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Navigating the sex terrain

Lady in red, in bed

Naturally, it’s something almost every human being on this planet wants, in some way, shape or form or another. We are born with a drive to seek a mate; someone who we can find companionship with, intimacy. Yet we always seem to be looking for “another half,” someone who’s more than just a friend, someone who completes us. With that want, that longing, comes fear. Once that romantic element of our lives comes into play (usually kicking in around puberty), it comes with the element of loneliness. Suddenly, there is a hole that needs to be filled. Suddenly, we’re not complete without them. That loneliness is painful. More than anything, it’s scary.

As much as sex is a natural drive, so is fear. Sex can be scary, because when we’re having sex, we’re at our most vulnerable. Chances are, if you’re in the middle of having sex, you’re naked. Not only are you pressed right up against another human being, you’re either inside of them, or they’re inside of you, quite literally but also emotionally. Unless you’ve deliberately tried to drown out your thoughts (possibly by getting stark drunk) a lot is going to be running through the treadmill of your mind. How it feels, every touch, every sensation but also how they feel; is it good for them? If it’s not, how do I make it better, how can I be sure? If it is, then what happens next? Do we orgasm and go our separate ways, does this mean anything, should I have been sure of that before we started?

None of those questions are necessarily going to be flashing coherently. But the thoughts are still there, awash in a mess of rushing emotions and hormones. Even though sex can often be something intended just for fun, something casual to help relieve each party’s urges, there is always that hole to be filled. Not a physical hole obviously (chances are you’ve filled or are in the middle of filling that already) but you’re in the midst of having your barriers torn apart. When you’re having sex with someone, you’re right there with them. Even if they’re a complete stranger, for those moments, there’re no barriers between you.

That alone can be terrifying. Growing up, all of us naturally build imaginary barriers around ourselves. Barriers to protect ourselves from hurt, from rejection. When that barrier isn’t there anymore, we’re open to almost anything. Good or bad, anything can get you.

There’s a reason that horror movies have an unwritten rule: the whore always dies. If someone in the movie has sex, a death sentence is placed over their head and you know they’re doomed, particularly in slasher flicks aimed towards teenagers. Sex is new to them. Even if they’re a virgin, sex is there, the longing is there. It’s something that’s next to impossible to ignore, with very few exceptions. Yet, it presents that danger, that rejection. While sex and love aren’t mutually exclusive, the vast majority of people on this planet will want to have sex with someone they are in love with. Once you do, they have access to a very private part of you. That’s a horrifying thing to have gaping open. Will they make you whole? Or when they pull out (pun entirely intended) will they leave you empty again, leaving half the bed bare and cold.

But what’s scarier? Living with loneliness or the fear you’ll never have someone stay? Hard to say for sure. The answer may differ from person to person. But know that you’re more whole than you likely give yourself credit for. This Valentine’s, don’t be afraid to let your guard down and let someone in. They’re likely just as scared as you are.

Sometimes you have to push through the fear to find what you’re looking for.

– Alan Holmes

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