Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sex is Stupid

I've mentioned before that I used to have some serious problems with sex and romance. Then things improved, but not drastically. I've spent some wonderful time with some wonderful women, but at the risk of sounding sorry for myself, that was pretty much all thanks to dumb luck and/or hard work on their part. I am not a natural at this sort of thing, I never have any idea where wooing begins and my ability to do it on purpose pretty much doesn't exist. Some people get shy or nervous, but at least they know what needs to be done. To me, the whole process remains a mystery, despite years of analysis. I don't "just do" what seems to come naturally to most people.

A new thought has gradually been building up in me though, in reaction to a few things, and while I'm still fuzzy on some of the details, the core of the thought is very clear: The instincts behind sex and romance suck, and I'd gladly accept celibacy in exchange for not experiencing those annoying urges anymore. Sex itself is quite nice, and I'd be happiest with occasional optional sex without the constant urges. But instead, I get constant urges without much sex, the crappy polar opposite. I'd get so much more done if my mind wasn't always wandering, and I could certainly do without the stupid things that my sex drive makes me think, say and do.

Complicating things further, I've also recently realised that I am not at all suited for or interested in a happily-ever-after relationship. I've spent something like 95% of my life single, it's very much what I'm used to. Relationships make me uncomfortable, make me feel trapped and overburdened. That may not be reasonable at all, but it's how I always feel, after the initial excitement dies down. I'm just sorry I couldn't learn that without practical experience, making a nuisance of myself to past partners.

So now I'm trying to work out how best to deal with all this crap for the next couple decades, or however long it takes for my sex drive to die out. Thankfully, the adolescent years are done with; I'm sure I'm not alone in remembering nights where lack of sex felt almost physically painful and sleep never seemed to close in fast enough. Evolution is a cruelly clever process. But I digress.

I'm trying to list and weigh my options. Many of these possibilities have weird social stigmas attached to them, which can add extra complications, but I'm not going to worry about those for now. What other people accept is not relevant if I haven't even figured out what I'll accept yet. I'm also assuming throughout that baby-making is not an option, so this is just recreational sex.

1. Rely on pr0n. Speaking from experience, this doesn't work. Granted, you'd struggle to survive a celibate decade without it, and after the '00s I have now seen all the porn. All of it. But while it gives some temporary relief, we're just not evolved to be solo creatures and there are always instincts clamouring for some real company. Until they can simulate that, this is not a decent option.

2. Bite the bullet and settle down. Those who know me well will agree that I'm not a bullet-biter. Besides, monogamy just doesn't appeal to me at all, and even spoils the appeal of the reliable source of sex it represents.

3. Polyamory. Nice in principle; I like the idea of exploring and keeping my options open, without cutting out the nice emotional stuff. I don't have a "type" or any specific fetishes, and I'm not a full Kinsey zero, so I like the idea of being able to try new things with new people. On the other hand, if I had the ability to induce not just one partner, but several at once, I wouldn't be writing this in the first place.

4. Random flings. Like polyamory, but over too quick. I may not appreciate long-term stuff, but I do still enjoy getting to know people. On the plus side, this seems to enjoy wider public acceptance and should be easier to organise, if you aren't me. I'm also given to believe that this becomes less of an option with age, which is something I happen to have been accruing. (Having botched my randy young bugger years, this seriously annoys me.)

5. Prostitution. Random flings that are virtually guaranteed, if you have money. I don't have money. My research team informs me that I could spend anywhere between half and five times my monthly income on a single session with a prostitute, making it a completely moot option.
5.a. Be a prostitute. This would solve the money problem. But I'm not actually sex-mad, I don't need it all the time, and so I'd have a problem having to give it all the time, especially under pressure of refundable contract.

6. Serial monogamy. A polyamory conga line. All the feeling trapped of monogamy with the hard recruitment effort necessary for polyamory or flings.

7. Swinging. Monogamy pretending to be polygamy, or vice versa. I guess if I lucked out and happened to find a partner who was already into this and already had a nice network built up, it might work for me. Except that might also exacerbate my commitment problem, since I'd be dependent on that one partner to access everyone else, perhaps. But if I had to get a partner into it first and still pick up other couples, it'd be a nightmare.

8. Fuck buddies. This has always sounded like the greatest idea ever to me, apart from spaceflight, vaccinations and the ability to carry the internet around in my pocket. Most of my friends are very attractive, and why shouldn't sex be just a fun pass-time, a game to share and enjoy, then pack away at the end of the day and forget about until some other time, when everyone feels like it again? It really should be that simple, and it pains me to admit that maybe, possibly, perhaps, it might not be possible. And again, it's all the fault of instinct. There's a very high chance that sleeping with someone will cause you to develop romantic feelings for them. Some people are better at shutting that out than others, but generally it's bound to sneak up on most of us, which makes some sense from an evolutionary point of view, for a social species like ours. Daddies who immediately abandon mommies may get more chances to breed than those who at least stick around to help with the pregnancy, but their offspring will each have a lower chance of survival. So this has the potential to get more complicated than intended. (I've also seen it go the other way, where massive annoyance suddenly springs up from somewhere. But I don't know how to explain that.)

9. Beg. Instead of putting in effort to make a real connection with someone, one person at a time, I could just throw myself out to the world and say, "Available for shags, apply within," and see if anyone bites. I've never seen it work, and even with my pretty head, I'd be surprised if partners fell into my lap very often, because I don't go out of my way to appear attractive.

10. Total celibacy. Not just relying on porn and masturbation, but cutting all sexual practices out of my life completely. I can't even imagine this in practice (see point 1), and yet I'd be ok with it in principle. I suppose some sort of surgical intervention could make it feasible, but that seems drastic.

Overall, it seems like I have a problem. Instinct and culture are against me, and I'm lazy. I may also be inconveniently picky (despite my openness to new things); for example, a woman on a dating site I occasionally use utterly wrecked her opportunity to offer me free sex, when she insisted on yammering on about her homeopathy and energy healing. I guess everyone has their turn-offs.

Have I missed any options? Have I misjudged any possibilities? Is there an obvious solution that I'm not seeing?

(EDIT: Also note this little bit of follow-up.)