When you confuse sex with love

by singlemomseeking on September 30, 2008

Thank you to Heather at Desperately Seeking Sanity for inspiring me to write this post.

Yes, I know, you can never really be a virgin AGAIN.

In the past, when a good-looking man reached out and touched me, I was a goner. I’ve always loved that charge I got from sleeping with a man. I still do. But here’s the truth: I’ve slept with men in order to avoid my loneliness. Instead of holding myself, and really embracing my intense solitude, I’ve found men to hold me. I wasn’t looking for love. I was looking for an instant fix.

And after it was all said and done, I felt even lonelier.

I remember the first advice book I picked up about how to balance sex and parenting. Sex & the Single Parent: A Guide for Parents Who Find Themselves Back in the Dating Game advised:

“You can be a lover and a mother. But you can’t do it torn apart inside by guilt or uncertainty.”

So, that’s what my problem was.

“You can only date if deep inside you can trust yourself to make the right decisions most of the time,” the book went on. “The trick is going in a measured fashion.”

I didn’t know there would be any tricks involved. And I’ve never been very good at measuring.

Love has been the challenging part for me. If you’ve read my book, then you know that I’ve had sprees of booty calls with bad boys. Sure, it was fun. But at the end of the day — or night — it wasn’t healthy.

I haven’t had sex for months now. And you know what? It feels right. I’m more present with myself than ever. No, I’m not going to go out and buy myself a purity ring. But my intention is to be virtuous with myself.

For how much longer? I’m not sure. Setting up rules has never worked for me. I simply break them.

Here’s how single mom Kim spelled it out recently in her blog (thanks!):

“A good, decent, loving man will come along and when it happens I will be ready, but right now I just need to be and really immerse myself fully into being a mom and taking care of my inner spiritual self.”

For me, this isn’t about listening to God. It’s about listening to myself.

It’s about one of my favorite quotes from author Anne Lamott who wrote in Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year:

“Sometimes I’m so hungry for a partner, a lover. One thing I know for sure, though, is that when you are hungry, it is an act of wisdom each time you turn down a spoonful if you know that the food is poisoned.”

No, sex in itself is not poison. But having sex to escape my loneliness is.

If you can offer any advice about how NOT to confuse sex with love, let’s hear it.


This post is part of a roundtable series on virginity as started by Honey and Lance. Feel free to chime in yourself and leave a comment over at honeyandlance.com. For further reading, take the plunge:

Photo by Chalky Lives.

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