Dil-Dos and Don’ts: On Dry Spells When You’re a Smart, Good Looking Person

Here at The WILD offices, where all of us are good looking and many of us are half the time borderline socially inept, a tall Spanish man with shaggy black hair and an addiction to cigarettes once worked. Despite his amateur English skills, Álvaro was the most social of us all. He came into the office once a week, and every week, without fail, as though his testicles were touched by the hand of God, he brought with him some firsthand erotica—licentious stories worthy of vicarious living. Like some venereal prophet, each of his anecdotes was more remarkable than the last, and, like some pervert, I began to look forward to them. Ohhh Álvaro ’s coming in tomorrow!, I found myself thinking every Tuesday night, I wonder what he’ll share with our editor-in-chief while I eavesdrop…:

“I was walking down the street when this casting agent asked me to come to this modeling open house. I was in the waiting room eye-fucking this other model—or like, “model” or whatever—when they called my name. But this girl and I agreed that it would be way better to have day sex than become models. So we went back to her place.”

Boris Mikhailov the wild mag
Photo by Boris Mikhailov via Foam Magazine

“I was alone in this random dive bar on Avenue A, when these two cougars who were motorcycling across the country offered themselves to me. Turned out, they were the inventors of some insanely profitable anti-fungal topical cream, so they were staying at the Ritz and in the morning I ordered room service!”

Helmut Newton the wild mag
Photot by Helmut Newton

“I thought I was going to a warehouse party with this loose acquaintance of mine but it ended up being an orgy where all participants were handpicked for their sexual appeal slash prowess. I got the six best blow jobs I’ve ever gotten and I was offered a seventh but I was soooo tired so I just went home.”

Tim Bret Day the wild mag
Photo by Tim Bret-Day via Lifelounge

Recently, for about ten months, I had no sex. That is to say, there were exactly zero times in the 2012-2013 school year when the appendages in or around my falcon crest were not attached to my own person. I was involved, on some nights, with a hot pink vibrator, embossed on its underside with TICKLER, but alas, she was the extent of my lovers.

retronaut the wild mag
Photo via Retronaut

This, needless to say, was a frustrating time for me. My social anxiety swelled; it was difficult for me to focus; I began to resent my sister, who has had a constant string of boyfriends ever since her nipples began to puff into microbreasts. I got sad often; I became prone to desperate eye contact with handsome strangers (My shrink told me that I was subconsciously asking people Are you my mother?, but I’ve chosen to believe this an overzealous Freudian analysis and a hyperbolic interpretation of passing eye contact.); my self-pity was copious. Youporn.com replaced youtube.com when I typed “y” into my browser, and, I’m ashamed to say, I failed to develop a friendship with Álvaro. I was irritable around people with partners; jealous and censorious. Social Álvaro deserved better. It wasn’t his fault he had enigmatic dark features, a robust yet delicate build, and charismatic wit in his nonnative tongue—nor, that I was not mating. I’m sure if he still worked here, he would understand that I was in a low way.

That said, like everyone else, I had had low times before—months of irredeemable sadness. But there was a distinct property to no-sex-at-all that I hadn’t found at other low points. Namely, one cannot fuck one’s way out of a dry spell. It doesn’t operate that way. It wasn’t like I’d come into a severely introverted phase, that I couldn’t handle myself around people. It was, rather, like my vagina was clogged with cement; even if I wanted to, some seemingly physical force kept me from entering a bar to find someone to enter me, and then exit me, and then enter me, and then exit me, and such on and so forth. I was being gypped of my will to fuck, and I was not happy about it.

louis stettner the wild mag
Photo by Louis Stettner via ASX

Depression, on the other, has coital relief. Fleeting yet effective, communion with another body allayed me. It is possible—or it was for me—to be touched out of helplessness. Not into joy, by any means, but certainly into a space where forgetting how miserable I was was accessible—a sort of fugue state, if you will. Fucking your way out of a dry spell, though, is a bit contradictory, isn’t it? Something like eating a Thanksgiving feast after starving for months. It would defeat the purpose. You’d never keep the meal down.

Prior to this desertic ten months, getting laid wasn’t really a challenge for me (sorry, that was up there with the most obnoxious things I’ve ever said). I tended to keep partners, formal or casual, for good chunks of time, during which my libido was a fucking hobbit in the Shire. My dry spell, then, was an intriguing little activity. I appreciate things that force me outside my comfort zone. (If it were up to me, I’d never leave it. I am a dangerous homebody.) I was happy, at first, to dip my toes. It was playful. It caught my attention almost as a crush would. I flirted with it and came to enjoy its company. I had moments of doubt, of course: What is going on? This is not for me. I am horny as shit. But for the most part, I was curious about getting closer to it. Oddly, being further from people seemed to be making me more sympathetic.

sarah anne johnson the wild mag
Photo by Sarah Anne Johnson via the New Yorker

About three months in to no-sex-at-all, however, this shifted. I felt less patient. Something seemed derailed. I was moving forward but teetering as I did so. My days, usually stable, were becoming temperamental. Unfamiliarity was setting in, and something was telling me to brace myself.

