Thursday, February 5, 2015

Two Minds, One Limit

Having two distinct personalities leads me to interact with people in some odd ways.  This is especially true when those interactions revolve around sex because both The Director and Passion are extremely interested in the topic, though for very different reasons.  Passion wants to grab, kiss, strip, touch, and go absolutely wild.  He does not want to slow down, have limits, or wait.  The Director is completely different in that he is concerned largely with not doing anything that the other person would find unpleasant.  He is completely consumed with not messing something up.  The trick here is that either mode can be fine but I have to be in one or the other or things get difficult.

For example, when I was dating right after university I had a series of experiences where I needed to negotiate exactly what was going to happen when I ended up getting intimate with someone.  I was always happy to have sex with them right away but they were not necessarily on board with that plan so I always ended up having a conversation along the lines of "Well, I want to have sex, and if you don't want to do that right now no problem.  What would you like to do, or do you have a limit of things you don't want to do that you can tell me?"  Usually the response would be something along the lines of "Well, let's keep our pants on but otherwise do whatever you like."  That inevitably led to us have shirtless makeouts for a long time until my partner realized that I was never, ever going to push past their stated limit without an explicit instruction to do so.  Once that confidence was established they always decided to rip my pants off.... so I certainly would characterize it as a good strategy for all involved.

The thing is when I was operating with a strict limit I was always The Director.  I needed absolute control and that is how I could get it.  More than that though, Passion didn't even want to be in charge in that situation because he couldn't just go for it.  There was no internal conflict and things were fun.  Once that limit was removed it was easy to put Passion in the driver's seat and just do what came naturally.  People often found it odd that I would so explicitly ask for their limits and it was consistently surprising to them that I never attempted to push those boundaries once they were stated.  Though I didn't recognize it at the time this was obviously my way of dealing with my two distinct states.  Having a clear boundary is fine, having no boundary is fine, but having a nebulous, unstated boundary was a big problem.

When boundaries were unclear I had the issue that my brain was in conflict.  Passion desperately wanted to get it on and had no clear directive not to and The Director was worried about doing something that would upset my partner.  This is an uncomfortable situation for me now, and it certainly was the same thing then.  When I know what I want but I can't figure out what my partner wants I am wracked with uncertainty as my two halves fight for control.  The inevitable result is The Director is in charge but I feel upset and confused, torn between two worlds.  I think most people want their partner to give a particular answer but that isn't the case with me - I just want an answer, any answer, to keep that conflict and struggle at bay.  Sex is okay, snuggling is okay, so long as I know exactly where I stand.

Of course this is a difficult thing because people don't always *know* what they want.  The average person goes into a kiss, snuggle, makeout, etc. without a clear idea of how they want it to turn out much of the time so even if they want to communicate effectively they often don't know what they want their partner to know.  For me that that doesn't often come up because I am almost always the one who wants sex more - if my partner is considering it, I am almost certainly in.  So while it definitely makes it easier on me if my partner can give me precise directions about what they want I can't reasonably expect that that will happen all the time.

What fascinates me the most about all this is that although I didn't understand why exactly ambiguity was so difficult for me in the past I found a way to work around it anyway.  It wasn't clear why not knowing was so easy for other people and so hard for me but I tried to arrange things so they made me happy regardless.  Now that I know what is going on it isn't actually any easier.  I know that the unsettled state comes from not knowing which personality should be driving but I don't have any magic answers.  Sometimes you can't get concrete statements from people and you just have to learn to live with that.

It feels bizarre to say that my issue is that I need another person's input to figure out which me I should be - but that is a pretty good summary of my situation.

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