The Pleasure of Giving vs. of “Getting”

People giving to each other creates an abundance. People taking from each other causes scarcity.

Imagine if two people said to each other that they enjoyed deriving pleasure from watching the other person receiving pleasure?

I once had a woman tell me that she loved watching me touch and pleasure myself. Funny thing is I can hardly recall ever doing that in front of her. I was way too inhibited at the time. Perhaps she was indirectly encouraging me to do something she really liked. I remember thinking that this was really something I was uninterested in doing. But what if I had stopped a moment and reflected about her pleasure instead of mine? Perhaps I might have permitted myself to do as she had suggested and instead of dwelling on my inhibition begun to take pleasure in her good feelings.

In each human being lay a unique potential to derive pleasure, well being and happiness. Most people yearn to be loved, respected and supported in their relationships and in general it is safe to say that no one wishes to receive harm or disappointment in their relationships and lives. Yet, so few people truly understand and practice principles which will insure pleasure and well being for much longer than short term experiences. Often those same experiences which may bring pleasure for a few moments can also bring a good deal of unhappiness and pain in the long run. Most people are well aware of how this is particularly so with addictions and other cravings which may have health or relationship contingencies which sometimes include more than a person may have bargained for initially.

A time tested philosophy to consider when thinking about our behaviors and the things we like to do is to examine our deeper motives for our thoughts, words and deeds. Why are we doing it?

When I was younger and single and it came to meeting a girl and dating I was quite obsessed with finding someone I thought was beautiful to look at. This is a common behavior. I though that so long as I liked the way a person looked I felt confident I would be able to handle the relationship and adjust where needed. Some dates with ladies I was particularly attracted to sadly ended within a short time when I realized that the encounter was leading to nothing good and would most likely fail. I backed away. I wonder now if those were the ones I should have persisted in. I think that most males make the mistake of thinking external beauty first. My mother had a saying, “Sin in haste, repent in leisure.” Boy, did I find this to be true!

Remotely hiding somewhere in the sub conscious lay another feeling about this natural desire to have a beautiful mate is the idea that –it is always going to feel good. Notice I said “it” rather than “she”. This sort of thinking I am ashamed to say I carried for quite some time. I suppose in may ways my self seeking agenda would in effect depersonalize my partner and actually be a strong reason why my partner would eventually come to feel poorly about me and the relationship. You see, I was for getting more than I was for giving. I was thinking more about what I wanted to get from the relationship instead of what I wished to be giving to it.

We are all selfish by nature as children growing up. But when a person matures emotionally there comes a sense of community responsibility which considers the person, needs, pleasures and life of others. Those who display this maturity often fare well in society but those who act selfishly are often seen as disappointing. Those whose selfishness moves toward the extreme are seen as corrupt and sometimes criminal. So, pleasure derived from what one has to give is blissful. But, pleasure derived from what a person has to get is a selfish feeling. This is where the groping, taking and demanding that fails to consider the other’s wishes and needs becomes abusive. Although many relationships go on for years in this state the outcome is indifference, intolerance, conflict, separation and divorce. The greatest anguish and misery comes in relationships gone sour by selfishness, pride an egotism. Demands for sexual gratification become rote, mechanical, repetitive, boring, devoid of feelings, tenderness and love. Selfishness is the love of self.

“It is in giving that we receive”. Receiving is different than getting and taking. Receiving and enjoying the kindness and care of friendship is a much different emotion than “getting” out of one’s own ability to acquire and consume. One leads to altruism and the other to greed and avarice.

Our Sexual Journey

Now let us consider these same emotions in terms of our sexual journey. In one case we may be giving something to our partner, and in the other, getting and taking. In my case I could easily look upon the body of a female and begin to dwell on the possibility of getting something from her sexually. Women are soft and sometimes quite pleasant to the senses. It is natural for males to think selfishly. In fact, some would say males are bred and trained for it. Traditions often placing the male as head and governor of the female and family are led to believe that they have some divine right to subordinate females and take from them whatever they want, however, wherever and whenever. This patriarchal privilege has been a universal practice since the beginning of recorded history. Although, such mastery and authority has been a standard of belief and practice the emotions of giving and getting still apply and rulers of females will either derive pleasure from giving and receiving or from getting and taking.

