my body used to scream and,
curse that final spasm.
Love is the process
I would proclaim,
to finish it
The other day, I was sitting down with a casual acquaintance engaged in a rather interesting conversation. As often happens when you’re having a good time, time seemed to fly and my friend excused himself. When pressed, he admitted he had to go home because he and the wife had scheduled time for sex. He didn’t seem especially excited. In fact, he looked like a condemned man going to his execution. And… his wife is a babe. She’s, like, instant hard-on gorgeous.
Sooner or later, even sex with someone you love can become routine. It can become a dry series of rituals which one has to perform dutifully.
The irony is that sex is so full of promise. Passion with skin on fire and almost unbearable bliss. The weeping embraces of vulnerable rapture -- yeah those moments when you make that noise that sounds like a chuckle married a sob. Those moments of transcendent merger as oneness… but usually, sex is pretty much mundane.
Men get hard, pump and grunt, squirt, let out their tension and relax. Women get wet, moan and hump, clutch and weep, and snuggle in affectionate comfort. Initially exciting, sex can become quite predictable. Even good sex can become standardized: you both learn each other buttons, which you push in order to get the right responses and then… pooof. Gone…
In this way sex somehow mirrors life in general. It’s actually less than you hoped. For almost anyone who’s been around the block a few times, sex and life become a comfortable or customary enjoyment, a habitualized routine of pleasure, comfort, and pain that is neurotically consoling at best, and often meaningless.
This is a good thing, dearest. Meaninglessness is a sign of growth. When something becomes boring it means that you are ready to delve deeper. When you are humping away in dissatisfaction, you are ready for deeper sex. Sex that feels empty reveals a deeper truth: sex is empty. Just like any other moment in life.
When you surrender yourself to the possibility of experiencing sex completely, you feel two things. On one level your genitals are engorged, your breathing is heavy, and your passion is inflamed. On another level… so what? You’ve been there/ done that and nothing fundamental has transpired. This moment of sex -- like every moment -- is amazingly rich and deliciously textured, but also strangely and paradoxically empty.
What happens if you dare to venture is that you come to the realization that nothing specific is missing from your sexual life. Of course, you can improve your sexual skills -- communicating your emotions more fully and enjoying multiple orgasms that last for hours -- yet, when your preoccupation with new pleasure and achievement wears off, you are again confronted with the awareness of a sense of emptiness.
The truth is all life is like that. We spend most of life energy trying to attach to or create something concrete in a reality where the only truth is that everything changes, nothing stays the same. You are not the same person you were when you first starting reading this. Biological processes have killed off cells and replaced them with new ones. Five years from now, your whole body will have been replaced using this dying/ birthing process. If you’re even a little awake, deeply held opinions and how you see yourself has changed and will continue to change. All around you, everything is dying and being reborn and dying again. Lovers come and go, loved ones pass away…
Every moment is empty in the sense that if you try to latch on to it, it slips through your fingers like the proverbial sands in the hourglass. The truth, dearest, is that every sexual moment is empty, insubstantial, unreal. And yet it is also true that every sexual moment is full, tangible, and explosively alive. Like a vivid dream, each moment is intense, spontaneously dynamic, and just as spontaneously gone, as if it never happened. Sex can be tender, a miracle of love, yet at the same time inconsequential. Sex is at the same time intense and vanished, and even when it’s utterly blissful, it is also utterly empty.
Immature lovers get lost in the brief rush of pleasure. Depressed adults stay stuck in the unsatisfying embrace of “not enough.” The truth is that every moment is substantially insubstantial -- both tangible and empty. The mature lover surrenders beyond the attachment, naked and vulnerable as life.
But to get to this level requires letting go of your neurotic need to feel good (or bad) about sex. My father, a wise man, advised me in my young adulthood to be a selfish lover. I think he meant for me to enjoy the thrill of romance and fascination for as long as it lasts because I would have to learn how to dance in the middle years of unsatisfying but decent sexual routine.
But this is where it gets really good (or beyond good or bad): eventually, when you have been shorn of your naïve hope, you will have no other choice but to relax within the reality of the emptiness. In this way, and only in this way, you’re able to wear love’s raiment of open bliss; to withstand the boundless luminosity, and you awaken to the awareness that sex is an intense revelation of what is.