Me and my mom had the sex talk when I was 19 years old. It went something like this, “Micheal, you can’t go around having sex with these girls and then not wanting to be with them. It’ll drive them crazy” to which I responded, “I won’t”. It wasn't the first time I'd ever lied to my mom and it wouldn't be the last. At the time I was sophomore at the University of South Carolina home for Christmas break. It’s worth mentioning that the University of South Carolina has 30,000 undergrads, 54% of which are women. It’s also worth mentioning that I grew up in a very small town in rural South Carolina where there were women sure, but very, very few that I was interested in and I've never been one to settle. College was this new level of freedom that I never knew existed and unfortunately, I got a lot of attention from a lot of girls from the jump. Couple that with these mental structures I had formed growing up from my environment and the media that sleeping with as many women as possible is what makes you a man and it’s needless to say that momma’s advice was a little too late. I had a few relationships here and there but I didn’t really take her advice throughout college or for a few years after, really. It wasn’t until my mom got sick and I got on this path that I began to inquire on why there is so much suffering in the world and why I was suffering so much personally. It was then that I started to see what objectification really is and what compassion really means. It was then that I began to care about what it was that I was doing to you and to myself. 

I’d like to precede this by saying I still don’t think there’s anything wrong with having casual sex. If both parties are in agreement and have a true understanding about the situation, then I think it’s a beautiful thing. My problem was, I don’t think there was always a true understanding between myself and my partners as far as expectations afterwards.  I’d also like to say that I do know women who are capable of having casual sex and expecting nothing after so I don’t want this to seem like an implication that it’s not possible or that clinging after having sex with someone is something that females do exclusively because we know that's not true. But what I have learned is that sex doesn’t always stop at the orgasm for all of us. And sometimes some of you would say that you were okay with a situationship while the whole time wanting something more. Turns out, momma was right. 

Often times, I would know this about our situationship going into it but I’d convinced myself that we were still getting an equal trade because I tried to be mindful of your enjoyment when we got busy. I knew that there would always be an after to deal with but that wouldn't stop me because at the end of the day, I never agreed to an after and I could always use that as leverage to escape the situation when you got too clingy.  I was attached to sex and the highs it provided me and when you’re attached to something, you’ll bend if not break your moral code to get it. I was attached to the false sense of security it provided my ego who thought that having sex with a lot of women would make me more of a man and better than other men who are not so fortunate. Silly, I know, but that’s what the media tells boys everyday and programming is very powerful. Those beliefs are why sometimes I would have sex with women I felt "whatever” about while knowing it wasn’t as “whatever" for them. And I know that my "whatever" attitude created suffering for some of them and ultimately suffering for myself. 

I always thought I was covered because I never lied about my intentions with you, but I also never told you the entire truth. The entire truth being that your value to me is entirely dependent on how physically attracted I am to you and that my true intention is to use you as an object to fulfill my desires. The entire truth being that I had deep rooted parental issues that I had repressed and instead of learning how to love myself, I decided to sleep with a lot of women and pretend that’s what affection feels like.  The entire truth being that after we have sex, I will likely not want to talk to you very much, let alone date you, because of the guilt and shame I feel for knowing that I never intended to date you or love you in the first place. Often I knew that I was leading you on by having sex with you and was giving you a false sense of hope that we might be more in the future even if you have never verbally said that a future is what you wanted. My fuzzy logic told me that I shouldn't entertain anything more than sex with you as to not confuse you. It was like "Yeah, I know you literally allowed me to physically enter your body but as long as I'm not emotionally available to you, you shouldn't get attached to me". Yes, I know how stupid that sounds — sex by itself is obviously enough to lead people on and make them attached. But we do stupid things when we're blinded by desire. We do stupid things when we're hurting and I was hurting a lot but I shouldn't have used you as a scapegoat to project that pain onto. At the time I thought that everyone should be able to enjoy sex as a separate act with no emotional feelings attached because that’s how I learned to think myself. I thought that if you couldn't separate sex from emotion, that was your personal problem, not mine.  I couldn’t see that it was a stupid and selfish assumption because I was blinded by my own ego-based desires, insecurities, and self-centeredness. I've learned that sex has a cost and no, I don't mean the risk for STIs or "sin". But there's always an exchange of subtle energies that my mom knew well about and I later realized that she was trying to protect me from exchanging that kind of energy with just anybody.

My favorite teacher’s favorite teacher told him to do two things with his life, “tell the truth and love everyone”. Both of these are ideas that I try to shape my life after now that I’ve learned what love really is.  I’ve learned that you can’t love a person if you’re looking at them as an object. In fact, the reason there's so much pain and suffering in the world is because we all treat each other like objects. Disposable objects. I’ve learned that you can’t love a person if you’re using them as a means to an end. I’ve learned that even though I try to always be kind and fair to women, I still objectify women often because it has been subconsciously normalized for me. I've learned that I definitely do have some internalized misogyny just like most other straight men.  It's why the worst thing you can call a straight man is a "girl" or a "punk" or "sweet" or "gay" -- because all of these are associated with femininity and to be feminine is to be weak. Or at least that's how a lot of us are raised to think. I've since learned that to be a complete person you have to have a balance of masculine and feminine energies and when men suppress feminine energy too much, things like hyper-masculinity manifest in our personalities. I've learned that hyper-masculinity isn't always blatant but it is always toxic for all parties involved. I've had to accept that my hyper-masculinity caused me to be a womanizer and that's been really hard for me because I market myself as this sweet and kind person but I've had to face the truth that sometimes I'm very inconsiderate and destructive. It turns out that often my kindness only extended as far as my use for you and that's not kindness at all, it's manipulation.

So, to all the girls I’ve fucked who wanted love but only got a dick, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for conforming to societal norms and subtly agreeing with the lie that you are not equal to men. I’m sorry for seeing you as a means to an end and not a unique expression of our creator that wants and deserves love just like me. Thank you for what you shared with me; for giving me something to contemplate and allowing me a mirror to see my reflection. Thank you for leading me to face my own internalized misogyny and my own male privilege so I no longer have to be a part of the ignorant masses that place you beneath your human counterpart. Know that I’m a work in progress and I will slip sometimes, but I do want to be better and I’m honored to have had you as one of my teachers on this journey. 

M.S. 

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