The art of sleeping around
The life of a 20 something backpacker and the 30-ish year old one is very different. I give all experiences are different, it is not an age thing, but by the time you have been travelling for over ten years, your needs, preferences and desires change. Period.
I started travelling in my 30s, but I partied and went all in as I was a 19-year-old on her gap year using dad’s credit card. There are photos of me dressed up as a pint of Guinness, Baywatch “babe” and a leopard on acid. During that same period, I accumulated more heart aches than I needed to, mainly because of making bad choices whilst drunk (or high) and getting into silly arguments. Again, the physical hangover would last a day, but the emotional one would last for a whole painful week.
Sex played a huge part of those long nights out, and the consequent mornings of walking home on high heels. Amongst all my addictive tendencies sex is one of them. It may be a hormonal thing, an age thing, a personal physical need. I’m not sure of what makes a sex addict an addict, I know what makes a drug addict and alcoholic. Therefore, I won’t self-diagnose. But I’m a sex binger. When I start, I can’t stop.
This is one of the most embarrassing confessions I have ever made. Because women get named when they sleep around, men are forgiven.
After I broke up with my ex-fiancé, I did what most of us do when we get our hearts in recovery ward: I went mental! I spent seven years, a full cycle of life following to some, doing just that. I developed an addiction to work too, so I went from film to film, location after location with 2 months of backpacking in between to ‘chill’.
The transition to get out of this cycle took a few months, but finally on the 6th of August 2016 as I was walking down Victoria Park, east London, with my best friend Jenny, I had a semi revelation. I said out loud to her that I was tired of getting distracted with meaningless one-night stands or creating relationships in my head where there were none.
I think making that declaration made an impact on me, though one spiritual journey can start in many ways, mine started that day: I got tired of being disloyal to my heart, hurting my feelings, getting very anxious about outcomes and people I couldn’t control. I needed silence and calmness but, importantly, I needed to crack the open the core of the issue.
That took another year or so, the softer I allow my heart to be, more accepting and lighter on my feelings, the easier it got. I get tested though, every now and then I get thrown a couple of curve balls. Once I fell for that old trap of angst, and immediately stop drinking afterwards (see Practising Sobriety), being sober has played a very important part on being joyful.
Or for example now, I’m on a short writer/yogi/life coach retreat, well, strictly speaking I just came to Little Corn Island, in the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, to kick start my creativity and encourage some sanity on my daily practices. So far, I’m doing pretty well. But for two nights in a row, all the ghosts have come back out to play: rum, shots, board games, flirty chats and men.
By 10pm Dr Jekyll & Miss Hide were having an argument in my head. The options were limited, but the stakes high. I could no longer pretend, and my little head went on a spin of possibilities. As the music got loader and the crowd a little less tolerable, I debated if I should sack it all and “be free” whilst my better judgement reminded me true freedom comes from authenticity and not from getting laid because I can.
It is not just sex. If it’ll be just sex, there’ll be no hesitation. It will be exercise and having that achy feeling after a good workout. It is about choice.
I am enabling myself to decide from a place of clarity and softness. I no longer want to objectify men nor see them as walking dildos. I’m choosing to care about him, to hear him, to meet him in our shared humanity and from there to explore the deepest corners of my feminity.
I choose to be kind, because for me now sex is about sharing, being playful, being myself. It is about allowing my body to enjoy the presence and touch of another and be free and authentic. It comes from a place of confidence and a true believe that I’m enough.