It’s been four years since I’ve had sex. I’ve found myself in this place without fully understanding how I got here. How had four years slipped past me?
While at times it feels like not all that much has changed since that night in 2012, I know almost everything has. I know I’m not the same person. I’ve grown in so many ways it seems, except one. Technically I haven’t hooked up with anyone since I was a teenager, as I was 19 the last time and now I’m almost 23. How strange and embarrassing it feels to think that sentence, let alone say it out loud to another person.
My answer to the ‘why’ question, is usually the same as the one I remember hearing in the movie ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ where the main character replies along the lines of “Well, I tried and it didn’t happen. And then it really didn’t happen. And then after that I stopped trying.” Typically I follow this with an awkward shoulder shrug as the person who asked the question stares at me in complete puzzlement.
If I were honest, I would tell you my last relationship was three years long and full of sex and experimentation. He was extremely manipulative and harmful and the ending was painfully long, so it felt like it was the right thing for me to spend the first year after totally celibate while I regained my confidence and emotional strength. During the second year I had some bad sexual experiences, and by the third year I had given up hope. So I guess that brings me here.
This is what I’ve experienced after year four:
1. You start to really believe you are ugly.
Undesirable. Hideous. Diseased. For some reason unworthy of loving. As more time goes by, this belief is engrained deeper into your mind. The logical side of your brain tells you that there surely must be something abnormal about you because someone should have shown interest in you by now. Anytime you have a positive thought about your appearance, your personality, yourself in general your brain is quick to jump in and remind you of the facts. It screams – THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.
2. You compare yourself to every person you know.
You are desperate to find the reason why you are this unattractive to everyone. You analyze the people who are in wonderful relationships. What do they have that you are missing? And again with those who are not necessarily in a long-term relationship, but are highly desirable. These people vary in ages, shapes, sizes, weights, heights, skin colour, intelligence, backgrounds etc. but what they all have in common is that they are all wanted and desired whereas you are not. You overanalyze this thought to the point of exhaustion and insanity.
3. You have wild and frequent sex dreams.
They reveal fantasies you never knew you had and with people you didn’t know you wanted. These dreams are vivid and extraordinary and feel as though it could be as close as you are going to get.
4. The memory of what it feels like to kiss someone fades away.
You forget that this was ever something you once did. Was there ever someone out there who wanted their lips to be on your lips? You don’t remember.
5. Similarly, you forget what sex was like.
How does it work again, logistically? Could you even be capable of doing it again if you were given the chance? Because of this reason you fall into self-doubt, feeling anxious that your time gap is too large and fearing nobody would want to be with someone who isn’t experienced or sure of themselves in bed.
6. There are moments when you feel pure, strong and unbreakable.
It has been years since you let someone into your personal space. Into your sacred bubble. Without noticing, you have grown a hard outer shell which has allowed precisely nobody to harm you. This makes you feel powerful but makes you wonder if you have lost the ability to let someone close again.
7. You develop a drinking problem.
Slowly and insidiously. Alcohol is your biggest source of pleasure now, and your biggest source of guilt. Drinking lifts you. It makes you feel graceful and elegant, the way you imagine the right sexual partner would. It lies and tells you that it has transformed you into someone new. Drunkenly, you imagine yourself as an entirely new girl. She is confident, sexy and never doubts her seductive powers. You wake up the next day to the truth that you are still your awkward, unlovable self.
8. In conversation, your friends will ignore you when the topic turns to sex.
They know you have nothing to contribute, and while you’re hurt and a little insulted you know that they are one hundred percent correct.
9. You question your sexuality.
When you had a normal sex life, you were attracted to both men and women, so you believed you were bisexual. Now that you are in this never ending wasteland of nothingness, you never know what to label yourself as. Are you asexual if you still have desires and urges for people but never act on them? You are too unsure.
10. You fall in love an average of ten times per day.
People are beautiful and it hurts that they are so far out of your reach. The smallest things strangers do turn you on. God forbid someone brushes your hand or pats your back because human touch is another thing you forgot about.
11. You forget how to read signs, how to detect flirting and how to approach or hit on someone.
If by chance somebody had been interested in you, you would have no idea unless they literally said “I am interested in you.” These years have drained your confidence and fueled your fear of rejection while teaching you that the best way to deal with liking somebody is to keep it in and let the desire burn out inside you.
12. You beat the drinking problem.
You travel the world, become closer to your family, meet great new friends and see and do some truly amazing things. You become stronger, even more independent and learn to accept yourself for all that you are. The world is huge, and you learn that there are so many wonderful and more important things in this life than obsessing and whining about how much sex you are or are not having. You force yourself to believe your day will come soon, but until then you find happiness living in the moment.