Heterosexual. Homosexual. Bisexual. Whateversexual. Why should “sexual” desire be such a massive part of our identity? Why does this have such influence over our motivations in life? A deeper question: why do humans become so infatuated with sex, in the first place? Do our brains spontaneously compel us to crave sex one day at a certain pubescent age, or, does culture relentlessly provoke us, or both? Consider David Lynch’s provocative exploration of this question.
Try recalling a time you experienced complete and utter absence of sexual desire. Maybe a memory from childhood – while you were totally immersed in the simple joy of being alive. Maybe in your recent life, immediately after orgasm, contemplating if you were any happier in that moment than you were a few minutes prior. Maybe during the act of passionately expressing yourself artistically, or intensely working out, or accomplishing something, that in that moment, the appetite for sex was not only absent, but totally undesirable.
Try holding this state in your mind. Imagine, if you could reach into your brain, and permanently shut-off the desire for sex. How would that change your motivations? Your fantasies? How might you live the rest of your life?
If, starting now, it were impossible to see another human being (or yourself) as an amusement park, ever again, what else might you discover about them? What else might you discover about yourself? What meaning is there to life, without sex?
Every human alive is basket of infinite potential. Potential warmness, potential creativity, potential discovery. Potential to contribute to the world far more than they take. At least in my experience, as an average western citizen, it seems very, very, hard to view the world this way. We perceive the world through our mind’s conditioned lens. Sex is overtly a part of life, in the stories we watch and hear, and how we observe others satisfy their pleasure-seeking minds. Sex is covertly a part of life, in how we learn to label one another, and how we identify with communities and share goals and ideas for what a “satisfying” life consists of.
Regardless of the particular flavor of sexuality one identifies with, it feels unquestionable that every human needs a “healthy” sex life to be whole, with or without a partner.
*This seems absurd*
For the past two years of my life, preoccupation with sex has drifted to the fringe of my awareness. Do I have a sex drive? Yes. Do I need to pay any attention to it? Do I need to service it like a machine? Do I need routine release, as if sexual energy lives in some hidden compartment with ever-growing pressure? After two years, my own experience suggests… absolutely none of this is true. I wish I had discovered this long ago. I wish I would have noticed, sexual satisfaction is gratifying only in the same way ice cream is: a real treat in the moment. But as soon as it’s done, it’s done, and life is exactly the same as it was before. I wish I knew sooner, that one can find sustained satisfaction from life that has nothing to do with sex or seeking something from other people. These pleasures can only ever be fleeting, at best.
Perhaps a paradox is that one needs to spend a while indulging desires, in order to notice and make a distinction between short-term and long-term value in them. Nobody can have this experience for anyone else. It would be absurd to expect anyone to abstain from habitual desire simply because someone else judged it was best for them.
So, I am not suggesting suppressing sexual impulses – pretending they don’t exist. I am not saying sex is wrong. I am not saying never have sex. I am merely sharing an idea: that it is possible to fill one’s mind with beautiful things, that have nothing to do with sex, and feel supremely content and happy to be alive. It is possible to observe sexual feelings as they arise, and to let them roll past. I have slowly witnessed through my own trial and error, sexual impulses need not be a first class citizen for attention. The past two years of solitude have been the happiest of my life. Considering sex had absolutely nothing to do with feeling this way, what does that tell me about how important it is? Everything.