I haven't had sex in over a year, and the trek through my personal Mojave Desert has been both enlightening and frustrating (for obvious reasons).
Why the self-induced dry spell? It all started in late 2015, when a hot guy in one of my friend's Instagrams made me stop mid-scroll. After some double taps on his page, he let me know the interest was mutual by sliding into my DMs. And much to my simultaneous delight and surprise, there was actual substance in our conversations. It didn't take long before the DMs turned to texts and the texts turned to phone calls every single day. I had a serious case of OMG-am-I-about-to-be-in-a-relationship giddiness. But that didn't last long. Amid entering we-are-but-we-aren't territory, I learned that he had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and wasn't looking for anything serious. Instead of making peace with that and letting it go, I acted like I was fine with his disclaimer because the chemistry between us was too strong to ignore (and, let's be real, I was in denial).
Clearly, things were a pretty healthy start.
I kept trying to tell myself that I was cool with having sex with a guy who didn't want to be my boyfriend. I was cool with knowing that he was talking to other girls. I was cool with the fact that it was just sex and nothing else, because as R. Kelly said, there's nothing wrong with a little bump and grind. Except none of that was true and R. Kelly should never be someone you turn to for advice on anything, ever.
I couldn't hold up the façade with our situation for long, though, and my DM Casanova became the catalyst for making a much deeper lifestyle change. I was tired of playing out the same scenario with different guys, so after coming to terms with the fact that I wanted something he wasn't willing to give me, we turned our situationship into a platonic friendship, and I started doing some inward digging to figure out why I was always engaging in behavior that never aligned with what I wanted.
Whether it was my first boyfriend cheating on me because I was scared to ditch my V-card or the mere fact that our generation tends to look at sex as a means-to-an-end instead of a privilege, I was somehow made to believe that having sex was necessary to make a guy like me — and if I didn't do it, then poof, he was going to disappear and it'd be my fault. Sad!
So, in an effort to alter that mindset, I decided I was going to abstain from casual sex. I told myself I wouldn't give it up until the guy I was talking to made me feel like the goddess I am. No more worrying about other women, because the right guy will make it clear that I'm all he sees. Boom. The trouble is: finding that guy and ending my dry spell might take longer than I thought.
I was so hyped those first few months, because I felt like I was finally reclaiming my power and no one could tear me down. But when I surpassed the six-month mark, the initial surge of self-empowerment began to fade, and I found myself doubting the whole experiment and wanting to throw in the towel. The little horny devil on my shoulder would say things like, "Does this really matter? Get some, girl!" And in all honesty, I was starting to get pissed, because all I kept coming across were what I like to call "sometimey" guys — the I'm-only-in-it-when-I-want-to-be-in-it guys. That's frustrating enough on its own, without adding the fact that I had to fight overwhelming sexual urges just to prove a point to myself.
Meanwhile, some of my friends made the idea of quitting this journey that much harder to ignore. Because I'm the token single friend, some of my girlfriends loved living vicariously through me, so my decision to willingly give up "wild sex with strangers" was almost like putting them on lockdown, too. "Ugh, Bruna, it's just sex, stop thinking so much!" they'd tell me. I wondered if they were right.
Then I'd have the maybe-joking-but-probably-serious sexual invitations from some of my oh-so-generous guy friends and former flings to put me out of my self-induced misery with a casual hook up. Temptation was at an all-time high, to say the least. But ultimately, I never gave in. I was going to power through, because I owed it to myself, and it didn't matter if anyone understood why I was doing this or not.
After that hump (pun intended), the hormones settled down a bit (or they just gave up). My urges came to a simmer, and I found myself approaching the one-year mark — and I'm still going. I know that going a week without getting laid may seem like cruel and unusual punishment for some, and although a year of no sexual intimacy whatsoever has been tough, it's not that difficult for me. My sex life wasn't off-the-charts to begin with, so it wasn't like I was dodging D everywhere I turned. I went on dates as usual, but nothing really panned out.
Still, I find myself having mixed feelings about the entire experience. There was a hint of sadness at the realization that I've gone a year without coming across a man I liked who was also willing to invest in me. Why was that? Was it the men I was choosing or was it a consequence of having an old-school approach in a time where people don't value basic dating principles anymore? I can't say. All I know is keeping the proverbial chastity belt on lockdown didn't become the secret trick to get a guy to drop his roster and make me his MVP. But I'm OK with that, because that was never the motive to begin with.
This experience was like giving myself some tough love. And as frustrating (sexually and otherwise) as that lesson was, it was necessary. I did this experiment to help trash the mentality of having to throw sex at a man to keep his interest, and to remind myself that I am worth loving without having to spread my legs first. I stuck to my guns, and for that reason alone, the disappointment was overshadowed with immense pride. I wanted to stop putting myself in scenarios that made me feel disposable, and I did. I wanted to wait for the man who would bet on me, and I still am, because I know what I bring to the table.
Bruna writes the blog, .