Why won’t you have sex with me?” she pleaded. “I want to learn to love you in the right way,” he responded with heartfelt emotion. “But I want you to desire me!” she insisted. “I do,” he said. “But what I desire is to love you, not use you.”
A good friend of mine just told me that this was the conversation he had with a woman he was dating. She broke up with him because, as she said, she wanted to be desired.
We all, of course, desire to be desired. Remember that old Cheap Trick song, “I want you to want me / I need you to need me…”? Who can’t relate? But we’ve been so warped by the constant barrage of images and messages from our pornified culture that “being desired” is now equated with one thing: being desired as an object of sexual gratification.
When this is all we want – to be desired as the object of another person’s lusts – we are forfeiting the deepest desires of our hearts for love and substituting it for love’s direct opposite. The opposite of love is not hatred. The opposite of love is to use someone as an object, as a thing.
In the end nobody really wants to be treated as a thing. But in our pornified world, it seems we’ve come to believe in only two options: being used or being ignored. And if those are the only two options, most people would probably prefer the former over the latter.
But there’s another option! It’s called love. Real love. The kind in which we learn to honor and treasure who the other really is as a totally unique and unrepeatable person. The kind of love that lasts precisely because it’s based on the dignity of the person which never fades, never diminishes.
When “love” is based only on a person’s sexual attractiveness (in the shallow sense our culture understands it), that “love” is certain to fade and diminish because that kind of sexual attractiveness is sure to fade and diminish. When “desirability” is based only on our ability to arouse another’s desire for base gratification, we’ve reduced ourselves to commodities to be bought, sold, and traded. “Don’t you desire me?” becomes “Don’t you want to use me?” If the person says no, we think “He doesn’t love me.”
HOW TRAGIC! We’ve exchanged the truth about love for a lie!
Love is only possible when we resist the tendency to treat others as objects and learn how to raise our sexual attractions to the level and dignity of the person. That’s what my friend was wanting to do, commit to the real journey of love with this woman. But she preferred the counterfeit ….
[Did you appreciate this blog post? Sign up for The Cor Project mailing list and you’ll receive the latest blog posts (and more) delivered directly to your email!]
Photo by Ed Yourdon.