At thirty, I thought I would know everything that I should know about my sex and sexuality. I don't mean, I would know every way to please and pleasure a man or a woman, or hell, even myself. But I thought I would have discovered everything about my emotional sexual composition. Who I am as a relatively confident, rather attractive bisexual being. However at thirty, for a little while, I found myself mentally deadlocked, stuck and confused.
I never thought this would happen to me. It's not supposed to happen to me. I mean, seriously, it's only supposed to happen to middle aged married couples, with 2 kids, a mini-van, a mortgage, and a decade or two of marital grief under their belts. It sure as hell is not supposed to happen to sexy, same-sex couples in their thirties, with no kids, and barely two years into their relationship. And what's most important here, it is not supposed to happen TO ME!! I am not supposed to be in a sexless relationship! Are you kidding me? I've been in relationships where the biggest problem was one or the other of us was on the verge of losing a job because we hadn't been to work recently due to too much sex! And now, at the, what I consider to be quite tender, age of 30 I am in the second year of a relationship with a 40 year old woman, and we only have sex about twice a month. TWICE A DAMN MONTH!
At the beginning of the problem, I didn't think it was a problem. I think, "All right, I'm a sexual being, I've seduced my share of women and men and I'm damn good at it, if I do say so myself. I know how to perk up somebody's sexual interest, and I've never even had to use Viagra! I have lingerie, I have toys, I have sweet and sticky food in the fridge, I have videos and DVD's, and best of all, I have me. I have only been sleeping with this woman for a year or so, we haven't done nearly everything we could do just using our own bodies and stamina. What the hell am I worried about?"
Very quickly I realize my, then 39 year old, woman is also a pretty damn conservative woman. Hell, I honestly didn't know there was a such thing as conservative lesbians. Politically conservative, of course, even a lesbian that dresses conservative is allowed. But a Black butch dyke that's shy about shopping for a strap-on dildo or watching lesbian porn.....WHAT THE HELL!?!
To only compound an already complicated development, at that time, each weekend I had the pleasure of being directly exposed to my lover's extremely over-active past sex life, by means of her part-time job (which was actually the way we met) as a bartender at a gay night club. It was the only gay night club at the time in Nassau, Bahamas, and before I came along, she was apparently one of the hottest commodities in it. I'll save the long and romantic story for how we met for another time, but once we started dating, her club became my regular Friday through Sunday night hangout. I became like Norm from "Cheers" ; when everybody else had to be searched by security guards to get in, security just waved me by, and knew me by name, when everybody else paid the cover charge, the front door people waved me by, and knew me by name, and of course, I drank free all night. The other bartender also knew me by name. Yeah, it was cute and that attention I liked.... a lot.
What I didn't like, and what got real old, real quick, was that at least once or twice a weekend my lover had to 'play sly'. You know what 'playin' sly' is- when you are in the middle of a conversation with your significant other, until their eyes catch the eyes of a certain someone who just walked in, so they have to play sly and excuse themselves real quick, then a minute later the other bartender appears with a fresh drink and a cocktail napkin with a note scribbled on it, "I used to mess with that girl n red n she might want to talk to me. B cool, will xplain later. Luv u." The drink is tall and strong, I don't complain.... much.....at first.
After months and months of faces and faces from the past, but a steady decrease in the open-mindedness of our own sexual experimentation and frequency, my ability to be persuasive is deteriorating. Due to her frequently visiting teenage niece, she has now forced me to discard any sex material that the teen could get to, which was damn near all of it. I refused to get rid of certain toys, on sheer principle. On occasion, I tried to get her to look at various things I found online, to see what would spark her interest, but nothing seemed to. It was so odd and disheartening to me. She had such an active sex life prior to meeting me, and when we do make love, have sex, and even just fuck, I've had this woman crawling up the headboard backward screaming my name! I know she's fucking into it! But getting this ultra-conservative woman to talk about sex is like....well.... getting an ultra-conservative woman to talk about sex.
It's like pulling teeth.
