It snuck up on me this morning that it's over a year since my wife and I split up. It then occurred to me that it's been even longer since the last time I had sex with anyone. Which is, y'know, kind of a shame because, to be honest, I'm pretty sure that last time is going to turn out to be, well, the last time.
I know it sounds slightly mawkish to say so here (and in fact I had been toying with submitting this to Arwyn's series Naked Pictures of Faceless People over at Raising My Boychick until I thought no, sod it), but I've been feeling increasingly that I'm fundamentally not ready for a relationship with someone else that goes beyond friendship (although to be honest, when you don't conform to normal gender standards, have a bad case of social phobia and tend towards bouts of misery if not abject depression, just making friends on its own is hard enough). A serious relationship would entail entirely too much. Too much opening up, too much letting people in, too much exposing the vulnerable parts of myself to someone while giving them the kind of access that means they can really, really hurt you.
It's ironic that the prospect of opening up in this area should be so frightening, because I'm only beginning to get used to how liberating it is in my writing. As I've written recently, it's only at the last couple of gigs I've done that I've started to do some of the poems I've written, but always feared to read. And I've found that to be an incredibly powerful experience: it makes me feel more honest as a writer and, strangely, more connected with my audience - probably because they get to see the real me, rather than the front I put on for so many years. It feels good to tell the truth in public.
But as liberating as that can be, I worry that opening up in private will be too much of a high-stakes gamble. On the page, on a stage, there are rules and limitations. If it's just you and someone else, alone...No. Too much risk. And too many practicalities to be negotiated. It sometimes seems to me that explaining to someone what I want out of a sexual relationship would simply take too much bloody time to explain. Heck, some days (this is one of them: can you tell?) I'm not even sure I can explain it to myself. Factor in a similar amount of time coming to understand what a partner wants, where their lines of desire intersect with mine, and what things to keep off-limits...who needs all that meshugah?
And so you get used to it: the terror of potentially romantic interaction; the pain of seeing people that you think you'd be so right with when you know that in all probability you're wrong, and that's a mistake you can't afford; the fact that you will spend your life watching other people enjoy a happiness you'll never feel again. You get used to it, and you hope that one day you can even make your peace with it, and you work as hard as you damn well can on making sure you never let the experience turn you into some horrible, shrivelled up old puritan arsehole who hates the thought of anybody having fun.
Oh, I don't know. In the grand scheme of things 'not being able to have the sex' doesn't really figure in the top 100 in a world where you can have your house blasted to shit by people who will then give you a pamphlet about Jebus; and it isn't as if there aren't many, many pleasures in life besides the old thirty seconds of squelching noises (I'm listening to one of the most orgasmic non-sex-related things I've ever experienced, John Adams' 'A Short Ride in a Fast Machine' even as I'm typing this). Besides, given the way my life keeps twisting itself into odd new shapes at the moment, for all we know next week will find me desperately trying to type out a blog entry using only my big toe, while being thrown brutally around some kind of sex-dungeon by a posse of Amazon Love Titans. Hope, as they say, springs eternal; though on the other hand, hope can be crueller than resignation. And , on that vaguely Soviet note, goodnight for now. My next blog entry will be more of the usual ranting, I'm sure. I just felt a need to get this off my chest. You can make up your own joke about me doing that in the absence of someone wanting to get on it.