(Link): What I Learned From Being Accidentally Celibate For 5 Years by C. Brooks
Five years of celibacy isn’t something I planned.
It’s something that happened when I began to focus on myself and stopped looking for a Netflix-and-chill buddy.
It happened gradually and I only thought about it every so often ― when couples held on to each other scurrying across a windy parking lot, or when love scenes got a little too vivid during a Friday night movie.
Mostly, though, sex just never occurred to me as something I was missing in my life.
After my last breakup, at the age of 44, it became obvious to me (and most of my friends and family) that I needed to regroup, refocus and remember who I was, and who I had been before becoming a stepmother/step-grandmother.
I had been so involved with caring for a toddler and my dying mother for so long that I lost touch with my own needs and my sense of identity completely.
I had become so fully absorbed in my last attempt at happily ever after that I lost myself. Self-care had been replaced with self-loathing, and I knew time was my only friend on the road to my happiness.
….Even though I had always been sexually active, finding a boyfriend was the last thing on my mind. I had said the words before (I think most of us have): I’m happy alone. I never meant it, though.
What I meant was that I was alone and that was fine, but I would be happier with someone.
After my breakup, though, I continued to take myself out to dinner, but I stopped looking around the bar for a friendly smile, someone to flirt with or someone to take home for the night. I stopped focusing on finding my other half and started focusing on making myself whole.
…Lesbian. The whispers gained voice and momentum, even with family members, as the months passed and still no dating.
My free time was filled with biological research I had begun and classes for my Master of Fine Arts.
Even if I wanted to, I didn’t have time to meet someone and begin a relationship. It simply wasn’t on my radar.
Even my newfound biological half-brother inboxed me on Facebook with his “concerns” over my single lifestyle.
… After the first year passed, I acknowledged that I hadn’t had sex, but made no effort to end my dry streak. Men held more drama and took more time than I was willing to sacrifice.
…Somehow, being single was becoming threatening, and I was growing tired of defending myself and explaining why I was single and abstaining.
I never made a conscious decision not to have sex, but as I drew, wrote and worked in my garden, it never seemed important to me, at least not as important to me as it seemed to be for everyone else in my life that knew of my “dry spell.”
…I did long for company, though, for someone to go to weddings with, someone to call after a good or bad day and someone to bring me chicken soup when I was sick.
[The author says she decided to end her stint of celibacy, so she texted an old friend of hers to visit with her, so they could have sex. So they had sex.]
…He [her old friend] came over on a hot day shortly after I returned from Dublin, and in my small childhood-home bedroom that I slept in while in high school ― a place that not even then did I violate ― we had passionless, mechanical sex.
“Is this working for you?” he asked without making eye contact. I made the only noise I could, which although I wanted to sound like a hum, sounded more like a nervous squeak.
It wasn’t working. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fun either and it certainly was not working.
…It [having sex] sat on my calendar like any other appointment and felt less romantic than the oil change I had just taken my car in for.
I set it up because I had begun to see something wrong with myself and wanted to stop being different, stop being alone and stop being celibate.
After an hour or so of no kissing, no hugging and no emotion, we both got dressed, caught up on old times and he left just minutes before my father walked in the back door. I wanted to feel good, I wanted to feel naughty, I wanted to feel like I thought everyone else did, but instead, I felt nothing.