Fucking the now

Have you ever had sex with somebody and felt guilty afterwards? I have found myself feeling guilty after uncommitted sex consistently for the past 10 years of my life. The only times when I didn’t feel guilty was when the person I was having sex with was my partner, someone that was -supposedly- committed to me, or after having sex with someone that had the intention of engaging in some sort of longer-term relationship. However, when it ended up being just a one night stand, a fling, or a friends with benefit sort of situation, I would feel slightly dirty but mostly guilty.

Uncommitted sex and guilt

I started reflecting through the reasons why I felt guilty after engaging in a supposedly pleasant activity. If I wasn’t forced into it and I thought I wanted to have sex with that person, why that feeling of guilt? And dirtiness? Why that sensation of having been used?

At the beginning, I thought it was because I was doing something dirty. I thought it was because I was giving myself out too easily and therefore it was normal to feel guilty. I convinced myself I felt guilty because I was doing something I really didn’t want to do: having sex for sex’s sake. And in many occasions that was true. I didn’t want to have sex. I wanted to feel wanted. I wanted to feel liked. I wanted to feel loved. The goal wasn’t sex, it was love and partnership. So when all that happened was sex, it left me feeling used and guilty. Even though in some cases, nobody was using me, since nobody promised me love, a relationship or dating.

Surely, part of my feelings of dirtiness and guilt came from having sex when I was actually craving love and therefore ending up feeling empty and guilty for falling into the same self-trap and self destructive mode again. However, there is another side to it that I believe is more common among women and it has to do with the different social gender roles traditionally associated to us.

Women have been socially programmed to seek emotional attachment for centuries. We are told to have sex only as a result of an emotional connection -of course this being towards only one man-. We are told to wait, to not give ourselves away too easily, and we are harshly criticised if we choose to have casual sex. And so when it happens, when we have sex without the emotional bond, we may feel guilty.  Men, on the other hand, are taught to avoid emotional attachment and just enjoy casual sex. They are praised for sleeping around and they will never be labelled as “sluts”. I think the different social roles attached to women and men have a clear impact on how we view sex and our sexual experiences.

Guilt-free sex

I consider the feeling of guilt very different from any other feeling. Guilt is strongly linked to morality, ethics, and to religious and cultural values -which clearly have shaped our society-. Needless to say, historically, religion has upheld a “higher” level of morality on women than on men. Women are supposed to be cleaner, purer, more virginal, basically. It is, therefore, only natural than women, even if not religious, are more subject to the feeling of guilt after doing something that is morally dubious – a woman having casual sex has been one of those morally reprobable things for centuries-.

Clearly influenced by my upbringing in a somehow catholic culture, my development in a utterly misogynistic society and my own personal experiences and relationship with sex, it was inevitable for me to feel guilty after uncommitted sex. For a decade, I thought it was my fault, I thought I was a slut and I deserved to feel guilty. Afterall, how do you dare to sleep with a man you have just met, you slut? – I kept thinking-.

After a decade of punishment, no longer than 18 months ago, after a complicated breakup and a complete rebirth, I discovered guilt-free sex. I met a guy, he was burning hot and I told him: “You are coming home with me, tonight”. After some drinking, dancing and cuddling, he came home with me. We had sex and  it was great. But of course, I still wanted to see him again, I had the expectations of going for a meal and let it grow into love, even if he didn’t even live in the same city.

This was the first time I did not feel guilty after having a one night stand. However, my inner hopeless romantic was still there -actually, she is still here-. So I decided to avoid one night stands and focus on dating or finding someone more long term. I dated a few people -some with more success than others- which meant that the feeling of guilt didn’t come back. Until two months ago, when I ended up fucking the potential, again. But this time, the guilt didn’t last more than a few hours. It was shortly converted into self-awareness and understanding of what my needs and desires were.

Liberation

After the realisation that I had to stop fucking the potential and just focus on having sex if I wanted to have it with that being all it is, sex; a new door of acceptance and empowerment was opened for me. However, my purpose hadn’t changed, I wanted love, I didn’t want sex for sex sake, I wasn’t enjoying uncommitted sex. Until last week.

I was out alone having a drink and I met a guy. He was chatty and cool but also respectful and quite composed which made me trust him. So I invited him to my birthday party the following day. I told myself I wouldn’t hook up with him because he was leaving in two days and afterall, I was looking for love, right?

He came to the party and after a few hours of heavy drinking, dancing and bonding, we ended up sleeping together -literally sleeping in a coach cuddled up-. I woke up next to him… and then it happened. I knew he was leaving in two days, and I knew all it could be was a few hours over a couple of days of hanging out and having, hopefully, good sex. I could take it or leave it. I decided to take the chance.  And so we had sex. And it was possibly one of the best sexual experiences of my life. It was consensual, honest, healthy, respectful, playful, interesting, enjoyable, and pleasant. Surely it wasn’t passionate and emotional, but it didn’t have to.

For the first time in 26 years I had sex without expectations -surely the fact that he was leaving, helped-. That doesn’t mean a part of me wasn’t hopeful, but I definitely had no expectations. I didn’t feel less attached but I definitely didn’t feel used or dirty and there wasn’t even a glimpse of guilt. And that is because I stopped fantasising with the following day and the potential dates or dinners. I didn’t fuck the idea of a walk in the morning or holding hands. I didn’t fuck the potential. I fucked the person in front of me. I hugged the person in front of me. I remained present throughout it all. I was there with him and not fantasising with the morning after and so I could fully enjoy it and find my own pleasure, finally.

And there it hit me, after years struggling, I finally managed to enjoy sex for sex’s sake, and also to enjoy cuddles for cuddles’ sake. Knowing that that is all that there is going to be. We were still cute and nice to each other, but we knew that was all it was: a couple of days of enjoyable sex and good company. No dating, no love. It was SEX. And it was fucking amazing.

Something had changed. I felt liberated. Empowered. Independent. Respected. I had finally allowed myself to take control of my sexual life without lying to myself. I had finally allowed myself to fuck the now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still in love with love. I still seek it and want it. But actually, a bit of fun in between shouldn’t hurt. All relationships, sexual or emotional have different things to bring into your life: lessons, experiences, growth. So live them, now. Fuck them, now.

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