“PLEASE STOP TALKING AND KISS ME OR TOUCH ME OR DO SOMETHING PLEASEEEEE” is what I want to scream at my (sort of) partner as he belabors his point about why he has a certain opinion about something that happened to him earlier that day. Honestly I am not really listening and instead am staring at his lips. Or doing that thing where I really look into his eyes, intentionally alternating between which one I focus on and zoning in my vision enough to even see myself reflected in them. This all contributes to my desperate plea for him to please shut up and kiss me.
I do not want to be rude, but I am so done with the talking. Of course I like talking to him — his invigorating conversation attracted me to him in the first place, but I especially like hooking up with him. After all, I can talk to anyone. But no one else can make squirm with just a look. No one else takes up so much space in my imagination that I cannot pay attention for more than four minutes in any of my lectures … SO WHY ARE WE SITTING HERE TALKING ABOUT OUR DAYS WHEN WE COULD BE DOING THE THING I HAVE SPENT THE ENTIRE DAY THINKING ABOUT??? For goodness’ sake, we are Cornell students and time is of the essence! If we are not going to have an epic make-out sesh now then I might as well do homework so I can have the time to really enjoy whatever we do later.
I have never encountered this problem in the past because my romantic and sexual lives have always possessed at least one degree of separation. By this I mean that I was not becoming emotionally intimate with the people I was physically intimate with. Now I have to navigate fulfilling the emotional and sexual needs of this other person as well as ensure that he fulfills mine. I understand this is literally the definition of being a couple, but as someone new to the full relationship piece, this feels pretty novel and somewhat overwhelming. With previous hook ups the limited scope of desires (meaning purely physical) allowed for us to have clarity that we were on the same page with what we wanted — if I was coming over to their place, it was so we could orgasm in a more fun way. I did not question my role in my partner’s emotional wellbeing or let talking get in the way of our sexual pleasure.
Now my current partner and I have opened up the scope of how we engage with each other to include emotional and general wellbeing as well as sexual. And let me tell you, we want/need different amounts of these kinds of wellness. There is essentially no compromise when it comes to sex or really any kind of physical intimacy, and my first priority is always respecting my partner’s desires, especially when it comes to personal space, so I just will not be able to be as physical as I would prefer. And I suppose we might spend less time talking than he would prefer, but since I have not spoken to him about it I cannot know for sure. At this point, I am mostly just holding out hope that when I tell him I want to be more physical, he will somehow just agree with me and share my desires. But I have quickly learned that an absolutely equal matching of shared desires is incredibly rare, and instead, a relationship thrives on various sacrifices and compromises made on behalf of the person you have chosen to care about.
That care serves as my reassurance that, despite our differing desires, I am doing the right thing by entering into a relationship with him. Walking away from our interactions, my mind usually lingers on the memories of us making out whereas I most often receive texts from him about continuing to unpack the conversations we started. Clearly, we want to spend our time with each other differently, but we definitely want to continue to spend time with each other. At the end of the day, I care more about being with him than I do about getting my sexual fill from him (especially since I can make up for it myself later….)
That said, I would love to see some more sexual initiative on his part. But I know how much he values the emotional part of our relationship, and I cannot just tell him to turn that off — nor would I want to. However, I could show him this article. In fact, for anyone wondering how to tell their partner that they need something more (be it physical or emotional or something else entirely), please consider using this article as the polite segway into that conversation. Or maybe just send them this article and say “read the first sentence” and wait for them to heroically burst through your door and kiss you — all without saying a word. You’re welcome.
Mike Litoris is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. Meditations of a Masterbater run alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.