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The Men From The Boys

by David Levinson
December 28, 2005
The Men From The Boys
Sex, sex, sex. Sometimes, it's all we ever think about and sometimes, it's all we ever do, especially in the throes of a new relationship. Friends have told me about their all-nighters, the hours and hours of sex, that come morning, they did it all over again, he on top, she on top, the missionary, doggie-style, in every and any position. Who needs the sun when we have afterglow, those moments (sometimes hours) after sex when endorphins pump through us and we shine? Good sex produces a chemical happiness, and we carry this around with us all day long, from one interaction to the next. We go about our days on winged feet, floating just above the ground, and why not?

Sex has the ability to ward off bad feelings, fight off depression, hold back our most secret fears-that we are not worthy of real love, that we will always be alone, that we will never connect with another human being in the ways we want or need. Sex is what separates the men from the boys, the girls from the women and it's about as powerful a drug (recreationally and otherwise) that there is. It trumps all else; it drives us crazy. Once we get it, we want more and once we want more, we are ultimately giving ourselves over to the addiction. Because this is something else that sex is or can potentially become - an addiction, as harmful as heroin.

How many times have you heard friends say that the moment they introduced sex into the relationship, the relationship changed? How many times have you heard friends say that they should've waited before jumping into bed with someone they just met? This then is the paradox–we want physical intimacy with someone else, someone we desire, but we can't ever get our emotional needs met like this, because in the end a stranger can't possibly meet them. It is confusing, this idea that sex leads to intimacy, and it can, but only if you ask the right questions and only if you are emotionally mature enough to know that you are dealing with another human heart.

I'm speaking hear of casual sex, of sex that has few strings attached to it. But what about the other kind of sex, the kind that is wrapped up in future talks about commitment, about exclusivity? This kind of sex is also amazing, and more sustaining emotionally, but it also has the potential for greater failure written into it. Desire is finicky and fickle and no one's sex drive is as high or as low as the next. Finding that sexual compatibility is just as important as finding moral and emotional compatibility and most of the time, they all go hand in hand. (Unless of course you are someone who compartmentalizes and can separate the physical act of sex from its more emotional aspects. If this is the case, seek therapy now.) Not everyone wants the same thing at the same time and when you're dealing with two very different hearts and minds, chances are you'll have to do some maneuvering to get what you want. If the other person is willing to match you, then go forth and have the kind of fantastic sex that comes from this kind of union; if the other person is unwilling, hesitates, makes excuses, then you might want to rethink who you're with and why you got involved with him in the first place.

Sex can keep two people together who shouldn't be, it can bring two people closer who seemed completely mismatched at first, or it can simply fizzle out, even though the chemistry was (and probably still is) there. Once the emotional trump card is played, it's very hard to get back those all-nighters, that time in your relationship when you didn't know each other, when sex with a stranger was exciting and new and different. But if you're mature enough and honest enough with yourself, you'll understand that sex is merely the physical expression of how you feel about someone else; it is not the binding ingredient. Emotional intercourse - the ways you are with each other, the physical and mental affections, the times in-between the sex - this is what turns an ordinary relationship into an extraordinary one. This is what turns boys into men and girls into women.

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"David Levinson is a young writer who has mastered all the elements that make up a classically structured short story: drama, suspense, humor, empathy. There are no fancy pyrotechnics or meta-fictional devices here. He's a neo-traditionalist so the stories are direct, emotional and compulsively readable, plus there's enough mystery and action in them to propel at least a dozen novels."<br>Bret Easton Ellis