Sex is only meaningful when you’re into having a long-term, committed relationship, right? It’s what polyamory is about, right? Committed relationships. We frown on people who “just have sex”.
That, my dears, is so much horse elbows.
First of all, there’s no such thing as “just sex”. That’s a lie adulterers try to tell to wiggle out of their perfidy, to make it seem as if the treachery really weren’t so.
Sex is always and forever tied up the heart and soul of who we are as people. It can be a power thing, a revenge thing, a sharing thing, an expression of soul, a demand of ego, a simple act of generosity and kindness. It can be compassionate, cruel, promoting of life and growth, or base and destructive.
It’s never meaningless. It’s too core to what it is to be human.
The mistake comes in, I think, when we throw a holy aura around some sexual relationships and not others — when we try to differentiate the specialness of one relationship over another in terms of sex.
I should be kinder than to batter your eyes with one of my infrequent attacks of poetry, but.. Well, I’m not.
Fuck the Fairy Tales
They can go to hell
With their “Happily Ever Afters”
And their endless repetitions of One True Love.
Worse than a lie
It’s a poisoned apple so shiny and lovely
That will choke you and leave you cold encased in glass.
The reality is that all Love is True
Or no Love is.
The glass slipper will shatter and slice
Your tender feet until you cannot take a step.
But in the field where your hands callus from the plow
The corn grows and falls in harvest.
The reality nourishes in a way
That no gingerbread house ever could.
The same could be said of sex. All sex is meaningful, or no sex is.
The thing is, sometimes the meaning is good — really good. Sometimes it’s not.
People develop their own touchstones for this. While I think “true love” and the whole drama nonsense is a bad one, there are things that can tell you if you’re on the right path.
For me, there is a sense of gratitude. Not as in, “Oh dear God, thank you for deigning to have sex with me.” That’s not very respectful of one’s self, after all. It’s more of a sense of, “I respect me and my individual self, and respect you and your individual self, and here we are sharing this sweet and human thing, isn’t it wonderful? Thank you for that!”
Proposals of contract? Promises of always and forever? You don’t need ’em.
It’s never meaningless. And when you’re honest with yourself, you’re ensuring the meaning is good.
22 thoughts on “Meaningless Sex”
First off: Awesome poem!
Secondly: I disagree with the rest of the article. “Never say never”, and all that rot… While I have not personally had meaningless sex, I could certainly see doing so.
Or are you trying to say that when a horny dog has sex with a person’s leg, that’s meaningful in some fashion? Don’t presume that humans are so much better than animals. Sometimes we just want to hump whatever’s nearby to satisfy an urge. I don’t see that as very meaningful at all.
Wolfger, didn’t say the meaning was always good.
Oh, good timing!
I agree that sex is not meaningless, but it’s also not fraught with meaning or emotion. I have had some fabulous sex that was simply recreational. Participants didn’t feel the need to gain an emotion connection of any kind.
Hope you don’t mind, I reposted your poem in my LJ, with credit and a linkback…
So very much how I am feeling lately…
i prefer sex to have some positive emotional context/connection but i have on a few occasions had sex with strangers as a purely physical release.
and i can honestly say that those times were by far the least enjoyable for me but provided a valuable lesson in that if i were that much in desire/need for sexual release i am better off taking the matter into my own hands. 🙂
That’s fine, Bunny. The stuff here is under a Creative Commons license which permits non-commercial reprints as long as credit is given.
It has been said that Money makes the world go ’round. But really, it is sex.
If you have an emotional tie to your sex partner, it is more gratifying for both, than just a “hook-up” for sex. Sexual desire in humans, is, no different than Animals, but, un-like most animals, most humans, desire an emotional connection along with the physical. A a happoy forever after, takes daily work, understanding, compromise, respect for each other and love from both parties.
It has been said that Money makes the world go ’round. But really, it is sex.
If you have an emotional tie to your sex partner, it is more gratifying for both, than just a “hook-up” for sex. Sexual desire in humans, is, no different than Animals, but, un-like most animals, most humans, desire an emotional connection along with the physical. A happoy forever after, takes daily work, understanding, compromise, respect for each other and love from both parties.
Since our little lizard brain makes us want to have sex to keep the species going. Now if we understand that premise that our brain desires to have sex and we understand that about ourselves, then sex does not have to have a meaning, just enjoyable physical pleasure, which is an leftover result of evolution. Those that had good feeling, physically, from sex, reproduced and those that did not enjoy the physical pleasure died off. The benefits of evolution for us living today. So just have sex and enjoy, without trying to assign a higher value to the physical act. Enjoy the pleasure. No learned guilt response.
