Over the last 29 years I’ve experienced, been witness to, and unfortunately drank the kool-aid (though, thankfully only momentarily) and once aligned myself with both ideological extremes regarding sex, relationships, and love. The one side wants to make you believe that it’s sinful, and evil, and something to stay away from entirely (until you get married and then it’s magically beautiful and a gift from God) while the secular side is feeding us this rhetoric of almost benign and meaningless activity that humans engage in whenever they feel horny and (at 29, to me, in my life) I feel as though both sides are misrepresenting what intimacy and sex and love should be. I was engaged very early and the experience left me disillusioned and bitter and cynical. (While not fully committing in my mind, if I’m honest with my self) I really wanted to believe in the “love and sex are imagined concepts to sell products” idea, (and in hindsight I realize that was because I WANTED it to be the case so I could numb myself from future hurt) so I leapt onto the pendulum bob and I swung across to the other side where I experienced the other side of hurt; disconnectedness. In my mind (though I tried to remain outwardly disinterested and aloof) I was still attaching myself to my sexual partner. I was trying to surpress the need in myself for a meaningful connection and in a lot of cases I projected onto my sexual partners a connection and love that wasn’t real but I’d convinced myself it was. (And I tried to convince others that that’s the way that I felt in a kind of feigned macho disregard that I’d felt obligated as a 20-something male was expected to react) And then, when the physical relationship ran it’s course and I finally did learn that the other end of the connection experienced sex with so little emotion and attachment, that too hurt me. I rode the oscillation of the pendulum to both extremes and both had left me hurt and disconnected. At 29, where I’m at now (and of course this may grow, alter, and shift with more experience and maturity) but I think there needs to be a more moderate concept of sex and love. Keep the love, intimacy, vulnerability, and connection that the religious end supports, but drop the negativity, guilt, and sinful connotations that surround sex. We should drop the idea that one person has one kind of love for someone and then you must never have that feeling for anyone else and if you do that’s cheating. Although, that being said, we should also drop the idea that sex is meaningless and if it feels good do it. In my opinion, sex should not be a disconnected, recreational thing that you engage in with people you’ll never see again. In my life, I want sex to be meaningful, respectful, and desired equally for both partners. I’ve learned in my experience, that I want someone to have sex with ME, I don’t want someone who wants to have sex. Now I may be generalizing and saying that because I think this this is a good idea. But I’m just one person. You can agree or you can disagree, but to me, I no longer want to feel disconnected from such a spiritual, interconnected, and emotional experience and disregard it as “just sex”. What do you think?