But I'm stubborn. And horny. So I pull, and pull, and eventually some long buried and deeply torturing childhood issues begin to surface. While the actual experiences that she had endured themselves were not buried, we had discussed them on more than one occasion, as it was one of the things we unfortunately had in common and connected on, how those experiences impacted her relationships since and her views on sex was something that she had never broached. We broached it, delicately at first, then not so delicately. Many tears were shed over several weeks, and still are periodically as the topic comes up every so often, but painful as it was, we both hashed out hideous sexual emotional trauma, and came out stronger, wiser, more able to talk about our feelings and past, and more connected on several levels.
And I didn't expect sexual miracles to take place, I knew there would be a transitional period that she would need to integrate this new information into her life. And I was perfectly willing to make the first move, and begin again with my powers of persuasion until we once again found our physical harmony. But months pass, and nothing changes. Our lives continue to get more and more settled into the patterns of a committed couple in every aspect except for this one. If any sexin' is to take place, it is at my initiation, or, even worse, if she does initiate it, the most she gives me is usually a two-minute 'hand-job', which I'd just as soon do without (because on most days I'm doing that myself).
I can sincerely say that at no point did I question her loyalty. By no stretch of the imagination do I think that I had some sort of magical influence that made her want to be faithful, since she hadn't done so with another woman so far. But when I met her, I was at a time in my life that I was trying to shed certain unhealthy personality traits and so was she, and I would have been a hypocrite had I believed that such a change was possible in me but not in another. It was yet another thing we connected on, and luckily on that I have yet to be proven wrong on.
As I mentioned, in all other aspects we are a settled, committed couple, living together, joint bills and bank accounts (some serious financial strain at times), caring for pets, attending doctors appointments and family engagements together. And our sex life became my running joke. I couldn't help it, my patience wore very thin so that at times I could tolerate the occasional hit-and-run hand-job and once-a-month marathon sweat-up-the-sheets session, that usually occurred sometime around the time for her period to start, when her hormones are high (but we can only do it once and then shit is off limits for at least a week anyway) that was supposed last me until next month. But sometimes I just could not take it and my cynical ass mouth got the better of me and I can honestly say that I regret some of the things I said. She is very sensitive and I was hurtful and occasionally hateful.
But dammit I was horny. And I was now no longer questioning her. She seemed perfectly content with the physical arrangement we had, what felt to me like dear friends who took care of each other and cared for each other..... with occasional benefits. And it made me worried that maybe all this time I was looking at this from entirely the wrong direction. Maybe all this time, I was trying to figure out how to make my woman more attracted to me and trying to find ways to increase the frequency in which we have sex, but what if it wasn't her...... What if it's me?
What if I'm just over-sexed and too fucked up to see it? I mean, I know that I've had more sex than the average woman my age, and I don't say that to brag as I don't see it as something to necessarily be proud of, it's just something that I've come to learn about myself by talking to a lot of women from various backgrounds over the years. And a lot of men. And by obviously doing a hell of a lot more than talking to them. It just never occurred to me that I could be over-sexed by 30.
It has to be me! She is happy and has not a single complaint about our relationship, but I am this raging horny toad, nagging and whining and persuading and initiating..... why? I am putting too much emphasis on the importance of our sex life when apparently it does not have to be important. This is commitment, right? This is 'the long haul'. But I had been in relationships for longer than this and the sex still never dropped below a 4-5 time a week limit at least, and that was during fights!! STOP IT DAMMIT, IT'S JUST SEX!! I am a grown ass, strong Black woman, I am greater than my sexual needs, I am not some lusting child! I can suppress my urges for now and eventually, I'll adjust to her 'schedule of needs'. Just like a diet. Right?
Ah, HELL, NO! This was a bit more than I could fathom on my own. I had to go global. I had to go to the web.
I finally decided the problem might have become slightly bigger than my head could hold alone. I needed to get it out, into the open, to someone other than just the two of us, because it didn't seem to be going anywhere in my head. And my hands were mutating into wretchedly sore and inflexible limbs from the massive nightly overuse. So I figured if I was going to abuse my hands anyway, it should be in a slightly more constructive way.
