Saturday, April 10, 2010


The stars overhead are clear, completely devoid of light pollution so the Milky Way stretch across the southern sky. The sound of the waves lapping the shore, gently because this was the Gulf of Mexico, combine with the ever-present wind rustling the Sea Oats that hold the dunes in place. The temperature is warm, even at 2:00 in the morning; the beach is deserted, part of the Florida State Park system so there are no houses, no development, no stores, no cars, not a single item that would have you believe you are nothing if not the only two people on earth.

It had been a wonderful, natural progression; camping with college friends, an evening of guitars and laughter, he and I chatting late into the night across our sleeping bags and finally deciding to take a walk on the beach to avoid waking our slumbering companions. We found a connection that night, common ground and shared interests. Youth, art, idealism, films, humor, beauty.

I'm 20 years old and the boy is all of 21. We are tangled together in the sand, salt and grit not impeding the passion of our kisses and exploring hands and mouths. My breasts and his chest are exposed, his grip is firm and gentle, his kisses warm and sweet. Slowly he moves his hand farther down... fingers just under the exposed band of my panties... and I stop him.

"I can't."

And it's true, I couldn't. A twenty year old virgin, so caught up in the soul crushing fear of sin and the guaranteed wrath and retribution of God that what could have been, should have been, a wonderful moment of memory just got stacked like cord wood on the vast number of missed opportunities before and after. Fuck!

Fuckity, fuck, fuck!!

A couple of weeks ago, 23 years AFTER that event, I missed my second opportunity to have sex on a beach, which is what brought this little memory to mind.

You see, I was taught from the moment I graced this world, that there was ONE man, ONE who would be "worthy" of intimate congress, ONE that would make what was dirty, sinful, and unclean into something sanctioned by God. And in the same way that I believed the Garden of Eden was a literal place and I knew for certain Jonah lived for three days in the belly of a whale, I knew that God punished sinners and those that broke His holy law. And the wages of sin are death and being cast into the Lake of Fire was a real fucking threat and besides, this sweet, sweet boy would see me as nothing other than the Whore of Babylon once he's "had his way" with me. Oh, and I would no longer be worthy of "the ONE," in fact any ONE worth being the ONE, wouldn't want me anymore since I was no longer pure and waiting just for him.

And for that idiocy I don't have a memory of a fantastic fucking night of sweet sex on a perfect beach on a perfect night. And there are a ton of other memories I don't have either, momentary connections that never happened, physical sensations and pleasures neither felt nor shared. Stupid.

And that, my friends, is one of the many reasons that I do not like religion nor the religious and, furthermore, why I think the bullshit they teach is harmful. Because it is simply not true. Nor were many if not most of the other things I was taught and shaped my life around including gender issues, work, lifestyles, politics, friends, family, and pretty much anything else you can conceive. I'm focusing on the sexual side here because, well, this blog is pretty much about sexual exploration and growth. And here is something key I learned as part of our journey:

Sex is a natural and wonderful part of the human experience. It is not an act the demands punishment nor for that matter judgement. And any sex, good or bad, does not "ruin" you for future sex r relationships. I don't for one fucking moment now believe that had I had that delightful experience in the mid 80s that it would have a negative impact on my relationship with Vince. In fact, I strongly believe that if I'd had more generous, accurate, positive experiences he and I would not have endured years of sexual dysfunction.

I also think I would have made fewer real mistakes. When I finally did become sexually active (and the first time, seriously, "bad" doesn't begin to cover it) I held so many wrong beliefs that I continued to compound problems -- the biggest was the conviction that sex HAD to equal love. It wasn't just that I needed every sexual partner I encountered to like me, I needed them to LOVE me. I also had to love them, whether they were worthy of it or not. They couldn't just be a good time, a lark, or an experience. No, no. I had to know their motives and they'd better be good ones. In fact, it became almost a necessity for the guy to lie to or mislead me just so I could rationalize my own desires and behavior.

From there, it became, in a sense, a race to the bottom as the men I chose were more and more willing to give me what I required (deception), so that I could have what I wanted (sex).

That's not to say they were all losers and bad guys. Some of them really just liked me and wanted to have a good time. Man, I wish I could've recognized and enjoyed that; like I said, I think I would have some wonderful memories now. But a couple of them were downright bad news. The last one before Vince was a drug using, racist, abusive homophobe who, lucky for me, dumped me for the wife of a co-worker. I was devastated. Depressed. And finally realized that I need some fucking therapy.

Two celibate years later, I found Vince. And he is "the one." Not the pre-destined, Jesus approved, magic-man of myth, but the one that chooses -- deliberately and with good judgment, patience, and self-awareness -- to share my dreams, strange as they are. He's the guy who is willing to work, laugh, compromise, grow, share, accommodate, celebrate, sacrifice, and decide every day that I, that we, are worth it. His purpose in life is not to be the living embodiment of every dream I've ever had nor the gatekeeper of every desire and interest that might come to me. But, that said, he wants me to experience life as fully and as richly as I can.

And I want the same for him.

The church was then and is now, wrong. You don't suffer because you connect with people, even if that connection is sometimes momentary, sometimes limited, and maybe even sometimes physical. You suffer when you withhold yourself out of fear. You create suffering when you require others to withhold themselves because of your own fears.

So he is the one that I choose to make this trip with, hopefully a long one. And along the way, we will be open to what comes our way -- one journey, created by two people, shared generously and joyously with friends and loved ones.


  1. Perhaps I'm arrogant? Self-centered? Too practical? I simply tend not to spend a lot of time concerned with choices I might have made. In general I trust that I made the best choice the person I was at the time, armed with tje information I had at the time could have made. Whether that choice turned out for good or ill is somewhat irrelevant.

    Even when I look at choices that I know, in retrospect I made for the wrong reasons, usually fear, I accept that those choices led to today, and while I am far from perfect, I'm also far from miserable...and that's enough for me. Maybe I'm just too satisfied with mediocrity? I dunno. But, in general, I'm happy. And still gotta lot of good years fucking ahead of me ;-)

    Personally, I think the fact that in your 40s you appear to have a relatively healthy relationship with another adult human being puts you well ahead of most and that's meaningful, even if the road was difficult.

  2. I'm going to second RLoTFC. All you can do with regret is make sure when the opportunity presents itself a second time (or a similar one) you don't make the same decision again. You realize you are a different person today - and act accordingly.

    I have choices in my life that I regret when I look at the single act. But when I look at them in the context of where they took me ultimately, I cannot see true regret. I mean, what if I had made that choice differently. Would I be where I am today? Would I have the love I have today? Would I be as happy? I cannot imagine not having my husband in my life. My kids. My friends. It's kinda like I wrote a few months ago. A drama in swinging - a drama I hated and would have traded anything to not have happened ... when I look at it closer, I realize to avoid the drama I would have had to trade someone I consider my best friend. And that is too large of a price to pay.

    And I think I have to remind myself of that sometimes. It's like I told my brother the other day - I am where I am because of my life - because of my choices - because I had to break free from things. I don't regret that in a larger scale. For better or for worse, it made me who I am.