Over the last couple of years, I’ve had two connections – with L and with V – that have been unlike anything previous in my life. (The relationship I had with the Historian was similar, structurally, though it was shorter, less intense, less comprehensive.) These were connections with women who submitted to me gleefully, who took pleasure in serving me, in the pleasure available to them by submitting to me, in never saying no to me, in a sort of selfless way that it’s hard for me to imagine – that I think impossible, even undesirable – in a three-dimensional, committed, intimate relationship. Each relationship came to an end. Well, not quite an end – I’m still good friends with L (having lunch with her today), and V and I remain cordial (we hope to meet for drinks in the coming weeks). But the relationships changed, became much more conventional. Each relationship transformed for its own reasons. In the case of L, it became too uncomfortable for her husband. In the case of V, I mishandled enough of our interactions that it became painful and/or unsatisfying for her, and she decided to end it. Amicably, but still….
I learned a few things in each of these relationships, in both of them.
First, I learned that the experience of my desire’s being fully assimilated into another person, being felt almost bodily as her own, feels good to me. It’s as if somehow each provided me with the kind of infinite, unquestioning, accepting openness to my desires – however far-fetched, or mechanical, or selfish, or risky, or whatever – that allowed me to feel in some deep, compelling sense, known, appreciated, valued. And that sense – that feeling that each provided to me – is good.
But second, I learned that that good feeling is not, over the long haul, sustainable or tolerable to me. Somehow, the more I was able to rely on that feeling, the less fulfilling it was. The more claustrophobic it became. Some of this, surely, is simply the standard male fear of commitment, preference for the separation of intimacy and desire. But that doesn’t feel like it holds a lot of explanatory power for me.
Here’s how I think of it.
L and V were, are, very different people. We had very different relationships. But they provided me with one very big thing in common – that sense I described above, that feeling of my desires’ being desired, even needed, powerfully. But the thing was, it was the getting of that sense, not the having of it, that felt most good to me. So, with the passage of time, as I became increasingly confident that I had it, the value began to decrease. And not only did the value decrease, but it became affirmatively uncomfortable. Somehow, receiving that, having it, being able to count on it made it not just less valuable to me, but actively uncomfortable. In retrospect, this connects to what drove me into my addiction, such as it was, such as it is.
I have a hole deep inside me, a sense that I need connection with a woman of a sort that isn’t predictably, reliably, available. And I seek to medicate that sense, to fill that hole, with an unquestioning, infinite appetite for my desires by a woman. But when I get it, it turns out that while the getting of it feels unspeakably, unimaginably good, the having of it flies in the face of some of my deepest-held beliefs about myself. Said differently, the unpredictability, unreliability, of my getting what I crave is itself a crucial aspect of my fulfillment.
What was great for me in the beginning of those relationships – and in the beginning of all relationships – is the sequence that begins with my uncertainty about what I’ll get, what she’ll give, followed so quickly by my getting exactly what it is that I crave. But as my relationship to the question of what’s available to me changes, as I become more and more able to count on my getting it, it starts to be less and less of just what it is that I crave. Because it’s not the having of it that I crave. It’s the getting of it.
I’m curious about how this works, about how it’s changed over the years, and about how it will continue to change.
(And a postscript on Sofia: she gives me something almost exactly akin to what L and V gave me with one crucial exception. She’s thousands of miles away, and we’ve never met. We’ve never fucked. Somehow, this has enabled our relationship to continue to resonate for me almost entirely without the sense of claustrophobia or discomfort I describe. And I’d be curious, if we did fuck, say, once, to see whether/how that affected it….)