How Going Without Sex for (almost) a Year Changed My Life

I love sex. I love everything that has to do with sexual expression. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had my share of shitty experiences. But overall, I look forward to the teasing, the anticipation, the shared intimacy, the orgasms (hopefully)! I even loved sex before I started having it. As a girl who relied so heavily on language for self-expression, I couldn’t wait to connect with my high school sweetheart on a physical level. I remember spending the days leading up to our first time doing all sorts of research, mentally and emotionally preparing for the act, and when the day came…well. That’s a story for another day. Needless to say, I was hooked.

I never imagined that I would go down a path of abstinence, especially as a 30 year old, especially after sex dictated so many of my relationships for the past 13 years of my life. But when my husband and I decided to separate last year, I figured that this was the perfect time for me to … enjoy my own company, so to speak.

I remember telling one of my closest friends about my plan and she asked me the real hard hitting  question: why would you do that to yourself? And I can’t tell you how many times over the past year I’ve asked myself the same question…when my high school BFF messages me pictures of our favorite adult star crushes, when an old flame offered to fly me across the country, when that ridiculously sexy bartender asked for my phone number, or when my current crush leaned in for a kiss (yes, a crush – how retro, I know. And yes, I chose to abstain from kissing too). On those occasions, I could feel my will power wavering, and I wondered why the hell I committed to a year. Wasn’t a month long enough? Two? Six?

Before I continue – I have to be totally honest. I did slip up once over the course of my 365-day quest. In the immortal words of Beyoncé – “I get filthy when that liquor get into me.” Too much wine and too many months of sexual build up, and abstinence was out the window.

But, I forgave myself, recommitted and reaped some amazing benefits along the way. There are a ton of articles floating around out there about the detriments of not having sex for an extended period of time, and I’m here to call bullshit. Choosing abstinence in 2017 was one of the best choices I’ve made.

Understanding My Desire

Before my husband moved out, we attended an orgasmic meditation training hosted by OneTaste (check them out!). I won’t go into detail about the experience here because honestly, I still don’t have words for it. And really, you should experience it for yourselves. All I can say is: it was AMAZING.

Months passed, and I was still thinking about that day at OneTaste. I remember chatting with one of my good friends about it. A note about my friend – we’ve never met, which somehow makes it sooooo much easier to talk about all of these messy topics in full color. So, I felt truly comfortable sharing my deepest secret with him: as much as I’ve always loved sex, I’d never seen fireworks. I get off on the performance of sex, on getting other people off. But when it comes to my own pleasure, I was always shy about it. I get tense before the big O, and I guess I was always afraid to let someone see me “lose control.” I described it to him like this: Sex always felt like a balloon filling with air, but I never knew what would happen if the balloon finally popped.

With his enthusiastic support, he gently guided me through my first real exploration of my own body. It was fucking terrifying, and I’m so grateful to him for metaphorically holding my hand as I opened the floodgates of my desire.

I’ve always lived in theory. I hide behind my intellect because it’s easier to be smart than it is to be intimate and vulnerable. When I decided to get out of my own head, I found myself finally in tune with my body, responding in new ways to all of its needs and desires.

I hide behind my intellect because it’s easier to be smart than it is to be intimate and vulnerable.

And yes, I am able to bring myself to orgasm (even multiples) in a single session, but more importantly, I know what my body wants, when it wants it, and how to satiate all of its desires.

Feeling Sexier than Ever

I’ve never doubted my appeal. And I’m in no way coming from a place of cockiness. I’ve just always understood that I’m relatively attractive (I’m sure the double d’s play a major role in this).

But when you spend time with yourself, learn to love up on yourself, learn to know what your body needs, and are so connected with it…well, I’ve been blowing my own mind recently. I don’t feel just “relatively attractive.” I feel like I’m dripping in my sexuality. I feel downright beautiful and confident. And even though I’m not having sex, I have that glow about me all the time.

Now – I’m sure that at this point it might feel like even when I’m not having sex, it rules me. But that’s not the case. In fact, I’m finding that sex has shifted for me. It’s no longer about a performance of bodies. Sex has taken on a whole new role in my life; it’s become about understanding, self acceptance, self love, and growth for me.

I’m finding that sex has shifted for me. It’s no longer about a performance of bodies. Sex has taken on a whole new role in my life; it’s become about understanding, self acceptance, self love, and growth for me.

This newfound self-awareness is not limited to my physical desires. I’m finding myself so confident in my choices, so in love with my journey, with my body, with my self, that I no longer need outside validation in order to feel attractive, or smart, or sexy. I dress and speak and move how and when I want. I’m taking risks, exploring the world outside of my comfort zone, and I’m calling all of the shots. What could be sexier than that?

Creative Fuel

There’s a part of me that thinks I might’ve been a sex-junkie. If I wasn’t having it, I was talking about it, or watching it, or thinking about it. Suddenly I had this void in my life and I really had no idea how to fill it. I was so used to bingeing on touch. And for the first few months of this little experiment, all of that sexual energy was just building up inside of me. I found myself getting agitated easily. When you have so much energy just sitting there, you get restless. I wasn’t sleeping well, lost all kinds of focus. And then, sometime in March, I started writing.

A friend of mine once said: “all art is based in sexual energy.” Super Freudian, I know. But I could not agree more.

“All art is based in sexual energy.”

I started writing a poem a day. And slowly that has been evolving into something more, something deeper. In less than a year, I’ve filled two notebooks with poetry, stories, musings. It got to the point that I decided to share some of this stuff with the world, because the words and ideas just keep coming.

And my exploration hasn’t stopped with my writing. I’m finding myself expending more of this energy that’s living inside of me on all sorts of activities that have inspired me at different points in my life – swimming, reading, learning a new language. Like I said earlier, I’m connected with my desires now in such a way I’m finding inspiration at every turn.

It has been an incredible, eye-opening year, and I cannot wait to see where this path of self love, acceptance, and awareness leads me next.