I’ve started getting a lot of steamy email spam lately. The spam offers me no-strings-attached sex and all the pleasure I want. I’ve been fascinated by the marketing approach — because some percentage of men must find this attractive.
Helen recently uploaded some XXX pix that you need 2 see!! She lives in your area and is looking for a Man 4 a “One Night Stand”!!
Local Singles and Wild Milfs online 4 NSA Flings – Quick Sex Assured with as many Cheating Housewives as you Wish
No Strings Attached Sex, Perfect for One Night Stands. No Strings – No Distractions just Pleasures!!!
Some people are so scared of emotional vulnerability that sex is their only substitute — and they end up never understanding the difference. I assume those are the people who are clicking these links.
Most people today seem driven by the pursuit of pleasure. They might call it the pursuit of happiness, but for most people, being happy means experiencing as much pleasure as possible — and this leads to ruin.
Have you ever had a problem with any addiction? I don’t just mean alcohol and other recreational drugs. I mean anything you turned to compulsively in order to make yourself feel better when you felt a deep sense of emptiness and dread. The addiction I’ve experienced is sugar-filled foods. I have used such foods for years to “self medicate” when I was lonely and unhappy.
My experience is that a little bit of sugar would initially fill the inner need, but the longer the need went unmet, the higher and higher I’d have to increase the levels of sugar intake. What might start as a few cookies might end up a few days later with a half gallon of ice cream every night.
And the sad reality is that I could never get enough. I would eat more and more and more — with the obvious negative effects on my health — but even that would end up not giving me the relief I craved. Despite such a horrible cycle — and despite understanding what I was doing — I would consume more and more and more. I’ve heard that this is a common pattern with anyone who’s trying to fill a need with some form of addictive behavior.
This is what I think a lot of people are doing today with sex. It’s why they can never get enough — and why they will never be satisfied. It’s because they’re trying to use sex to fill a need that sex can’t fill.
Sex is a wonderful part of the human experience. It can certainly bring wonderful pleasure, but it can’t fill our emotional need for connection. Because we have come to associate sex with intimacy, most people today seem confused. When they need intimacy, many people compulsively turn to sex — cold, empty, no-strings-attached sex with people to whom they have no connection.
Since the pleasure of sex is intense and wonderful, they feel in the moment that they’re getting what they need. But when the physical release is over, they’re still just as empty as before — still just as disconnected from the hearts and minds of the people whose bodies they use for what might best be called “mutual masturbation.”
And so they blame their partners. If she were better in bed, I wouldn’t feel this way, he might think. And so they turn to other partners — all of whom give them some initial rush of pleasure — but they remain just as emotionally empty as before.
If you’re afraid to be vulnerable and connect with someone else deeply, no amount of sex will ever take the place of that. If you have the connection and mutual vulnerability that allow you to truly feel as though your heart is full, sex will be a glue which ties you even closer with that person.
Philosopher Emily Esfahani Smith points out that chasing happiness can make us unhappy — and I think this applies just as strongly to chasing pleasure. The more you chase whatever external things which you assume will make you happy, the more you’ll find that those things don’t work.
Over and over lately, I’ve run across thinkers who encourage that we pursue meaning instead of happiness and pleasure. Smith is another one of those — and she said in a recent TED talk that there are four pillars of a meaningful life:
• Belonging — Some belonging is shallow and not worth much. What we need is true belonging that comes from emotional vulnerability with people who love us as we are. That comes from a primary romantic relationship in most cases and then it’s aided by connection to family and close friends.
• Purpose — This gives you something to live for and something to drive yourself forward, something that’s more than just about your achievements and happiness. Having a purpose makes you eager to do whatever you do, because you care about It as more than just a job or a duty.
• Stepping beyond yourself — This is something higher or spiritual, but what you call it doesn’t matter that much as long as it’s meaningful to you. For me, it’s a transcendent connection to the Creator I know as God. For other people, it might come from art or religion. It’s whatever makes you feel as though there’s something bigger that you’re a part of.
• Storytelling — This isn’t about writing fiction or making movies. It’s about creating a narrative for yourself — a coherent and understandable story of who you are and how you became the person you are. Such a narrative helps you to feel anchored in the world, because it explains to you where you fit.
An adult human’s physical needs include food, water, sex and other things which bring us either relief or pleasure. All of these things are good and have their place. But they can’t take the place of the things we need which can be filled only through emotional intimacy — which comes about by connection and vulnerability.
I don’t understand the minds of the men (or women) who are looking for one-night stands or who are looking for unlimited flings and pleasure. It’s not that I’m better than those people. It’s simply that I know how empty that path is.
If you’re empty inside and you’re craving human connection — as I have been for several years now — the only way to fill that is to find emotional intimacy with the right person. Pursuing it through the pleasures of endless sex will never produce anything except disappointment and more emptiness.