Reality and Fantasy
It is amazing how many people, in this case both men and women in equal numbers, hold an image in their mind of lovemaking being an experience that should always happen spontaneously. Just like the Hollywood movies, the lovers gaze at each other, music starts to play; fires within are ignited, clothes are ripped off and lovemaking occurs automatically. Nobody speaks a word; only music and beautiful camera angles. Afterwards, the two are inevitably in love and will live together happily ever after. “Real life” is rarely like that.
At the beginning of surrogate partner therapy, the client and surrogate partner will be exploring intimacy, especially touch and intimate caressing, in two separate modes; first, as the active partner and then again, in a separate experience, as the passive partner. The experience will be different when being ‘active’ from when being ‘passive’. For some people, it is easier to remain present and not to mentally split off, when being active; for others being the ‘active’ partner may produce more anxiety than when they are ‘passive’. It is amazing, and wonderful, to witness the transformation in a client when they are allowed to experience intimate caressing, within set boundaries, in both active and passive mode. It allows them to become fully aware of the different feelings that occur in these two states of being.
It is this foundation-building part of the healing process, however, that usually brings up this feeling of “contrivance” or “structure” as distinct from the fondly held view that intimacy should always be “spontaneous”. Chemistry, it seems, should rule.
I would estimate that the amount of truly “spontaneous sex” that is enjoyed by a couple in their lifetime as opposed to planned sex will be about 2-3%. This means that at least 97% of all sexual experiences shared within a life-long relationship will be at least to some extent contrived, planned or structured.
If you don’t believe me, try asking the parents of young children, for example, if they need to think ahead and plan for sex, or if it is Hollywood-style, chemistry-fuelled spontaneous passion! Try asking a man whose wife is going through her menopause. Or try asking a wife whose husband is having difficulties with his erection. Ask the couple trying desperately to conceive. Ask the couple who are trying equally hard to restore trust and love within a relationship where betrayal has cast its devastating blow. Ask a couple who are nursing a sick and elderly relative. Ask a couple when one or other is going through sickness. Try asking a woman who has had her femininity savaged by mastectomy or the man who has just recovered from prostate surgery. Try asking the ageing couple. Try asking the couple that are homeless and live in rooms shared with children or where noise can be heard through paper-thin walls. Try asking the man or woman who is emerging from divorce or bereavement. Try asking the couple dealing with sexuality and cancer. Try asking the disabled. Ask the couple who have simply become bored and for whom sex has become a dull routine.
It all sounds very nice to be spontaneous, but when does it ever truly happen in reality? Even if you book a romantic hotel room and fantasise about the movie-style weekend of sex that you are going to have with your new lover (or established partner) you have still needed to book the room; you have still needed to think and plan ahead. In the final analysis, is there any such thing as “spontaneous sex”?
‘Reality’, the ‘real world’ or ‘real sex’; these are images that have meaning that is relative to the experiences and expectations of the individual. In that sense, there is no such thing as ‘real’ sex and your ‘reality’ may be very different from somebody else’s reality. How can we hope, therefore, to connect with another person at such a deep level of the soul in order to create the conditions, which enable intimacy and physical sexuality to become ‘real’ for both partners? The answer lies in authenticity.