There is a blogging challenge going on at Momalom (http://momalom.com). The idea is that the authors of that site give a list of topics, and all of us readers are supposed to blog about a certain topic on its designated day; then we go check out the other blogs and comment and generally support each other and the mommy blog community.
I wasn't going to participate in the challenge, not because I don't have the time or the motivation, but because I find it very difficult to write about a subject when I'm not specifically inspired to do so. How could I pen a compelling entry about "Happiness," for example, when I didn't feel anything particularly pressing about being happy that day?
But today's assigned topic is "Lust." I, like a lot of other curious onlookers, I'm guessing, popped over to Momalom to see what smutty, juicy morsels had been offered up.
And to say I was disappointed is an understatement. It's actually more accurate to say that I was a little bit appalled.
I only had time to skim through a handful of posts (see my earlier entry for an explanation as to why I am a little pressed for time / preoccupied today), but of the ones I was able to review, the majority of them were written on the topics of... LUST FOR FOOD! and... LUST FOR CLOTHES! and... LUST FOR CARTOON CHARACTERS! Now honey, forgive me for showing my true trampy colors, but I don't think *cartoons* is what the good lord intended when he came up with the word LUST.
No, kids, he meant LUST-- SEXY LUST, PASSIONATE LUST, WET AND SWEATY LUST. Maybe my fellow moms got understandably confused because, let's be honest, there's not a ton of wet and sweaty lust to be found in the places where we mommies tend to hang out.
But why not just *say* that, then? Why *pretend* that this challenge was asking you to describe your lust for stilettos, sleep, success? (No actual offense intended, of *course*, to anyone who wrote about shoes or cartoons or burritos. I get that we're all just doing the best we can, and some of us don't have the time, the inclination, or the constitution to write about LUST in its Biblical, sweaty sense.)
But girls, I've got the time. I've got the inclination. And I do believe I was *born* for a challenge like this.
See, what *I* think of, when asked to expound upon the topic of "lust," is this: That nervous quivering that takes hold of your loins when you spot the object of your unrequited (but not deterred!) affection. That first kiss that is absolutely ELECTRIFYING, one that you feel all the way down to your toes. That passion that overcomes you, when you *finally* find yourself alone, in a darkened room, embraced in the arms of your desired one-- a passion *so* consuming that your kisses leave bite marks and your fingernails leave scratches.
How long has it been, ladies, since you've scratched up someone's back?
Well I'm not afraid to say it: It's been a damn WHILE, gang!
I've been with my indescribably wonderful, considerate, devoted husband for more than 10 years now. And ok: we don't scratch up each other's backs anymore.
Now we care for sick children in the middle of the night. We stay up late putzing around on our computers, side-by-side. We lay in bed and laugh about funny things that happened to us a decade ago, and revel in the shared history that allows us to do so.
But no, we don't scratch up each other's backs. We're MARRIED, for chrissakes. The reason there's a stereotype about married couples not having sex anymore is because, very often, it's TRUE. And for GOOD REASON. We're busy, we're tired, we're stressed. We're worrying about the money, the house, the kids. We're not TEENAGERS anymore. We're OLD. And we're not on a third date, when you stupidly can't keep your hands off each other, when you devour each other's kisses like you're starving and your beloved's lips are your salvation.
I mean sure, we do have the occasional roll in the hay: civilized, respectful, and highly satisfying. We know the lay of the land, we know what we're supposed to do, we genuinely enjoy those stolen moments we have together.
But would I say we are LUSTING for each other, 10 years in?
No, doll. We're not lusting for each other. Get over it.
What we do have, however, is a million times better:
We love each other. Profoundly. Maturely. Seriously.
And if you think that sounds like the short end of the stick, then I'm going to assume that you've never been in the kind of love I'm talking about. In which case maybe you'd be surprised to hear that real, nuanced, grown-up LOVE-- like the one between two married people who have stuck with each other for many years and plan on sticking together for tens and tens of years more-- totally kicks LUST's ass.
Why? Well, because LUST is soda pop. It's bubbly and it's delicious and it's refreshing and it's really, really yummy.
It's also mostly air.
And it can't sustain you for long.
No, strong families are not built on soda pop, any more than they're built on lust. I'd even go so far as to say that LUST *belongs* on the back-burner of a long-term relationship. In my humble opinion, lust can survive and flourish in one of two environments: (1) a new relationship, where both parties' hormones are in thrilling overdrive and the novelty is absolutely intoxicating; and (2) a dysfunctional relationship, where one party feels inferior, or unfulfilled, or unappreciated, and the dynamic is so imbalanced that the neglected party utterly aches for the kind of affection and attention he or she deserves.
In other words, lust just wouldn't work in a relationship where both people feel loved, and appreciated, and fundamentally desired; and where the sex is, at least as a matter of principle, always available-- not as the hallmark of conquest, but as an expression of that love. After all, there'd be no point in LUSTING for something that's always available to you, now would there?
To this point, I read recently that, per some "scientific" study of brain wave activity, after 10 years together, 90% of couples no longer experience the physiochemical spikes that characterize the first exciting stages of a romantic relationship. (Translation: We don't get turned on just by standing close to each other anymore.)
At first I was bummed out by this article-- I took it to validate my waning libido as an empirical fact. But then, after pondering it for a while, I was encouraged by it: the study asserted that what I was experiencing wasn't unusual, and it also wasn't a harbinger of doom for our relationship. No, it only meant that we were moving from one chapter of our story to the next. And I think *both* of those chapters (the new, thrilling one; and the familiar, comfortable one) have their distinct perks.
So you know what I do these days? I satisfy my lust for LUST in other ways. I sometimes bat my eyelashes at the handsome waiter. I occasionally exchange flirty email messages with guy friends on Facebook. I often read erotica online (preferably gay erotica, not sure why). All of these things get my blood pumping, and they make me feel sexy, and they put racy thoughts into my head again, a space where otherwise only thoughts of milk money and field trips and pediatrician appointments would reside.
And then I take that lust home to my husband. Where I belong.