Written for Daily Hive by Hailey Rollheiser. Hailey studied English literature at UBC, enjoys traveling, and is originally from Chilliwack.
Two hundred and fifty days (or nine months) may not seem like an excessively long time to go without sex. But I had been in relationships on and off throughout the years and this was the longest stretch going without sex in my adult life.
At the time I wasn’t making the best choices in a lot of ways, particularly in sexual partners, and I thought the key to happiness was to eliminate sex from my life altogether, until I’d found “the right person” – a vague, bullshit phrase I’ve come to despise (spoiler: there is no “right” person, whatever that even means anyway).
Here’s a few things that I learned during this lonely, awful time. Some abstinence life lessons that I thought I’d pass on so you didn’t have to find them out first hand.
1. It’s possible to repurpose a broken dildo, in many different ways
Vibration feature doesn’t work anymore? Have a symbolic dildo-burning ritual. Not into that? Hang it up and display it as a piece of modern art titled, ‘Just another phallus that got me worked up only to ultimately disappoint me’.
2. You can save yourself a lot of emotional turmoil and mental anguish
Without expending useless energy constantly wondering, “what are we?” and “what does he think of me?” you can actually focus on yourself and things in life that really matter — like spending time with your parents, and drinking a bottle of red wine on Saturday night until you fall asleep on Tinder, surrounded by empty snack wrappers.
3. Incognito windows don’t work
Opening an incognito browser for watching porn does not hide it from your Internet provider or public library server (as Google so lovingly reminds us). That’s right, your beloved internet provider is watching you, and knows exactly what you’re into.
4. People seem infinitely more attractive when you know you aren’t going to have sex with them
Everyone wants exactly what they can’t have — it’s more fun that way.
5. Sexting is like sex, without actually having sex
Think lust, anticipation, build-up, and excitement but without the disappointment or anger when you find out he has a girlfriend and she tries to fight you at the bar.
6. You can fantasize about anything
Sexual fantasies creep into mundane daily life and you find yourself attracted to unusual situations (if you find yourself fantasizing about having sex with your nerdy English literature prof while his presumably porky wife watches – it’s safe to say you’re sex deprived).
7. Friends with benefits?
Discussing having sex with your best friend becomes a viable option. Suddenly you’re wondering, “if I never have sex again, will my friend come to my aid?” (The answer is no, definitely not, don’t even try to mix sex and friendship).
8. Everyone needs intimacy and affection
The biggest lesson I learnt was that it wasn’t necessary to close myself off—instead of feeling open to meeting new people, I restricted myself entirely and isolated myself, which obviously made me feel lonelier. And it was never really about sex – it was simply negative relationships I kept revisiting. Seeking attention or respect from the wrong people will never make you happy.
9. Sex can be meaningful
My biggest take away: sex can be meaningful in a lot of different ways, not just in the traditional, committed sense. You can learn a lot about yourself through the relationships you seek with other people, no matter how brief. When you choose to have sex, you should feel safe, comfortable, and satisfied by that choice. Feeling any other way or less than empowered should never be something you settle for.