“All sex is meaningful, or no sex is.”
All it takes for that to be untrue is for any one human to have experienced non meaningful sex , as well as meaningful sex.
Some folks manage that just fine.
For me, it recalls sex=true love.
For some folks, sex without love is worthless, for others, it’s an excuse.
For some folks sex and love just are, and may or may not fall together.
As may be.
What is an absolute for one is simply not so for another- sex can be meaningless, unless one applies the same meaning to a hot fudge sundae.
Sex takes on the meaning that you give it. A playful romp in the hay having a good time can be a fleeting moment of ecstacy or the essence of life or the shame of a life time. But there is still meaning. There is still purpose. Sex just seals the purpose.
There are never too many or too few times to enjoy sex together. There’s only a problem if you don’t agree.
Thank you for a wonderful essay; this site was referred to me by a good friend.
I agree that all sex has meaning, but I also use the term sex to define not just intercourse or orgasmic release but an exchange of experiences that touch us. Someone made reference to a hot fudge sundae, and if there is a moment in which two people are sharing the experience of the hot fudge sundae, it is in fact meaningful and could be, depending on how stimulated they are by it, considered sexual in nature.
There are those who can disconnect the act of sex from love or from emotion, but just because it is disconnected from other emotions does not imply it has no meaning. Would that not cheapen the experience itself? Are we not allowed to find meaning in a totally physical emotionally non-binding experience?
I just found out that my boyfriend – now ex – was cheating on me. What kind of sex was that? Sometimes, I stay up all night thinking that he was badmouthing me the entire time while he was screwing his new broad. But I’ve managed to calm down. There’s this ebook I’m reading that’s helping me calm down, sex or no sex.
LOL. Well, sugar, if you’re staying up all night worrying about whether or not you’re being badmouthed, I’d say that there’s a problem going on that’s worse for you than whether or not you chose well in boyfriends.
“The reality nourishes in a way
That no gingerbread house ever could.”
You speak of sex, unbound by the “fairy tale of monogamy”, as the reality while the monogamous “One True Love” style relationship is a “lie”. This is what you believe.
“Worse than a lie
It’s a poisoned apple so shiny and lovely
That will choke you and leave you cold encased in glass.”
This describes your own experiences and observations of the “One True Love” sexual relationship. What was meaningful from your “One True Love” relationship is a “lie”, and the pain seems to have outweighed anything positive. . . Is it true that the negatives and positives we experience from our “One True Love” relationships are meaningless as compared to the sundry and various sexual relationships we have with “many loves”? Can these “many loves” be called “TRUE”?
And is “truth” many things, or is “truth” one thing and one thing only?
It boils down to ‘absolutes’ or lack thereof always.
With the way you define “meaningful”, anything can be meaningful. Even a dog pissing on the leg of a man. Sex with a goat, under your definitions, can be emotional meaningful to someone. We can squeeze emotional meaning from anything. And what is good meaningful and what is bad meaningful? Some people always want to erase the boundaries for fear of something. . . perhaps fear that their individual lives will not be good enough, perhaps for fear of failure that they must cover up and not call “bad”? It becomes egotistical and full of pride. No one likes to be “wrong” or “bad”, so we’ve convenientally blurred the boundaries.
What does “meaningful” mean? How do we define it personally?
I think sex is a religious mystery. And I do believe in “One True Love” relationships as there is more to be learned, improved in myself (and enjoyed!) by submitting to self-discipline, refinement by trial, learning to put self last while serving another. . . as for the sexual enjoyment part, there is no boredom in a monogamous sexual relationship built upon TRUTH where both parties endeavor to serve one another through serving God. There’s freedom in that really.
ALL relationships go through UGLY times. It’s the “fairy tale” of polyamory that is a “lie”. Sister, you keep preaching the lie to all so desperate to believe it because they cannot handle the TRUTH. The truth about our ugly state in humanity. Humanity is not beautiful without TRUTH.
Sex is a religious mystery, more than a human physical or emotional function. I guess I have higher standards, and I do believe in ‘absolutes’. (Makes me a Sith, I s’pose, haha.)
Nicole hasn’t become totally blind to the truth. I think it’s totally natural for her to be hurt by her ex’s behaviour. . . Human beings are hardwired to be “significant” to someone. If a person does not understand his/her significance to God, his/her self-esteem is built on that which is false and empty. Nicole’s bigger problem may be that she doesn’t understand how significant she is to God. Most women do look for significance (they want to mean everything to one man, have that one man sacrifice for her, etc.) in a monogamous, hopefully marriage, relationship. Men who do not fulfill that role of protector, monogamous husband, and do not learn to serve in a servant-leadership role will never feel fulfilled as men. Both men and women who never realize this are empty and continue searching and searching.
