July 24, 2013

sex in the curious city

We are finally onto Season 3 of Sex and the City, Episode 1: Where There's Smoke...! In this episode Samantha achieves her sex fantasy of getting it on in a fire station while Miranda upholds her independence by refusing help from Steve when she gets laser eye surgery. Both Samantha and Miranda take their respective goals to the extreme, so we wondered, what do real people do?

Monica asked her friends: Where do you fantasize about having sex?
Junette asked her friends: How do you keep your independence in a relationship?


In order to protect the reputations of my friends, you know in case they run for President one day, I will keep their names and answers anonymous. Well, loosely anonymous since I sketched their faces which are now plastered on the web, but I also participated in answering the question to mix it up a little and keep you all guessing.

Fantasy OneDefinitely outer space would be the ultimate place to have sex. Imagine being surrounded by nothingness with a view of the stars, sun, earth, and moon floating in the distance. And the anti-gravity aspect would be so cool in general. Flying sex! Imagine that!

Fantasy TwoOk so if it's a public place, maybe a hotel elevator or a fitting room, but never anonymously...definitely with someone I was with and only if it was hella clean and no one would catch us. When I say "catch," I mean I hope no one interrupts it, [so if the elevator has a camera] well...enjoy the show!

Fantasy ThreeI thought of the woods before. I like soft grass, leaves, nature because it's open. It can be kind of romantic if you are away from the city and if you're on your back looking up at the night sky and the stars and the silhouette of the trees above you, plus I'm into fairy tales. It just seems like in buildings it feels so restricting and maybe acoustics, but in the woods it's an open area where the air flows and you can be resourceful with the "props" around you.

Fantasy FourI've done it in a lot of places. I used to keep a Word doc but I think it's on an old computer. Off the top of my head, best 3 (there's too many to list), Dwinelle, airplane, and in a club. Those are places I've had sex, not places I fantasize about, I don't really fantasize about any places.

I have always prided myself on staying independent when dating. The message I received when I was growing up was to never depend on a man, whether it's for homework, dinner, carrying groceries, or even emotional support. I see now that it was to toughen me up for life in a man's world, but looking back I also see that it led to problems in my past relationships. BDF never pushed me to give up that independence unlike certain unnamed males from my past. Eventually, though, I found myself being dependent on BDF, which I must admit I struggled against at first. Depending on another person binds you together and can strengthen the relationship, but it is scary in its vulnerability. As someone who fancies herself fiercely independent, it was truly a test of humility to depend on BDF for certain things and in certain ways. I am reminded of this passage from The Paris Wife, where Ernest Hemingway's wife struggles with being independent while he is away on assignment, "...those weeks in Paris were still on my mind. They'd scared me and had me thinking about what it meant to be really strong, on my own terms."

The push and pull between two people as they struggle with independence and power in a relationship is intriguing, and I was curious on how others view it. I asked two friends on their perspectives on independence in relationship: In your relationship(s) with significant others both past and present, have/do you value your independence? Do you have any advice or rules you abide by?

The (In)dependent Woman:
I have always been one to put my independence ahead of my relationships. I definitely treasure my alone time, and for the most part I have always drawn that bold line between me and The Boy with ease. It was as if we lived separate lives - different groups of friends, different hobbies/interests, etc. I hated the idea of being clingy and having to burden someone else with things I wanted or needed to do. I think trying so hard not to rely on someone and leading such separate lives eventually built up a lot of insecurity within the relationship. So in short, it was fine... until it wasn't. 

And then I met This One. In my current relationship, the idea of being independent is unfamiliar and almost "punishment." We do everything together, from hiking Runyon, biking PCH, running each other's car maintenance errands, sharing a watermelon for dinner while taking turns scrolling through each other's instagram feeds, etc. We don't even live together!  I have certainly lost my independence, but I don't miss being in such an independent relationship at all. 

Having some breathing room between each other is important though, especially at my borderline adult age (late 20's) when we aren't jaded old folk yet. I have found that setting a schedule at the beginning of the week helps to keep a balance in a relationship. In other words, when you're in a "one flesh, one blood" relationship like mine, you have to plan for your independence/your alone time. Make a schedule together and prioritize your twice-a-week yoga class or promise to reserve a night or two each week for old friends that you've lost touch with since you've become a lovebird.  I found that having some separated time helps us to appreciate each other even more when we're together, and I want to theorize that it makes you even more attracted to your significant other because you learn/experience different things that you end up contributing back to your relationship.  Another plus is that it gives you time to plan surprises for each other, like when he surprised me with a song he wrote, or when I surprised him by cooking him his favorite Korean homemade stew. ::insert emoticon with heart eyes::

The Independent Man:
When I think about independence and relationships, I think of Khalil Gibril's poem, The Prophet. Specifically, the poem speaks of marriage as a thing that binds but requires independence to thrive:
...   You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
      You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
      Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
      But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
      And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
      Love one another but make not a bond of love:
      Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
      Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
      Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
      Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
      Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
      Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
      For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
      And stand together, yet not too near together:
      For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
      And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

There is a lot here, but one key takeaway for me has to do with the importance of understanding and maintaining a deep sense of who you are that is independent of the relationship. In my experience, this understanding is an element that grows the relationship that will ultimately serve to strengthen and empower both people. This understanding will also enable you to do things to become a better person for the other, rather than doing things for the other because it is required of you. It's all quite vague because I'm still trying to figure it out myself. But I hope that if anything the poem can speak on my behalf.

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