In my lifetime, I’ve had sex with quite a few men. Probably far more men than some women and far fewer than others. Sex has always been an important part of my existence, regardless of whether or not I was having any. The other day I said to myself, “Dawn, you need to take a lover!” and it then dawned on me (no pun intended) that really, although I consider myself to be a very sexual person, I have never had a lover. My life has been a long stream of one-night stands and real relationships. There has never really been a lover. In the dictionary a lover is defined as:
a person having a sexual or romantic relationship with someone, often outside marriage.
• a person who likes or enjoys something specified: he was a great lover of cats | music lovers.
So maybe I feel that I have never had a lover because the term seems to signify having an extramarital affaire. I have been unfaithful but have never had an ongoing sexual relationship with someone other than my husband during our marriage. (computer romances do not count in my book.) My own personal definition of the word “lover” would be a person with whom one only has sex. Someone that I would not particularly care about for any other reason. In a post few months ago, On Doing Shitty Things and Getting Caught, I wrote that if sex and love met each other at a party, they probably wouldn’t even recognize each other. I honestly believe this yet I am not so sure that I am capable of having a sexual relationship with someone without caring about the other person at some point. So it is more accurate to say that although I don’t think loving someone is a necessary condition for having sex with that person, I have a feeling that for me anyway, having sex with someone can lead rapidly to me loving or at least believing that I love that person. I don’t really want to love someone new. I also don’t want to wither and die in the state of sexual frustration my marriage has placed me in. This is why I am pondering the idea of “taking a lover.” (sounds like ordering a pizza to me.)
Sexual relationships outside of marriage are more widely accepted in France than in America where I was raised. It is not uncommon here for married couples to live in separate homes and have new relationships while remaining legally bound to their spouse. Maybe family ties in France are more based on finance than they are in America. Or maybe the French approach the death of desire in wedlock with more sagesse than Americans do and work their way around it. I don’t really know but I do know that my escargot-eating husband would never accept anything like this. I feel myself aging every second…I am terrified of not even being attractive to some possible suitor. I have never managed to put together a professional life, in spite of the fact that I am intelligent and very likable. If I miss out all together on my sex life as well, I think there will really be nothing to write in my obituary whatsoever. Or maybe, “Damned if she did, damned if she didn’t.” That pretty much sums things up.