Love or lust, you say? I’ll instead argue for the middle ground.
In high school, it was so much love that it hurt and I barely gave consideration to possible sexual endeavors, that is, at the time anyway. I was plenty old enough, nearly a graduate, and I did want physical love. I craved it….just not with him; there wasn’t room to feel that lust. I was overcome with adoration for him, and it was almost as if I forgot my yearnings. To this day, this was the purest love I’ve ever known.
Two years later, it shifted suddenly and I found myself pinned to a couch, teeth clamped onto a salty shoulder so that the neighbors wouldn’t hear me as I discovered the border between pleasure and pain. At the time, feelings seemed to swamp me, but in hindsight, it was only hormones and we were little more than experiments for one another. Both new to the game, and simply helping one another out. Not solely lust, but definitely much less than love.
As soon as that unraveled, I ran for a while until, out of nowhere, I met my ideal. I couldn’t see his flaws because our laughs harmonized from hello and I had to remind my lungs to draw another breath. I fell as hard as I could and still haven’t recovered. What do you say for a man who appears in your dreams to hold and cherish you, but who you’d gladly submit to for any degree of one-night-stand whenever he rolled into town?
And most lately, I’ve fallen into a ridiculous conundrum that I dread speaking of at all. It’s the grayest of gray areas, but that’s probably because the confusion I’ve stirred up makes a beautiful mask for the truth that I avoid. The truth is that it’s a situation that’s absolutely prohibited. Forbidden, if you will. Which, of course, is the epitome of desire. The best way I know to describe it, pulled straight from my text messages to the least conservative of my four friends, “I do love him, though. I count the stars in his eyes when he talks to me. He lights up like the damn sun when he makes me laugh. I love him. And I’d fuck him into next week, too, if I didn’t already know the world would burn out from under us before it was done.”