What a Dry Spell Taught Me About Sex
I’m coming at this from the other side. Yes, friends: I just had sex.
Sex is an interesting thing. When you’re having a lot of it, you don’t think about it too much. But when you’re not having it at all, it seems to be all you can think about. Every time you pass a person on the street, you’re wondering if they’re having sex. Are they thinking about sex? When was the last time my Trader Joe’s checkout person (lovely lady) had sex? You watch a movie, and when anyone has sex or even mentions the sheer idea of having sex, it’s a personal attack on just how little sex you’re having. I mean, she’s going to die before the end of the movie, so she might as well get laid, right?
Am I the only person in America not having sex right now?
That, my friends, is what we call a dry spell. I’ve been through them a few times in my day. From when I was single and Tinder just didn’t provide to when I was in a relationship but my partner’s sex drive was significantly lower than mine, there are so many reasons and situations that can result in a dry spell. But you’re not here for that—you’re here to know what it’s like when you’ve made it out from under the enormous weight that is not getting laid for extended periods of time.
After finally getting out of my dry spell, I’m here to share every thought I had while I was in it and what I learned.
Porn got kinda boring.
Like any normal person, I turned to masturbating to get through my dry spell. While I don’t need porn to get off, I watch it because I enjoy it. But after enough times, it’s just not fun anymore. I’ve seen every storyline. Porn used to make me simultaneously horny and laugh. Now, I feel nothing.
OK, but vibrators are crazy these days.
I don’t need a partner to have sex. The vibrators that have graced the market these days make women a priority and remind us that another person isn’t necessary for pleasure. Two minutes with a Satisfyer, and I forget men exist. Women in dry spells, you’ve met your match. Order a new vibe, why don’tcha. Forget Paris, a new vibrator is always a good idea.
Have I gone through every single man on Bumble?
It’s official: I’ve seen every single straight man in my city. And somehow none of them want to have sex with me. *cue desperation* Would it be so bad if I matched with a guy who lives an hour away in the suburbs? I’m not against it anymore.
Texting my ex rn would be so easy.
But I can’t. See, my ex isn’t your run-of-the-mill f*ckboy (even if yours is, please take my advice). I was in a mentally, and later physically, abusive relationship for two years, and it sparked quite the tumultuous mental relationship with sex. I began to view sex as a way to make up after an explosive fight, as a way for him to show me he loved me after he did so much to show me he didn’t. I know if I text him right now, he’ll come over immediately. I’ll feel good for 10 minutes, but then I’ll feel horrible for weeks. I started telling myself that sex with him wasn’t curing my dry spell, it was just propelling it even longer. Sex with him isn’t sex or pleasure; it’s self-destruction. Spoiler alert: I never texted him. Go me!
How do I speak to a man again?
I’ve never been good at speaking to guys. I had like two male friends growing up because it’s either all flirty and sexy or I’m telling them about the embarrassing time I crawled home from the school bus because a kid kicked off my toenail (hilarious story, gains so many points with the fellas—I wish!). It’s either turned all the way on or all the way off, and the lack of regular practice makes it so much worse. W-w-woo-u-ld you like to … go … out … with my friend??? Because I’d rather die than ask this dude out myself. You’d think that a dry spell would make you fear rejection less, because what do I have to lose? Rather, it’s the opposite. I’ll just stick inside my bubble because my lil’ heart can’t take the beating yet another time.
Nighttime … sucks.
Ah, can’t wait to go home and lay on my couch for three hours eating Sun Chips and swiping left and right on people who won’t have sex with me! Riveting!
The dreaded “So, any new Bumble dates?”
I have nothing to say to this question over and over. The closest thing I’ve gotten to action in months is when a man leaned across me at a table to grab the salt, and I went home and thought about it for approximately one hour. My friends have started telling me that “maybe” I should “join Hinge.” I would like to permanently go into hiding. Hello, FBI, how can you make this happen?
Hey, I’ve saved so much on Ubers.
All those 2am visits with a f*ckboy who lives eight train stops away (which roughly equates to a $12 Uber Pool each way—yes, I said Pool. I can’t give these guys any more satisfaction, so I show up fashionably late) adds up.
Will not having sex make me get sick?
I read something once that having regular sex can boost your immune system to fight off viruses … so I’ve now convinced myself that because no one will have sex with me, I’m at a higher risk for Coronavirus. *washing my hands for one full minute once every hour now*
Ah, I feel so deeply undesirable.
It’s one thing to just feel ugly. To feel like you’re just not a pretty or attractive person. It’s entirely different to feel like no one desires you in a sexual way. To feel like there are zero people on this Earth who fantasize or think about sleeping with you. As much as sex can just be about having fun and getting off, we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’s not intimate or indicative of attraction. Not having sex is a really easy way to feel like you’re just deeply unattractive.
But it doesn’t have to be so linear.
When you’re not having sex, you have time to think. A lot. So after a night of self-loathing and drinking wine in my bathtub blasting “Dear John” by Taylor Swift (it’s my #1 cry song), I think a little more clearly. I laugh at myself. Just because someone isn’t having sex with me every other night (ya know, even once a month would be pretty dope … ) doesn’t mean I’m doomed to celibacy forever. Someone not having sex with me right now sure as hell doesn’t mean no one will ever find me attractive.
Welp, I had sex.
In an interview in 2010, Kevin Jonas (a real expert on the subject matter) said that after he had sex for the first time, his first thought was, “That’s it?” While it wasn’t quite that underwhelming, it was a reminder of a few things. First of all, waiting for good sex was worth it. However, it wasn’t a problem-solver either. I didn’t have sex and immediately feel hot and dangerous. Sex isn’t a solution, and while it can be a confidence-booster, it won’t make you love yourself either. All that anxiety and self-doubt that happened during the dry spell won’t just magically go away; they were just brought to the surface because you weren’t masking them with orgasms and pillow talk on the reg.
Sex is one of my greatest pleasures on Earth, possibly only behind Rihanna and Sprite (especially when it’s mixed with vodka). But going through this most recent dry spell was eye-opening to just how much weight I put into sex as a way to make myself feel confident and sexy. When the sex was over, I realized I still felt undesirable. I still wanted to text my abusive ex. I still felt lonely. Having sex didn’t make all those thoughts go away because they had nothing to do with sex in the first place. My body-image, my past relationship trauma, and feeling alone are issues I need to deal with outside of my sexual well-being. I can have an insane amount of sex, and I’ll still feel all of those until I address them specifically. (Hello, therapist? It’s me.)
And now we wait again.
I had sex approximately two weeks ago (ha ha ha who’s counting!!!), and the dry spell behaviors begin again. First up: buy a new vibrator!
Here’s the thing …
After my epiphany, I start to realize I’m not so alone after all. Everyone has a dry spell, whether in a relationship or single. If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you probably also have a dry spell on your hands (or just read in sympathy because you’ve been there before). It doesn’t mean any of those negative things I was thinking a few weeks ago; it just means I’m not having sex with someone! It won’t last forever, and eventually, you’ll be having this same realization. As far as I’m concerned, life is comprised of about a dozen dry spells after another. Let’s just ride the wave (and buy so many sex toys).