Mark was raised in a typical household. Two parents, striving to make their way in the world. Both hard working. Initially, Mark's parents wanted to make a good family life. They wanted him to have a great childhood. Good food. Good fun. Presents on his birthday and under the Christmas tree. They started out with good intentions.
But soon, the quest for wealth had overtaken Mark's parents. He found himself walking home alone from school. Eating dinner alone at the dinner table. Mark was active in soccer and basketball as a youth. He knew that athleticism was what it meant to be a boy. To be male. But his parents, busy with work, rarely visited his games. He wasn't bad at sports. But he wasn't great either. He was plain. He was average.
Around middle school and early high school years, Mark started to realize he was different. He was a loner of sorts. Although he tried to fit in, he just didn't. He was attracted to girls, but he never mentioned it because people would make fun of him. He liked sports but he just didn't feel like playing before school, during lunch and after school like other boys in his class.
Mark always stuttered when he approached other girls in his age group. When it came time for his first Homecoming dance in high school, he decided to ask one of the girls in his class. It took Mark weeks to gain enough courage to ask her. He didn't know how to even ask a girl to go out with him. Finally, the day came. He stammered out the question, "Sarah, I was wondering if... I was wondering if you would like to go to the Homecoming dance with me?"
Sarah replied, "Oh, I'm sorry Mark, I'm going with David." Now, Sarah was a little immature, being in high school. Rather than simply leaving it at that, she decided to tell her friends about Mark. Quickly, the rumors spread and the blow to Mark's ego was securely in place. It was that humiliation that left Mark with the realization that he was an outcast and simply socially unacceptable.
Mark's wound, deep in place, was clear. He was neglected at home and separated by his peers. Mark felt unwanted, alone, insecure and pretty much powerless. But he didn't know what to do about it. He simply continued to go through the motions. To try to pretend to fit in. To continue to work hard like his parents wanted.
Then, one day, while Mark was a Sophmore, he met Amy. Amy was a senior. She was smart, caring and just seemed to have a nurturing quality about her. Amy was always building up Mark's self esteem. She would compliment his physical appearance, caressing his arms. She would gasp at how smart he was and hard working. She was sure Mark was going to be someone important someday.
Mark loved the attention. In fact, he was attention starved. No one else seemed to pay attention to him like Amy. Soon, they started to go out. Amy would often pay for things, drive Mark around. She took the lead on so many things. Amy, even helped advance things sexually. She would climb on top of Mark as they made out. Mark felt that he wasn't quite ready for Amy's advances and he would try to voice his concerns but he was afraid of losing Amy's love.
Mark didn't think much of the steadily progressing physical nature of their relationship. After, Mark was a teenage boy with his own curiosities, desires and fantasies. After six months, toward the end of Amy's senior year, Mark and Amy had sex for the first time. Mark's first experience of a sexual orgasm left him in a state of shock. He was amazed at the feelings ignited within him and literally had his mind blown.
While Mark and Amy continued to date, soon after, Amy left for college and eventually their relationship died down. But something about the whole relationship stuck with Mark for so long. Deep within him, he just couldn't quite grasp the fingerprint Amy would forever leave on his life.
Mark continued to date throughout the years. But in each relationship, Mark just felt something was missing. After a while, Mark started to lose hope and wondered if he could ever find his life partner. At first, looking back, Mark started to believe that no matter how much he dated, no woman could ever recreate his "Amy" experience. But then, over time, Mark evolved this thinking to believe that no woman could ever fill the void left by the neglect and rejection he experienced during his childhood. Mark started to understand that no matter how much he tried, he could never go back in time and receive what his heart longed for: unconditional love.
It was then that Mark started to notice the pattern of his dating after all these years. Each relationship would start with Mark's extraordinary sense of the lonely or neglected. While Mark would start his relationships well-intentioned, with sincere efforts to help extend a hand to these lonely souls, inevitably, these relationships would quickly degenerate into sexual relationships. It was as if Mark could only truly identify with these women he dated, if he was intimate sexually. And because, he knew what it felt like to be isolated and rejected, he was easily able to idolize his dates, to shower them with affirmations about their value and desirability. With a clear unmet emotional and physical need, Mark's dates seemed to be drawn into a deeper connection instantly.
In any given relationship, all the while Mark would feel he was providing the love and acceptance that his girlfriend deserved. After all, he felt that everyone should feel loved and no one should ever feel as he felt during his childhood. But there was something interesting about each of his girlfriends. Each seemed to have a sort of innocence. A sort of unawareness or lack of experience sexually. And Mark was obsessed with creating a "first time" experience. Something unique. He couldn't explain it.
Perhaps, somehow, this sense of power, might in someway resolve some of his own pain. Perhaps, somehow this breaking of innocence might provide the thrill and justification that purity and innocence could have never remained within him. Or that somehow, this experience might somehow give him the acceptance he is looking for. Or perhaps, it was related to legacy, that if Mark was the one to introduce such shocking pleasure, that he would hold a permanent place in the life of his loved one, that even abandonment or an ending of their relationship could never remove.
This unique fingerprint would forever shape Mark's relationships. Was this unique fingerprint a journey to find a father or mother figure? Or was it simply driven by a narcissistic endeavor to unite with an image of his idealized self? Mark would never know.
<SI> Scott Izu, PhD
Copyright December 2015
Inspired after reading "Sexual Healing" by David Kyle Foster