There’s been lots of interest and questions from folks ‘back home’ about what’s happening for me on the romance front. While I’m sure people really are interested to hear the romantic details, I also think part of the question is, “so, have you had sex, yet?” The other question I’ve heard is how this trip compares to the last time I was ‘out here’ for a long time, which was in 1999/2000 – a long time ago.
I’ve been reflecting on these questions and of course they’ve occurred to me, too. The short answers are: this trip hasn’t yet been about romance or sex at all and that’s the way that it’s the most different from my last big adventure. At that time, Eros guided, led, followed and inspired me in every direction. It was true (as my then soon-to-be-former-husband feared), I did have a lover (or two or ten!) in every port, and there were lots of ports!
It was an extraordinary time with extraordinary people – from the back-to-back lovers I met one evening on the romantic canals of Venice; to Allan, ‘The Man from 20G,’ a Kiwi who I met on a plane and with whom I spent many extraordinary weeks of passionate bliss on Bali and in New Zealand! From the Aussie named Chris with whom I traveled in Italy, Greece, Bali, Lombok and India; to the man who showed up at my bungalow door out of the clear blue sky in southern Thailand offering a massage and giving way more than that. To the two straight Swiss men, Ruedi & Daniel (at that same Thai beach) with whom I had wayyyyy too much fun, in the sea, in the shower and in one big bed together – thrilled as much for the two of them connecting ever so gently erotically for the first time as much as I was for having the middle position!
It was a veritable sex candy store and I sampled it all! It was an intense, highly charged, sometimes frenetic erotic time and it was an integral part of reclaiming my sexuality and my incredibly passionate spirit after having come out of a loving but almost sexless marriage. It was a time of ZEGG, the German intentional community experimenting with responsible, honest, open relationships; exploring my body and my desires; and it was the springboard from which I dove full force, full body into the Body Electric School, Quodoushka training, Tantra and so much more. It stretched me, provoked me, taught me and scared me.
While I gorged myself in that candy store, one of the most important things I learned about was my erotic desire. As women, we often get wrapped up in being attractive and desire-able to the other and that becomes the guiding force in determining our sexuality. Even I – an aware, feminist, smart woman – was seduced merely by being desired. I had sex with someone because they wanted to have sex with me. Their desire became my desire. Hell, I didn’t even know the nuances of my desire – I only knew that I loved sex, but that I had lived for many years without much of it, having been married to a man with much lower sexual desire than I had. Then too, his low desire came to create and define my sexual life, which was one of much less sex than I would have chosen. Suddenly being free and desired was enough of a turn on. While I certainly don’t and don’t want to rule out being desired as a huge turn on – of course it is – I also don’t want my sexuality determined or defined solely by it. And now it isn’t. But getting there was a process.
That time was all about exploration, experimentation and excitement! So, I got to learn about what I desired and what I didn’t. And I learned about how my desire shifts and changes constantly and how much energy and focus it takes to stay in touch with that desire without getting easily swept up and away in/with someone else’s energy, truth and experience. It’s more ‘work’ than I ever imagined. It’s also incredibly healing and empowering to learn to stay grounded in my own truth and energy while simultaneously connecting with another – without wanting to sound too Marin-Tantra-esque, it’s alchemical magic, really! But to learn all that required plenty of time and lots of tasting and sampling in the candy store!
I don’t regret any of those experiences – rather I cherish them – they were all consensual, safe and fabulous fun. With each and every partner, whether for a night or a month, I held the intention to open not only my legs but my heart. And I did. I couldn’t tell you every one of their names, nor could I call up all of their faces (or their other body parts!), but they were all great teachers to me. And amongst all the things I learned, one of the most important now is that I don’t need or desire that candy store anymore. But I simply couldn’t have known that without having frolicked in it as I did!
There’s so much more to say about all this, but for now, fast forward to this trip in Southeast Asia – I’ve been so curious about how my erotic life would unfold out here – and it’s been completely, utterly different from that other time. What’s that about, I wonder? Am I just going to be alone now? Will I ever have sex again? What attracts me? What are my desires? What do I want? How do I create an exciting erotic, sexual life outside of the candy store and as a single person? Am I attractive? Am I desire-able? As a middle-aged, mostly post-menopausal woman, have I become invisible in our youth-centered culture?
Here’s some of what I think is so:
As I’ve already said, the candy store’s purpose and allure have faded.
While I don’t need to be wanted, I do like being attractive and knowing that I am desire-able. Of course I do.
