“I have never searched for happiness. Who wants happiness? I have searched for pleasure.” – Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Grey
If I could have it my way, pleasure and happiness would be tied together with an unbreakable chain. I’d be wildly free about who I fucked and how, and lose none of my happiness for it. I have friends that that’s true for, but I’m not that kind of creature. I was brought up to be, in a liberal home, but at some point in my sexual revolution, the ghost got lost in the machine. Casual sex and happiness became hard to get right together. I’m a royal slut, but only inside a relationship.
A thousand yesterdays ago, my life was a sexual holocaust. My unrepressed hedonism slowly slaughtered my happiness. The more thoughtlessly I gave myself away, the farther I felt from myself. The more sexual oblivion I found, the less grounded I became. I was a machine without a ghost, and therein lay the catastrophe: I was a body that had lost its mind. There was no real connection. Love? What’s that? I had threesomes and open relationships. Love got in the way.
I miss those days in many ways. I wish I could balance happiness and promiscuity. That kind of pleasure can create a beautiful life… just not for me. The only way I know how to stay happy in my kink life is to chase intimacy before lust. If I create connection and trust first, my body won’t race ahead of me destroying everything.
I can’t say why I can’t live a Dorian Grey Life with all its orgies and back-to-back partners. Maybe it’s because my rape made casual kink a dangerous thing. Maybe it’s just that I’m a demisexual, or maybe it’s that I lose myself so easily to intense experiences that I need something like intimacy to root them in.
Maybe it’s all those things.
I love darkness and I adore sex. I love them even more when they’re together. What better way to spend a weekend than snuggling into the shadows where all the black feelings hide? I love being scared. I love pain under the right conditions, and I’m fascinated by what makes people do awful things. Kink lets me explore all of that darkness, but to go there, I need a well-lit room to return to. I need love. I have to remember what the light is like or I feel I will get lost forever.
And if my past has taught me anything, it’s that I am capable of getting lost forever. I managed it for many years, so I’ve no doubt I can do it for longer. Oblivion and I are best friends, and that’s why we’re sworn enemies. To stay whole and healthy, my life must stay grounded. Its rewards must have depth. I must keep my pleasure rooted in connection or I will become The Portrait of Dorian Grey with all its maggots and ugliness.