"It sounds awfully cold and heartless to me. Don't they feel used?"
"Most men f**k in a way that uses women. They spend the majority of the time getting o**l s*x, or taking what they want in the position that they want it. As I mentioned earlier - the reason for their sex is to get off, not for any other purpose. I don't f**k that way. I am more about the women's pleasure. Did you feel used this morning?"
His sudden question caught me off guard. Mid-chew, I quietly swallowed the hunk of tender filet I had been savoring and wiped my mouth. I sipped the glass of ice water and looked up at the gold leaf ceiling, thinking. Had I felt used? "Used" hadn't even crossed my mind. I had felt elated, relaxed, sleepy, but hadn't thought about my feelings or felt guilt. Then again, a guy going down on you was a lot different than sex, right?
"No, I didn't feel used. But I think what we did, and sex, is two different things. Sex is giving me a part of myself."
He snorted. "Says who? Every women-lit book out there? Your parents? The church? Society has this hang up with the idea that women are losing a part of themselves every time they f**k, and it is bullshit. So a man can be with 20 different women and have a normal, healthy self-esteem but a woman sleeps around and she is emotionally destroyed? Women attach feelings to sex because society tells them to. They think that they should feel for a guy before sleeping with them so they manufacture a relationship or emotions and that only screws them up later on. It provides justification that later bites them in the ass when they try to look in the mirror and come to grips with "what they've done." When, "what they've done" is nothing to be ashamed of! The act of sex is healthy, normal, God-given. It's the emotions and entitlement that everyone attaches to it that is harmful."
I looked at him, listening to his words, and tried to remind myself that he was an attorney, born and breed to convince juries, lonely housewives, and me that what came out of his mouth was fact. I felt like I was in a twister game and could no longer tell whether I was upside down, or lefty, or completely right side up. Part of what he was saying seemed completely logical. But it went against everything I had ever been taught or told. But, who was I to blindly follow what I was taught or told? It made sense that the church or that my parents would tell me to wait for sex, that I should only sleep with my husband, the person that I loved. I'm sure I would tell my future 12-year old daughter the same thing.
"If sex is only for procreation, then "yes" - only have sex with your husband, it would be wrong to create young with total strangers. That mindset thinks of sex only as a tool for reproduction. It ignores the essence of sex - the passion and enjoyment." Brad said, pouring more champagne.
"I don't think sex should be saved for marriage - that's not what I am saying. I just think that I should love the person I have sex with."
"What is love?"
"What do you consider love to be? Not love for your family, but the love you're talking about, towards a partner. What do you consider it to be? How do you know when you're in love?"
"I don't know. I just know.”
"And have you been in love? I assume, since you've been with - what? Two people? That you were in love with both of them?"
I faltered slightly. "Well, I thought I was in love with them. In retrospect… they were wrong for me. I was probably too young to really know what love was."
"And you know now?" His voice was calm, the voice of a psychiatrist. I felt like he was reeling me in for a dramatic finish.
"I know that I need to be more careful, not put a label like love on a relationship before I know. Before, I felt like if I loved someone, then I was obligated to have sex with them. I wasn't manufacturing feelings of love to justify sex, as you seem to think women everywhere are doing. I thought I was in love, and felt like that was expected of me. Plus, I didn't want to enter into marriage without knowing if I was sexually compatible with the person."
"Who were you thinking of marrying?"
I toyed with a hunk of soft, white bread before deciding to butter it. I wanted something to keep my hands and eyes occupied, anything to avoid looking in his intense brown eyes and strong face. 100% of his attention was on me, and I felt like I was under a microscope. He was asking me things and making me look at ideas and feelings that I hadn't had a chance to examine yet, and I didn't know what or how I felt yet.
"I was engaged, to a guy named Luke. We dated for six months, I thought I was in love, and I probably was. It was just - he was just the wrong guy for me. I wanted too many things from him and he didn't have the skill set or work ethic to provide them."
"Material things?" his voice seemed a little dark.
"Eventually. I want to live my life a certain way. One that doesn't involve unpaid bills and rundown apartments. Luke was older than me, 27, and couldn't keep a job and had no aspirations to. I was looking at a future of me working constantly and nagging him all the time. I didn't like the person I was turning into, and couldn't accept the person he was. I had deep feelings for him, but I feel like if he was my true love, I wouldn't have been trying so hard to change him."
"And the other?"
"The other love you had - your first."
"Oh. That guy was a jackass. He was the first guy I wanted more than he wanted me. He promised me the world and then dumped me two weeks after he took my virginity. We had been together 6 months, and had sex on my 19th birthday. I hate thinking about him. There wasn't even anything "great" about him. He was a weak, pathetic silver spoon ass**le." I grinned suddenly and looked up at Brad. "Do I sound a little bitter?"
"A bit. It's okay. Early loves can be a bitch."
"Did you love your wife?"
"I met my wife in college, and yes, believed I loved her."
"Do I love her now?"
"No. In retrospect, do you think you were in love with her?"
"I think love is a hallmark image that society has created. I cared very deeply for her. All of the books and movies love the phrase "I loved her, I wasn't "in love" with her. I think for a marriage to work, both parties have to understand that it’s not about being "in love". Both people need to care deeply about the other person; to put the others' needs before their own, and to make a daily commitment to that person to stick it out. Hillary made that commitment to me, and probably would have stuck it out till we were old and grey and dead. I wasn't committed and dropped the ball. But, what I should have added first, is that choosing the correct person is the most important step. There's no point in putting all of the daily time, effort, and commitment into a lifelong marriage with the wrong person. Hillary and I were the wrong people."