I’ve known lust.

It’s been a while, and although I am only on the cusp of middle-age, I still remember. I remember what it was like when I was young. The thrill of a quickly ignited passion when meeting someone new, and falling madly, completely in lust with them. It wasn’t even necessary to like the person. If the chemistry was right, lust flourished, budded and bloomed.

Everything about the object of your attention, turned you on. The turn on didn’t arrive in that polite, middle-age manner of exchanging admiring glances while waiting in the queue at Starbucks. This lust got your blood boiling hotter than the steamed milk from the cappuccino machine. It was inexplicable and passionate. It was the way they parted their hair, wore their jeans or moved their hips to Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me”

Lust shook you to the core of your youthful being, haunted your waking dreams, and possessed you so entirely that lustful thoughts often turned relatively quickly to lustful actions. The sex was exquisite, and it didn’t even matter if the fire of youthful desire quickly burnt out -- all that mattered was that the proverbial ‘itch’ got ‘scratched’.

Times are different now.

It is the intolerable and seemingly impossible rigid combination of middle-age, marriage and the Christian ideological promise of monogamy which has turned my life into an unfulfilled lustful place. When I met my partner, who eventually became my husband, I knew lust. It was easy to agree to spend the rest of my life with someone when you are sexually intoxicated. Lust flowed and our future life seemed full of promise. It worked well for many years, but gradually demanding careers, a house, garden, volunteer work and an over-indulged Golden Retriever began to act as substitutes for passion. As our middle-age malaise grew, our lust receded.

Yet this new passion that was making my head spin and my body ache, had nothing to do with like, love, respect, marriage or commitment.

The fiery passion we once knew had turned into obligatory ritualistic intercourse. Sex twice a day, become sex once a week, eventually receding to monthly mandatory encounters. Lust and being in love turned into the more lofty ideals of ‘sound commitment’ and ‘responsibilities’. Our lust was gone, but the promise of marital monogamy remained.

Perhaps I would have never have known the difference, continuing to live in a state of sexual-tedium, until we decided to attend an environmental forum, and that dormant lust was once again awakened. Awakened in a manner that I thought had long receded from my middle-aged married heart… and body.

The object of my rekindled lust was the guy who set up the pamphlet table. Although he is an older, relatively good-looking man, seemingly nice enough and competent at pamphlet organization, none of that mattered. It was simply, the ill-fated combination of the right chemistry at the wrong time.

His presence resulted in an inexplicable drop in my normally healthy IQ. I couldn’t stop staring at him, but neither could I meet his eyes. I couldn’t form a coherent thought, yet I couldn’t stop babbling in his presence. I thought about him all day and couldn’t sleep at night. As my feverish lust reached a point were I was more than ready to ask him for some clandestine carnal sex over the environmental materials’ display table, I remembered that I am married. Married to a good man, who didn’t bare full responsibility for the monotony of our life together.

Yet this new passion that was making my head spin and my body ache, had nothing to do with like, love, respect, marriage or commitment. This was pure, unadulterated lust — a type of lust that I had forgotten about or maybe just tried to keep at bay. It was a lust so unbearable, so intense that I was willing to walk away from some ten years of marriage just to have it satisfied once.

This is a tale of unfulfilled lust, middle-age, marriage and monogamy and my story doesn’t have a happy, or even steamy ending. Rather, after a careful weighing of the hour (or two or three…) of hot coitus with a virtual stranger against the ‘commitment’ of marriage and potential pain of my partner and friend, I find myself making the choice to ‘honor’ my marital responsibilities.

I can’t help but wonder, if I am making the right choice. Is the intoxicating lust I am currently feeling a one-off situation or is this going to be a reoccurring problem at monthly environmental meetings? I wonder if maybe I am missing out on a possible soul mate, sexual or otherwise.

Either way, I have come to the realization that the combination of marriage and monogamy is perhaps an exercise in denial. It’s a denial of what I believe to be humankind’s natural desire to be sexually involved with more than one person throughout your life, and it’s a denial of a part of yourself. Within our rigidly structured mainstream society, the fulfillment of sexual desire seems to be something only available to the very young or sexually autonomous.

The rest of us who make the decision to honor the commitment of monogamy, have confined ourselves to a lifetime of fantasizing about earnest strangers while engaging in mundane marital discourse with our partners. It’s a lifetime, that, in lieu of recent lustful events, suddenly seems very long.

Valerie Williams is a writer living on Salt Spring Island, Canada.

Via:www.greenmuze. ??m

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