Wednesday, February 1, 2012

...I Guess I'm Unnatural Then...

Tim Gunn’s very personal revelation was such a topic of conversation that the first person I heard the news from was my mom.

In case you missed it, the fashion guru, style expert, Project Runway mentor, and now daytime talk show host informed his co-hosts, the audience, and all the rest of us that he had not had sex in 29 years and he was perfectly happy.

Personally, I’m pleased to hear this. No one ever talks about choosing to abstain for an extended period, and considering the general response, is there no wonder we keep quiet.

 One expert had the audacity to call  this behavior “unnatural.”   I’m guessing this expert is a bitter, anti-depressant-abusing, communicable disease-ridden whore.

I love how people think because they can’t keep it in their pants, no one else can either unless there’s something wrong with that person. We could argue there’s something wrong with you for attaching yourself to people with such wild abandon.

 When did we get here?

 It’s okay to tweet semi or totally nude pictures of myself or “accidentally” leak graphic videos of me having sex with some dude (and maybe even starting a career from it) but if I choose to relate to people on levels that don’t include sexual intimacy, then I’m “unnatural.” Really?

I could slut around and boast about it and people would call me empowered and accepting of my healthy sexuality in a world that expects women to stay home and bake cookies. (Which, up yours, I love baking cookies.) Who’s to say that keeping my fly zipped isn’t another expression of a healthy sexuality?

So like Mr. Gunn, I will confess that is has been some years since my last encounter.

Clearly the climate of this topic makes it unsafe for me to go into details but suffice it to say that it’s been enough years that even my own family thinks I’m lying. If it comes up in conversation with friends, they usually respond with, “Oh, Good God! Have you been to a doctor?!”

Well, no, I haven’t because I don’t have a problem. I simply don’t desire it. I’m past having urges for it and only have a curiosity about it from a scientific perspective. Even there, it didn’t make my top 10 list of research subjects that fascinate me, and that was after I re-arranged it a little.

Just like Tim, I had some less than confidence-building experiences. I won’t go into it, but it turned into a no win situation for me. On top of that I had a few other issues going on in my life.

To remedy everything that was going wrong I decided to be very good. But since I never drank, smoked, did drugs, partied or did any of the other things “everyone does at that age” the only thing left was swearing and sex. So I quit both. Cold turkey.

By the time the religious intent faded, I was merely disinterested.

The interest eventually returned but only for a millisecond, just long enough for me to discover how much I hated dating which makes it a bit difficult to meet potential mates.

And I can’t do the casual sex thing.

The mechanics of the act prohibit this. I can’t allow someone I don’t know well to take a (presumably) non-detachable part of their body made of flesh and blood and place it in very close and detailed contact with a part of my body that is also made of flesh and blood. Some people are pickier about the clothes they wear than who they take them off for, but the clothes stay on top of your skin. I can’t do it.

Sex is messy, awkward and often times comical. There are smells, sounds, (both scary and hilarious-play the clip below for the horror), strange faces, and physical contortions that might feel nice but you probably look stupid doing them.

You need a sense of humor, a mutual respect, a close confidence and some level of support to be able to share all that. I can’t even find a guy willing to take me to a museum, let alone someone willing to give me the other stuff.

Plus, I think some part of me tried to get back into the game just because everyone and everything made me feel like there was something wrong with me for not wanting to play along. But the more I tried the worse I felt.

If dang near every piece of literature or so called expert would have you believe that it is a normal, healthy part of the human psyche to want sex, then doesn’t it also suggest that to not want it means you’re not normal or healthy? Or human?

Well, fine, I guess I’m none of those things, and I’m cool with it.

But I still get mad that I feel like I have to defend or explain myself to people. It can be hard to not feel bad about yourself if everyone responds to you like your head is on backwards… or upside down.

It’s nice that psychology and science have taken steps to make people feel comfortable with their desires, or to help people that lack desire if they feel troubled by it and want the help. But there’s another segment of the population out there that’s being ignored. And when they’re not being ignored, they’re being ridiculed.

We can feel good about ourselves without needing someone else to make us feel good. So take that!

