Rolling in Hay

What a subject. Can’t even think of any adjectives to use because they could all be construed as crude references to the subject itself. ! In fact, I struggle with the idea of even writing about it. And then hitting the publish button. But it’s a part of life, and it’s on my mind. So what does place does sex even have in my world these days? To be quite honest, it hardly exists as a thought, desire or concern. Frankly, I’ve been thinking it’s pretty much all over and done with for me in this lifetime. I mean, how exactly do knobby, arthritic hands and crepey thigh skin transport one to that place of tender seduction? Yeeps. It’s hard to imagine, really. Many are the times I’ve been very, very grateful that the burden of sex has been removed from my plate as I face these declining years. I’ve been secretly grateful and relieved that I was off the hook. Or am I?

Recently I had a chat with an old, dear friend. He was my high school sweetheart, and in spite of my breaking up with him in a most public and humiliating way, our friendship has endured over the decades (I was Best Gal at his wedding.) It was he who helped me most in the years that followed my separation from Fareed. He was there, night after night, for that same, tired conversation. He helped prop me up, slap me in the face and keep me moving when I just wanted to crumple to the ground and disappear. With great shame I realized the other day that it had been months since I’d spoken to him, so I finally picked up the phone and called (he called on my birthday, I rudely never called back.) Being one of those rare and true friends, we were just where we left off the last time. While we fell back into a conversation that was old and familiar, he threw something at me I hadn’t expected. “You need to have sex now. You need to get laid. You need a good man in your life.” I’d spent so much energy just healing emotionally that sex hadn’t even appeared on the radar. We joked that my parts were probably atrophying. ! Funny yeah, but no, I don’t need it, thank you. But might I want it? Might I? It just had not been on the list. Life, mothering, running a household, teaching, having chickens and a garden – it all takes energy, and I have so little left over. But even so, was I perhaps ready to consider it again? He didn’t convince me, but a tiny voice has continued to nag me on the subject…

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not jonesin. I’m so swinging busy I can’t even begin to understand how a sex life (doesn’t that usually come with an emotional love life too? Ich, so much time and energy!) would even work. I’m on 24/7. I can’t just drop off my kid and go pick up a guy. And as I’m feeling right now, I certainly don’t have the oomph for all that courtship that should precede said sex, so I’m still not convinced. And desire? Not a whole lot of it. But still, there’s that tiny voice now… Tonight, when we got home from another jam-packed day, I looked around my messy house and thought that tidying it up would make me feel better. But I changed my mind. No, that wasn’t going to do it. I felt as if I wanted something, but what exactly? A smoke. Yes, that’s it. (No, I haven’t gone back!) But I considered it for a minute, and realized that it wasn’t it either. What was that thing? That thing that I was missing? A wave of sensory memory came over me, and I remembered that whole, long-gone world. Really? But I don’t even know with whom that would take place! Maybe I was just a bit delirious with spring and all the celebrations of youth lately… and it was manifesting in misplaced yearnings.

Years ago, when I was in my twenties, I remember a friend saying that sometimes he and his wife got so busy with life that they could go two weeks without having sex. Two weeks! Despite that active time in my youth I still didn’t consider sex to be at the very top of my priorities (unlike my husband who would have been happy to be so engaged most of the time) – I still couldn’t believe it, two weeks? Were they crazy? Who on earth went two weeks without having sex? Man, we’d seldom gone without for two days! I remember my mind being opened up by that – and beginning to consider that the rest of the world didn’t all behave and live as we did. Wow. I’d lived in a very small, smug and satisfied world, I guess. (Later on in life I would discover that ‘two weeks without’ in a relationship wasn’t unheard of after all.)

Today I myself am part of that large, sexless world. And I honestly don’t think that it’s a bad place to be. You couldn’t have convinced me of this twenty years ago, but it’s just not that important to me in this moment. That being said, these days, now that I’ve finally got a bit of emotional distance from my ex, and now that I’ve lost a couple pounds, I can begin to vaguely imagine it again. Yet if it doesn’t end up happening again, as I feel right now, that’s perfectly ok. I’ve had enough sex – and romance – to last me, I think. Got it when the getting was good. Some might say I’ve got a case of sour grapes, but I say not. All in its time and place. And as things look right now, it still seems to me that hay is better off in the barn than in the bedroom.

Post Script: I can’t be the only one reminded of Teri Garr in ‘Young Frankenstein’…”roll een za hay, roll een za hay…” !

3 thoughts on “Rolling in Hay

  1. As usual, I appreciate your honesty in this post. There are exceptions of course, but I think when we’re young soooooo much of the behavior that we consider directed by our free will, character, personality, spontaneity, etc.. is essentially hormonally driven and has to do with Nature’s overwhelming imperative to get egg and sperm together. A young man many think, Gee it’s warm out, I think I’ll take my shirt off.” But more likely, he’s obeying a hormonal signal saying, “Display secondary sex characteristics now!” A group of young women in the park or walking down the street might be having fun and think that their high-pitched squealing laughter is just a product of mirth, But more likely those high pitched sounds, which carry far and wide, are carrying a message that says, “The eggs are over here!” As far as our individual bodies are concerned we are the last two people on earth and the species is in danger of extinction. During those prime reproductive years, the hormonal drive is like water to a fish…so pervasive that we hardly know it’s there. Now…at 55…I look at younger people and they seem to be under the influence of some strange and powerful drug…and just like people on drugs, their personalities and characters are there all right…but affected in a big way by the drug. I see how this drug affects almost everything they do (no matter what they say about their motivations…). I don’t envy them. They seem so helpless. When we’re young sex is an urgent drive. When we’re older it’s not as much of a drive, it’s more voluntary and has a lot more to do with love and friendship and the desire for closeness and connection than the urgent need to merge and mix up them fluids. If this was not the case, “two weeks without” or even “two years without” would be just as unbelievable at any age. But it’s not, at least for most of us. Due to shifts in internal biology, what we consider unbelievable when we’re young becomes no big deal and even something nice when we’re older. A wise old man once told me this: “Each stage or decade of life has something to offer which you either get, or you don’t. If you get it, great, but don’t hold on to it. If you don’t, too bad, let it go. Either way, don’t keep trying to get it. You can’t, and trying to get it or keep it will only prevent you from getting what the next stage has to offer you. Stay focused on taking in what the current stage of your life is offering you and let whatever you got or didn’t get from the past stages go.”

  2. Amen, Gene! Great addition to this idea. Yeah, I watch the young, gorgeous kids in amazement. Your idea of them being on a drug of some sort is so true! Interesting to see how pure biology affects us. Phew! It was fun – but I enjoy being here now.

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