I took my problem to the web and posted it on my blog on MySpace. I poured out my heart and other organs and outright asked whoever read my blog, should I hide my sexual side. Had I, in essence, overwhelmed my partner sexually or was I just expecting too much? Was this just what a long-term, devoted relationship meant? I probably gave way too much information, or way too little, I have no idea, I just needed to externalize this crisis. Holding is was doing a number on my ulcer.
While I was in the process of purging my soul, I thought it might be a good idea to try and replenish some of the emotional nutrients I had to be losing. First and foremost, I needed to read something uplifting or out-lifting. Feelin' a bit like a life-long sucka, I decide to peep that weeks issue of Hanifah Walidah's e-newsletter and blog "Sucka for Life". I read several newsletters, journals, and blogs for several reasons. Hanifah's self-actualized, empowered, and passionately female infused advocacy for the arts and the people always fill me with a light of focus and confidence no matter what her topic of discussion. I feel more confident approaching tasks and situations in my life because of the ease of comfort in which she seems to tackle each of her situations and tasks and just life in general, as just another sister like me.
Background music..... I go to Neo Soul Cafe, and turn on the music player, to get my head right. I roll a tree, light up, sit back and read my "Sucka" with mellow tunes playing, and wait.....
It's less than 20 minutes before a little box pops up in the corner of my screen; my email signaling me that my good friends on MySpace had begun responding to my plea for help.
I hit my spliff long and hard, then go to my email. There were messages telling me that not only had someone posted a response, a few people had emailed responses. Maybe they were too sheepish to respond where others could see. I started reading. Then I started dialoguing and conversing. Then I think for the first time in weeks, I started breathing. Because while I was getting more tips on how to woo my woman, and websites to go to for hints on new positions and places to purchase paraphernalia (most of which I had done already) I was also getting heaps upon heaps of words of encouragement and support. No one shunned or belittled my concerns or needs or made me feel stupid for having my concerns. I was shocked! I was expecting at least one stray person to say that I was being a dick and I should just shut my pie hole and quit my bitchin'! But not a single person said a harsh word.
What was even more shocking was the abundance of messages I received from women and men who simply thanked me for being so willing to openly discuss my sexuality and my relationship. Women and men who are just coming out of the closet, or bisexual like me and having problems dealing with the stigmas, or who just are new to same sex relationships and happy to see a friendly face, so to speak. Woah, I was not expecting this at all. I read them all, then took a moment and to process what this could mean. This means that it's not me.
IT'S NOT ME!
So, I am not an lustful, oversexed slut, I'm a normal woman, with normal needs, and not a freak of nature! I had asked the masses and the general consensus was that I did not have to feel as though I was a sexual deviant, or at least any more deviant than is healthy. For a few days I read caring and warm messages from people on MySpace, women and men alike. I stopped feeling quite so abnormal. However, what exactly do I want to do with that little tidbit of information? Do I really have the motivation or inclination to again direct my energy outside of myself and onto my partner? No, that didn't seem like the most effective strategy. But there were aspects of our relationship that I did need to look at; one aspect in particular. Who I had become in our relationship.
I looked at Me. My style, my possessions, my clothing, my environment. I looked at the things on my computer including my website, I looked at my reading and music material, or lack thereof, I looked long and hard at who I was. I looked at how I had filtered myself and censored myself and slowly become sort of a 'soft-touched', not-quite-Stepford-ized but almost, Republican-esque alter-ego of myself, that I found none to appealing! This simply did not work.
One morning after my partner had gone to work, I stood drinking my second cup of coffee and smokin' my second spliff, staring at my pitiful wardrobe in my closet. While she had been encouraging me to get new clothes because I had not done so in years, lack of money and disputes over what we each thought was in style meant that not much had been purchased in the past couple years. What had been bought, was not only now too large for me (both of us lost over 20 pounds on a very strict regimen of diet and stress), most of it looked like stuff that I would buy for my mother. It was what she wanted to see me in, and actually, when I looked at her side of the closet, some of it was the same.
