Sex Ed in Bed

What’s your reason for relationship?
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

I have a good laugh when I hear the shock and dismay over Anna Nichole Smith marrying “for the money,” because it actually shows how many people have no idea about the history of relationships. As usual, American’s believe the way we “do it” is the way it’s always been done and it’s the way everyone should do it, too. It sounds so “fundamentalist,” like the way evangelicals talk about no sex until marriage and the fragile family unit, you’d think they had invented the idea of relationship all by themselves. Praise Jesus, that is not the case.

Unfortunately, our ideas about relationship are so high strung that we can end up not allowing ourselves to feel good about any of our connections. Often times the reasons we give for relationship are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Our expectations can be so unrealistic that we don’t allow ourselves much intimacy at all. That person we’re looking for can be so perfect that s/he probably doesn’t exist. Often times, we can’t even measure up to the expectations we have for our partners.

Take for example, the permanency of relationships. Of course we’d like to find that person who will be with us to our dying day, but who can realistically promise that? How can you promise that you’ll be there forever when you have no control over your longevity? You might have a few decades, a few years, or a few days. What a shame when people pass up the opportunity for intimacy because their object of affection may have fewer days than they do.

Another catch twenty-two reason is sex. On the one hand, most anyone would admit that a healthy sex life is something they want to have in a relationship. On the other hand, most people would also say that to base a relationship on sex is shaky at best. I ask, “Why?” There are many connections that have lasted for years solely on hot sex. What’s so damn wrong with that? It’s more than most relationships have! Conversely, there are wonderful relationships that abruptly end the second the sex gets boring. What a tragedy.

Monogamy has been the glue but also the poison for many a relationship and not just the sexual kind. Partners can be so ruthlessly selfish that just a stray glance at a good-looking person can spell disaster. God-loving Christians can be particularly resolute about this. But as usual they forget how many of their Bible heroes were polygamists, not to mention these same Christians forget their aspirations to love unconditionally.

The Greeks capitalized on a reason for relationship that is altogether frowned on today, and that is for the purpose of mentorship. Don’t get me wrong. This is not suggesting sexual abuse of pre-adolescents. I’m referring to older adults nurturing younger adults beyond what a parent can offer. Only a mentor can guide a young seeker through certain paths, providing a safe environment for experimentation. Of course, this is not just about sex. Yet, who teaches a virgin the skills of lovemaking but someone who is more experienced at it.

Believe it or not, Anna Nichole is historically more mainstream than most of us. The leading reason for getting married throughout history is for financial security. It’s only been in the last century or two that romantic love in western society has become the more popular reason to pair up.

Obviously, we crave partnership for a variety of reasons and different relationships work from many premises. Whatever the reason, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I suppose it would be wise to know your own reasons since so many relationships end because “they were in it for the wrong reasons.” Ultimately, I believe the subtext to all of these reasons is companionship. After all, I cannot quell loneliness by myself. Instead of a constant search for the perfect partner, why not recognize what you have — friends, lovers, family — and be grateful for them. After all, nothing lasts forever, especially a relationship. So gently hug it while ya’ got it.

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