Sex. It's always the elephant in the room, isn't it? When is it ever not an issue?
We are very similar people. A matched set. I think that if we could have created someone to love, we would not have been very far off from what we have. We enjoy similar music, laugh at the same dumb jokes, want the same things from our lives. We are from similar small, Wisconsin towns and even love similar flavors of ice cream.
We both feel lost at times and have struggled against similar melancholies for many years. We are at a loss to explain why this is, but have accepted that it simply is. I have felt out of place in nearly every place my entire life. He has too.
We have had very different lives, though. I graduate from college only a year after he finished high school. I started living my life independently (at least from my parents) a full three years before he did. I've struggled since finishing college to find something that made me feel worthwhile and challenge me; he found his job in Adams in his first round of applications, though it hasn't been what either of us was looking for.
The biggest difference is our respective romantic pasts. I'm coming out of a five year marriage at the end of a thirteen year relationship. In the course of the time, I had relationships with two other guys as well. Well, one sadomasochistic relationship and one hookup after several weeks of hardcore flirting.
He's never been in love before now. He's never felt that someone else could identify with what he was feeling inside and therefore never felt comfortable to open up to someone else. That reticence has prevented him from having a relationship before now. And because of he's never been in love, he's never made love with anyone.
I've reassured him a number of times that this is something that I admire about him. I admire the fact that he didn't indulge in the easy, meaningless sex that is so readily available in college. The fact that he never met a girl at a bar, waited until he or she or both were so drunk that they couldn't see why not, and took her home is just a part of what makes him so incredible and so incredibly different from the men that I've been with before.
Every relationship I've ever had before has been about sex first and love second, if ever. Andy and I started our relationship by making out on Amy's couch while we were each "dating" someone else. This was in the middle of June, the summer before we started high school. We continued our illicit "affair" for several weeks until we had both ended it with our respective others. We then began to date offically at the end of July. We had sex for the first time at the end of October of that same year. I was fourteen years old; Andy was fifteen, since it was his birthday.
When I broke up with Andy the following February, we continued to have sex regularly until school let out in June. We then started sleeping together again in September, though we didn't actually start dating again until November. When I would again try to seperate myself from my relationship with Andy in the spring of my Freshman year at college, a similar pattern took place. Though we both dated a few other people, we were still having sex with each other.
I have always counted myself incredibly and unbelievably lucky that Andy loved me. By the time we entered our Senior year of high school, Andy and I cared greatly and deeply for each other. I was spared many of the horrible emotion scares that are inflicted on young girls who lose their virginities too soon. Andy did not use me for sex and then leave me, alone and unsure of who or what I was. He was sweet and kind and, I think, just as scared about sex as I was.
Things were slightly different with Keith, though sex was definately the focus of the relationship. I had been infatuated with Keith for months as we tried to be "friends" with each other. He knew of my feelings for him and I convinced myself that he shared those feelings, or at least that he sympathized with me for feeling the way that I did. This was an incorrect assumption. He gloried in my affection for him without ever feeling any connection to me whatsoever. He enjoyed having me idolize him without having to return those feelings to me, in fact he didn't even have to be very nice to me; I worshipped him inspite of his cruel treatment of me.
When he began to realize that I was willing to sleep with him even though he continued to degrade me, he saw the possibilities of what our relationship could entail. As a group we had all discussed the idea of friends who sleep together. I had proposed this idea to Keith several times. I thought we had such a good friendship and that we could add sex to that relationship without any emotional attachments. I allowed myself to forget the fact that I was infatuated with him and that sleeping with him would only push my tender heart closer to the breaking point.
During finals week, Keith finally gave in to me and we had sex twice. It was a culmination for me; I felt as though I had finally achieved what I had wanted for so long: to know that he wanted me too. I think that my mind saw sex as what would bind him to me and make him feel for me the way that I had felt for him for so long. I was wrong. Keith timed his submission to me perfectly. He was able to enjoy what I was willing to give him, tell me that there would be nothing more between us and leave to go home for the summer.
Though I had escaped that degredation with my first sexual relationship, I was given it in spades with my second.
Ryan was a different animal completely. Ryan and I had been friends for a year and a half when we slept together. And not even very good friends, to be honest. Ryan was one of a group of boys that I spent time with during my sophomore and junior years at college. These were guys that I had met in the dorms, through a mutual friend, that I really just enjoyed being with. They were raunchy and funny. We played video games, made fun of tv shows, made dirty jokes and laughed almost constantly. It was kind of like being in the locker room sometimes but I enjoyed it. They were uncomplicated and my friendship with them was uncomplicated as well. Ryan was in no way special from these other boys, aside from the fact that he was very good looking and charming.
In the fall of my junior year, I was engaged to Andy and had finally rebuilt a friendship that had been very important to me for several years. I was generally happy with my life at that point. After a falling out with that same friend, however, I lost control of myself and my emotions. Losing her, though I can see now how little good she did in my life, caused me more pain than I would have thought possible.
I started to spend time with other friends more than I had before, and this included the Boys. This time with them led into some very heavy flirting between myself and Ryan, both in person and via internet chat. Again, timing could not have been more in his favor. Two weeks before the end of the semester, a girlfriend and I got very drunk and spent several hours making out with Ryan on the futon in his dorm room. A week after that, I was drunk again and had sex with Ryan, alone, on that same futon.
He withdrew from the University at the end of that semester, as he knew that he would. And, other than a few cases of being in the same room with other friends and one chat session, I have never talked to him again. The good thing about Ryan, and the uncomplicated friendship that I had had with him, was that sleeping together did not really affect that relationship. Had we not had sex, he would still have left school and we probably, still, would not have continued our friendship.
I never told Andy about either of my other sexual relationships. I feared how he would respond and was worried about how much it would hurt him to know that I had not only slept with other people while we were together, but that I had lied to him about it for years.
I'm not proud of all of the things that I've done. I made choices that hurt myself as well as others. But I'm also not apologizing for my past. The experiences that I've had, both good and bad, have made me into the person that I am today. I am stronger and wiser because of the mistakes that I have made, and that includes sex.
He loves me and I finally have a chance to build a relationship and do things right. God, please don't let me screw this up.