EEEEKK!! I had always told her that she dressed 10 years older than her age, with oversized wool blazers, pleated slacks with lining, and loafers, tons and tons of loafers. But this meant I was dressing 20 years older than my age! I could see it, a few pairs of pleated slacks with lining, some blouses that I would have never purchased. I made a decision: I have to put a stop to this before she buys me a pair of loafers!
I start to sort through stuff. I don't want to hurt her feelings or throw away perfectly good clothes. I mean, some of this stuff is good for a job interview or some other equally uptight situation. I just don't want it in my face, as the first thing I see and immediately reach for when I go in my closet anymore. So, I take the slacks and all things 50, and neatly put them on hangers in the furthest reaches of my closet, while reaching for usable, comfortable, good, 30 year old woman clothing. Luckily, I also come across some damn cool 'don't forget you were once 25 too!' rags that I apparently never discarded.
What the fuck, I try some of the stuff on, just to see what my new, trimmer body looks like in my old duds. WOOHOO! What the fuck!?! I look damn hot, if I say so myself! Hhhhmmm, I don't want to just say so myself. I find and hit my spliff a few more times, pointed my cursor to one of My Own Playlists, grab my digital camera, and play around with the self timer to get some rockin', sexy ass shots! I go back to my MySpace profile and revamp the entire look. What was just a white background with an Aum in the middle is replaced with a full-sized picture of the sexually restored Rashida sitting on a barstool, sporting nothing but a flimsy off-the-shoulder blouse, pulled down to conceal my dignity, and a pair of strappy stilettos (oddly enough, the shoes were a gift from my partner).
Yes, I should anticipate that being 'half nekked' on the web, for all of the world and my honey and her family to see, would not go over great with her. I'm aware this is not something that she would be totally supportive of, but I am also aware that for the first time I don't really care. I love it, and I love the responses that I've gotten from it. Of course any woman would expect the typical amount of rabid attention from hungry, hormonal boys, panting and typing (probably with one free hand) "Yo, u fine shorty, u shoud holla so we can see wat truble we can start. I bang dat ass good." I can't even imagine who that flatters. But there is remarkably less of that than I expected.
I am again pleasantly surprised and damn near blown away by the genuine props and rush of mad love I'm from friends and strangers alike who don't just look at the picture on the profile, but read the blog and the replies and take the time to write me messages of support or actually ask for my advice! Would you believe it, asking a neurotic for advice on neuroses? Oh the irony. All I can do is try to offer the same honesty that makes them want to talk to me in the first place. All they are looking for is the same open mind and shoulder that I was looking for.
I am taking more steps, daily, regain my sexual identity. To not necessarily reclaim who I was 5 or 10 years ago, because I'm not that person either; I'm wiser and better, stronger and, well, better. But I'm a far stretch from the person I was becoming. It's a subtle change, in fun little ways now. I'm remembering how much I like good porn (I really do) but since she doesn't I confine my porn to my computer. I'm playing with sexy li'l clothing and outfit ideas in my head that don't require purchasing anything right now, that I can spring on her at various times. It's the holidays, lots of engagements and shindigs. Lots of opportunities for yuletide cheer!
I went back to my Blog to let everyone know what my personal status report is. Where I am, as a more secure, more promising, steadier and happier in my skin, woman as a sexual being. I even added a little Jill Scott to drive the point home.
Where does my sex life with my partner stand? Exactly where it was. Nothing has changed. You didn't realize that I had switched to the present tense. It's the here and now and we still have sex about twice a month. I just don't really complain about it anymore. It doesn't feel any better, or worse, I just got tired of complaining. I hope you didn't expect some sort of resolution on that front, after all, this is titled "Carnal Conclusion" meaning a sexual resolution not a resolution to the relationship. And even further is the subtitle, "My Sexuality Self-Help yada-yada-yada". Get it...sexuality...I'm just sayin' I don't want there to be any confusion about the purpose of this. It was not to say that anything has been resolved, but we are still together and that's something.
But at least I feel freer, clearer, lighter and less burdened by an issue that should have never been, but had to be, because if if had not been, I might not have been the one to have kicked off what turned into a pretty cool Sexuality Self-Help Session in Cyberspace.