On the Horizontal Mambo and Vertical Tango

At the moment, a lot of people around me are in a relationship. Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is drawing near and the stars contrive to play matchmaker to usher in this day for lovers, I don’t know. What I do know is that the more people are in relationships, the more they come to me with tales of relationship problems and drama.

The most common of these problems involve sex. To be frank, most people in relationships engage in sex. And as far as homosexual couples are concerned, a sex-free relationship is almost non-existent. It’s become part of the major factors of a relationship and in some, even as a determining one.

Last week, a friend of mine who shall remain unnamed came to me and confessed that he’s been having sex with random people he met on the Internet despite the fact that he’s been a three-month relationship with someone. When asked as to why he’s been engaging in these extra-relationship activities, he said that it was due to the fact that he and his boyfriend haven’t had sex in the last two months and that he ‘has needs’.

“Well, what about your boyfriend, then?” I asked him. “What about his needs?”

My friend said that he’s been trying to have sex with his boyfriend but his advances were met with reluctance, excuses, or flat out refusal.

“Could it be that he’s been fulfilling his needs with someone else?”

“If he is, I’d rather not know.” My friend said. “After all, I’m screwing around as well.”

I was curious, “So why are you in a relationship with him when you both might be screwing around with other people?”

“I love him.” My friend said.

I was going to ask him how he could have sex with someone else if he really loved his boyfriend but I glimpsed his expression when he gave me his answer. He had this rather melancholic half-smile playing on his features and it made me change my mind. After that we sort of just drifted away from the topic.

However, after my friend left I started thinking again about the matter. It is said that men have the capacity of viewing and handling sex and love as two absolutely separate issues whereas women tend to combine or get the two mixed up. In a gay relationship where two men are involved, would sex and love always be two detached matters?

A couple of days later I was having lunch with Tara, another close friend of mine. Over sandwiches and cigarettes, we started talking about a mutual friend who recently confided in me that his boyfriend is having an affair with someone else.

“I don’t understand how someone can have an affair just like that? I mean, wouldn’t they feel guilty when they look into their boyfriend’s eyes and say ‘I love you’ knowing full well that they’re cheating on them?” Tara asked heatedly.

I just nodded my head in absent agreement, munching my turkey sandwich slowly. Honestly, I wasn’t sure of what I could say. I understood the concept of perceiving sex and love as separate issues but when it comes to practice, I didn’t have the slightest clue.

The next day, I was sitting at my desk at the office, twiddling away at my Facebook account when my friend Mr. Tutus logged on Live Messenger.

“Wahooo!” was his greeting.

“Just the person I wanted to see.” I typed in. “I have a question I need to ask you.”

Before we go any further, it might be necessary to tell you that Mr. Tutus is a close friend of mine for several years who’s been living in Australia pursuing a degree is Philosophy. He’s an opinionated person to begin with and daily doses of philosophy knowledge intake in the form of classes, books, and discussions, have elevated his mind – along with his ego – to new, previously undiscovered heights.

And so we began our discussion about sex, love, and relationships in general.

“We study this in class, you know.” He mentioned. “Men and women do differ in how they view sex. Because they are physiologically dependent, in which case I mean that women live to maintain and take care of their body, they view sex which causes physical pleasure and love which causes metaphysical pleasure to be intertwined.”

Did I tell you he was opinionated?

“However, a lot of times men aren’t even aware of that metaphysical pleasure.” He explained further. “It causes them to be able to see sex as just sex and not confuse it with love. So to answer your question, in a gay relationship where two men are involved, sex and love would most often be treated as separate matters.”

There are no simple yes or no answers with this man. Come to think of it, every question I ever dared to ask him, even the simplest one, have been transformed into a philosophical discussion complete with definitions, elaborations, quotes, and sometimes even statistics.

“What about in your own relationship, then?” I wanted to know. “If you ever have one, could you and would you say to your lover that you love him and yet still have sex with someone else?”

“Yes I would.”

His answer came so quickly and abruptly that I was taken aback.

“I know it’s stupid, that psychological attachment can’t occur without physical intimacy and vice versa, but I’d still treat sex and love as two separate things.” He finished.

I guess I got the answer I was looking for. Apparently some men are capable of viewing sex and love as entities which in some cases don’t have anything to do with each other. It got me thinking even more, and with more concern. If sex and love in a gay relationship are viewed separately, does that mean fidelity has become obsolete?

In my discontent, I picked up my mobile and dialed Tara’s number. I know he’s be at the office, possibly busy mulling over some disposition or some other documents that lawyers busily mull over, but I needed someone to talk to.

There was no answer and I was about to put my mobile back in my bag when the caller ID showed that he was calling me back.

“Yes, Tara?” I immediately launched. “Do you remember what you said yesterday, about cheating and guilt?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Well, is it possible that since a man is capable of viewing sex and love as two separate things, loving someone and having sex with someone else becomes totally separate issues and he therefore feels no guilt because he doesn’t perceive it as being wrong?”

“How is it not wrong?” Tara asked.

“Well, it’s not like he’s in love with someone else, is it? As long as it’s purely sexual, in his mind, sleeping with someone else does not constitute cheating.”

“I guess that’s true.” Tara slowly admitted. “But then, when your lover claims that he loves you and only you, how do you know he’s not having sex with someone else?”

I didn’t know the answer to that. After we hung up, I quietly pondered on this frightening prospect of no security of fidelity in relationships as I reach for my cigarettes and light one. During the course of my relationships, boyfriends have told me they loved me countless times. I used to think that the intensity of their feelings is enough guarantee to stop them from sleeping with other people. However, current circumstances taken into account, what can I be sure of anymore?

A new light is also shed on my current relationship. True, he says he loves me. True, he says he loves only me. True, we agreed that this is an exclusive relationship but how do I know that he’s keeping his end of the bargain?

At this point I suddenly realize that I’ve been biased. Despite the fact that so many men are able to have guilt-free sex on the side, it’s unfair to generalize this notion onto everybody. Surely there are decent men out there; men who don’t sleep around, men who are capable of being loyal and honest, men who can commit and respect the commitment they make.

Maybe it doesn’t matter that sex and love are viewed and treated as two different and totally separate entities. Sure, men may view sex and love as two separate things but maybe that’s not the real issue we need to address. Maybe the trick is finding that one man who, no matter whether he sees them as separate or intertwined, only wants to have sex with and make love to you. It may seem difficult but surely not an improbability. After all, stranger things have happened.

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