Having explored as much as I have and now being post-menopausal add up to my sexual energy being quieter and less urgent than it has been in the past. Dare I say, at that time, there was a very yang masculine, penetrative, determined quality to my Eros. That’s not true anymore. While I don’t think my Eros is any less powerful, it’s quieter, more subtle and less obvious – more yin feminine. And I’m finding that to be quite a relief. At the same time, I certainly still want to have sex and am open to having sex and have quite a longing for physical and sexual intimacy (hear that, Universe?!). But it’s just not happening. And that perplexes me.
When I lived on the Big Island (that just came out on the computer screen, what an odd and interesting choice of verb tense!), I attributed it to there being a small pool of available and interesting potential partners along with being surrounded with gay men, with whom I spent most of my social time. I lived there on an island, after all – what could I expect? I attempted to date, put ads out regularly and had a few experiences. Except for my very young Hawaiian lover with whom I learned even more about my sexuality and helped him to learn some about his own, it was a very quiet erotic time for me. I learned that I missed not the penetrative sex as much as my skin and spirit’s hunger for tender touch and connection.
I thought surely things would change being out here in the world again. But they haven’t. Not yet. So I’m curious and open to see what and how things will unfold.
I keep telling the Universe – “okay, this is it, I’m calling it in right now – this is the time to manifest a lovely lover and traveling companion” – but the Universe does not appear to be cooperating or delivering! And surprisingly, even after all of what I’ve learned about and just wrote so much about – desire – I’ve become aware that on some level, I’ve been waiting and wanting to be pursued, for someone to find and approach me, making myself available to their initiation. Gee, this stuff runs pretty deep, no matter how much I work at staying aware of it all. Recognizing this has been important, particularly as the pursuit has recently shown up.
I had just arrived in Hue after several days in Hoi An. There in Hoi An, I connected with a sweet Swede named Christer, a married man some years my senior who was traveling alone, whose company I enjoyed and who seemed delighted with mine. We had dinner together (upon my initiation, I might add!), walked the town late in the evening and rode together to DaNang. We shared laughter, easy conversation and simple human contact. There wasn’t an erotic component to our energy, but he was attentive and complimentary and appreciative … and damn it, I liked it! Being with him reminded me of how another’s company really can enhance my experience while at the same time continuing to learn to value my own.
But as I arrived in Hue, I had another little chat with the Universe – “okay, you sent me some sweet companionship and I am grateful – thank you very much – but might we amp up the Eros just a tad, please?!”
So I was walking down Le Loi Street near my exquisitely wonderful hotel, the Huenino, minding my own business (it’s true, it’s true) when an attractive African-American man approached me and asked me to go and have a drink with me. Hhhmmm – here it is, I thought, there would have been no hesitation at all in the past – what would I do now? “Okay,” I said, “let’s go.” So we did. He insisted on buying my drink. I let him. He was very amorous, very flirty and not particularly interesting or attractive to me. In the past, I might have missed the part of not being interested in him – his longing would have seduced me, I’m sure of that. But this time, I was very aware that I simply wasn’t interested. So I thanked him for his interest (far be it for me to shut down someone else’s Eros – no need or desire to be that kind of influence!), but told him that it wasn’t going to happen and I wished him good night. I walked myself home, tucked myself into bed and was grateful to have made the choice that I did. And grateful that even as much as I long for that human touch and contact, I did not jump on it just because it appeared. And that is a big and dramatic difference to how I’m living out my erotic life now. And it feels absolutely “right” for me.
Then comes my second night here in Hue. I met yet another desirous man in the small lobby of this quaint Huenino hotel. Upon immediate impression, he was a physically attractive man, my age or so, German (yikes!) and very desirous. Within minutes (really, I mean it, only minutes!), he told me he wanted my email address, he thought I was a wonderful person (based on what, I don’t know, since I didn’t get a word in edge-wise), he wanted to visit me in Hawaii, he invited me to stay with him in his room, and he told me he was a healer and a Tantra teacher. The more he talked, the further away I moved. His desire certainly didn’t invite mine in the least!
So as the Universe continues to toy with me, I continue to learn about desire. And whether those (or any other) men or women find me sexy doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether I find myself sexy. Oh hell. Sexy, schmexy, I’m going to bed! Alone!
But one of these nights (or days!), it will happen … mutual desire and sexy-ness will show up and it will be amazing and wonderful and heart-ful and hot and all of that.
So it shall be. Right, Universe?!