- Gender and Relationships
What has become of Sex?
Beauty Not Sex
‘What has become of Sex?’
By Tony DeLorger © 2010
Somehow, after thousands of years of cultural evolution, we have managed to make the act of sex and love opposed in concept. Instead of sex being the crowning expression of devoted love and commitment, it has become a tool of self-gratification, manipulation and finally the perversion of its highest intent. Reproduction is a powerful drive within humanity, in fact the fail-safe to preserve our existence. Culturally we are programmed to follow that drive and to choose a suitable partner, marry and have children early in our lives, thus conforming to a predicted life path. However, in the last hundred years or so, the cultural restraints of the past have fallen to a more open and less rigorous structure, especially regarding relationships.
A new generation of fledglings enter the mating game with far different attitudes and expectations as far as sex, love and marriage are concerned. Having watched their parents on the battlefield of crumbling relationships, and witnessing the carnage that results, the new generations are now less concerned with marriage and more concerned with sex and a more hedonistic lifestyle. It isn’t any surprise, considering that we are bombarded with sex from every media; a relentless parade of images and false ideals. Sex now days is seen more of a leisure pursuit to the young, a way to pacify the drive to reproduce by act without result. To the married, divorced or separated oldies, sex can represent many things: reward, relief, obligation, and manipulation, self-gain and occasionally love. To those once again dipping their toes into the dating pool in middle age, sex can be the most terrifying proposal possible. As the saying goes, ‘sex changes everything’ .
Sex has been placed on a pedestal and has in essence become unrelated to love, that one defining emotion that should exult us as far as our species goes. The animal kingdom shows far more devotion, commitment and in that sense love than we so-called superior humans. Love has somehow become a misnomer, a misunderstood concept and a much-maligned ideal. We can become so paranoid, having experienced or seen what can happen to people who commit themselves to this ideal. In a world of conflict on so many levels, personal relationships now days are plagued by trust issues and the inability to commit. What ends this cynical look at misunderstood love is that we as individuals have lost all connection with ourselves. If we cannot find it in our hearts to love ourselves and the miracle of our own lives, how can we love anything else?
Love surely is the pinnacle of human emotion and expression, and the encapsulation of all that is good and positive. Sex is the purest expression of deep committed love and should be viewed in that light, otherwise we lessen its spiritual value. What seems clear to me is that without understanding what it is to love, to connect to ourselves, our environment and all living things, we can in no way begin to love a partner. On this level, sex becomes far more than an empty physical experience, a physical outlet if you will. I see no religious connection here, but a spiritual one that is simply a positive way to live one’s life. This ideal is capable of achieving regardless of what society promotes. It is a value worth working on and one to adhere to for our own happiness.
‘Like a Ship on an Ocean’
By Tony DeLorger © 2010
It is not hard to imagine that finding a ‘life partner’ in middle age is near impossible. Having been through the process at least once the prospect of doing it all again, and knowing firsthand the pitfalls, creates an internal terror beyond comparison. Not only have we gained some modicum of experience, and not all of it good, but we have in response, adapted our values and expectations. In essence we are far different people with a different perspective.
I suppose we middle-aged divorcees are perhaps too choosy and expect too much from prospective partners. The reality is yes we do, but only because we can see all too clearly when something won’t work, and now are unprepared to go for the ride to reach the same result in the end.
When you’re young, finding a partner is like going to a party; you put your best foot forward, go where angels fear to tread and simply see what develops. In middle age, and after a life stomping; our entrails still dragging behind us, we are more soothsayers than singles, able to detect the smallest nuance of doubt and potential problems. Without effort we can mentally take a minor detail of personality or circumstance to its ultimate conclusion and effect if we are involved. This pre-emptive vision rings alarm bells that in the end saves much time and heartache. One could call it paranoia, but I like to refer to it as ‘grown up intuition’. An odd laugh, annoying habit, compulsion or any idiosyncrasy that is bothering now, could well become a catastrophe down the track. You see we are set in our ways, not fifteen any more.
Having been married for twenty years or so, and with all the experiences associated with buying houses, bringing up kids and maintaining a family, we have developed certain beliefs about ourselves and the world in general. We have ways of doing things, tried and true, we know what we like and don’t like, what we’ll accept and not accept. We are practised human beings, not fledglings. So with that reality in mind, finding a member of the opposite sex with similar values and compatibilities is unlikely at best, let alone expecting that all important ‘spark’ of attraction as well.
So what do we do with the odds stacked against us? There must be room for compromise, of course; no-one can afford to be rigid. We have to accept that people have faults and there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. But being comfortable in our own skin is an achievement afforded the aged, and not something we’re prepared to give up for any relationships. In Middle age we are no longer the chameleons of our youth, and unable to mould ourselves for the sake of a prospective mate. So, is it all too hard, too much to expect? Well... no.
Perhaps so many marriages and relationships fail in early life, because we haven’t the understanding or the experience to be who we really are. In fact maybe we can’t be who we are because we haven’t reached that point of our evolution. Regardless, being true to ourselves is all that we can do. If we find love again then we have been doubly blessed. If not, friendship and love in a broader sense, can sustain a happy and rewarding life.
Tony DeLorger's books
Search 'Tony DeLorger' for available books