Over the past three years, I’ve had more sexual partners than most heterosexuals will amass in three lifetimes – or if they’re devout Christians, make that 48 lifetimes.
After a brief flowering (deflowering) of sexual maturity at 18 where I had a succession of partners within a month’s period, I closed up, withdrew. From the ages of 19-22, I had no sex at all.
When I had a sexual reawakening at 22, I was a new person. I had begun to shed the superficial exterior persona that had created a barrier between the world and me. By 22, I had come to feel comfortable in my skin, in being a man, and specifically a gay man.
With this discovery, I delved deeply into sex. As a gay man, casual sex is as easy to come by as Chinese delivery.
I enjoyed sex the way other people enjoy hiking or swimming. It was an activity like any other, completely healthy and natural. It was like a game to me. I enjoyed the pursuit, the thrill of the chase, the excitement of a new discovery. Each experience was unique and memorable in its own way. If the sex was bad, it was memorable because it was bad. If it was fantastic, it was memorable for that.
Psychologically, each experience was a validation that I was desirable. When I slept with a man that I considered beautiful or more attractive than me, it was an intoxicating ego boost. But this notion was fleeting. As soon as one was conquered, then I looked to the next target. Always my concept of my own attractiveness hung in the outcome of whether a man would want to sleep with me.
But I have recently stopped questioning whether I am desirable to other people. I just stopped caring. It helps that I’ve slept with nearly 50 people, all of whom I’ve found attractive in some way or another. This provides some satisfaction. But in this case also just one person who really loved me might have done as well. I just didn’t have that. So instead of one I had 50.
Now I have found something better and more fulfilling than casual sex. That is inner peace. Much of the motivation for sex came from feeling incomplete, but now that feeling is gone and with it the desire for validation-seeking sex has also gone.
I still think sex is beautiful and fun, but I am no longer chasing it. That doesn’t mean that I am renouncing sex or ready to accept vows of chastity. If it comes into my space or if I want it, I will have it. But the whole motivation for it has transformed. Now if I have sex, it is because I really, consciously want to have sex. It is not because I have something to prove, or that I am lonely and sex is a temporary Band-Aid for a deeper insecurity.
I believe everyone should have as much sex as possible, have as many encounters as one wants without fear of judgment. Then you can really start to know and understand sex. You can consciously separate sex from love. You become empowered. At some point you may no longer desire to have so-called meaningless sex, and this will come naturally. It won’t be because you renounced sex, or that you have some specific belief about it one way or another. Just like you can become satisfied after a meal, you can become sexually satisfied after a time. You must experience everything to know its value.
With meditation, I’ve become content in myself. I don’t need another person for fulfillment, stimulation or happiness. The effort I used to put into finding sexual prey seems all of a sudden foolish and unnecessary. I’ve stopped looking for anything outside myself. If it comes to me, then I will welcome it.
If you first understand sex, then you can really begin to understand romantic love. Without the foundation of sex, love remains abstract. Sex is the appetizer, love is the main course. I’ve stuffed myself on the hors d’oeuvres and now I’m ready to move on. But before then I need a rest, a time to digest before I can come back to the table.
Only through having lots of sex can you be liberated from sex. Then from there you can go deeper into it still, discover the real mysteries of sex, hidden between two people who truly love one another. In that state, sex becomes something else entirely. It has the power to transform.