I sort of go back and forth here. Not that I necessarily believe in loveless sex, but I do believe that for many people (well, mostly women, I suppose, being one of them and more able to identify) there really is something about sex which binds you to the other person even if you don't mean it to.
Since women carry the burden of bearing the product of sex, perhaps there is an inherent interest in creating a bond for having the man help with the final product. Though, I have noticed that such an inherent interest often steers women in the wrong direction, making more out of a particular man than what he really is. More often, men have sex, women make love. I have struggled to get this point across to my daughter, but now she is dating a girl and the dynamics of that fall into unknown territory for me.
In short, not an easy man to live with...and while I do love and appreciate many things about him, I also spent countless nights crying into my pillow during more of my marriage than I care to think about...distraught over being stuck with someone who simply did not seem capable of lightheartedness or whimsy or any sort of silliness, and managed to make me feel second-rate 90% of the time.
I could be wrong about this since I have never been in the military, but I have been around many military members (and former members) and my observations are that they often have spontaneity programmed out of them. I have witnessed a mindset that says there is a purpose for everything and everything has its purpose
, which excludes spontaneity as spontaneity doesn't have any (obvious) purpose. Even weekend escapades between military members are for bonding or team-building experiences rather than just flat out fun. It seems to take a few years of being out of the military to get rid of the programming.
To give you an example, I once worked with a man who, after high school, had gone to college for two years, then went into the Marines for 4 years, came back out to complete the last 2 years of college, then came to work in the same office I did. After two years of being out of the Marines (or not, he was still doing reserves, I think) he was polite, formal, to the point ... and a little clueless how the working world works (or doesn't). He managed a group of 8 employees and he complained that when he told one of them to do something he would find that half the time whatever he had asked for was not done. This annoyed him to no end. He commented that when he was in Marines he gave an order and it was completed (by god!) yet where we worked he had to learn that ... shit happens ... people aren't always focused, other problems or requests can intercede and people don't work necessarily by rank but by order of problems. I didn't talk with him a lot, but he seemed to take about 3 years before he was capable of routine small talk. He was slowly being reprogrammed to behave like most other people.
While I don't think all military members are completely like this, as I see this behavior to varying degrees, I wonder if those who are likely to be more rigid are attracted to the service because it fits their personality. Or, does the military find this trait and maximize the effect?
Nevertheless, you should never be made to feel second-rate. Is retirement approaching?
Point being that I often feel as though having sown some wild oats (or whatever the feminine equivalent is) might have either enabled me to see a sexual experience as trivial enough not to develop a feeling of commitment to the wrong person, or to appreciate all the merits of the right person (after having experienced intimacy which turned out to be meaningless in retrospect) even though they might not fit the fairytale stereotype.
I think we all settle for something, which is to say that since we can never find our ideal person we have to assign priorities and make trade-offs. You recognize this -- it would would have happened regardless of the alternate history you might have had. I don't think sewing wild oats would have resulted in a better mate because I have known many who have sewn those wild oats and still ended up with the wrong mate -- but having sewn wild oats would have eliminated one aspect of the decision-making process. Other aspects may still equally cloud a proper choice.
Does that make any sort of sense?
Sure it does. Ultimately, I think our choices in life-long mates (spouses) is done due to a combination of pragmatism and societal pressure.