Have you ever wanted to have sex that is both not too attached and at the same time not completely detached, either? You know, something that doesn’t make great promises about tomorrow, next week, and next year, but still fully lights up the fire of tonight? This is very often where I find myself.
To me (but not to some other people), mere sex, with no contextual connection surrounding it, is an ordinary, boring, uninspiring thing to do with another human being. The way I see it, one might as well masturbate if it revolves solely around the orgasm. This doesn’t mean that I have to love everyone I have sex with… but I certainly would like, at least in the moment, to have some feelings for them without it being assumed that this “attaches strings” to the future.
Not everyone thinks this way, but quite a few people do. Sometimes, even though we are not in love or looking for love, we need more than just to come – we need passion, connection, intimacy… all that good stuff. That’s what I am calling “the metasexual experience.”
The metasexual experience does involve sex, or at least some kind of fully erotic activity; this is definitely not just cuddling we’re talking about. However, the difference is that in a metasexual experience, we don’t constrain ourselves to solely enjoying the purely sexual aspects of sex. This allows the participants to freely enjoy the other feelings that come along with it; the connection, the trust, the intimacy, the desires, the warmth, the different situations and perspectives that each partner has… it’s like eating a fruit salad instead of just eating only one fruit.
One can very well have no-strings-attached sex and end up tapping into these “metasexual” feelings and sensations – it happens all the time. The trouble is, there are a lot of times when a person who says they desire “sex” is actually also desiring reciprocation of this metasexual experience – and that is a lot harder to ask for and find than “just sex” – because we don’t even seem to have vocabulary for it!
A lot of people I know who want to have this enhanced, intimate context along with their sex are forced to start out by hiding the fact that they want sex – because they don’t want it to be assumed that they want “just sex.” They say unintentionally misleading things like “I want to make new friends” or “I don’t want sex” because they want to avoid what to them is a “quick-hookup trap.” If we could make a distinction between those who want “just sex” and those who want a “metasexual experience” with their sex, there would be less mismatching of desires, and a lot of headache and disappointment could be avoided – for both flavors of folks.
The desire for “meta-sex” can be due to a variety of factors: Some are looking for a long-term relationship and are not afraid to explore sexual dynamics early on as part of the process – it can be a very positive experience, even if/when there’s no long-term potential down the road. Some know that what they want in the long term is not going to be so easy to find – so they pick the most delicious fruit from the trees along the way in the meantime, and enjoy it fully, without any regret. And then, there are those who have not really had satisfying sex for a long time, because all of their recent experiences with sex were mediocre, and they don’t expect a sexual encounter outside of an attached relationship to be pleasurable. A lot of heterosexual women seem to find themselves in this boat – it’s not that sex is always bad, it’s just that “meaningless sex” is so, well… meaningless, and thus unsatisfactory, for someone who wants more.
I do believe that a lot of those who want “more” out of sex can get some of that “more” they’ve been hungering for without having to contemplate (or force the one they are with to contemplate) a long, drawn-out series of future commitments. Sex will not solve all your problems, but sometimes it sure is a nice pick-me-up when done right. If we had an easy word for, and were more conscious of, this desire that many people have to get into this wonderful in-between space I call “meta-sex,” we wouldn’t have to be so afraid of 1) being disappointed because the other person “only” wants to engage in “just sex,” and 2) getting roped into a complicated morass of emotions and attachment that we didn’t sign up for if all we really want is “just sex.” By being clearer, both sides win.
And may metasexual experiences everywhere help people to “feel lucky” that otherwise wouldn’t with “just sex.”