This post is written specifically for the Erotic Journal Challenge prompt “Never Again”:
What have you done sexually that you would never do again (or never do again THAT WAY)? Or are there things you’ve done that you’d do but with certain changes? Is there a promise you’ve made yourself about how you will conduct yourself sexually based on events of the past? Is there some negative behaviour or thought-pattern you want to stop or re-program?
I am a cis-het dude, so one would expect an answer to a “never again” be related to some experimenting with same sex, but no. I’ve never been even tempted to. Well, there was this one time before I knew what sex really was, but that’s a story for another day (read: never).
What I hope to never repeat again is something completely different. You see, I am a caretaker (a caretaker dom, to be more precise). Well, I didn’t know that I was until I was told as much some three years ago, well into my mid-fifties. Funny how this happens. To quote Molière’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme,
My faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose while knowing nothing of it, and I am the most obliged person in the world to you for telling me so.
Often this need to take care of someone I am close to takes precedence of my own needs. I tend to compare my discomfort with their apparently unbounded suffering and make the choice to help them instead of focusing on me. This had been working well for years with my partner of many decades, until it stopped. But this is another story for another day. Maybe. Also, now that I reflect on it, maybe I need to have a talk about this with a professional.
This urge to take care of my partner’s needs even when they contradict my own sometimes spills into the sexual domain. It is a stereotype that men are always ready to go, and for years it fit me to a T. My sex drive was much higher than my partner’s and, as the law of the supply and demand states, I had to settle for what I could get, and got used to fawning over her and take care of her needs, and eventually get some action when she was emotionally and physically available. Now that I wrote it, it also sounds quite a stereotypical gender interaction in a long-term relationship. Huh.
With time it became second nature. Which is fine, to a point. Even healthy. Gotta take care of one’s partner. Of each other. But it stops being healthy for me when it gets mixed with emotional manipulation. I understand the allure of angry sex, though it is not high of my list of kinks. What I do not want to experience again is being scolded/blamed/chastised, having to admit real or imaginary faults, grovel for forgiveness, eventually “earning” the ensuing intimacy, only for the cycle to repeat again shortly after.
Again, I understand that in some relationships this kind of interaction can be healthy, and hopefully consensual. Mindfuck is a kink, and emotional manipulation can be a part of it. But the keyword here is “consensual”. When the sexual needs are mismatched, it is all too easy for the holder of the scarce resource to exact a ruinous price for it. Supply and demand. Relationship capitalism in action, so to speak. Monopolistic ugly unchecked capitalism of monogamous exclusive relationships. OK, you can guess by now that I am not a huge fan of either.
So, back to the sex-for-groveling dynamics. That wasn’t how most of our sex life went, or we would not have lasted together over three decades. But here and there it creeped in. I learned to make this emotional effort, a dissociative step of sorts: push any emotional discomfort far deep into the back of my mind and focus on the action, so to speak. Take care of my partner’s needs, sexually and emotionally, and get my own satisfaction in the process. And hopefully not having to revisit that painful place in my mind where I had to yield to the relentless law of supply and demand.
But one day there came the moment when the pain from this dynamics exceeded some inner threshold. After weeks of no sex my then-partner acceded to the unspoken need, or just got horny enough, and we were, for a short time, in the familiar and comfortable interaction. Only what ensued was no longer tolerable. Soon after that she repeatedly expressed regret of having done it. She said it to me, and eventually to a relationship counselor we went to see a few times. This was way too much. I froze inside, emotionally. A relationship that had lasted decades disintegrated within weeks. I bear my share of responsibility for it, of course, but in retrospect the outcome had the feeling of inevitability around it, it was just a matter of time.
And yet. The old patterns are hard to change. Something similar happened in the relationship that followed, and I am trying hard to avoid any further repetition. No more pushing my sexual and emotional needs away to fawn over my partner, only to be scolded later. Down with monopolistic monogamous capitalism! Down with supply and demand in a relationship! Long live harmonious mutual emotional support and taking care of each other!
To read all submissions to the Erotic Journal Challenge #17: “Never Again”, click here.