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I Am More Than My Vagina

February 18, 2014

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

I learned something about myself this weekend that made me understand how far I've come in my thinking verses the application of what I know, as it relates to dating and sex.

I've been saying over and over again that it's not enough to know better, that at some point you have to apply the knowledge to your life so that you can be your best you. It is true that we are products of our past. It teaches us good, bad and indifference. It shapes who we are, which influences what we do. I know this has been the case for me. I also understand, that we do not have to be a prisoner to our past.

My former therapist used to drill into me that discipline is a transferable skill. That you can apply discipline to all things in your life and at the end of discipline is feeling good about yourself. It's the difference between eating 3 cookies or 15 cookies. Each will dictate how you feel about yourself, once it's said and done. Well, that same thing applies to dating.


This is what I'm talking about. I spent Valentine weekend with Mr. Handsome. It was a really great weekend of bonding and intimacy. No, not sex, per-say, but intimacy. So what's the problem? Well, I realized that my demons are relentless and that I still have work to do on myself. Before I go any further, I must pause and say having a man in your life who is confident in himself goes a long way in achieving your goal.

Well it's like this, I was so use to men wanting to fuck all the time that I almost missed the most important moments of the weekend.

Mr. Handsome is a few years older than me. He has been around the world, seen all and done all -- and while sex is great, good lawd, it was not his focus of spending time with me. And for a slim moment I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I think it's a deep contradiction that women want men to treat them like a woman important beyond her vagina, but when he does, you doubt the very thing that you are seeking.

It made me wonder how many women out there defined how great the Valentine weekend was by the sex? And then how many women had men in their life that expected the sex, and then more sex. I remember a few years ago someone tweeted that if a man takes you to an expensive restaurant, don't pull out the flannels but sexy lingerie.

Rae on motorcycle

I tweeted that my vagina wasn't for sale. I meant that, but now I look back and I see the argument of the expectation of sex that rules our thoughts and behavior. While sex is one aspect of a relationship, it should not rule. Mr. Handsome said to me, "there's more to life then simply fucking." In our honest discussion about it, he was clear, I don't need to fuck all day to enjoy you.

I know that I am more than my vagina, but I'm also clear that our past behaviors are not easily broken; well I'll speak for myself. The one thing for sure that Mr. Handsome is teaching me is patience on the one hand, and appropriate growth in an relationship on the other hand. Women are so brainwashed with the pretty woman syndrome. Most of us have married him in our heads when you are still really getting to know each other. Case in point, Pinterest dream weddings are the craze. LOL, and you all know I'm telling the truth.

I'm thankful for Mr. Handsome at this junction in my life. I understand that intimacy is not about fucking and I'm grateful that Mr. handsome not only knows that too, but applies it to his own life and that has set a wonderful pace for mutual respect that leads to growth.

coffee mug and glass

Sitting in Mr. Handsome's man-cave ( the garage ) looking out at the snow, wrapped in my mink coat as he smoked a cigar, drank cognac and I drink tea and had my first ever sip of cognac, listening to music was one of the most erotic, imitate moments of the weekend.

Ladies, if we want men to stop thinking below our waist, we must do the same. If you want a different outcome in a relationship then maybe you have to do something different.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. At some point in our lives we have to make changes, no matter how difficult it may be. I've said it over and again, sex is not love and just because a man fucks your brains out does not been that he wants to build a future with you. Having a man that allows appropriate space for sex with the unplanned moments of dancing in the middle of the living room is a win-win.

As for me, I'm chasing my demons the fuck out of my life. I don't know where Mr. Handsome and I are going. In fact, I'm not looking for a particular destination, if we're there, great. In the meantime, I'm surely enjoying the journey.

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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

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