porridge every day of my life for the rest of my life.
So, is there a place for intimacy in the world of hook-up culture?
Jerry accidentally helped me think through this with his recent behavior. We met a couple weeks ago as I walked back to my car late one night. We ended up going to a bar together, dancing the night away, exchanging information and making plans to see each other later that week. He was responsive via text and flexible with plans. He had a hippy/free love vibe and muscular, tattooed calves.
We started having sex, we hiked, we drank wine, we ate, we chatted about each other’s lives and desires. We both agreed we didn’t want a relationship. We had more sex.
And, I do what I always do: I stayed present and engaged while observing the larger patterns encircling us. I analyzed him, my response to him, and checked in with myself. He never went down on me. Lame. He laughed when he found a carelessly discarded condom under my bed. Cool. He never asked me about my day. Lame. He was an amazing dancer. Cool. And, on and on and on.
A few weeks passed and I worked to find pockets of time in my busy schedule to be with him. He started to respond less frequently, be less available, tell me “he’d check and get back to me” and then not do so. Now, the old me may have gracefully indulged the slow fade. I’m quick to “get the hint.” But, what fun is that? Another option is to attempt to learn more about these bizarre interpersonal dynamics.
So, I gently called him out. I told him it seemed his energy had shifted and I wanted to see where he was at. He responded with football season had begun and he was busy, reminded me he didn’t want a relationship, but was clear he ‘liked my vibe’ and still wanted to hang out. I responded that I also didn’t want to have a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, but that I hold my sex partners to the same standard I hold my friends and I value reliability, people who show interest in being in my life and people who want to connect. I told him that all energy exchange is a form of relationship, but that doesn’t have to mean the confinement of a formal structure.
He has lost my interest. But, has peaked my broader curiosity. What do we mean by ‘relationship’? Why do we think we can have sex, but no relationship with another human? His penis was inside my vagina. We swapped energy and time and body fluids. Why is it so easy to care about someone’s physical realm, but so scary to care about someone’s emotional and intellectual realm? Why do we differentiate these intimate connections?
Where are my moderate porridge men who want both intimate physical and emotional connection and to hear how my heart is doing lately? Guess I’ll just have to keep sampling. . .