Love, sex and courage. Three separate and distinct concepts that are inextricably intertwined in a manner most never recognize. However, here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast they all to frequently don’t appear in unison. For a long period of time a large segment of the population saw love as a weakness (primarily males) while another equally large segment saw it as a necessity (primarily females). However, in the more “enlightened” 21st century, south Mississippi’s views towards love have meshed in a gender sense, but not necessarily in perception. More and more men are finding that love and monogamy are desirable. Conversely, women have increasingly embraced the idea of “friends with benefits” which is nothing more than a colloquialism invented by women to give themselves license to have sex (often with multiple partners) with no emotional attachment and without being branded a negative stereotype. So in a sense, as far as love and sex are concerned, men are becoming more feminine and women are becoming more masculine.
So why has this shift occurred? Having spoken with many professionals and lay people on the subject, it appears that the overwhelming basis for this change (for both sexes) revolves around fear, the antithesis of courage. This might appear counter-intuitive here on the Coast given the bravado often exhibited (again by both sexes) in either physical or verbal confrontation, or the prevalent “let it ride” mentality constantly seen in the casinos. However, fear preventing an exhilarating loving relationship appears to be a valid argument.
Whereas the psychological community will directly identify fear as the culprit, the average individual uses code words such as “career,” “I don’t need any attachments,” “I have kids,” “loneliness,” “someone to grow old with,” “I want children” and “I’m too busy for a relationship.” All of these reasons could be legitimate, but they seem to be thinly veiled excuses to curtly avoid or indulge the risks inherently associated with love (while still being able to enjoy the physical and mental pleasure of sex). So where does courage enter into the picture and why is it part and parcel required when truly in love?
From the moment you have revealed unknown information about yourself (which we Southerners seem to have our fair share of) to the first time you say “I love you” and when you inevitably have to admit that you have made some mistake towards that special someone the emotional roadblock of risk has to be overcome. Ask any attorney in south Mississippi who handles divorces and they without fail tell you the number one reason for divorce is some form of dishonest behavior which directly stemmed from one or both of the parties being afraid to be completely open with their spouse. Many shrink from this extreme challenge of confidence only to find that by doing so they lose far more than they ever would have by exhibiting the courage necessary to achieve trust, the backbone of love. Those that do show the faith and courage to overcome their fears by and large reach a new level of intimacy with their partners; emotionally, physically and often spiritually.
Consequently, courage, which is abundant on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is an absolute necessity for the success of any loving relationship. In the end, any relationship in which love and sex are involved, courage will always be the elephant in the room. Where the relationship lands between the emotionally devoid physical and the utopian ideal will depend directly upon the amount of courage each person brings to the equation. Just food for thought.