The Bonding Power of Sex

The people we most love do become a physical part of us, ingrained in our synapses, in the pathways where memories are created.
—Meagan O’Rourke, “The Long Goodbye”

The concept of casual sex has always eluded me. Although I came of age in the 1960’s when people considered sexual experimentation a sign of a woman’s liberation and wisdom, I had trouble getting with the program.  From the start, I intuited the mystery and power of sex and proceeded with caution.

Sex for fun and pleasure; sex as a haven from loneliness; sex to forget; sex to feel wanted; sex to fill the emptiness, to satisfy the yearning; sex to dominate or to be dominated—I recognized all were possibilities. I tried to give experimentation a go, but, temperamentally, it was never a fit.

With a passionate, adventuresome, but also a devotional character, I sometimes feel like a cross between Carmen and Teresa of Avila.  I harbor a wild, deep, curious sexual nature that also connects readily to my spiritual instincts. I cannot help sensing something irrevocable and sacred in mingling myself with another human being
Something profound opens in sexual love; something beautiful and tender; vast and unknowable; alive and mysterious flows between two people that compels respect and awe. After I married, most often sex was like prayer for me, a Dionysian, ecstatic prayer where I lost and found myself in the mysteries of two becoming one. Blessed with many transcendent sexual experiences, I see now how I became somewhat full of myself, inflated by the spiritual openings that came with sexual love.

The Superglue Metaphor

Spending so much time in “the realm of the gods” a term used in Buddhist psychology to describe blissful states, I even came to fancy myself as a kind of daikini—a sort of muse who guides her mate into erotic mysteries. Needless to say, being abruptly abandoned by my long-term partner deflated those delusions rather quickly. But the deflation and devastation that followed also deepened my reverence for the power of sexuality, as well stirring many questions.

There is so much we do not know about intimate relationship. We do know, however, that sex is an exceptionally powerful bonding agent.  Some say it acts like superglue, and I must agree. I have come to believe my early intuitions were to right, no matter how detached we try to be about it, there is no such thing as casual or uncommitted sex.

To continue with the metaphor, when you glue two sheets of paper together and attempt to pull them apart, both sheets tear with shredded pieces of each still attached to the other. Energetically, sex binds us to our partners in ways like this that we hardly acknowledge or understand.

I realize the suggestion that sex creates enduring ties is not a popular idea. Acknowledging that we may be forming bonds that will stay with us long after our partners are gone puts a major crimp in the concept of sexual freedom. . . . to be continued.