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Something I’ve just got to ask (or, Sex and love in our time).

February 13, 2010

So tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

Oh, dear.

So where have we gone as far as love and sex in the past few decades?  Obviously the sixties and seventies set us up for sexual liberation, particularly with the advent of the condom and birth control pills. 

That one always makes me giggle. 

Okay, freedom to choose when/if to be sexually active. Woo!  But what is love today? 

Many would say that it is a physical phenomenon, a reaction to smelling someone else’s immune system or something and being attracted to it for the sake of mating or physical relief.  There is definitely something to be said about this idea, because sex is a powerful force in human behavior.  It is an intimate expression of a physical attraction to another person, a way of getting to know someone in a sort of conversation with your body.  So, “Love” does not exist.

I like this painting, there’s something very intimate in the darker color scheme, with their physical attraction to each other heightened by the tortured look their bodies have.  They twist together in seemingly unnatural ways, caught up in the energy and movement of the moment.  So cool!

But there is another side to this conversation that says that sex is just physical love, and without that spiritual connection has little or no meaning beyond physical satisfaction.  Basically:

That was adorably gag-reflex-inducing.

By the way, can’t you tell that I love images?  I study art and literature  by day, I’m only a blogger/thinker by night.  But don’t tell my professors, they might think that I have my own opinions and don’t just regurgitate theirs.

Anyway! Back to love.

So people who think of love as a spiritual connection tend to dismiss sex as a sort of biological function with needs to be met, like hunger or thirst.  When the right one comes along, you just know, and that’s the end of your grazing days because you’ve met the one person that satisfies all of your needs and still makes you smile in the morning.  Love can last forever, marriage, babies, careers, twin cars in the garage, big white house, the whole deal. 

So cute.

I’ve obviously made some sweeping generalizations for the sake of time and space.  But here’s my question, from someone who’s never been in love, someone uncertain in life and wondering how to perceive this elusive phenomenon:

Who’s right?  Should we still believe in love?

While people fall in love everyday, people also get divorced and heartbroken everyday.  Some people close themselves up and just have friends with benefits, others open themselves over and over again in order to feel a shadow of the love they hope for.   I’ve seen marriage and divorce, I’ve seen love and heartbreak, but the data contradicts itself. 

Love Song

My own dear love, he is strong and bold
And he cares not what comes after.
His words ring sweet as a chime of gold,
And his eyes are lit with laughter.
He is jubilant as a flag unfurled —
Oh, a girl, she’d not forget him.
My own dear love, he is all my world, —
And I wish I’d never met him.

My love, he’s mad, and my love, he’s fleet,
And a wild young wood-thing bore him!
The ways are fair to his roaming feet,
And the skies are sunlit for him.
As sharply sweet to my heart he seems
As the fragrance of acacia.
My own dear love, he is all my dreams, —
And I wish he were in Asia.

My love runs by like a day in June,
And he makes no friends of sorrows.
He’ll tread his galloping rigadoon
In the pathway of the morrows.
He’ll live his days where the sunbeams start,
Nor could storm or wind uproot him.
My own dear love, he is all my heart, —
And I wish somebody’d shoot him.

—Dorothy Parker

However, there is one thing that I am certain of, that no one could ever change my mind about (and I don’t say that very often).  I’ve never been in love with a man, I’ve never been married or had kids, I’ve never seen a relationship that I thought was absolutely going to make it no matter what.  But I absolutely, completely love my parents and my friends. 

My parents may have made a lot of mistakes, they irritate me to no end at times, but I appreciate them so much and I love spending time with them and letting them know.  I love to make their lives easier by being the best person I can be, and depending on myself as much as possible so they don’t feel overwhelmed.


Not my actual family. But I was totally Carol.

My friends are my family away from home.  I love doing things for them that help alleviate their stress, make them feel more confident, make them laugh.  It helps me feel like I contribute something good, in a small way.  Like I’m thanking them for being there for me.  We have such adventures together. 

Not my actual friends. But I was totally Rachel.

That’s the kind of love I believe in. 

But I had to spend time with those people, learn how they made me happy, learn how to make them happy, and it felt effortless because we were having so much fun together.  Maybe that’s what “love” is.  Maybe that’s how it is supposed to be.  But who knows.

So to wish you all a happy day of celebrating all kinds of love, I recommend you find someone you love and do something nice for them.  I will probably watch a sappy movie like Moulin Rouge with my mom, and have a really great time. 

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!
One Comment leave one →
  1. Penny permalink
    February 13, 2010 10:33 pm

    I’m not great about commenting regularly, but I always read and enjoy your posts. So philosophical. 🙂

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