I over-intellectualize things. I know this. It's a fact. So, if you're not into mental strife, go ahead and skip over posts with the keyword "ponderings".
My first instance of acting on my newly-gained Permission came about over my Fall Break, when I went to visit some college friends. I ended up receiving all manner of beautiful attentions from one of my wonderful, succulent woman-friends, hereafter known as Shakti. It was a single event - the night before I went back home -with no indication of a future repeat. And I was perfectly and utterly OK with this.
My next instance was with Mars, a boy I met via OKCupid. We met; we flirted; we drank coffee; we explored comics shops, and after two weeks, we kissed. Oh, man, it was high school all over again. A month later, we had sex (after Apollo and I thoroughly discussed it). We have had sex twice....and I'm not sure how I feel about it.
The difference here has a lot to do with my definition of what is "casual" and what's not. The first instance does not get classified as "casual sex". Rather, because it was with someone who I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, loves me whether or not I'm fantastic in the sack and whether or not we sleep together again, this is friend-sex. We're friends first. And that's not a casual thing - that's important, vital. Thus, our sex is not casual - it is drama-free, stress-free and obligation-free, but it was and is a part of our larger relationship. But, with Mars, I don't have that assurance, that closeness. He's thrilling, exciting, flattering - but afterwards, I still wonder: Is the thrill enough? Oh, I like Mars. He's fun to talk to, fun to hang out with, and a great cook (and a FUN lover). But I could let him out of my life without missing him too much. He's not a Friend, a Beloved One.
My original intent, in opening up my relationship with Apollo, was to make space for friend-sex/flirting/cuddles. But, this casual-sex thing has been fun. Intellectually, I hold that more casual sex is perfectly acceptable and a valid practice, if done ethically. I find myself desiring fewer and fewer limits on what is "acceptable sex" - and celebrating the differences in Relationship-Connection-Sex, Spiritual-Sex, Friend-Sex, and Fun-and-Pleasure Sex. I'm Ecclesiastical - to everything there is a season, and a time for every type of sex under Heaven. Yet, at the same time, I'm confronting the persistent conviction that it is worthier to limit one's sexual possibilities (to people that I have a given level of intimacy with, to a certain group of friends, etc) than to be open to all kinds of sexual interactions. Tied up with this is the assumption that casual sex, by being what it is, devalues other, more traditionally "meaningful" forms of sex. I think this is a very flawed assumption, but I have to admit that I'm still struggling with it. I want to be able to genuinely believe that, just as the love I have for Neil does not diminish or lose value in the fact that I love my other friends (and lovers), neither does the sex I have with Neil (or with Friends) depreciate in value or meaning because I have casual sex with Mars.
Spiritual connection has value.
Human connection, love, and communion have value.
Pleasure and Fun also have value, and should be valid ends in and of themselves.
Ideally, my sex life would reflect these priorities. I think it can. I think part of my hesitations and misgivings surrounding my experience with Mars may center on Mars himself, rather than the fact of the "casualness" of the encounter. However, specific thoughts on Mars, and why he makes me a little less than comfortable, must wait for a later post.