Have you become totally numb to it? Have your eyes and heart been so closed to God’s mysterious design for sex in a monogamous marital relationship? Open them, sugar, before it’s too late.
Sex is a mystery, and you will never pin it down. It is a mystery, and not even science as we know it can get close to its origins. . . unless it looks to the Creator. Polyamory doesn’t look to the Creator. It’s a false religion that you will die upon. . .
Nicole, find significance in God, and you will find more satisfaction in a marital monogamous relationship. Don’t waste yourself on something so nebulous (as human definition can be) as the Goddess of Java’s philosophies. Her philosophies are whims constructed on her poems and personal experiences. Find something ancient to give direction to your life. I say the Bible will be your best bet. Goddess of Java has built her philosophies on science fiction and the experiments of the Flower Power era.
Sex is always and forever tied up the heart and soul of who we are as people. I
Statements with the word “always” in them are almost always wrong. This is one of those. Sometimes sex is just recreation, no matter what the sex-is-sacred people want to tell me about that.
Fair enough, Serene, but I consider play part of the soul of being a human.
# Emet says:
>> Can these “many loves” be called “TRUE”?
Absolutely. I feel my love and affections deeply. I also have recreational sex. There is no contradiction for me.
>> I think sex is a religious mystery.
Agreed. But my $DEITY is neither Christian, nor dualist, nor a trinity.
>> And I do believe in “One True Love” relationships as there is more to be learned, improved in myself (and enjoyed!) by submitting to self-discipline, refinement by trial, learning to put self last while serving another . . . as for the sexual enjoyment part, there is no boredom in a monogamous sexual relationship built upon TRUTH where both parties endeavor to serve one another through serving God. There’s freedom in that really.
Never tried it, so I’ll take your word for it. Many others report the same experience in BDSM and dom-sub relationships. To me, a committed Christian couple of the type you describe are two pair-bonded submissives (or in some cases a switch and sub) in a threeway with Jesus.
>> ALL relationships go through UGLY times. It’s the “fairy tale” of polyamory that is a “lie”. Sister, you keep preaching the lie to all so desperate to believe it because they cannot handle the TRUTH.
No. I am poly and I have a number of friends who are poly. I also have a number of friends who are asexual, promiscuous, happily married and not poly, and even (shudder) Christians. The truth is that there are many paths, and not all of them depend on excruciation.
>> Men who do not fulfill that role of protector, monogamous husband, and do not learn to serve in a servant-leadership role will never feel fulfilled as men.
LOL. ROTFL, actually.
>> Have your eyes and heart been so closed to God’s mysterious design for sex in a monogamous marital relationship?
Give that word ‘mystery’ back now! You stole it from us pagans, who were anointed in the deeper mysteries before Christ lived, and possibly before Jehovah was a drunken wine dream of an otherwise innocent goatherd.
>> Polyamory doesn’t look to the Creator. It’s a false religion that you will die upon. . .
We all die. Some of us are not so afraid of death that we must indulge in pathological and delusional fantasies supported by 10% of our income.
>> Find something ancient to give direction to your life. I say the Bible will be your best bet.
LOL! By this guideline, she might as well be Buddhist, or even Moslem.
>> Goddess of Java has built her philosophies on science fiction and the experiments of the Flower Power era.
Actually, polyamory and polyfidelity have much deeper roots than that. I think even Heinlein was a little shocked by what people did with _Stranger_.
See you in the afterlife, if I’m right. If you’re right, you won’t see me. I’ll be in Hades with all my homies, so at least I’ll be in better company than you.
In our 40 plus years of marriage we have only had sex about 25 or 30 times. First 15 years very little, second 25 none at all. I’m very happy with out sex, love or intimacy. The wife and I are just friends. I don’t like being touched any where on my body. I just makes me creepy all over. My doctor is the only one that touchs me and hes the only one that fixed me. I didn’t want kids and I’m glad. Now on the other hand my wife has been lonely, depressed and starved of sex. I made sure got her pills to calm her down. And further more I’m not interested in her feelings. As far as i’m concered she can go else where to take care of her needs. Sex is only a three letter word and nothing more. It means nothing to me.
Wow…yup, you really are friends, aren’t you, because you are just so very concerned with her emotional/physical needs.