We were drinking in a popular wine spot in The Fort a few months ago when my close friend Ioannis, obviously inebriated and uninhibited, referred to sex as a "sport". To be fair, the sentiment wasn't completely out of nowhere: once you mix adults, alcohol and conversation, thoughts naturally seem to flow towards this more "primal" direction. But the statement was still interesting on several levels: Did he mean that it was competitive? Physically taxing? Something only a group can do?
When we asked him to elaborate, he said that he didn't mean it in the sense that it was a competition, only that the acceptance of one's inherent sexuality should be something fun and exhilarating. He underscored the idea that sexuality should be celebrated, not restrained. He found it unusual and unnecessarily restrictive to continuously dampen one's "natural" needs, simply to conform to an arbitrary societal standard. He said that we are all in charge of our own happiness, and that sometimes the bravest, and the most important thing we can do for ourselves, is to acknowledge the things that make us happy and to do something about it. He pointed out that if we refuse the things that make us happy, then what's the point of being alive?
We concurred, if conditionally. The idea sweeps at other ideas in too general a manner, and certain circumstances and factors must also be taken into consideration, but we did agree that he raised a valid point.
Afterward, he fell asleep on my other friend's lap, drunk and oblivious to the world. Ioannis has a lot of endearing qualities, but he is definitely not the classiest person when intoxicated. In fact, I consider it a minor victory that Ioannis managed to keep his shirt on while he was so obviously sloshed.
(Although, to be fair once again, I think that alcohol can sometimes bring out a person's brilliance. The lack of inhibitions it induces does not only refer to emotional inhibitions, but also to intellectual ones. I wouldn't be surprised if someone discovers that some of the world's best ideas were thought up during stages of extreme intoxication. In fact, I seriously think that someone should do a study on the relationship of alcohol and philosophy. I'm sure that a lot of the greatest philosophers in the world are non-classy, hardcore drinkers).
A few weeks later, Ioannis gets a boyfriend, whom he loves dearly. When asked about the status of their relationship, he said that they had an "open" one; that is, they are allowed to have sex with other people, subject to a few ground rules. When I asked him to elaborate on those rules, Ioannis said that he was okay with his boyfriend having sex with someone else, but that he would not be able to stand the fact if the connection between the boyfriend and the other person transcends sexuality and enters a more intimate and personal sphere. He said he can stand sexual indiscretions, just not emotional connections.
I didn't really understand what he meant, but when I asked him to elaborate further, he said he also couldn't explain it. Rather, he gave examples, such as "holding hands, kissing, going out on dates". He still believed in sex as a sport, so he felt that one could engage in it without any emotional investment, but as soon as it becomes more than sex, he said that he feels that that is where he should draw the line. When I asked him how he would know when, as he defined it, the relationship of the boyfriend and the third party becomes more intimate, he said he doesn't really know how, only that he would know. Sex can be just sex, he argued, but once it mimics the symptoms of love, then that is when there would be problems that would arise.
I still didn't understand, but I let it go at that. I have resolved, not too long ago, to try not to judge the decisions my friends make in matters of the heart. Is it possible to separate one's emotions when engaging in an act that is physically intimate in nature? I'm not so sure. In my head, it seems improbable, but I've been wrong before. Whatever works I guess. Whatever gets one through the day.
Photo taken here.