I am empathetic. However, I can’t just wander randomly giving everything away to everyone I meet. Soon I would have little to give and be dependent on others. I don’t choose to do that. Therefore I have to establish some boundaries. At some level I love everyone, BUT I choose to invest MOST of my time, attention, and loving behavior on behalf of one person. How do I decide who that person will be? The connection sex facilitates is very important to me. Of course, then, I will seek to invest in a person who is attractive to me sexually. When I invest, I invest completely. That’s just the way I am. I don’t do anything half-assed. I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks, I give and give…that’s how I do love. Am I giving just to get sex? At some level yes, on other levels no. Who cares as long as both parties choose to keep spending time together? Do I expect to have sex with that person after a reasonable time getting to know each other? Hell yes! If my being too giving to them is a turn-off, then too damn bad — that’s just how I am. If they don’t like that, then they can dump me. If I give and give and they don’t reciprocate then I’ll move on. What you describe, Joe, seems a drool and boring approach to life. If my love interest is afraid that I will stop being attentive, supportive, and giving after they have sex with me that just means they are not attracted enough to me to risk sex and the vulnerability it entails. Unless they have sex with me within a reasonable period of time they will never know if I would have been a great partner over the long term because after a reasonable amount of investment of my precious time and attention in their well-being I will move on to bring some joy and increased well-being into a more receptive person’s life. Many of the criticisms you make about transactional relationships seem silly to me…silly men afraid to give completely out of fear of being exploited and silly women too afraid to graciously receive and appreciate what is given out of fear of losing what is given if they connect deeply with sex. Nobody forces people to follow the stereotypical gender roles where the man is expected to give more than the woman to be able to get to know the woman. I’m sure many women give disproportionately to a man to get to know the man. Seeking a “sweet spot” where everyone is non-transactional about all of this is a fool’s errand. The majority of people will never choose to lead such boring lives. The rush of sexual attraction is just too powerful. The “spiritual” aspects of sex too profound and unpredictable.

SGI Buddhist, Loves Irish and Latin American Literature, History buff, knows a great deal about Medicare

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