Disclaimer: This article is not all rainbows and chuckles.
Falling in love is like getting head-butted in the (gender neutral) junk. There’s the initial shock, then the achy shudders that emanate through the entire body, like a brief removal from grounded reality. It’s scary and awesome. Which is why so many alternatives are popping up for the traditional act of falling ass over teakettle in love with one supposed soulmate.
Technology affords most folks the choice to endlessly wander the sex-scape of humanity without ever having to commit to the terrifying Thunderdome of love. And what’s more, much of culture is challenging the notion that you have to do A, B, and C before arriving at the love destination. It’s confusing; the result being that love is erroneously equated with dependence and neatly plugging up the wellspring of sexual desire.
To this, many would probably be quick to say that there’s more love than ever before, with polyamory and open marriages successfully demonstrating that love can be shared openly and freely within intelligently constructed, progressive relationships. I’d wager too many people see this, though, as fluffy in some way, mainstream culture not having the proper tools yet to digest new relationship models (we can’t all live in San Francisco).
The question arises of whether or not you’ve legitimately fallen for someone. That can be tricky, as falling in love doesn’t necessarily equal swathes of passion. What’s really frightening is the monotonous nature of falling in love, as it’s the mechanism that allows us to realize long-term compatibility (again, we can apply this to any number of relationship models).
If you don’t know whether you have fallen for an individual or multiple individuals, ask yourself these ten basic questions:
- Have you been in the same room as them expelling bodily fluids?
- Have you heard them fart and burp all within a one-hour time span?
- Have you seen them ugly-crying?
- Have you seen them sloppily eat three bowls of mac and cheese?
- Have you woken up next to them covered in their sweat?
- Have you seen them naked and not immediately wanted to sleep with them, after having slept with them successfully many times?
- Have you seen them make an ass clown out of themselves at karaoke?
- Have you smelled them at their absolute worst?
- Have you watched them fail at a really easy hobby?
- And have you wanted to leave them on a desert island with nothing but a copy of 50 Shades of Grey with every sex scene ripped out?
If the answer to every single one of the questions is yes, then ask yourself whether you’d have it any other way. Answering no to that final question means that you may just have fallen for this person. Being attracted to someone is a fleeting event, and sexual energies can wax and wane. Again, with so much choice and freedom, who’d ever want to fall in love when there’s so much fun to be had? Well, it’s a different sort of enjoyment.
The adult star Casey Calvert once told me that to her, real intimacy is holding hands, cuddling, and kissing. The takeaway there is that falling for someone means settling in to yourself in such a way that the simple and gross normalcy of everyday life is in fact far more intimate and penetrating than any wild act the human sexual imagination can dream up. And that’s unpleasant, because it means existing with the mirror image of your own flaws and insecurities and desiring that said person or group of people sticks around. Folks can be scared of falling in love because it’s a supposed blow to sexual independence, but it can also mean discovering the weirdly comfortable self you were cycling away from, only to inevitably end up back home, which is one very astute definition of the feeling.
And really, falling in love doesn’t mean you suddenly lose agency of how your relationships function. It just means more responsibility, and being able to be real sloppy without any repercussions. Try pooping next to someone who you’re not in love with, it’s not nearly as pleasant or amusing.
There really is nothing quite like it, and wherever you find yourself along the spectrum (from “you’re my eternal sunbeam!” to “I’m going to die alone face first in an ice cream cake”) it was worth it, and it’ll be worth it again.