May 16, 2016

Anything but Sex: What Falling for a Hot Lesbian Taught Me about Relating.


Sex screws up relationships. That is one of the many conclusions I have come to falling deeply in love with Moe, a woman who likes women as much as I do.

While almost everyone would maintain that sex contributes to relationships, or is even the reason for relationship, I have just discovered the power of not having sex, how it can lead to intimacy, openness and freedom.


Intimacy isn’t about who you take your clothes off with. It is about who you let your guard down with. It is about saying anything, maintaining the freedom to say “no” and the desire to say “yes.”

Intimacy is not about the immature game of hide and seek that most of us call relationship or the tug of war for attention that too often defines a traditional relationship.

Intimacy can be a touch, but it is more often the ongoing process of being touched in new places, places that you normally wouldn’t share but now you do. Intimacy is about new skin in the game.

Moe, my lesbian friend, and I are deeply intimate. She can ask anything of me anytime, and I of her. And we do.

“Why are you attracted to such young women?” asks Moe.

She asks because she wants to know the answer.

“How is it that you keep returning to the same abusive relationship?” I ask her.

The Q and A that goes on between us simply isn’t likely in a traditional heterosexual or homosexual relationship. In fact, I have worked with couples for over 30 years and never found it before.

But I have found it now and I like it. Moe and I experience unconditional intimacy, which is hot, soft, and sexy but doesn’t have to be confirmed by having sex.


Upon arriving home from a trip to Atlanta yesterday, Moe said, “Lets take a canoe ride.”

It was late at night, dark except for the stars. “I have never been on a canoe ride at night,” I said.

Minutes later we were coasting along the shore admiring the way the mountain laurel flowers caught the star light surrounded by their little cup like flowers floating on the lake.

With Moe, I am open to anything. And she is open to anything but sex. We don’t have to defend, protect or prove our relationship: and the moment obligation or having to do something appears, we simply acknowledge it and get on with a much deeper opening to what we want, both individually and together.

Expectation, a regular visitor to traditional relationships, isn’t a factor here. We are together because we enjoy each other’s ongoing openings, not because we have shared experiences. Our relating is based in the present not on a rickety history of all we have done together or hopes for the future.

We dare say anything, because we don’t have anything to lose. Because our relationship isn’t a thing. It has no structure, so it is defined by its ongoing flow not by its static stops. There is no evidence for us being together, just the sort of continuous laughter that we had as kids continually discovering a whole new world.


“Oh my god, Shane, from the L Word is hot,” Moe intones. “Look at this,” she says handing me her phone with a beautiful young woman wearing a loose fitting man’s dress shirt and nothing else.

“Yes,” I coo, familiar with the sort of zest and drive that is pouring out of Moe like a waterfall.

She is free to lust, free to kiss, free to reach for what she wants and I am too. This is really freedom. The freedom to strip naked for a skinny dip knowing that we aren’t trying to catch a glance of each other.

This isn’t an absence of desire, it is full of desire, for the freedom to express ourselves and be ourselves, not for each other’s bodies, but definitely for each other’s souls blossoming into all that they can be.

We don’t circle the wagons and defend ourselves; we don’t define ourselves by limitations—what we wouldn’t or shouldn’t do.

“Look at this,” I say, pulling up a picture of Amanda Peet on Moe’s phone. I know that Amanda isn’t gay but that she is Shane grown up.

Moe swoons. And I benefit from her swoon. She has just upgraded her desire and I thrive on that. Too often traditional relationships are based on closing possibilities, not opening them. Too often normal heterosexual and homosexual relationships become tributes to what shouldn’t be done, who shouldn’t be touched and what can’t be spoken.

Suddenly, I see the dishonesty that I have been living, without even knowing it. The editing that I have done in the name of, “You are the only one for me,” or “I just want you.”

A new kind of relating

What if you had the freedom to say anything in a relationship. One thing you would discover is that you have a lot to say—things you don’t even dare say to yourself.

We can’t be in a romantic relationship without loving and hating the person who is holding our heart hostage. It simply isn’t possible. Most often we ignore the hate, letting it fester in the recesses of our unconscious, but still influencing us.

I think of a recent relationship, while it seemed we were growing closer together in fact we were just becoming more limited, less intimate, open and free. It felt cozy, but stifling too. I felt wanted, but my soul was constrained, unable to express itself fully.

Moe can say anything, want anyone. All I want is the best for her. I don’t want something for myself from her.

I popped on the Sara Bareilles song, “King of Anything,” as we danced around cleaning the lake house. We were dancing together, but also dancing with ourselves. We didn’t need to have our attention only on each other, looking into each other’s eyes only. It was the dance of freedom, pointing out how different it was than past relationships I had been in.

It lead to a clean house, which sometimes is better than sex.





Author: Jerry Stocking

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Movie Still: Amanda Peet in Saving Silverman (2001)

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