On Being Satisfied

What could be better than being satisfied?  It’s a word that may suggest a lack of excitement for some, but it seems to me that most people do whatever they do – whether consciously or not – with the end goal of being satisfied.  Some people seek thrills of an extreme nature because it gives them a rush, but the basis of that rush is the same set of hormones we experience in everyday happiness, just in a temporarily greater dose.  Others get really into food and find satisfaction in a broad range of flavours and textures; others find it so difficult to be satisfied in this life that they turn to mind-altering substances to enhance or forget it, whenever they get the chance.

One of the newer members of our church works at a liquor store and his wife was telling me how things are insanely busy this time of year.  I’ll admit that I enjoy having a couple of drinks to celebrate an accomplishment or event with friends and colleagues, but it baffles me how, when it comes to holidays and other times of celebration, many people have no other option on their radar but to drink, often heavily.  Alcohol or drugs, or generally being out of their minds, is the go-to thing.

I guess I must have a lot to be grateful for, because in my right mind, living my own life, is where I want to be.

A colleague who knows that I play guitar asked me a while back if I like John Mayer.  I said, “Yeah, he’s really talented, I think he’s got some great songs.” (His cockiness does kind of bother me, but I didn’t say that).  “Yeah man, I don’t know why so many people hate him”, he continued, “I don’t care what anyone says, he’s good.  And all the women he’s been with – amazing!” This was something I hadn’t known about John Mayer, but I guess it’s safe to assume about most good-looking, talented celebrities.  Turns out that he’s courted the likes of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, blah blah blah.  The conversation got me thinking – what is the perceived benefit of having been with all these ladies?

For starters, I can’t say I’m much of an authority on the matter, but I have a strong suspicion that appearance and celebrity status have very little to do with ability to sexually satisfy.  As mere mortals, particularly males, we are subject to an almost irresistable perception that outward appearance equates to satisfaction; I think it’s safe, however, to say that this trait has more to do with reproductive success than actual satisfaction.  Johnny’s been with some good-looking gals, so what?  It obviously didn’t fulfil either of them, since they’ve all broken up since then.

Now, regarding numbers: what’s the advantage of being with a great number of women?  If one is unavailable I suppose you’d have options, but being with one partner seems like a far better option to me, for the following reasons (I’m still talking about sex life here, by the way):

1) Consistency – you may not perpetually have the crazy times of newly weds, but according to research cited in ‘The Act of Marriage‘, committed partners do have more and better sex than any other demographic, and it gets better with time (until you’re all old and paralysed and stuff, but then nobody’s getting it on much).  I wonder if Mick Jagger still can’t get no satisfaction?

2) Familiarity – there is an exciting aspect to getting to know someone intimately for the first time, but in the long run isn’t it so much better to have someone who has figured out just what you like and how to do it perfectly?  It takes a long time to get to the point in a relationship in which you can comfortably advise/critique your partner on something they do in the bedroom, and frequent partner changes wouldn’t allow this to develop.

3) Security – there’s no fear in a committed relationship: fear of not performing well (there’ll be plenty more chances!), or of being judged by your appearance, or of putting them off and ruining things.  In a healthy relationship all of these situations can be addressed with words of encouragement, by agreeing to work at it, or just getting to know each other better.

4) Health – STD’s are not cool.  It’s nice to know I’ll never have one, because many of them have very serious effects.  I don’t even want to think about hooking up with someone who just might end up giving me the gift of AIDS, or even herpes – hey, maybe this is part of the reason why people tend to hook up drunk, since it helps them overcome this highly rational fear.

5) Satisfaction – when you’re in this place of comfort, commitment, and familiarity, you’re all set to be most fully satisfied.  There’s no need for drunkenness, fear, anxiety; it’s just you and your partner, fully aware, fully enjoying one another and doing what we’re meant to do.  You remember it in all its glory and relive the experience in your mind during the more tedious moments in your day.

Why do people buy into the idea that hooking up with random people is anywhere near ideal?  I don’t get it.  Maybe they’ve never really thought about it and it’s just what they’ve learned to do by observing the world around them.  It seems to be in many guys’ nature to flee from commitment, but they’re doing themselves a huge disservice, as far as I can tell.  Maybe it’s just one of many other lies portrayed in the media (i.e. advertising), whose primary goal is to convince us that our lives are not satisfying and we need whatever they have to sell.

If anyone reading this is in a committed relationship and not experiencing anything like the satisfaction I’m talking about, I’d suggest a couple of things (from my oh-so-many years of wisdom and experience…haha!):

1) Don’t cheat – it always, always ends up in pain and brokenness, and it’s not the solution.  You’ll hurt everyone, including yourself (and if you don’t feel that you have, it must be because you’ve died to your own humanity!).

2) Check out some of the available resources.  The book I referred to earlier, The Act of Marriage, is a very candid, comprehensive book on sex written by a Christian couple. It speaks frankly about all of the issues surrounding the topic, including the ones Christians tend to never speak of publicly (or in some cases, privately!).  The Wikipedia article on it actually provides a great outline.  The Five Love Languages may also be useful if you feel like you and your spouse are just not getting each other.

How’s that for a bit of Christmas cheer?  Haha!  It’s just a topic that’s been on my mind ever since that conversation I mentioned earlier, and I felt like now was the right time was to get it all out, for some bizarre reason.

Merry Christmas and keep an eye out for our upcoming year-end review 🙂

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