Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughts from Anna Rose, Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of posts about my experiences with a sexual pain disorder, and my journey toward a cure.*

You come home at the end of a long, hard day. You're tired, and your shoulders ache. The only thing you want, what you need more than anything else, is a back rub. That's all you want. It's simple. Easy. So you ask your partner to give you said back rub, but they say no, and instead try to pressure you into having sex.

Not cool, right?

Well then everyone needs to stop telling me that "a nice back rub is just as good as sex sometimes," because it's not. It's not even comparable. If all you want in the world is sex, intercourse, then someone massaging your shoulders is just not going to do it. Just like it's completely obnoxious, even offensive, to be offered only sex when you only want a nice back rub.

I get this a lot. And I have to say that sometimes, substitutes just don't do it. I'll say it, I'll put it out there: I want sex. I want a hard shaft pushing fast, over and over, into my body, pushing so hard that I feel it in my most animalistic psychic places, so it pushes screams out of me that can only mean ecstasy, and union, and something more basic and important than any substitute could ever touch. I want to feel my lover climax and relax inside me.

When I want oral, I'll do oral.

When I want anal, I'll do anal.

When I want a back rub, I'll ask for one.

But when I want sex, I want sex.

And yes, those other things are nice, but they're not necessarily what I'm looking for all the time. Suggesting substitutes for sex--which a lot of people do when they're trying to be helpful--seems counter-productive for two reasons:

1) Substitutes won't actually satisfy my cravings. I am a heterosexual female, and I want heterosexual intercourse. It's what my instinct and my drive have been telling me to do since I was twelve. I want physical union with a big strong man, to feel and smell him all over me, I want to feel puzzle pieces fitting together, to conceive babies with sex, I want it rough, and gentle, and in every position there is. I want to make the Karma Sutra a lifestyle.

2) I believe that suggesting other acts in place of sex undermines those acts. Like the back rub, if I want my boyfriend to go down on me and all he'll give me is sex, that sucks. I'm not going the "there's nothing wrong with these acts" route, because it's more than that: Any act of love is beautiful. For some people, oral sex is the pinnacle of eroticism, the thing that gets them off better than anything else. For others, anal is the way they best unite with their lover. There are countless acts of erotic love, and to suggest one act as a necessary stand-in for one you're not capable of denies that act its own place of honor, and belittles its importance in another life, because if it is a stand-in, it will never be adequate. It is just, "the farthest I can go," or "the most I can do," and over time, it becomes less-than, and resented. I know that because I've said it--many times, throughout five years. Every time, the concept becomes more difficult to accept, and the idea of oral or manual sex becomes less appealing because stand-ins begin to represent what I can't have. Likewise, to suggest that any act can stand in for another implies that the unavailable act is comparable, and substitutable, and that is not always the case.

I started thinking along these lines when a friend, who at the time was receiving a back rub, gave me the back rub line. My first thought was, "People take sex for granted." There are millions of life forms on this Earth who are not designed for sex. For them, it's not necessary, they don't feel the drive, but at the same time, aren't we blessed with the ability to unite with another person in this way, to express ourselves so uniquely and joyously, to trust another being so completely, and to be rewarded for that expression and trust with something as cosmic as orgasm? Throughout the centuries, sex has been the subject of massive thought and debate: It's been the highest form of spiritual power and the worst form of demonic carnality. People have ousted it from their lives, and dedicated their lives to it; worshiped by it, and by denial of it; built statues, altars, temples, industries in its name; sold it, bought it, withheld it, forced it, all for power; laughed at it, cowered before it, hid from it, indulged in it; it's been a symbol for spring, divinity, evil, corruption, baseness, power, magic, masculinity, femininity; reserved for the wise, fully enjoyed by the young; flaunted, hidden, shared; it gives us all life, and it can give you diseases that will kill you.

How, in the name of Holy Earth, could anything be an appropriate substitute?

There are segments of the community that, in their attempt to relax the definition of sex, and to make all forms of sex acceptable, give labels to mainstream, no-frills, heterosexual sex. I'm thinking mostly of "P.I.V.," and the BDSM term, "vanilla." While I respect these subsets, and know their sex is as sacred as my own, I have a real problem with these terms. The first I think is too technical for something so magnificent. The second is offensive. The term "vanilla" means bland and uninteresting, and though members of the BDSM community often enjoy the sex they call vanilla, to put a modifier on any form of sex--seems judgmental. Because let me tell you, if you can't have regular old vanilla PIV, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. I think that in the attempt to bring honor to other kinds of sex and to the people who use those kinds primarily, we often seek to lower the importance of the mainstream, rather than increasing the importance of the non-standard. We defend choice by saying other acts are "just as good," when in fact it doesn't matter--because they're different. Equal does not mean identical, and everyone's preferences deserve respect and realization. My deep and desperate desire for my kind of sex deserves realization. And sex is all it's cracked up to be, otherwise you wouldn't have been interested enough in this post to keep reading till now.

This is exhausting. I need a back rub.

Anna Rose

*If you have chronic pain during intercourse and you know you have no history of sexual violence, you may have a pain disorder, and you should see a doctor. Get opinions from several different kinds of doctors, especially non-conventional if possible.

To read the whole story, take a look at the whole "Thoughts from Anna Rose" series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


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