Every time our eyes meet, I know he wants to fuck me. I met Monsieur X through my boyfriends social circle a few years ago and weve been casual friends ever since. Weve never hung out tête-à-tête. Our primary contact is at parties that I usually attend with my boyfriend. Monsieur X and I dont call each other in between sightings, nor do we exchange erotic emails. Yet whenever we see each other, no matter how much time has passed or what Im feeling at the moment, we subliminally zap each others erogenous zones like two electrons that never quite collide.
Sexual tension is a powerful force of nature. It can be as fleeting as a few moments of furtive glances between two strangers on the subway, or as expansive as a magnetic connection stretched throughout months or even years between a couple of ex-lovers who keep running into each other. The feeling is often unspokenshe sees him across from her on the L train, notices that hes reading Lolita, and is silently intrigued.
When he looks up, she glances away, but she senses his eyes upon her. They play this game for several moments, maybe exchanging smiles or raised eyebrows
he considers giving her his number, she wonders if she should say something, then the doors open: shes gone, and the tension deflates into regret. Sound familiar? New York is heaving with sexual tensionfrom public transportation to the street, in stores, at the workplace, in bars, restaurantsits everywhere. The sheer number of people in the city makes the frequent occurrence of sexual tension more likely than if you lived in North Dakota.
But no matter where you are, sexual tension is a vessel of potentialif its not contained within a passing flirtation, it will build until it blossoms into a passionate romance or explodes into scandal and drama, especially when relationships and/or careers are at stake. My most intense experience of sexual tension involved two men. I was in a serious relationship with a man Ill call Chet Baker when I met a man Ill call Picasso. The chemistry with Picasso was intense, but we were both dating other people. We saw each other anyway and cultivated an erotic friendship; we would kiss occasionally and hold hands, but other than that, our relationship was platonic. For about two years we floated deliciously in that more-than-friends-but-not-quite-lovers zone until I realized I was in love with him. So I broke up with Chet to be with Picasso. A few months later, there was a void in my heartI really missed Chet. Somehow, he ended up in my apartment (to fix my computer or something) and he became aroused. My resistance was futile. After that initial transgression, we started seeing each other on the slyreluctantly, on my partand soon we had more passion than we ever had when we were in a relationship! It seems that the more illicit the situation, the greater the sexual tension.
Congressman Foley can relate to that. So can the high-school teacher who knows she shouldnt seduce her 14-year-old student, but when she catches him looking at her every day, she rationalizes that hes mature for his age. And the priest whoyou see where Im going with this: sexual tension thrives on obstacles. Jeopardizing a relationship is one thing, but when high-profile people become entangled with the law, the tension is maximized, even with something as casual as an IM conversation. If Foley was just an average guy, and his page was a few years older, big deal. But the man was a closeted homosexual (strike 1) representing the government (strike 2), potentially breaking a law (strike 3) that he himself had drafted (strike 4)!
Any strike against the natural impulse to act on attraction causes sexual tension to escalate and if there is no release in the form of permission (from yourself or someone else), you may suffer from distorted judgment or complete loss of reason. You become so consumed with your object of desire that nothing will stand in the way of possessing it. The mind prefers to believe that no one will find out. Everything will work itself out somehow, you tell yourself. If it feels this good, how can it be wrong? We naturally want what we cant have, whether the restriction is self-imposed or governed by laws.
The last time I saw Monsieur X, we had the opportunity to release some of the tension between us. We were at a bachelor party at a private lap dance club. The abundance of hot girls magnified my attraction to him. He asked me, in front of my boyfriend, How much for a lap dance from you? For you? No charge, I replied coyly. He got his lap dance, and more than what any of the working girls wouldve have given him for twenty bucks, while my boyfriend sat completely aware on the other side of the curtain. That small release of tension has doubled my desire, but to release it all at once is like coming too soon. Sometimes its better to savor the uncertainty while the object of lust hovers in the distance like an orgasm on hold. Till our electrons collide again, Monsieur X.