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Friday, September 25, 2009


One thing I have noticed over and over and over as I browse around the world of sex journals is that there are an awful lot of unhappy or unfulfilled people. In unhappy marriages, unhappy relationships, unhappy life situations. Their husbands won't talk to them, or their wives won't have sex with them anymore, or they're horribly depressed or confused about the raging drives inside them.

This saddens me. I'm a cynic, but I would like to believe that people are smarter than this. I have to wonder how much of this is due to upbringing and my culture's repressed views on sexuality in general (most of the journals I've added so far are written by people based in the United States, where sex is sold on every street corner but rarely taught or explained properly). Is it a cultural thing? Or are there just as many sad and confused people in (say) China or Ecuador and Russia? I have seen journal after journal talk about how they got married after only one or two partners and then discovered that they weren't sexually compatible with the one they married. I've seen so many people talk about how their sex drive is so radically different from their partner's. Hell, I'm even one of them. My own relationship is struggling because I have trouble getting her to talk to me about anything in general, much less our sex life.

Communication has to be a factor in all relationships. Over and over I read about problems that could be solved by communicating, but over and over I read that the writer has tried time and time again to communicate with their partner and they just aren't listening, or aren't receptive, or don't seem to have any interest in working out the problems. Relationships have to be two-way for them to work, people. If you can't talk to your partner or they won't talk to you, there's lots of other trouble afoot besides whatever may be wrong with your sex life. And that saddens me too, knowing that there are so many disintegrating relationships out there.

Yes, I realize that people grow and change, expand and contract, slide sideways or forwards or away from what they were months or years ago. Good partners don't mind that, or can expand and contract and slide along with you. But I know there's a point of no return, beyond which you have to say "enough is enough". Some people change to the point where you barely recognize them anymore, and the person that you fell in love with is no longer the person you wake up next to every day. And then it's all over but the tears and recriminations. What's worse is when you want to love them still -- when you don't want to give up what you had with them -- when you try to apply bandages and spackle and duct tape to hold together the structure that's creaking and toppling. Sometimes a clean break is better. But what if you break off and then discover it was the worst mistake of your life? That you were never happier than when you were with them, even during the sad times?

One of the reasons I started this journal was to explore and question. I read journals from people who are cheating without their partner's knowledge. This one is tired of talking to him because for years he hasn't listened to a word she's said. This one is so starved for attention of any kind that he furtively posts on adult sites, meeting for rendezvouses that he admits leave him sexually fulfilled but emotionally empty. This one has been to counseling more times than she can count but her partner won't reach out to bridge the gaps or won't admit there are issues; so she meets her lover in secret weekly and is never happier.

Others cheat with full knowledge of their partner. Which raises the question, is it really cheating if you have permission? Here's a couple in a completely open relationship, who hold nothing back, not even their sweaty trysts with the multiple other lovers they share; yet they still come back to each other time and time again, stronger and renewed. Here's a husband whose wife has given him permission to go find sex somewhere other than with her because she loves him, but doesn't care about sex anymore. Here's a wife whose hubby gets off on the idea of her with other men and likes to watch them, but has no interest in outside sex at all. She's all he needs.

Differences, differences. The world spins, and people interact, and everyone's different. How can you possibly know when you're getting involved with someone if that same magic and excitement is going to still be there years down the road? Are we constructed to find a life partner and stick with them forever? Or is it in human nature to be happier with successions of relationships, changing needs and circumstances? Or are "open" relationships, with one primary partner and several other secondary satellites, really models that work?

I don't have any answers. I don't even have any idea where these philosophical rumblings came from, but hell, this is my space and I'll muse if I want to. Nyah.

-- PB


Gray said...

I think you also have to keep in mind that in this forum, you only get one side of the story. You never get to see the world through the other person's eyes. I'm not saying that people are always lying, but sometimes..

