adulthood · change · intimacy · sex · sexuality

Sex Ed.




There is more right with you than wrong.
I had a therapist once who used to tell me, “As long as you
can take a full, deep breath into your lungs, there is more right with you than
Today, on the most gorgeous day we’ve seen in the Bay, I finally succumbed to the pseudo-strep throat thing
that’s been passing around work, and this afternoon, I’m performing a preview scene of
the play I’m in that opens at the end of the month.
So, I take homeopathics, vitamin Cs, a heavy dose of
over-the-counter Western, and The Show Must Go On.
And I’ve been thinking about sex. Because, who hasn’t?
I’ve been thinking about the unintentional self-imposed
celibacy I was in from August of 2011 through October of 2013. You can do math,
and understand that’s more than two years
without sex.
And, it’s not like there were some clandestine, but
ultimately PG-13 moments in there, either. It was pretty much a white-out
Granted, about 8 of those months I was bald and a sallow
shade of green, but, the year prior to cancer was not a wanton, robust one.
It was sort of intentional. I’d broken up with my ex in the
early months of 2011, had two rounds of rebound sex that left me feeling more
empty than fulfilled, and a few months later, found myself back in bed with my
ex in a misguided attempt to see if we could pump (pun intended) life back into
our relationship.
We couldn’t. And I finally realized that giving the milk for
free was wearing me down.
And so began the Great Celibacy of my 30th Year. The year
women are purported to have the greatest libido. Probably because our bodies
are sending Morse Code messages through our hormones, stating, Get on with the
baby-making thing, lady, Time’s a marching.
I began sending texts to two girl friends as each month
passed: Two months, no sex. Six months, no sex. A YEAR, no sex. It was
appalling but also, I wasn’t about to jump into the sack with anyone just to
get my rocks off – because, honestly, you can’t ever be sure that your rocks
will get off with someone you don’t know that way. It’s a crap shoot, and is it
worth it to have lackluster sex with someone who you know you’re not that into?
It’s not as if I denied myself the pleasures of carnality; I took
matters amply in hand. But it wasn’t the same. It’s never the same—as good sex, at least. Sure, you’re pretty sure you’re gonna
get your happy ending, and don’t have to think about what you do afterward, how
long you wait for him to leave, or if you cuddle or not. But, part of a poem I
wrote during the celibacy goes:
i only ever imagine the weight of
when i’m alone with myself at
i can find folds that you can’t
and pace myself as you won’t
but alone, i can never press
myself into the
evaporating softness
                                 or grip the muscles of your back
as if you were my life preserver
I once read a story that included the line, “At night, she
masturbated herself to an unsmiling orgasm.” What a waste.
I broke the celibacy last Fall with a very pointed and mutually
understood bootie call with someone I’d been on a internet date with twice, but
who wanted to just hook up, and though there was certainly physical chemistry,
I didn’t want that and we parted amicably. A year and a half after that date, my hair grown back to something I could pass as feminine, I
asked him if he was still interested in something “casual,” and he was, and I
was, and we were, and it was…Awesome.
But, that poem of mine concludes:
how does this alchemy work?
lead returns to lead as
i bolt the door behind you
the moment gimped
by an awkward exchange of
‘see you’s
what tangle the sheets are in,
still warm,
i climb back into them as if
i could coax them into being
and you were something else
So sometimes, celibacy is the better answer, isn’t it?
“Life is meant to be lived,” has been going through my head, though. And my body is still one of a woman in her early thirties receiving and
extending messages that say, Virile and Viable. And sometimes, it’s worth the
awkward exchange, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you eat the cupcake, and
sometimes you don’t. And sometimes you take a full, deep breath and remember
that there is more right with you than wrong. And perfection is an illusion,

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