toilet paper mag the wild mag
Photo via Toilet Paper Magazine

 

My last official relationship, which ended in 2009, was one characteristic of many girls: the fixer upper. That quintessential bond with the closed, ungainly boy, in whom you mistake an impoverished ability to communicate for poetry. One day, he opens up to you—says something gentle and honest and anomalous of him and you, struck with a self-worth grander and more gratifying than any you knew before, swoon. That’s all it takes—or all it did for me—one time in which he lays his hand on the table for you and you only to see, and you’re hooked. Every time he shared something remotely open, you ate it up. You became addicted to it. He was your subject, not your lover. You were fascinated by his ability to conceal so much and by your own ability, if that’s what you call it, to draw it out of him. You collected his small shards of tortured vulnerability and developed out of them a strategy of getting into his heart, inconveniently convinced that your value lay there.

In hindsight, I realize I was strategizing my way into a heart that was weakening me: my understanding of myself, my agency, my self-respect; even the more tangible things: my style, my tastes, my idea of cool. It wasn’t self-worth I felt, it was the exploitation of my love.

Steve Kahn the wild mag
Photo by Steve Khan

Around five and a half months of no-sex-at-all, self-pity kicked in. This feeling is the root of all evil. That’s hyperbolic but for real, it is often, I have found, the obstruction between you and the things you long for, between you and a good day, between you and your best self. And here I was, in what I imagined the depths of some profound destitution, feasting off of it. I couldn’t get over that I, a good looking smart girl, didn’t have a lover! Where is he?!?, I thought perpetually. I’ve put in my time. I’ve been single for years, I’ve worked hard on myself in therapy, I’ve got a good job in the field of my choice, I’m no longer living off my parents, I eat right, I exercise, I do my night routine no matter how tired I am, I fucking read novels for christ sake!!!! Why does my social life look like some rotting carcass?!?!?

the wild magazine russian dating sights
Photo via A Brie Grows In Brooklyn

That whole “I read novels” bit is supposed to get across how absolutely absurd and, really, rather disgusting this was. I had—I have!—a magnificent life. I am in fact so fortunate that it makes me sick sometimes. Literally, I get the throw-up feeling sometimes because I am so damn full of joy that something feels as though it needs to be purged. Instead of appreciating this, though, instead of viewing that silly diatribic list as rewards in themselves, I felt, selfishly and illogically, that I deserved even more—that I deserved a man because a man, surely a man, will make me feel whole.

Fast forward about a month (we’re now at six and a half months of no-sex-at-all ;)) and my interior monologue sounded something like, I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy. I told my cousin I thought I was asexual and she told me I could never be asexual with “those tits” and I was like I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy.

This is a bit farfetched but I’m going to say it because it’s easy to have no filter behind a computer screen. I think this whole early twenty-something girl is attracted to ass hole who treats her like shit (if this is not you, congratulations you are officially evolutionarily advanced) has less to do with helping out an emotionally disturbed boy and more to do with the fact that a lot of us girls don’t know how to care about ourselves. I don’t think I did. I was under the impression, not that I was deserving of disrespect, but that so long as this guy—we’ll call him Dirk because Dirk has always been my favorite name-your-kid-this-if-you-want-him-to-grow-up-a-dick name—that so long as Dirk was growing, learning, profiting from this little arrangement of ours, my happiness could be sacrificed, or at least found elsewhere. So long as Dirk was doing okay, that was enough for me. So long as fucking Dirk was making headway, I could swallow my own needs. If I could talk to 19-year-old me, I would offer advice and then tell her to go shove it.

nan golding the wild mag
Photo by Nan Goldin via ASX

Then, at eight months of no-sex-at-all, something happened that blew my mind. It stopped being important. It just ceased holding any weight. The lack of a partner became no lack at all. Nothing was missing. There was no emptiness, no vacancy, no bareness, no any other synonym for untenanted. I was content. I felt full, and the idea of loneliness, paltry. Self-love came on like a heatwave and I could, for the very first time in my life, see the value of being on one’s own. At the risk of sounding sentimental, I could see the wonder in my life, how truly fabulous it was—not that “I’m lucky, I’m fortunate”, banal declaration (although those are always good too), but instead, a new recognition of being alive. I became more present. Started looking people in the eyes when I spoke to them. Moved slower. I could tear up at the sight of a big tree. It seems utterly insane, but then, don’t the happiest people you know seem so? It is astonishing how much we miss while we’re making up our deprivations.

Alex Cherry the wild mag
Lost In The World by Alex Cherry

I realized, in the last week before getting my brains fucked out for the first time in ten months, that this process mimicked sex. A slow, shifting ascent, in which you struggle for a climax that arrives only when you relax. Then a surge of energy that jolts you into a freer perspective. The difference is, during sex it lasts a few moments. But now, now, I look around, take walks, watch people, listen to nature, and it feels like I’m fucking creaming pants everywhere I go.

People like to tell you your 20s should be like Álvaro’s, rife with promiscuous adventure. But I can say, even now that it’s over, that this time on my own, years of singledom and ten months of no-sex-at-all, has been my most adventurous time yet. Inward, there are infinite landscapes.

text by: Bianca Ozeri










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