Hold Fast

by [email protected]  Sep 4, 2013

It’s what you do when the wind kicks up and things get crazy on the water. It’s also what to do when the forces of chaos feeling threatening rather than inviting everywhere else in life.

Since I started OMing I’ve noticed the folks at OneTaste bantering this term about: “tumescence.” According to the dictionary, it means a swollen or enlarged condition, but they’ve redefined it (just as they’ve redefined orgasm) to mean the tension or emotional stress we feel when a sensation becomes so intense that we need to do something about it. It’s usually applied to erotic sensations rather than the desire we feel to move away from a fire which is too close; although emotionally these might not be too different.

I could never understand why I’d always say or do something when I felt a woman was attracted to me to make her not want to go there.

When I was married, I flashed the ring or mentioned my wife, and now as a single, I say or do something decidedly unsexy. I do this because I get scared of how I start to feel when there is sexual attraction and I want to dissociate or disperse the feelings her interest causes in me. For this reason my friends in the OM community say my tumescent style (the way I deal with the high sensations I feel) is called “dissipated.”

This was a startling revelation about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Literally hundreds if not thousands of opportunities with women squandered and I’m banging my head against the wall afterwards. I think I’m a good catch and all, but I know I ain’t the classic boy toy. What I realize now is that most of us have an individuated beauty and possess qualities that many other people find attractive. Even if we aren’t classically pretty, as long as we’re cool it’s never long before someone of the opposite sex notices us. It’s that part about remaining cool that does most of my connections and relationships in. Most often it is inappropriate to do anything about the attractions we feel to others, so being able to sense and modulate the heat is an important social skill.

Connecting or relating with others is usually the easy part. What’s sometimes tough is managing the relationship to be mutually agreeable. Saying something snarky or apropos of nothing to the beautiful woman sitting next to me may allow me to avoid having my heart broken, but I’ll never have a chance to experience her affection either. Likewise when my partner is pushing my buttons, it’s so difficult to just sit there even when I know it’s the right thing to do. Being kind, interested and cool is very difficult when it’s all we can do to keep it together.

As a man, this is where I need my warrior spirit. To face my fears, keep my wits and expand my horizon. It is the strength to know, no matter how I feel about the person I’m with—whether we’re chatting on the bus, conducting business, dancing next to each other, OMing, or having sex—that I can ride my feelings without losing sight of what’s OK for them. And this is true no matter how well I know someone. Doing the right thing precisely when I feel a lot of tumescence is often incredibly tough. Turning the other cheek or simply trying to keep OM and sex goalless can take every ounce of determination and will. But when I hold fast, the world is always a better place for it.