The getting begins to manifest as lusting, groping, grabbing, hungering and absorbing into the emotion of taking something from the female leaving her with feeling depersonalized and as an object used for his pleasure. But, what kind of pleasure was he was getting? What may have begun as giving for her eventually turns around and becomes a state of mind which must insulate itself from the reality of a selfish partner. She must protect her emotions and eventually the love she once felt toward him. Unreciprocated, on some levels, that once tender love often turns into resentment, indifference and sometimes loathing.

The person whose intention in the relationship is to get something from the other has begun to use the senses and emotions for selfish purposes. The one begins to scrutinize the other thinking solely of their own satisfaction. Perceiving the other as lacking in this way or that is often the case followed by some criticism of some failure. Her make-up is not right, her breasts are to big or too small, she makes too much noise when she eats … the list is endless. Self absorbed and unaware he becomes a parasite attaching himself to her resources and fails to recognize when those resources become depleted. The decline in the relationship is insidious because it is often slow and unnoticed as people become used to one another’s habits and mannerisms. Eventually the distance between the to is so large emotionally that separation and divorce often follow. Often this separation has already existed for some length of time before the final break occurs.

The Giving Person

The giving person derives pleasure from deep positive resources within the soul and character. So the male, for instance, sees his partner’s lovely body cherishing her in her willingness to be with him and share herself with him takes none of this for granted and communicates his gratitude to her with appreciation for her and his desire to cause her always to feel good and to surrender himself to her pleasure. There is no groping and grabbing at breasts, buttocks and genitals. There is loving touch which is confluent with her sentiments and desires. Giving is being aware of the other as in a dance so that both may move together in harmony and feelings of delight. He becomes aware when she is ready and desirous of him to advance. This encounter is an exchange of pleasurable emotions instead of isolated disconnected feelings for the other. The “getting” encounter closes the senses whereas the giving encounter opens them. It is the dance and tango of beautiful love and kindness for the other in front of the self.

The Performance of the Professionals

In professional sexual relationships giving and receiving, and getting and taking are viewed in the context of performing a task or a job. It is commonly believed that many people marry for reasons of personal security, perhaps arranged betrothals and for convenience. In such situations sexual encounters may take on the disposition of rendering a service or a duty. Whatever the circumstances may be one can always be of a giving disposition or one for getting. Whether in a professional one time setting or a long term committed relationship the same results for giving and for getting apply because they originate in the motive and intentions of the individual; making it about the other; making it about the self.

One person may say “I love my work because I get to have sex with the most beautiful women in the world.” Another might say, “I love my work because I give some of the most beautiful women in the world a great deal of love, care and concern if only for a few hours.” One person is self centered and the other appreciates his work and the opportunity to share sexual pleasure with a number of persons through his profession. Some would say that it is ludicrous and impossible under such circumstances to feel that way and they might criticize the profession as being immoral and evil. But tell me then, what law is there against giving with a sincere heart and soul? And if a person’s work is more socially acceptable, say, a surgeon if the heart and soul be motivated for personal gain of what great value is that? One might be able to boast of one’s position and higher social status but what that person carries inside is the feeling of being a hypocrisy because such a person must maintain the appearance of caring but in reality there is no such emotion.

The person who gives is higher than the person who takes. Some may say that taking is necessary for the survival of the fittest. I say, what does social Darwinsm have to do with the gift of intelligent and profound love in human beings, and especially for one’s life long partner?

Think of the famous work by Alexander Dumas, “Les Miserables”. The Jean Val Jean steals the Bishop’s candle sticks and when he is caught and brought before the Bishop he tells the authorities that he gave them to him. Whose character and joy would have been the greatest? Some might say Jean Val Jean after he had received forgiveness, but certainly at the time he was stealing them there was only the satisfaction of believing he was acquiring something by stealth and as such guilty of a crime. At the time of his discovery the Bishop may have felt some remorse over losing his candlesticks but quickly realized that they might be of greater use helping such a wretched soul. In this manner he possesses a spirit of giving and is satisfied in his blessing of the other.

Thank you so much for enduring this long post. I hope you were encouraged reading it. Please write with all your comments. Feel free to disagree. I have a thick skin. I always enjoy new perspectives.



Now for some cool music!

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