Updated: Nov 28, 2022
“Ultimately, it is the desire, not the desired, that we love.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
When it comes to desire, there is no greater teacher than sex. A man’s sexual appetite is a microcosm of his relationship to desire as a whole.
Whether you’re sexually active or not, until you’re willing to look squarely into the eyes of your sexual self, you’re blind to the forces that influence your every decision. This is not because every decision you make is driven by sex, but because it is the desire, not the desired, that you love. And until you realize what this means, you will be a slave to all that you cannot have.
No other area of life fuses desire and love as intensely as sexual relationships do.
For this reason, your sexual relationships can become one of your greatest teachers. But only if you know how to engage them. Otherwise, they’re liable to become your greatest source of suffering.
Sex brings out the best and worst in men. If you fail to see the significance in Nietzsche’s words, then you can be certain that for you, sex will only continue to bring out your worst.
Rather than being compassionate, you will be manipulative.
Rather than being loving, you will be selfish.
Rather than being trustworthy, you will be suspect.
Your lovers will see through your lies, even when they’re pretending not to.
Your lovers will be unable to trust you because you will not be able to trust yourself.
When your attention is hijacked by an object of desire, you enter into a state of delusion—craving what you do not have and perpetually dissatisfied with what is here and now.
You’re no longer present.
Your mind moves with the object of your desire.
You’re pulled off balance and lose your center, each time you reach for it.
In this state, your attention is not free, but obsessed. You become impossible to trust. You mistake desire for something that is obtainable, and reinforce the notion that you are always separate from what you want.
You’re dissatisfied with what you have and long for something else.
You’re dissatisfied with where you are and long to be somewhere else.
You’re dissatisfied with who you are and long to be someone else.
You’re dissatisfied with who you’re with and long to be with someone else.
You trick yourself into thinking that if you obtain the object of your desire, then this chronic sense of “not enough” will be relieved once and for all.
But it never is.
Though the objects of desire change everlastingly, desire itself is the eternal constant.
Only a fool blindly chases the objects of his desire, desperately holding on to the fantasy that one day he will be eternally satisfied. And only a fool is unable to see that every attempt he makes to rid himself of desire is just another form of desire itself. He desires to be free from desire, and therefore is no freer.
If you cannot live harmoniously with desire, then you cannot live harmoniously at all. Your eternal longing for more, better, different, becomes your prison. Such a man can never be free.
A good man understands that desire cannot be relieved nor eradicated. Knowing this, he stops trying to fill the hole in his heart, and embraces the feeling instead. He realizes that it’s his eternal yearning that wakes him up in the morning—that mobilizes his limbs into action, that motivates him to take charge and make change, and drives him towards his life’s deepest purpose. He learns to love the hole inside of his heart instead of needing to fill it.
When he looks at the object of his desire, he loves not the object, but desire itself.
When he looks into the eyes of his lover, he loves not the object of his love, but love itself.
Knowing this, a good man is free wherever he goes—whether inside or outside of a relationship.
Because he is not bound by desire, he is free.
Because he is free, he is able to love unconditionally.
Because he loves unconditionally, the gravity of his presence draws all of life towards him.