This distinction makes sense to me. I never really understood it when people said, “How long has it been?” Then gasp if you say more than a month, when men complain about not having sex it’s like they’re in real pain, like desire is a motivator, like needing to eat or sleep . I’m wondering if there’s something wrong with me because I rarely experience lust this way unless I’m really hungover. Sex was so easy to avoid, not because I didn’t want to, but because, as I realize now, the right circumstances for me rarely arise. I can ignore texts from someone whose name is definitely not James because I can’t see the way he looks at me and I’m not huddled on the couch with him with my legs resting on his while he shapes me in color the skin of his fingertips. In that case, the need would become unavoidable; it would tingle my skin and make me say things I would never normally say.
Angel goes on to criticize Basson’s distinction, emphasizing that most desires are related in some way. Spontaneous desires seem spontaneous because the context is hidden. Angel gives the example of seeing a partner again after a long separation: “When reunited, desire can feel completely spontaneous, as if it just popped out of nowhere,” when In effect, you’re just “reacting to an environment of excitement and anticipation.” It’s the same with men’s desires: they’re not inevitable, they’re not drives, they’re just presented that way because their desires tend to be more entitled than women’s.
I realize that it’s important that people in relationships have to work hard to create the environment for sex, and that’s normal. They go out on Friday nights, they spend more quality time together, build it into their schedule – but when you’re single, it’s easy to forget that you need to work on creating those conditions, too. My desire needs nurturing, it requires me walking up to men I think I might like, getting into cabs I can’t afford, putting on makeup I know I won’t take off, sleeping in a bedroom I can’t find a glass of water.
“What are you doing now?” I asked the guy whose name was definitely not James, and I got up from where I was sitting at the bar, and I didn’t say goodbye because I knew as long as A friend said, “but I hinted at Paramore” and I could be persuaded to stay a little longer, and even though I came in with heels on, I put my shoes on, and now they hurt, and I went out into the night.