That being said, communication is the key to any successful relationship. And you are right, its takes two to make it work. Now a days people are so quick to forget the time that was put into a marriage/relationship and search for greener pastures. Only problem is, each time you roam you'll end up just as unhappy in the end.

I've also heard the theory that we are not meant to be magnanimous. Genetically, chemically, we aren't programmed that way. Is it possible, sure. Love boiling down to chemistry anyway. Or the feeling of.

Doesn't make things any better, just makes you realize that you have to spend time and figure out what works for you. But never be afraid of change. :)

The Panserbjørne said...

Gray: You're quite right, we do only see one side of the story in most of these journals (except the ones that are kept by more than one person). That's something to keep in mind as well.

I've also heard the theory that we are not meant to be magnanimous.

I'm assuming you meant "monogamous". "Magnanimous" means forgiving of insult or injury. ;) I do wonder if people were meant to be monogamous; there's certainly enough "open marriage / open relationship" activity out there. Monogamy has always worked for me, but others' mileage may vary.

Thanks for chiming in.

-- PB

CW said...

I am a firm believer that people are generally not geared to be monogamous. I do think the open relationship can work, but it is hard to come by (near impossible) and I have tried to convince my spouse of this. I actually would rather stay with him and be honest about having a lover than lying. I really detest having to lie.


The Panserbjørne said...

CW: Ah, see, I did not know whether your husband was aware of your extracurricular activities or not. I try not to judge (this is none of my business, I'm just getting a glimpse into others' lives because THEY choose to share it) but I was curious. I didn't think you would be the sort to cheat without telling someone. Like you, I despise lying.

-- PB

Library Vixen said... have hit on some biggies for a lot of people. I agree with CW on monogamy--it is difficult to make work, but it is also difficult to make an open relationship work too. It's just difficult all around. I am typing and thinking there really is answer to these questions of love, sex and living together. If we are open and lucky enough we find someone who shares what we like and if we don't then we shouldn't be with them.

As far as all the unhappiness.They all need to get over it. I agree so many unhappy people. I don't get it. This life is truly amazing, regardless of sexuality, economics, any of it. Just live and stop being so miserable--it really is just that easy to be happy.

The Panserbjørne said...

Vixen: The world would be a much nicer place if everyone could just make themselves happy. I wish more people had your can-do attitude. :)

The "if we are open and lucky enough" seems to be what makes so many of us sad. We think we've found that person and then after a long emotional investment, we discover they aren't what we thought (or vice versa).

Just my thinks. Heavy thoughts for a Friday. Have a good weekend.

-- PB

wifegonebad said...

Very thought provoking post PB. As someone who is in one of those "are we going to make it?" type of relationships I do find the vast array of bloggers and their various living situations helpful - some have it better, some much worse than I ever have, and they give me hope that 1) I will get through this, 2) maybe even get through this to a better place/situation. I do hope that I am not too mopey about my life, but as someone who has lived with chronic low-grade depression since I was a teenager, just being happy, no matter what, would be quite a magic trick for me.

Emma B.

The Panserbjørne said...

WGB: Thanks for chiming in. Yours was one of the ones I was thinking of, actually, although I never mentioned your specific situation. I'll be interested to see what else the future holds for you and yours.

Regarding depression -- been there, done that, hated it, got the T-shirt and the home game. Fortunately I've beaten it for the most part.

-- PB

Kimberly said...

So many questions, aren't there?
When I take a stroll through the blog-o-sphere I always wonder why we have the models of relationships we have - because they do not seem to work for so many people..

Great post!

The Panserbjørne said...

Kimberly: Perhaps upbringing and culture are the main culprits here. Would you be one of the ones who agrees that we aren't designed for monogamy, then?

-- PB

frances said...

you sure said a mouthful, friend.

The Panserbjørne said...

Frances: I'm always saying a mouthful. Can't shut me up, half the time. Hopefully you thought it was an insightful mouthful. :)

-- PB