What do you want?

Very often, my journey has circled around the question of “why” (even the legacy of testimony written in my sidebar on this page still has that prevailing theme). Whether it was why originally or why along the way or why now or even just why hypothetically, this has been the pursuit of my mind and heart, with hopes that its answer could help alleviate the burden and struggle of trying to be rid of something that I know I do want to be rid of.

During the course of the years, it has certainly not escaped my notice that, if this is something I don’t want, then it should be pretty easy to just drop. Rather, I have a running assumption that this is something I have wanted and still do often want very much- so much in fact that I’m willing to go against the God I believe exists and about whom I believe I will have to stand and face judgement for these things. Yet no amount of sincerity or urgency or spiritual intimacy has ever been enough to conquer (for a prolonged period) the urge to rush back to my vomit and lap it up again.

Clearly there’s something I desire, something making me feel good. Something about it is compelling enough to lead to what I consider horrible and destructive choices for which I am guilty. I feel the guilt and shame, but it’s not enough to stop me from going around again later on. What gives? Again, this has been the main reason this page exists for me- somewhere to come back again and reflect along the way in an honest and serious and slightly public way so that I can get out of my own head a bit and keep a sane narrative about it all.

This week, today, I found myself wondering more about the “what” than the “why”. While men like me attempt to swim upstream about this, the world continues to be filled every waking second with pornographic content exploring and displaying every type of imaginable (and unimaginable…) fetish. So I was wondering, if there were no rules in the world (cosmic or otherwise), what would I want as my genuine “dream come true” experience. Or put another way, if my wife were to just throw her hands up and say- “you know honey, I know you want this, I’m all for you having whatever pleases you that way- what would you like me to do/say/be/wear/allow to get you off (sorry if that’s crude- for me a lot is just summed up in the fleshly sexual urge)” what would I answer with?

In such an exercise, I usually find myself at a dead end of dissatisfaction. None of the in-the-moment temptations are actually sustainably enjoyable to my psyche. Much more comes from the prison of the taboo rather than the freedom of expression… stolen candy is sweeter… But I started really trying to think through some aspects. For one thing, I wouldn’t really want to dress in front of my wife. I’d be embarrassed at how ugly I look. I want to be her man, not her hideous turn-off freak. But if she were able to pretend she loved it, and if she were able to show no hint of revulsion but in fact enjoyment, I could possibly overcome that fear. But then, I’d be tripped up by her attraction. What is she really liking? She’d see me trembling in giving in to my flesh rather than having a sober and strong stance. She’d be inevitably celebrating my weakness and/or confusion, it seems. In that alone, I’d be unhappy. I don’t want to be her pet loser that she pities and loves anyway. I want to be a successful human that she admires. I want my wife to be herself aroused at my strength…

But I am over the moon at my wife noticing that I notice her. Seeing that I like her and her features (and clothes) and standing strong in her own beauty. To imagine her pointing out my attraction and arousal in the context of my focus being on her (not on me or my own status) drives me wild. “Oh you like this- here’s some more to see” is a disposition that is truly thrilling without shame. Pointing out the differences that I’m attracted to highlights what is attractive rather than capitulating them over to me and letting me “have/be” them. In my moments of weakness and when we are separate, I do see an advantage of just taking them myself and being alone with my own self-pleasure. But this is not what I want in the long run. It is isolating and sad. I want to be with her, and I want her to be her and me to be me. I’m saying this out of genuine exploration and discovery- not to “convince” myself (or, even less, to convince you the reader). It’s an example of what happens when you really do think through what you want.

A lot of my favorite movies are like this. Groundhog Day- he is given freedom to explore his wants until he comes to the end of himself in seeking a truer meaning than his initial thoughts/urges. Click- he learns that any time he caves to immediacy he loses his deeper hopes and dreams. Absolutely Anything- he has unlimited powers and finds out that quick self-gratifications grabs are ultimately not what he wants to do with those powers… In every case, the immediate impulse is self-pleasure and focus, but the longer term, bigger picture is that none of that brings actual fulfillment or ultimately even basic thrill or pleasure. It’s cheap, empty, and destructive to anything really good inside or out. It’s not what we really do want in our deepest place. But we fall for it (since we aren’t in a movie with infinite lifetimes or magical powers to explore and fix problems with). I fall for the deceptions. Hopefully I’ll try to ask myself what I’m looking for for real in the future.

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