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Lions Roar : July 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 59 why you ever married anyway. Was it out of lust? Or for money? And now you’re stuck in it, with the products, the joyful, miraculous results of your sex, gorgeous chil- dren, left at home. And you’ll be terrified that you could wonder such a thing, in anger, just before you have the best, outraged, breaking-through-outrage sex you’ve had in your life. Fear is as much a part of being human as sex is. I have just turned forty-four, and am haunted by and fearful of what my mother told me about menopause: It finished sex for her. Done. Gonzo. Never again. “You’re not even interested in masturbation?” I asked her in a disbeliev- ing, whiny voice. She howled at the absurdity of the idea. When I suggested she just needed a good vibrator, she laughed so hard she almost fell off her chair. “Nope,” she said. “Not for me. After the change, I just lost interest. The hot flashes burned the lust right out of me.” She ac- knowledged that she had even less interest in men mess- ing up her house and leaving their damn socks on the floor, but still, her words frightened me. Her postmeno- pausal stories made me think of the poet Donald Hall’s beautiful elegies for his wife, who cried out, in the midst of her fatal illness: “No more fucking, no more fucking!” I fear death for the same reason. If I were to be hit by a bus tomorrow, it’s not the unwritten books or the un- learned languages that my spirit would mourn. After de- spair for my son growing up motherless and my husband growing old without me, my self-focused grief would be not exactly for my body, but for all the sweet, joyful sex, and the slightly distracted, hurried sex, and the sad sex, and the confused sex that I would no longer be able to have. I know that spirits, if they exist, do not care about such things. But I am not a spirit yet. When it comes to the body, fear is also larger; it cuts much deeper and harder than daily disappointments and human foibles. The fear that sex brings up is often about horrific losses, the ones we suffered as children, as ado- lescents, as adults, in abusive relationships, in dysfunc- tional families, in religions that hated the body, hated sex, hated us, basically, hated the holy trinity, flesh, desire, sex. For some of us, that fear has the power to stop up our throats. Literally. The words are not metaphoric. For years, I couldn’t speak about what I wanted before, during, or after sex. I couldn’t talk about what I needed, either, about what didn’t feel right. My throat closed up. Right: “Red Running” by Graham Dean ➢ page 81 THEBRIDGEMANARTLIBRARYINTERNATIONAL