That Time I Gave up Sex For a Year
When You Don't Learn how to Grieve Relationships Sh*t can get weird
I have a secret, until recently, I have never been very good at dating. Actually, I should get a trophy for how bad I am. I think my early to mid-twenties. By 23 I had made a lot of poor relationships/sex choices and taken even more bumps (Not like that) along the way. When I wasn’t knee deep in poorly thought out decisions motivated by lust, and low self-esteem, I was entertaining toxic relationships with women that liked the idea of me more than they actually wanted to date me. I remember dating someone who used to get upset with me because I wasn’t more aggressive. How aggressive you ask?
Well, she wanted me to follow her home without her knowledge, go through her phone, and slam her against walls when she didn’t listen. I thought I could “coach” her out of that (Yeah, wow). During and after this gem, I started sleeping with a married woman while her husband was in Afghanistan fighting for my right to get re-arrange her guts in America’s democracy. And in regular Stanley Fashion, I fell for someone who was emotionally, and maritally unavailable.
After what felt like a lifetime of horrible experiences, I got to a point where I knew I couldn’t keep going this route. It was then that I started considering re-assing some of my choices. Just as I was about to get my priorities together, an old flame reached out wanting to make things work again.
Spoiler Alert, I was absolutely IN LOVE with Artemis, and by “In Love” I mean I was deeply infatuated and refused to engage with reality. If I had, I wouldn’t have treated a woman who I originally stopped dating because she cheated on me with one of my friends like she was my future wife. Artemis was great, she was tall, athletic, very smart, and a master shit talker. By now you should know how deep my love runs for women who can talk shit. The problem with Artemis was that she was always very interested in me until she wasn’t.
Everyone and I mean EVERYONE saw that attempting to “Give it another go” with Artemis was a bad thing except for me. Three of my closest guy friends went as far as to hold an intervention to drive home how against this relationship they were. But as most people who are attracted to chaos do when their friends give them solid advice, I blew it off.
Things were going ok for about a couple of weeks. They were going so well, that a couple of my friends started to warm up to her. A few even apologized for not trusting my judgment. I had grandiose plans of being very smug at my and Artemis's wedding. Unfortunately, before that could happen, she cut off all communication. No call, no text, email, Facebook message, tweet, snap chat, or explanation. I might have been more surprised by this behavior, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time she had ghosted me. Riding high on ignorance, I assumed that this time would be different. It was not. It took me a while to realize what was happening, but when it finally sunk in, I was absolutely crushed.
I tried to carry that hurt in silence. Today, I have enough sense and knowledge of my friends to know that they wouldn’t have judged have created the space necessary for me to heal. But back then, I thought it was weak for men to show emotions, or be upset over a woman. I decided the best way to deal with this was to look for unhealthy ways to cope. Instead of processing my feelings, I would drink more whiskey, if I felt sad or wanted to cry, I would lift weights or punch things.
It was then that I gave up on the notion of love or finding “The One” and over a six month period, I took what I would argue could have been a healthy “Hoe Phase” and transformed it into a sex-focused spiral that almost turned me into my father (More on that in the future. Not this post, like a future thing that I write. Maybe).
Things were bad, at one point I slept with three women in one day, and 10 different women in a month. Some of my friends loved this “New Me” there was a new face coming into my apartment every night, my phone was always going off, it was becoming very clear that I had a knack for not only talking to women but getting “seducing” them.
Everyone was happy, and I mean EVERYONE. Well except for me. There is a funny thing about having multiple partners. The sex might be great, and it can definitely be a boost to your ego, but when it’s done, there’s this hollow feeling. You look over at this person you were just intimate with, and all you seem to want is for them to leave. I have been through a lot in my short time on this earth, but that was probably the loneliest I ever felt
At first, this wasn’t a problem. I was still hurting and to be frank, I didn’t care how I made anyone else feel. Their feelings were irrelevant. My only goal was to bury all of my frustrations, failures, and heartache into whatever girl made it to my bedroom that night. I used these women to fill a void, but that void was like a cup with a hole at the bottom. No matter what I put into it, in the end it would always be empty.
My whorish ways had to come to an end eventually, and they did. My last sexual partner during that six-month tear was the one that finally woke me up. She was a girl who, to be honest, I wasn’t really interested in. We were out with a bunch of friends in the city, and it was too late for her to travel home so I told her she could crash at my place. When we arrived, I tried to go to sleep, but she had other plans in mind. For the first couple of minutes, I just ignored her, but through some very encouraging tactics, she got my attention (All pun intended).
I could have turned her down; instead, I followed the man code: “Never turn down an easy lay”. We had sex, I wasn’t into it or her but we did it. When we were done she fell asleep, but I was wide awake and thoroughly disgusted with myself. I didn’t sleep that night. Instead, I spent the evening laying on my back recounting the past six months and trying to figure out what had happened to me. That morning I woke her up with a bowl of cereal and some money for a cab. She wasn’t too happy about being rushed out, especially since she wanted to go another round, but she left.
Let’s pause here for a second. I don’t mean to get preachy, but I want to highlight the harmful way that I treated this sister. For six months, or maybe longer, I used a bunch of women, some I had known for years, some I met at bars or clubs for my personal gain. I barely remember most of their names, I barely acknowledged their humanity, because let’s be honest, at that time I was only concerned with getting in between their legs. I let whatever pain and hurt I was going through be used as an excuse to treat people like they were nothing better than objects. When that realization hit me, I felt disgusting, I spent so many years bragging about being the “Good Guy” and all of a sudden, I realized I was no better than any other man out there.
So what if the sex was consensual, if you think consent is the only thing you need when being intimate with someone, you probably don’t deserve to ever get laid. After she left, I promised myself that I wouldn’t have sex again unless I was either in a committed relationship, or the girl and I were headed in that direction. That promise lasted a year, and ended for good reason.
I’m old and emotionally mature enough to understand just how horrible a lot of the things I reveal in this post are, but it’s my truth, and I’m still figuring my shit out. I’m years removed from these experiences, but I wanted to reflect and share. Finally, this probably doesn’t matter now, but I wish I could have been a better man, and I’m sorry to the women who had to deal with my emotionally stunted ass. For the people reading this, especially the men. Please learn from my mistakes, sex isn’t the band-aid for your trauma or heartbreak.