Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thicker still

They say that it takes about 30 days to form a habit. For me, not mentioning sex; not making double entendres; not making suggestive comments or giving suggestive looks took a lot more than 30 days.

Eventually a person who fasts looses their appetite.

Do you ever lose your sexual appetite? If you are a male and under 60?

Each of us, as human beings, are perhaps millions upon millions of generations old. If we had the information, we could trace our family tree back, perhaps, 500,000,000 generations: to the first humans, then further back through the chimps to the first lemur-like mammals, and further again, finally going all the way back to some virus-like proto-life form.

And the amazing thing about our family trees is that at EVERY SINGLE generation, our ancestors successfully reproduced. 500,000,000 generations worth.

The odds are astronomical! How many other organisms could have come into being but didn't because they didn't have that hunger, that drive, to reproduce?

The two or three billion years that life has existed on earth has meant generation upon generation of not just "survival of the fittest" but "survival of the randiest". After all, what were those organisms that Darwinianism deemed "fittest" the fittest for? They were fittest at passing on their genes -- at reproduction! Of course that meant that they were better at gathering food, and at not becoming food themselves. But inevitably it had to mean that our ancient trilobite ancestors that preferred catching up on the local fishy gossip to doing a bit of proto-fornication ended up losing out in the genetic race to other trilobites who showed a bit more initiative.

And so it was generation after generation for millions, even billions of years.

And yet, despite this deep programing, so often libido (male or female) is seen as debuachery, as sick, as a perversion.

It seems to me that a healthy libido is about as "sick" as a healthy heartbeat. It is as much a part of who we are as our fear of death: both the inevitable result of astronomically improbable survival in a single uninterupted web of reproduction and survival that reaches all the way back to the very first reproducing proteins that emerged from Earth's primordial soup several billion years ago.


So every day I bit my tongue, crossed my legs, and marked off my calendar.
No mention of sex. No hint of romance. No lascivious looks.
And my libido lingered, despite promises from self-help gurus that after 30 days of practice, a habit could be broken.

Sex is no habit. It is our genetic heritage.

But I soon realized that although 30 days was an eternity to me, it was a flash in the pan to Susan. She had long felt that making love once a fortnight was an onerous over indulgence. For her, going a month without sex was merely missing a single date.

That was the difference between us.

We made love roughly once a fortnight or so. But for her this meant she was having sex several times more often than she would have liked, whereas for me, it meant I was having sex several times less often than I would have liked. (She had, she used to like to say, about as much appetite for sex as an anorexic has for a stack of deep-fried chocolate bars.)

So for her to go a month without sex meant missing out on a single sexual encounter that she was never that interested in in the first place. For me, it meant missing out on about 10 or 12!

So, I realized she would barely notice the month.

I needed to extend the timeframe.

Soon it became in my mind the stretch goal of 99 days.

The days dragged on.

I marked the calendar daily.

Sometimes I had good stretches where I would go two, or even three days without marking it down.

That was rare. More often, I would go over and count the days and the weeks. Where was I up to? Was it close enough yet to call it 5 weeks? Can four weeks and four days be psychologically considered to be virtually reaching five weeks? Perhaps not when three days can seem like 30.

Several times, I wanted to hold her, to cuddle her, to caress her so much that it was all I could do to hold myself back. I could see it all slipping away, and I didn't care. But then I would remember her angry lashing out at me, and my stubborn resolve meant that I would hold on a bit longer.

It was like a 12 steps program! Only, I didn't have the advantages of a mentor, of any literature, of meetings. And alcoholics have the advantage of not having a bottle of whiskey undressing in front of them and climbing into bed next to them every night!

At about 10 weeks I told a friend what I was doing. He applauded my efforts.

By then I realized that even 99 days was not going to cut it.

I was going to have to hold out for a whole year.


In part of me, it was almost like a test. A referendum on our relationship.

"Ok, baby, you don't want me to mention anything about sex. You're on. I've been asking, begging, pleading for over five years. I'll leave it alone for a year. After that..."

After that... what? Would I leave her? Do you leave someone just because they have no libido?

Back in the old days when people had to provide reasons for getting divorced, a number of states allowed "impotence" as a legitimate justification. (I wonder if any allowed frigidity?)

Even in prudish 19th century America, sex was seen as that much of a cornerstone of marriage.

But then many couples live long and happy lives without sex. For one reason or another, the sex drops off, and they both deal with it and move on. Before viagra, there would have been millions of couples like that. Presumably a lot of those couples were even happy; even content!

Was it wrong of me to have that thought in the back of my head? The thought that if she did not show some interest in sex after a year, that that would be it for us? Is that frightfully shallow?

Could sex be reasonably considered the "a la mode" on the apple pie of life? Or was it a slice of the pie itself?

Hey! I'm only 39! I am too young to be turning my back on sex!!!

I don't know what will happen at the end of a year without sex. But I do know that at some point in those first two months, I began to realize that 99 days wasn't really going to cut it.

It was going to have to be the king daddy: a year without sex.

I don't think it is something I could ever do cold turkey.
Writing this blog gives me a focus and purpose for that year. A focus and purpose that would make lasting the distance meaningful.

And I realized even then that my drought may not last nearly so long.

Both Christmas and my birthday were coming up, so I rather thought I would be getting some action!

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