George: I can do six weeks standin’ on my head. I’m a sexual camel.
Like some sad-eyed double-humped creature that shuffles across the hot sands of the Gobi desert, living without water for months at a time, I cross the vast and endless desert of my sexless-ness, going for months without a single taste. Just like Seinfeld’s George Costanza I understand the sad self-awareness that comes from these four words, “I’m a sexual camel.”
If you asked me months ago- “Hey, how long can you go without sex?” Without hesitation, I would’ve said, “Probably, a couple of weeks, maybe a month.”
When you’re used to regular or even semi-regular sex, “a couple of weeks, maybe a month,” sounds like a long time, not an eternity, but a long time. Well… I had no idea what a long time was. Now I do. It’s been long enough I’ve lost count. Which is just as depressing as it sounds. I don’t really want to know how long it’s been.
I’m not abstaining for religious reasons. It’s not a new LA health fad. I’m not trying to increase my longevity. Sidenote: Why would you want to live longer if you have to give up sex to do it? And I didn’t take some chastity vow. My heart isn’t healing from a breakup that rendered me not quite ready to get back out there. I’m not some born-again virgin. I wish. Okay, not really. The sad pitiful truth is I’m going without sex because I can’t be naked with the one I desire. And since no one else compares, I just go without. Rather than lick sand, I don’t think of water.
From time to time, I’ve accused myself of being a hopeless romantic. I am one of those saps who sends flowers, little surprises and knows where to find good organic chocolate. I’ve even cried at the end of rom-com movies. I’m not going to say which ones- it doesn’t matter- but there were tears. I’m not stoked about the fact I’m a romantic. But what can you do? You gotta do you, right? Even the parts you wish weren’t you.
But honestly, I never pegged myself as the sort who could abstain from sex. Yet, there it is. The heart of the matter. For me, I guess it’s like how Sinatra sang, “All… or nothing at all.” It’s her or no one else. And that fucking sucks because she’s miles and miles away.
When my friends hear how long I’ve gone without- they shake their heads. Obviously, I’m an idiot. I’m deluding myself like a stubborn Dustbowl farmer waiting on rain that ain’t never gonna come. Since it’s my friends’ job to save me from myself, most of the time, when I say I don’t want to sleep with some stranger from a downtown bar, rather than give me grief, which I appreciate, instead they suggest I… hire “a pro.”
Yeah. They really don’t get it. I think their idea is- if my heart and mind have no desire to sleep with another woman, fine, but the least I could do, the healthy thing to do, is let a hooker relieve the tensions of my body. Girlfriends might suggest you visit a spa if you feel tense. Not my friends. They work in Hollywood. They tell me things like how one can find the “Ho” in every Hollywood hopeful. You got at least two chances. Charming, right? Or…
“Dude, stop being some Sally Sadheart. Let me call up a pro- I know some starlets whose dreams have yet to materialize- they’re like former Miss Nebraskas. Now, they’re pros.”
What does “they’re like former Miss Nebraskas” mean? Should one picture Miss Kansas, Miss North Dakota, and the runner-up to Miss Nebraska? Or is a “former Miss Nebraska” just any dream-girl with a wholesome sexy look? I have no idea. It doesn’t really matter. Prostitutes aren’t my style, regardless of their former beauty queen status.
When you pay for it, seduction becomes perfunctory and mechanical. I’m sure if you pay more you get better acting, but you know it’s all a show. It’s not real. And how can you have sex without any seduction? That’s like eating spaghetti with your hands just because, technically, you don’t need silverware to put the food in your mouth. If our brains are our largest erogenous zone- apparently, hookers do nothing for my brain.
Instead of paying for pleasure, I prefer one-night stands. And I will defend one-night stands until my last dying breath. Except for some reason… suddenly, I no longer enjoy them. I don’t think I got tired of them. The sex is usually good. Sometimes it’s great. But recently, one-night stands make me feel worse instead of better. I knew I had to take a break when I stopped enjoying the scent of some strange woman on my skin as I made my way home the next morning. That used to be one of my favorite parts… the scent before the shower.
I’ve become a Midwest schoolteacher. You know the stereotype. Hair in a bun, her skirt at appropriate knee-length, home on a Saturday night, reading, or maybe watching Pride and Prejudice on Netflix, while she pines for her Mr. Darcy. I don’t want to be her. I’m down for rom-coms and romantic movies… I won’t lie. But man, I never saw myself as some hopeless romantic schoolteacher. These days, you throw me in a sensible skirt, put my hair up in a bun, it gets hard to tell the difference on a Saturday night.
I hate not having sex. I wish I could be some self-satisfied prude. Unfortunately, I don’t imagine Jesus smiling down at me from Heaven, proud of my moral rectitude. Instead, I wake up to painful morning erections. I’m like a sex addict on a deserted island. It seems my body is desperate to remind me it has needs. But there’s no communicating with an erection. It won’t listen. You can’t talk it up and you can’t talk it down. Just have to deal with it or wait it out. So I pleasure myself like an idiot.
I can go without sex… but just shoot me now if I have to go without orgasms.
You probably wouldn’t think a movie about two musicians on the run, who dress in drag, and join an all-girls band to hide-out from Prohibition-era mobsters, this wouldn’t be where you’d expect to discover one of the best notions of romance… but there you will find it.
In Billy Wilder’s movie, “Some Like It Hot,” Tony Curtis says to Marilyn Monroe, “It’s not how long you wait. It’s who you’re waiting for.”
It doesn’t take Marilyn Monroe for me to know exactly what he means. It still sucks explaining to my friends why I don’t feel like fucking strangers. But it’s actually quite simple. I don’t want to be there afterwards. That moment when you’re both sweaty and sticky and ready for a shower or a meal or a nap, somehow it becomes an undeniable indicator of how everything isn’t quite right, not how you want it to be, nor are they who you want naked and next to you.
Or perhaps, it means something wholly different. Maybe the fact I don’t want to sleep with anyone else means the moment when I feel the press of her limbs against mine, resting, rubbing her feet on my legs because her toes feel cold, yet there’s the moist warm slickness where our chests meet, and the warm tickle of her breath against my cheek as she laughs, and maybe that moment is worth waiting for, and if I can’t have those moments, I’d rather go without. And if that’s true, Jesus, man… it’s worse than I thought.