02 May 2006

The Irony of the Orgasm

Handling a paradox can be hard.  When I review employees one of the key metrics for maturity is their ability to deal with juxtaposed objectives.  In listening to my friends (and in my own experience) I find that the ability to manage conflicting goals is essential to success in more than just business.  Okay, so there are many skills that bear that trademark, I'm writing now about one of the less-obvious ones.

In sex and love, just like in the workplace, you are continually challenged to collate a conflicting checklists of desires.  Your boss wants to get as much work out of you, while paying as little as possible.  Your lover wants to satisfy you but also has desires.  You want to have a career you enjoy and get paid for, while keeping your life and relationships a priority.  In a healthy relationship, the desire to satisfy your counterpart is comingled with the necessity to allow your counterpart to satisfy you.  Simply put, somethings you do for them, other things they do for you.

Even in the not-so-healthy case (such as mine), where the desire of one party is only to serve the needs of the other, an insidious balance is struck.  It can sound like the perfect relationship; the servant with a place to serve, the served having needs met steadfastly.  An accord in situations like this are fragile at best.  As humans we are creatures of need and our actions however independently appearing are the outward expression of that need.

When you stay late at work to meet a deadline for your boss, when you spend your hard-earned money on flowers (that will be wilted and gone in a day) for your lover, when you sit through an endless baseball game for your counterpart, or when you take the outside spoon.  Sure you are doing something for them.  But you are also doing it for you.  For the raise, for the smile, for the quiet evening, for the kids, for that special funny face of pleasure/pain that only you get to see, for your deity, for a bazillion little reasons.

I wonder if the partner who handles paradox in the boardroom with grace, does likewise in bedroom?  If someone can handle the Irony of the Orgasm, shouldn't they also be able to do the Priorities Shuffle?  Sometimes I think yes, but often times I realize the opposite is frequently true as well.  Like a bodybuilder who can't balance a checkbook or a mathematician who doesn't dance.  They go together so well (caloric intake = bank account, music = math, keep up folks!), and yet it is so easy to over-compensate in the mix.  Almost as if the control required to keep the plates circling in one ring of the circus must be offset by a loss of control in yet another ring.  Sometimes those rings are clearly antithetical, other times seemingly the same.  We run back and forth spinning plates madly for one show, and dashing them to the ground for another.  Sometimes we just want to get off, other times we want to get someone else off.  (I'm talking about the Ride of Life, you dirty-minded reader!)

Methinks it is this control that belies the rub.  Everyone needs to lose control, if even in a small way. For each of use that takes a different form.  It can even take different forms for the same person in different relationships.  If you've been giving, your balance is the take.  If your rut is in taking, your loss would be the give.

When did you last lose control?  And how long since you've given it away?  When's the last time you used your tongue?  When's the last time you let someone else use theirs? (I meant for talking, you horn-dogs! Well, for everyone except you, Jan. ;-) )

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