Adventure Girl learns a lesson on being in lust
‘Knowing my luck, I’ll meet someone I actually want to be with who is rubbish in bed.’
People often talk about having a ‘type’, a particular physique or other combination of attributes that they are repeatedly attracted to. For me that type is like a physical imprint in my brain that equates the way a body feels against mine, around mine, inside mine, not just with eroticism, but with shelter and security. It’s an imprint that my psyche responds to, that tells me I am loved and I am safe, even when logic tells me I am not.
Add to that a person’s scent, taste, the sound of their voice, the way they touch, all of which send messages into the brain along the same lines, and that ‘type’ becomes a powerful psychological and biochemical aphrodisiac.
Part way through my casual-dating career I met such a match: my physical and sensory ideal. My brain nearly exploded. Our chemistry was the kind that made my experiences with other lovers (with whom I had been relatively content) seem dampened, as though we now made love through a filter.
Better still, our sexual styles matched. He wanted me as his plaything, to pick up and put down, to use, briefly cherish, and then discard.
The ‘cherish’ phase of our encounters was where I was particularly vulnerable. Having controlled and defiled me, he would speak to the inner child in me while I soaked up the feel of his body around mine, as he covered my face with kisses and I inhaled his skin.
In those moments, I was utterly lost.
I longed to say the words, the only ones that had meaning, which my vocabulary equated with the chemicals muddling my reason.
‘I love you.’
I wanted him to say it, even when he didn’t, and nor did I. I didn’t care. There was no room for reason in the haze of biochemistry.
And then I would walk away, choking on what hadn’t been said. I needed to rein my emotions back in, without stifling this rare sensory afterglow. To do this I would actively try to identify what was happening in my body and isolate it from what was happening in my mind. I provided the narrative framework, the reasoning and the boundaries for what I was feeling – responses I once would have equated with love.
This was not love, this was lust. How can you love someone you don’t even know?
Worse – he was not someone I wanted to get to know. He was patriarchal in a way my feminist couldn’t abide. He was concrete where I am abstract. As Dom and Sub, tall and small, we complemented one another physically, sexually, but in other ways we were far too alike, each of us seeking the other half of ourselves, which we did not find in each other. I didn’t even particularly like spending time with him. We never messaged except to arrange meetings and we had no connections beyond the numbers in each other’s phones. He barely knew me, or I him, and I preferred it that way.
While physically, he invoked the attachment chemicals, the ones that yearn to bond, that hate to be apart, that blind, I knew that was where it ended.
He was not a good match for me.
Once I would have mistakenly tried to turn these feelings, this shadow of a relationship, into love. Forced the square peg into a round hole, and wondered why it didn’t fit, why I loved and yet didn’t even like.
Now I understand that what happens inside the body, inside the mind, is a response to a combination of biochemistry and psychological imprint. I can recognise lust and know it isn’t love.
Still my easily-fooled brain told me I was safe, and I found myself opening up, being vulnerable in a way I normally wouldn’t. I left the door open to that part of myself I keep reserved, bricked up, away from my other lovers.
But I wasn’t safe with him, not at all. I was in more danger because he was my type, because I took stupid risks and let myself be treated in ways I would normally find appalling, the biochemical and psychological response overruling my self-regard and preservation, my self-respect.
And even though I didn’t love him and I knew he wasn’t right for me, when he told me he also didn’t love me, I felt rejected, and it was almost too much to take.
We were in lust, not love, but it hurt just the same.