How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘importance of love’

Lovers Are Not For Everyone

Women keep a special corner of their hearts for sins they have never committed.
—Cornelia Otis Skinner

There are many circumstances under which a modern woman might decide that having a lover would increase her quality of life and would bring her a great deal of joy and satisfaction. It does not follow, however, that this is a decision that would be right for all women all of the time. At least three kinds of women will not be interested in the prospect of taking a lover: the woman with homophilic tendencies, the contented celibate wife, and the (presumably contented) wife in a traditional marriage.

Women as Lovers

Women as Lovers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some women who are seeking a lover are not seeking a man at all but are instead looking for another woman. The sexual revolution and the new permissiveness have made the lesbian option an increasingly acceptable alternative to traditional marriage. Some women may be exclusively homosexual. Others who are basically heterosexual may, under special circumstances, find themselves in what amounts to a homosexual encounter. Or they may wish to have a woman lover in addition to a husband or male lovers. However, the focus of my blog happens to be on picking a lover who is a man. It may well be that many of the same principles would also apply to picking a lover who is a woman. The examples in my posts happen to be male oriented: their application is a matter of personal preference and taste.

To borrow a slogan from another context: “Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman.”

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Being Single Can Be Lonely

The couples wander two by two,
A giant Noah’s ark, a zoo,
Not one by one or three by four
But two by two, no less, no more.
—Jadah Vaughn, “Cagemates”

The Western world is organized socially around the premise of a husband-wife pair. Traditionally, almost all activities that are done in the evening or on weekends are programmed to be done by a two-person, man-woman team. This arbitrary organization is not typical of all societies and, indeed, is not typical of our own for adolescents or for the elderly. In the adult years, however, the fact that most people are part of a couple is readily translated into the idea that most people should be. While this viewpoint has been changing slowly over the past several decades, it still influences the behavior of many adults.

The need for companionship may be somewhat more important for women than for men in that their activities are more constrained by social norms, which make some things more comfortable when done with a male escort. A man, being free to take the initiative, is less constrained and can often hustle up someone at the last minute to do things with. A woman can as well; but more often than not, it is more difficult, especially when it comes to activities that take place in the evening or extend late into the night.

One Is a Lonely Number

One Is a Lonely Number (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to go to the movies, you can always go by yourself and hold your own hand. Or you can go with a friend, and he or she may share your popcorn, but they do not hold your hand and they do not engender in you feelings of romance. Wanting a romantic evening of dinner and a movie may sound like a trivial goal, but in some instances, it may be quite a legitimate motive for taking a lover or even for getting married.

Hostesses have been taught that a proper dinner table should be balanced, meaning that there should be an equal number of men and women. Canadian author Merle Shain observed, “Being single can feel like playing musical chairs, and every time they stop the music, you’re the one who’s out.” Unmarried adults are often left out of social activities not so much from a sense of disapproval as from a residual concern that there will be an unbalanced sex ratio.

Having a lover gives a woman access to a companion who is on tap, so to speak, and who can readily be conscripted to take part in a number of activities such as weddings and bar mitzvahs, in addition to making love. Access to an escort is a problem which a wife does not have to face. Alas, thinking that all your married friends have it made is much the same kind of error of generalization that married women make in thinking that all their single friends have it made. Just remember that the greener grass you yearn for on the other side of the fence may be nothing more than artificial turf.

A Deal Breaker: The Sexless Marriage

Living with impotence is like sleeping in a shroud.
—Jadah Vaughn

In discussing why husbands stray, it is common to observe that they are looking for something they need which they do not get at home. One hears homilies such as “nobody encourages adultery more than a wife who consistently refuses her own husband’s advances.” While this may well be true, it is only one side of the coin. Worse than a husband who is sexually incompetent or sexually apathetic is one who has become impotent.

A great deal of impotence, perhaps most of it, is psychogenic in nature. That is, it does not occur because of illness or hormone deficiency but because of depression or some other negative state of mind. It may relate to a loss of self-esteem due to business failure or to the aging process or to a midlife crisis. Fortunately, most impotence that is psychogenic can now be easily overcome with Viagra or Cialis.

Marlboro warning impotence

Marlboro warning impotence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often, however, impotence relates directly to unsatisfactory and unresolved dynamics between the husband and wife. In these circumstances, it is not very useful to tell the wife not to take it personally. It is personal. A sexless marriage may be especially galling to the wife whose husband is impotent with her but who, under her suspicious and watchful eye, appears to be quite potent with other women, which may very well be the case. Impotence may be only an occasional occurrence; even when it happens frequently, it is not usually a permanent condition. In the meantime, however, the disruptive effects for a particular couple may be pervasive enough to permanently affect their relationship.

Almost all couples fight, and some fights are worse than others. After apparently irretrievable things have been said and done, being able to have sex (which under those circumstances can hardly be called making love) does not mean that everything is restored to where it was: it only means that restoration may still be possible. The erotic communication does not solve the problem; but it does keep open, at least, some avenue of communication. If the sexuality itself can be gratifying, the bond of emotional rapport is strengthened, and the reassurance of your own attractiveness is maintained. But when a couple can no longer depend on or use sexuality as a palliative to their conflicts, then the marriage is indeed in big trouble.

Impotence breeds bitterness and insecurity. The wife may need reassurance that she is in fact still attractive and feels quite justified in seeking sex elsewhere. The rejecting and frigid wife triggers much the same reaction in her husband. If neither husband nor wife is particularly sexually oriented, then perhaps the two of them can disregard their impasse and settle for mutual apathy. Refusal to make love is something else. The wife who is bored stiff ends with a husband who is bored limp.

The Importance of Love

Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart,
’Tis woman’s whole existence.
—George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan

Byron’s aphorism is widely quoted, usually by men who find themselves unable or unwilling to express the emotional intensity expected by their girlfriends or wives. It is important to remember, however, that Byron was writing
in the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first, and that the men and women of his time were different in many ways from the men and women of today.

Even so, there are some people who place love and love relationships above all else in their lives. To them, it’s the most important thing in life. Some of the people who do this are women, but some men also feel this way. Philosophers are never quite sure what to do with such people. People for whom love is the raison d’etre of their lives may be either very wise or very foolish, but they are very different from ordinary people. Their emotional lives have more depth,
which increases their potential for both greater pleasure and greater pain.

For most men and most women, love relationships are important, but they are not necessarily the most important thing in life. These people value love and eroticism, but they are also concerned with more pragmatic issues: developing a career, being creative, carving a place for themselves in public life, earning a living, or having and caring for children.

Okay, so  you don’t think that a love affair is the be-all and end-all of existence. Even so, you are still likely to feel that you want to have a good love affair . . . that you would enjoy it, that you’re entitled to it, that you will be
sad if you never get to experience it.

And you will wonder: What is it that I would want in a lover? How will I know him?

The answers to these questions will be explored in future blogs.

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