Fumbling the Flutter (Or How I Realized My Sex-Drive Needs An Overhaul)
The above image is from a French AIDS awareness campaign. I saw it somewhere and it stuck me, so I saved it for a racy mental-exhibitionism post like this. Gotta love those people and their culture
So, as I mentioned before, I'm "adrift on the seas of celibacy." It's not a bad thing, and (again) as I said I don't like to complain about it; I've had a lucky life in love, and somewhere deep down I trust that this will all work out.
What I do feel like writing about though is the psychological state/journey that I find myself in/on as a result of this moment.
There's a critical lack of desire, of fantasy. I believe intellectually that sex can be fun, but at the moment I don't seem to be living the belief that it can be fun for me. I don't know why this is, really. I haven't had some bad or souring experience, just a period -- approaching a year now -- of relative isolation, self-imposed.
The self-imposition, by the way, goes beyond my choice of where I live. As much as this place is small, the overwhelming empirical evidence shows it's not without a population of babes, and yet I do nothing. Why is this?
This feeling of "not believing in it for me" reminds me of a point a couple of years ago where I felt the same way about love generally. That was a darker point, at the nadir of a rebound. This is nowhere near as dire, but the lack of an apparent reason is frustrating. What is it that's keeping me from feeling the flutter, from fantasizing, from having some fucking fun?
I was lying awake last night trying to really follow this thought. "What is your fantasy?" I asked myself. I'm not sure right now.
I think part of this lack of clarity is my historical pattern of letting romantic things happen to me. It's something I've been trying to break out of, attempting to turn over a new leaf. Even if I were to stick with the old ways, from a brass-tacks perspective it clearly doesn't work out so well if you don't go out and expose yourself to life. For a whole lot of reasons, it seems that the whole paradigm of making them come to me is an increasingly barren one going forward.
Relatedly, the romantic thoughts coming to mind of late tend to be faces from the past, which again isn't at all bad, or even unpleasant to ponder, but it does tie into the dynamic of no way forward. Beyond the whole backward-past/forward-future thing -- conventional wisdom which may or may not be accurate -- none of my faces from the past live around here, so as much as I may love the heat of a old flame, it's cold comfort for my current conundrum.
"You got a woman?" No. "Any prospects?" ... No.
My fantasy template has always revolved around an attractive woman who finds me irresistible. In the context of a nature show, I'm one of those creatures who evolves some fancy plumage or performs a funky little dance in order to get the female to pick me.
Kind of conceited, I know, but more relevant to this inquiry it's also kind of passive. I'm not un-accomplished at playing my part in a mutual seduction, but I'm not so experienced at being the instigator. Which puts me in an interesting position of having to learn some new tricks.
As much as I've relied on getting myself noticed, I'm shockingly bad at displaying an active interest of my own. I still have an adolescent fear of rejection, and maybe more-so an internalized antipathy towards lechery that I turn on myself with probably too critical a lens. Lacking a fantastical frame for how it works out -- or a reserve of supreme self-consciousness to skate the ice smoothly -- I don't quite know what to do, and I'm too nervous and bumbly to fly though without thinking. Nervous, unsure, bumbling and thinking alot are a bad set of attributes to couple with a display of sexual interest. It's a vicious circle.
Another part of this shift is not only away from old tactics, but towards more concrete long-term goals. A lot of my friends are married or engaged, and while I don't feel any real pressure there, I do know that a family is something I want. This causes me to get way ahead of myself (there's that overthinking again, esé), compounding my problems in the moment. It's another paradox, because much as I want to move beyond mere playboyism and into that long-term stuff, I also believe that I won't get there through a plan or intentional process -- at least not from where I'm at now. Until my immediate hangups can be overcome, there won't be much forward momentum.
Like, this past weekend dancing and just looking, or an even better example the day after: siting with some folks on the grass in the plaza at the farmers market, there's this woman over to my right doing a serpentine hoola-hoop routine and I'm watching with half an eye. She's pretty, womanly, and the whole thing works really well for her, but it's not until a friend of ours sits down next to us and says "damn she's sexy, isn't she?" that I realize just how inhibited and turned-in I've become. I would never have said that. I just haven't been that open.
I'm sure that a piece of this is the inherent vulnerability in displaying interest or expressing desire, but I think a bigger part of it is the damning self-judgment. What would Raina Fernandez von Waldenburg do? There's a sex-cop in my head and I need to take him out.
Yes, that's right. In the name of love and future generations, I need to find new sparks for my sex drive. Maybe a change of oil and a fresh fuel filter too, whatever those are supposed to mean metaphorically. The point is that I know myself well enough to know that my romantic fortunes run in streaks, and this adrift inertia isn't cutting it.
Which means I've got to try something different, new even, which means letting myself make mistakes. That feels like an insight. I do put too much pressure on myself -- and there's nothing like being hard-up to keep the pressure on -- and I do have an overblown idea of what scale of tragedy it is to hit on someone who's not particularly interested. Those are things I would do well to get over. Good homework, Koenig.
The other critical factor is finding that flutter, or maybe letting it happen, the initial interest or impulse. Here too I'm going to have to just try things out. As I said it's not as though there aren't attractive women in the region, and spring is in the air. You can't fake desire and you can't force a fantasy, but you can help it along by being open, by being out there, by being on the scene or on the prowl, as they say.
And if that doesn't work out I can always get a dog. Nothing like a puppy to reel 'em in, or so I hear.