At the ripe old age of 35 I am, thankfully, not inclined toward hook-ups, one-night stands or friends-with-benefits. I don’t have as much trouble waiting or delaying physical intimacy when dating or meeting someone new. But admittedly, when I attempt to “take things slow” on the emotional side, “going slow” really just means not as fast as the last time. When I like someone and there is an attraction, I am excited and enjoying myself and moving slow doesn’t occur naturally for me. I could easily spend hours on the phone or let a coffee date linger on for the entire afternoon. And if there is “chemistry” it is easy for me to hang out or visit with my new interest for several days a week, back-to-back. So, while I’m not likely to jump in the sheets with someone I just met, it wouldn’t be honest to say that I take things slowly. It would be more accurate to simply say that I am going “slower” (i.e. slower than the last time, slower than the next person, slower than I really want to, etc). At this stage in my life, I won’t commit or profess my undying love prematurely. I won’t commit to a relationship before I am ready and confident that we have a good foundation. I WILL go to bed on time (in my own bed, lol), continue to enjoy my friends and family, and spend some regular time alone, enjoying my own company. This is a good space for me, but I still have to catch myself because there is an internal culprit that always betrays me and thwarts any effort to relax and take my time in love… her name is Oxytocin.
We often associate the release of oxytocin with childbirth and sexual orgasm, but we actually experience chemical bonding in a wide range of interactions (a hug, a handshake, playing with your pet, etc.). Some suggest that women release and experience higher levels of oxytocin and bonding chemistry than men. Suffice it to say, as a lesbian that would mean that I am doomed- or at least unable to slow things down easily. Two women dating would seemingly lead to a whole bunch of this “chemistry” stuff floating around. Maybe so- but the bottom line is that very early in the dating stage, and even in the absence of sexual intimacy, many of us (regardless of gender or sexual orientation) experience lots of bonding and connecting that may feel scary and premature. Recently I read an article that had some great tips for taking your time when you meet someone new. It was really funny, thoughtful,and accurate… but alas, useless for me once “the bonding hormone” helped me to feel drawn to and enamored with new possibility.
Some may question, if things are feeling good, and I am having a good time- why slow things down? Well, here’s why: because I deserve it; because we each deserve it. In a fast-paced world of doing and more doing, we deserve the space to take our time and do things slowly. I have found that fast is fun, but slow is sweet. When I move slowly, I notice details and appreciate nuances. I am more certain in my actions and I can tune in t what feels right, spiritually. When I slow down, I notice things I missed and overlooked. Not in a guilty way, but in a healthy self-aware way. In self-awareness I can make better choices that I feel good about. When I slow down, I can be accepting and peaceful rather than controlling. As far as romance, I’m glad that I am able to move more slowly than the last time. I’m not striving for perfection nor looking for perfection in my partner. Rather, I am sharpening my understanding of myself (and my lover, as well). When I move more slowly, I am allowing rather than forcing and practicing rather than projecting. At this juncture in my life, I feel good about dating now and it doesn’t feel so scary. I’m not attached to the destination… I believe I will get there (wherever that is). I am looking for pleasure, good feelings, peacefulness, and shared work for a healthy relationship. In a word, I am maturing. I want soul stirring and spirit-filled love. I am willing to slow down for that.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!