Tonight in some way I loved you

I can tell by your walk , I won’t need to make small talk when we get home. Like ask your name and then promise to phone …

I found the lyrics to this song on “Affairs of the Heart” (Ralph McTell)  thought-provoking when I first listened to them on “You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here” in the mid 1970s.  Listening to the song again this morning , I still find myself with more questions than answers.

Why is it that some of us seem to be able to enjoy sex as a purely recreational activity, akin to playing a game of tennis with someone (only better!), whereas others of us seem to need a sense of connection, or meaning, to make sex feel good? 

The traditional answer is that men compartmentalise sex and love, whereas women don’t; but this isn’t my experience, personally or professionally.  I see women who enjoy anonymous and/or purely recreational sex, just as I see men who have been hurt by casual sex, or who feel pressurised to get into a sexual relationship far earlier than they’re comfortable with.

So what is it that makes us different in this respect?  Why is it that some people can’t have sex without feeling as though something significant, bonding even, has occurred; whereas others don’t seem to experience that?  Is it to do with the meaning each of us ascribes to sex, which informs our experience?  Or something more fundamental? 

And how easy/common is it to move between the two camps?  In order to be able to enjoy sex where the only meaning is pleasure and enjoying the moment, do we need to ‘ switch off’ something inside us that gives us the potential for sex to feel more meaningful?  And conversely,  if we only enjoy connected or meaningful sex, are we missing out on something that those who “can do casual sex” are able to experience?

I can tell by your smile that tomorrow you will not think that it’s been worthwhile, and I don’t know what to say, to prove it need not be that way.

I can tell by your crying, you’d only think I was lying if I said what I know to be true – that tonight in some way I loved you. That tonight in some way I loved you.

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