To answer all of your other questions, because this topic does seem to come with a FAQ list:

  • No, I don’t “double up” on other things. I’m completely abstinent but it doesn’t stop me from losing tons of cool guy friends because their girlfriends are sluts who can’t control themselves around penis and assume that I can’t either.
  • No I don’t use “alone time.” I have no need for it.
  • No, it hasn’t “folded over” “sealed itself closed” “locked itself shut” or any of the other funny euphemisms for possible atrophy that everyone asks me about it. Or at least it hasn’t that I know of.
  • No, I’m not a virgin.
  • Yes, I essentially did enjoy it.
  • No I haven’t been passing time with chicks, although…
For the record, the very best date I have ever been on was with a really beautiful lesbian. I went on a blind double date with a friend during her experimental phase and sure enough when I got there, my date was a girl.

We ended up at a separate table and she called me out immediately about “being straight, right?” I told her I was and she told me it was nice of me to double with my friend under the circumstances.

During our time together I found her to be smart, well-travelled, funny and interesting. She talked to me like a human being. And she was easy to talk to because there was no pressure of any after dinner… mints.

I hugged her at the end of the date and let her know that I really enjoyed myself. And I did, too. We spoke by phone a few times after that before we lost touch, but I remember her fondly and sometimes wonder why I never run into guys like her.

Which takes us back to the FAQ:

  • If I met a guy that I really liked and everything was going well, and he was understanding and patient, yes I eventually would.
I believe I could still have the exquisite shared experience that I’d like to have instead of the one person doing the other person experiences that I seem to always fall into. Not that those aren’t fun, but if I ever start up again, I’d like to have the full experience.

FAQ grand banana:
  • Yes, I’d be fine if I never did it again. I have things I’d like to do, people I’d love to meet, and places I’d like to go, but if I never do someone in an interesting place for the rest of my life, I can live with that.

So Tim Gunn is my unofficial, spiritual, (possibly) asexual twin. Or at least someone I admire a lot for having the nerve to say what I (and so many silent others) have felt and known for years:

We don’t have to take our clothes off to have a good time.

I figured out long ago that trying to do the “norm” makes me sick and unhappy.

I would try sometimes, but I would seem to fail always, and then be mad at myself for trying to do something I never wanted to do in the first place just because I thought I was supposed to do it, or everyone else was doing it.

Relationships and sex aren’t for everyone. Certainly not for me.

And I am perfectly okay with that.

Of course…I still remember every word to this song.
Jermaine Stewart – We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off

Jermaine Stewart - We Don't Have To Take Our... by jpdc11

Sometimes someone writes a song that really speaks to your heart. This song is soft, simple, beautiful, inspiring, and full of truth.

It doesn't hurt that it reminds me rhythmically of a peppier “Nick of Time” by Bonnie Raitt, which is awesome because I love that song.

Yuna – Live Your Life

Still Reading?

And now The Top 10 (+1) Fascinating Subjects I Can Never Learn Enough About

I had to do some heavy rearranging and combining to squeeze sex onto this list, just so you know.

 1) The Brain – its components, processes, diseases and disorders, and the possibilities of neuroplasticity. Enjoy one of my favorite sources to get inside your head

 2)  Linguistics - especially etymology (word origins), phonology (sound) and cross cultural communication
Dutch scholar and lingusit Macus van Boxhorn looks a bit like Hip Hop scholar and  linguist Snoop Dogg, doesn't he?

See? Lingustics is fun!

 3) Cultural arts – everything under the umbrella: books, music, dance, art and photography

 4) Media manipulation and misinformation, and its effects on world views and self perception

The first time I saw the movie Network was years, years ago in college, but it stuck with me forever. I still whip it out to watch it every now and then to remind myself that I'm not crazy, and "the world is a business." If you've never seen this movie, consider it required viewing for the weekend.

 5) Mythology (especially Greek, Roman, and Norse) and Folktales (especially African and Indian)

 6) Spirituality, religion, philosophy, supernaturalism and things frequently associated with the occult (and by “occult” I mean all the stuff in this first paragraph)

 7) Architecture – especially Romanesque, Gothic, and all things Albert Kahn

 8) Forensic pathology

 9) Nonverbal communication cues

10) Urban decay photography (Because even if it's no longer what it was, it's still beautiful. This is worthy of its own category since it excites me more than sex does, even in this case)

11)Sex – mostly how it relates to the Brain (haha. Accidental dirty jokes are funny) as in function, alternative methods and techniques, how desire works, after effects

Friendly reminder to Go Red For Women this Friday, February 3rd

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