While I was making myself a radish and humus sandwich, I was thinking about my Sex Drive. I happened upon the subject of Sex Drive because I was thinking about how it had been a very long time since I masturbated. I used to masturbate a healthy amount, so such a long period of not even thinking about it seemed unusual for me. Was my health declining? In response to this, the first thought that came to my mind was, it is no longer a Sex Drive, it is a Sex Neutral.
I don’t know where this thought came from. Heidegger claimed that thoughts come to us, not we to them. But does Sex Neutral even make any sense? What does it mean?
(Let me get back to this as soon as I finish eating my radish and humus sandwich. Please give me a moment.)
(That was delicious.) Drive implies forward movement (momentum) and power. When you put your car or tractor or bus or motorcycle into Drive- a very heavy weight is being pulled forward, often at high speeds. I suppose it is accurate to say that my Sex Drive has given up its pulling. So to call it a Sex Drive would be calling it something that it is not (which, I realize is a popular practice in our American culture). At this point in my life, my Sex Drive must be called something else.
In continuing with the car analogy, if I am no longer in Drive what gear would I be in? Certainly not Park. I still think about sex. I still desire sexual experience from time-to-time. I still get aroused at the site of an attractive woman. So Sex Parked I am not.
Reverse? Not in the least. I am as convinced and confident about my own heterosexuality today as I was when I could not get thoughts of having sexual experiences with girls out of my teenage head. Sex Reversed I am not. What else is there?
Park, Reverse, Drive……Neutral.
When I think of Neutral in terms of driving a car, I think of meditatively coasting along (to coast means to move easily without using power). I think about being free from the dominating dependency on gasoline and an engine. I also think about being out of gas and hoping that I can coast my way a little closer to a gas station or at least find a safe place to come to a full stop. For the most part, the person who is coasting along in Neutral is in a hurry to get nowhere in particular.
In this sense, my initial thought about my Sex Drive being more like Sex Neutral was probably right. Isn’t this usually the case? Our very first thought about a subject or situation is usually the correct one and all the thinking about the first thought just leads us further away from the truth. Initially, while making my radish and humus sandwich, I was reactive to my Sex Neutral thought. It felt more like a put down than a truthful self-realization. Humans do not like the truth and it is only natural that the truer a self-realization is, the more reactive we will become. (Think about it- if a realization or statement about one’s self is not true at all, we immediately know this. As a result it is non-threatening. We laugh it off and hardly suffer any kind of rise in our blood pressure as a result.)
Sex Neutral. That is exactly the gear I have been shifted into.
At one long dragged out point in my life, I was in Sex Drive. My Sex Drive powered me around day and night. It crushed me under its weight. I was defenseless (and had to become a disciplined meditator in order to get even a small amount of practical things done). All I could really do was surrender myself to it and do what it said. And what it often said was, “GO! GO! GO! Go out in search of sex! Get as much sex as you can! Have as many sexual experiences as possible!” This was annoying because often all I wanted to do was read a book. My entire twenties (and some of my thirties) was a time of unchosen obedience to Sex Drive. I went where it pulled. Even though I did not manage to have as many sexual experiences as my Sex Drive would have liked (I was often very shy), there were few things other than sex on my mind.
Now, with fifteen or so years of sexual decline behind me, Neutral is an accurate description of the libidinous and procreative gear that I am in. If it happens great, if not that’s ok as well. This is my general mentality with regards to sex and children. It is similar to what I think while coasting in Neutral in my car (which, I do a lot these days), if I get a little further down the road great, if not that is ok also.
Do not get me wrong. I am not one to turn down a sexual experience (as long as no one is hurt). A prude I am not. But I am certainly no longer salivating onto my button down shirt every time I pass by any person, place or thing that signifies a potential sexual experience. I can look at it, appreciate it for what it is, but let it pass by without a even hint of suspended longing in my eyes. When I was in Sex Drive, this was never the case.
Let me conclude by saying this: my Sex Drive has been (as it usually is) shifted into Sex Neutral by aging forces that are far beyond my control. Some men are fortunate or unfortunate (who am I to judge?) to go through their entire lives without being downshifted into Sex Neutral. Many are shifted into Sex Park. Some into Sex Reverse. Personally, I can’t imagine playing out the tempestuousness of Sex Drive throughout my entire life. There are many things that I disdain about growing older (hair loss, my heroes getting old and some dying, belly fat, chronic fatigue combined with a feeling of urgency, muscle atrophy, closer to my own end, an inability to stay up late, people I personally know dying, less time to be creative, loss of youth, continual ringing in ears, loss of interest in being social, infections, no longer socially acceptable to dye hair different colors) but coasting along in Neutral is certainly not one of them.