My friend Marina has always made it clear she doesn’t have time for passing physical liaisons.
After I dragged her to my favourite Commercial Dance class for a sweaty workout with some hot gay men, we met up with her French friend and headed for brunch at La Pain Quotidien. Once again living the basic dream.
“I judge anyone who has sex just for fun,” emphasised Marina. “Sex should be something that happens in a relationship between two people. It should be the cherry on top of the cake. My moral code wouldn’t allow anything less.”
“I disagree,” said her friend. “Free love should be the way. That’s what we’re so proud of in France. Freedom. Men or women, sex should be out in the open.”
I wondered where I stood. I didn’t dare tell Marina that some of my sexual encounters have left me feeling so ashamed I wanted to put my head under the covers and not come out again. Then I thought about it again. In a strange way, I was glad. I was glad that I’ve had encounters that left me feeling down and dirty. If everything was sweet and perfect and classy, what’s left? Life is about feeling things. It’s about making our mistakes, not getting everything right the very first time.
When I moved to London, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to feel. I wanted to explore life. Not sit myself in a tranquil garden and wait for a prince to climb the wall.
And when it comes to sex, I could see both sides. Putting yourself on a sexual pedestal can be extremely liberating. Respecting yourself is important, but what if we’re not all born that way? I think respect for myself is something I’ve had to learn. Learned through failed friendships, jobs, relationships and sexual encounters. They day a failure is how we learn when it comes to work. Surely it’s the same when it comes to life and our relationships.
I couldn’t agree with Marina, not entirely. The romantic inside of me saw what she saw. It saw, somewhere in the future, that one person I wanted to spend my life with. Who I wanted to build a life with. Including a great sex life. The other part of me considered the concept of simply falling into lust. Marina’s words had made me feel guilty about my past encounters. But then I realised, her moral code isn’t mine.
I spoke with my friend Franciscus later at a friend’s birthday. He said he was all about the free love, and that his relationship with Mathew was all the more powerful and potent for being open ended.
I know I don’t want an open relationship, but part of me knew there was still more I wanted to explore sexually – with a long time partner or just with men for an afternoon. Was one really morally superior to the other? If so, then who was to judge?
And who knows. Maybe in this crazy metropolitan setting, where every sexual fantasy is laid open and just an app click away, perhaps that could just be the key to finding that special someone.