I picked the subject for this Smut Slam—“True Lust”—out of the air a month ago and only yesterday—the day of the slam, whoops!—did I sit down and think, what the hell does this even mean? What makes an encounter or experience qualify as “true lust,” anyway? What makes it that for me?
In my world, in my body, lust has to do with physical craving, a sense of wanting that is actually viscerally felt. I want to have that, says my suddenly hollow stomach, my tightened throat, my tingly cunt. It feels electric, and it comes seemingly out of nowhere, usually in response to eye contact, often combined with a touch or something said.
I had always considered myself driven by true lust at the beginning of all of my relationships, but when I sat down to consider my freshly articulated definition, and measured my actual, historical sex experiences against that… it’s just not true. Lust is not what grabs me.Frequently my long-term relationships have gotten started in what might now be called a demi-sexual way, after a longer period of getting to know someone, either online or in person, and so the comfort and enjoyment was there. And I have had more casual sex for many reasons: I was drunk and the person was there; it felt like something I was expected to do; I abstractly wanted to do it because of the experience; I felt fine with going along with what the other person wanted because they seemed to really want it. In many of these cases, eventually I got into it, but… you see what I mean?
Actual True Lust moments, as far as I can remember, have been few, as in… two. Twice have I been struck through, without forethought, without a whole lot of conversation. And oddly enough those two times were on opposite ends of the “serious intent” spectrum.
The first time was after I had spent a year feeling terrible about wanting to be with cismen after 10 years of identifying as a lesbian. I wanted cock, in other words. After I had talked with a therapist long and hard about all this, I asked my long-term female partner about opening the relationship. She agreed, upon terms, one of those being that I not “do it in her territory.”
And so I went to Burning Man, and watched the sexy times unfold all around me, and felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and never would. I didn’t know how to approach men anymore, or how to be approached. But the night of the Burn, two nights before I left, a gentle man sat next to me on a couch in the middle of the desert, while a 40-foot-tall wooden effigy caught fire in the distance. The man placed his hand on my thigh as the flames leapt upward, and he said, “Those panties you have on are really cute.”
It all came down to the one crackling touch of his palm against my skin. What we did later that night is another story, and I never saw him again.
The second time I felt true lust was something else entirely. Again I met this guy offline, face to face, the traditional way, at a bar. Seriously, in the UK that feels like the traditional way. I liked the way he looked all right, but we hadn’t really talked before he beat me at Bananagrams. People who know me, know how I tend to bring this game out at the drop of a hat, and that I’m very good at it, and that I really love it when I find people who are good at it.
But I didn’t know how turned on I would be when this guy BEAT ME. It had rarely happened; I can count the times on one hand. When this guy won, and we had scanned each other’s word grids, I looked up at him and our eyes locked for a moment, and I can’t say what he was feeling at that moment, but I felt it zing into the back of my brain and drop down to the pit of my stomach and I got a little blurry, it was electric again, and I knew that I wanted to kiss him, more than I had wanted anything in years.
It all came down to that moment, seeing how smart he was and joyful in the game. The lust this time originated in my brain, and the one who struck that spark is now my life partner.
I know, of course, that following lust unthinking, or building one’s future around it, can be a shitty foundation for a life. You can never know, in those electric moments of no thought, just pull, what is actually there. It can be castles in the air, lava underfoot, broken hearts, broken homes.
You can’t rely on the immediate chemistry, the instant heat, whatever the sensation of true lust is for you. (This is the danger inherent in New Relationship Energy.) And it is unwise to place any more meaning on it than the meaning that emerges on its own.
But I think true lust is, besides that spark, a divining rod, showing you something that you need more of in your life. And that can start with anything, and lead to anywhere.
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