I use sex as an escape. Some people drink, some people do drugs, some people work. I masturbate, read/write smut, and bring home friends; fucking up our friendships. There’s a difference between blowing off some steam (bringing home someone you know for mutually agreed upon no-strings-attached sex) and participating in damaging behaviour.
I used someone for sex. Sure, they said they weren’t interested in a relationship, but… I kinda knew they were lying to me, and maybe even to themselves. That knowledge didn’t stop me. I couldn’t wash the bad taste out of my mouth and it tainted all of our conversations afterwards.
I stayed in a relationship with someone longer than I should have because the foreplay was so amazing that I was willing to accept what should have been unacceptable.
I took a guy friend home who I actually really liked, under the premise of casual sex and now that tone is set…
These encounters weren’t even satisfying. Each taste left me feeling hungrier, or perhaps the better word is empty.
There’s nothing wrong with casual sex, I’ve enjoyed it many times, but when I’m willing to purposely disregard my own feelings and the feelings of my friends to get it? When it ruins good relationships and brings drama into my life: there’s a problem.
It wasn’t just sex either, I spent hours a day with my toys. My mind was preoccupied with possible sexual scenarios and I actually felt bitchy if I had something to do that didn’t allow me to climb into bed by 9:30pm to enjoy myself until midnight. Other things that I used to find joy in were ignored; I could write or I could orgasm…I was choosing orgasm every time. I no longer went out to dance. I stopped meditating. I stopped growing. My life consisted of work, friends and sex. Work and friends were rapidly losing their joy in comparison.
So after a particularly facepalm-worthy sexual choice, I decided to abstain. Completely Abstain. No sex, no masturbation, no lustful thoughts. I would repeat a Buddhist chant the second that warm feeling started up between my legs. This doesn’t mean I didn’t orgasm, because I orgasm in my sleep, to music, and sometimes just randomly with no sexual thoughts or stimulation at all (which is a whole other blog post). I didn’t purposely make myself orgasm. Like everyone else, my panties slide down a lot faster when I’ve had a few drinks so I knew that it would be necessary for me to abstain from alcohol as well.
Over the 60 days, I only gave in and masturbated twice. I was ovulating and my hormones were making me an uptight bitch. So really, I was just thinking of the feelings of those around me. Also, it was that, or make a booty call, I chose the lesser of 2 evils, I’m practically a saint. The first two weeks, I chanted every five to ten minutes. The next two weeks generally once or twice an hour. I also avoided shows, music, books, explicit and implicit imagery, anything that would arouse me.
It was somewhere around the 40 day mark that the amount of mental and emotional energy I had been spending on sex became apparent. Suddenly, I had time to write. My nights out with my friends were spent with me truly appreciating their company, rather than being preoccupied with potential hook-ups. I began to use this time to plan cool adventures, to dance in my bedroom, to do yoga, to read and meditate. I wasn’t doing these things to distract myself from sex anymore, they just felt so much more fulfilling.
Abstaining forced me to find healthy coping techniques. I faced the reality that I had shit to cope with. The rush of endorphins after an orgasm was a nice escape from my broken heart. I was using casual sex as a repeated lesson to the naive part of myself that dared to fall in love. I picture a naughty teacher standing at the front of the class, smacking a ruler across her palm:
“See, this is how it is done. You can have fun and there’s no reason to get all touchy-feely.”
I was beginning to comprehend that anything, done for the wrong reasons, will come back to bite me in the ass. Which is why, in the past, I have enjoyed casual sex and polyamorous relationships with no negative repercussions; because I wasn’t in it for anything more than the experience of sharing myself with others. I wasn’t using sex as a distraction from my pain.
The two moon cycles I decided to be celibate for, came and went. I won’t lie and pretend that I didn’t put my toys to use the 61st night, because I did and it was glorious. However, I did not walk over to my neighbourhood pub to have a drink and I didn’t call that woman I knew was interested. There were opportunities for sex from attractive people, but I was able to step back and weigh the pros and cons. Would it affect a friendship? Could an attachment form that one of us doesn’t want? Would there be more drama than it was worth? Could this person do more for me sexually than I could do for myself?
How much do I really want to fuck this person?
I refused to settle for what would seem like a mediocre sexual experience. No one excited me to the point that I could confidently say that I needed to use a great deal of self-control…
…until very recently, but I didn’t act on it.
I actually messaged my best friend that night asking her what the hell was wrong with me. I thought maybe I was just scared because I had screwed up with my last few sexual encounters. That didn’t seem to be it though. My time of abstinence has me looking so much deeper into interactions with people, way beyond sex. I can feel extremely satisfied from a conversation alone. Sex can seem like a messy side note to an otherwise perfect exchange. If it doesn’t move smoothly, if it doesn’t feel like a completely natural next step, I don’t want it.
In sixty days and nights, I went from being a hot mess, to a woman with her sexual desire well in hand. My sex drive had been a very controlling force in my life and now I am completely in control of it.
Which I find empowering, incredibly sexy, and therefore, exciting.
Illustration By @Sara_pichelli