sex & relationships: the mystery of the sphinx?
To quote a couple of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite TV series of all times....
"What's the big mystery? It's my clitoris, its not the Sphinx"
"Its like the riddle of the Sphinx. Why are there so many great unmarried women, and no great unmarried men?"
It was writing like this that sucked me into this 90's comedy about the mating habits (and rituals) of single New Yorkers. Sex and the City. Sigh.......how I miss that show (and for the record, I only liked the first movie. Hated the second!).
More importantly, it was the lead character who came along during a time when this type of fearless writing or female leads had never surfaced on TV. Carrie Bradshaw was a sex & love columist-yet-clumsy-at-love-gal and the show followed her and the intensely strong friendships she had with the other three characters on the show, Charlotte, Miranda and of course, Samantha. But the writers also had a 5th character - that of the city - my favourite one of all time, New York City. The city that was the constant companion through the entire six season run on HBO. These characters swore off a lot of men, but never the city.
The topic of conversation in each episode focused mostly around sex and relationships. Carrie Bradshaw after all, was a writer who famously had a weekly column, titled "Sex and the City". She covered everything from love and marriage to blow jobs and politicians who had a fetish for golden showers. Come on, we all remember THAT episode (sweet revenge)!
Whether they were falling in love, getting their hearts broken, having loads of casual sex, and many-a-flings all while discussing their post-coital exploits over Sunday brunch, eggs benny and mimosas, we've all been there. It was familiar and known. It was pretty typical of any women in their 20's and 30's who were out there dating trying to find 'the one'. And yes, I used to be one of them.
But the topic at hand here is really figuring out what the big mystery is when it comes to sex and relationships. There was a point in my life (for like 15 years!) where I didn't think the two could co-exist. You either had one or the other but never lucky enough to have them both. At the same time. With the same person.
The characters in Sex and the City were my peace of mind. My saviours in knowing that I wasn't alone in all of this, so it was the one time of the week where I could breathe and go "It's ok, you are not the only one".
I bonded with these characters (and my friends) over the same struggles most of us have: finding that one true love. Someone you could love with your whole heart, have a healthy and vibrant sex life with and someone who loved you just the way you are. No games, no tricks, no lies. Just easy....take-me-for-who-I-am with all my flaws, idiosyncrasies, the whole 9 yards. It was like Mission Impossible and I asked myself the question a lot, does this really exist?
Why are healthy relationships so hard to find for some and not for others? Now at the ripe age of 39 years old (erk, ALMOST 40!), I look back at the many men mistakes I made in my life, and I see how much I've grown. Looking into my relationship rearview mirror, I can now see the many lessons I learned along the way - from the 'relationship' disasters I gleefully crashed into, nights when I cried tirelessly, and moments where I stressed out whether or not I was going to end up alone or just down right 'settling' (for the record, this was my WORST nightmare). I was seriously stressed about it, especially when you hit your 30's and most of your close friends start to meet 'the one'. Followed by a marriage proposal and eventually the "hey, we're pregnant!". It was like salt in the womb. Rubbed. In. My. Face. Conversations started to go from "I had a date with this guy last night who I'll never see again" to "I think I'm in love" to "we're looking at rings" to "we're getting married" to "we're expecting!". Been there. Done that.
The big kicker in all of this is that you often do find yourself with the person you least expected. At least I did and so did a lot of my friends who are now married (or happily re-married). As you grow up and experience many epic successes and failures, you think you've got it all figured out. I'll graduate with this, then go to XX university and study that, then get a nice, cushy job making $XX,XXX, purchase said car, rent said apartment in the city, meet the one, fall in love, get engaged, get married and then maybe, have kids. All wrapped up in a neat Tiffany box with a bow around it.
I have a truth bomb to drop here for all of you who are thinking this way: It AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. At least to 80% of Gen Z and millennials out there (those other 20% are lucky if they can lead the life they always planned for). Oh and when you're in your 20's and all you can brag about is going out and getting laid, I have news for you: that's the easy part! Having great sex AND finding someone to fall in love with is the hard part. Some people spend a lifetime searching for it.
The truth of the matter is, there is no mystery when it comes to sex and relationships. You just need to have an open mind, take a risk with someone you never thought you'd ever date, ditch the check list of the 'perfect mate' (because there is no such thing and like my father always said, you can't expect perfection from someone else unless you're willing to bring perfection to the table) and maybe, just maybe, you will be pleasantly surprised. I used to think people were crazy when they said 'oh, he grew on me but I wasn't smitten from the moment we met'. I felt that if the attraction wasn't there instantly, I wasn't going to pursue a guy, but that's really just code for "I'm looking for all the wrong things in the wrong guy". I was like a broken record because I dated ALL those men.
But it did happen to me. When I least expected it. With someone I NEVER would have imagined dating (but really, he was everything I ever wanted...I just didn't know it at first, but he did). All of a sudden the big mystery of me of me wondering if I'd ever find that true love, that connection - mentally, emotionally and physically - was wrapped up into one guy. Who I met and he pursed.
It's amazing I ever doubted whether I would meet the true love of my life. But I did and poof, just like that, my mystery was solved.