We’re told that we’re sexual beings. We pleasure ourselves to images of sex, we dream about sex, we crave sex. But we also go through periods where we don’t want it, where the mere thought of having it sends chills down our spine and makes our private parts recoil. In the past few weeks, that’s how I’ve been feeling. The few times I’ve made out with someone, I’ve felt like my heart (or perhaps, more accurately, my dick) wasn’t in it. Just the thought of having to get naked and grind on someone else has left me fatigued and disinterested. Even worse, masturbation has felt like a chore, something I’ve done out of obligation rather than desire.
This is sort of the worst nightmare for a dude. Society has been telling us since birth that we’re sex machines, which makes moments like these all the more miserable and terrifying. When a guy doesn’t want to have sex, or worse, can’t have sex, it sends him into a serious shame spiral. We feel like we’ve let our gender down and start to feel anxious and depressed. We ask ourselves, “When will I feel sexual again?” Chances are it’ll be next week but in the moment, it feels like forever. We fail to realize that, like with most things, we must ride this tepid wave out. We will feel sexual again. El pollo will come home to roost!
There’s an implicit pressure for men to want to have sex all the time, which can create feelings of guilt and shame when we don’t. There have been times when I’ve had zero interest in having sex but I relent because I don’t want to let my partner down. WTF? Why can’t I just say, “I’m not in the mood”? Why do I feel like my dick gets chopped off when I say that? Women deal with a major set of pressures when it comes to having sex but men do as well. We all have to deal with the ramifications of the media, of societal attitudes. They affect the way we all behave in the bedroom. We might as well have a focus group in our bedroom whenever we get intimate.
I’ll never forget the first (and only time?) I was unable to get an erection with a guy. It happened a few summers ago with someone I was super attracted to. It had only been the second time we hooked up, which made the experience even more traumatizing for me. I worried that he might think I have erectile dysfunction or something and apologized profusely, saying “THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME!”, which felt like SUCH a lie even though it was true, I swear! I don’t know why I couldn’t get it up. Maybe it’s because I was sober and it was in the middle of the afternoon and I was nervous. Like Say Anything nervous, shaking like a leaf. We try to drown our sexual experiences in alcohol, which makes us sometimes unable to deal when some boy is kissing our neck in your room at 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s raw in the best possible way but it might’ve freaked my dick out. It was used to being wasted? I don’t know. I don’t even really do the drunken hook up thing but maybe that day just felt too real. Whatever the reason, it made me feel wretched and I put off seeing him again for a week in fear that my penis might be broken. It wasn’t and we ended up having a fruitful sex life. So there.
I may feel asexual today but I know it’s only a matter of time before I get back on that horse again. I just have to remind myself not to freak out about it because it just exasperates the problem. You hear that, penis? I’m blogging to you.