Words by: Sohani Goonetillake Art by: Gabrielle Poh
January: Nine months dick-free
It happened on New Year’s Day: I was happily sipping mulled wine and radiating well-travelled aunty vibes, when my family cornered me and asked if I was dating. That’s when it dawned on me. I, like many singles, had undergone an accidental bout of celibacy due to mandatory social distancing. It had been nine months since my last dick appointment and as soon as the thought hit me, I couldn’t shake it.
The next week, I felt personally attacked when my doctor asked me if I was sexually active. Shortly after, I diagnosed myself with dickpression: the state of being sad or depressed by the lack of dick in your life. At this point, I was nervous that if I sneezed, dust would shoot out of my vagina.
February: On Hinge or unhinged?
Initially, I was hopeful and joined dating apps for the first time. However, these apps brought out an ugly side in me. The swiping led me down a rabbit hole of comparison and my sense of inadequacy flared up. I would shine a light on all of my perceived physical and personality deficits. Looking at everyone’s dating CVs made me reconsider everything. Should I be socialising more? Am I too independent? Am I too into my looks? Which begs the question: am I on Hinge or am I unhinged? In the words of Olivia Rodrigo, it’s brutal out here.
March: Libido or Libi-don’t?
I went on numerous successful first dates (humble brag), however, the consecutive dates that followed did not go down so well. My reentering-the-dating-world anxiety was so bad that I forgot to have fun. My immediate thought after a date and I clicked was — ‘WHAT IF HE TOUCHES ME?’ followed by ‘OH wait, I want that’. My anxiety had completely destroyed my sex drive.
I imagine when most people tell their new sexual partner that ‘it’s been a while,’ what they actually mean is, ‘I am about to rock that headboard like a sailor on leave’ not ‘I am literally afraid to have sex again’. I should have known I was not ready for intimacy when my friend’s immediate response to me saying ‘I am seeing someone’ was ‘a therapist or a boy?’. The anxieties surrounding sex that I thought I had parted ways with in high school had made a comeback. A sequel nobody asked for. UGH, will year 10 ever end for me?
May: No boy problems when you’re the problem
Feeling unattractive is one thing but feeling undesirable was a fresh hell I had never experienced. The idea that not one person fantasised about sleeping with me made me physically nauseous. It made me realise just how much onus I put on sex as a way to make myself feel confident and valuable. So after a night of self-loathing and eating ice cream in bed while blasting Taylor Swift, I realised just how dramatic I was being. Just because I’m not getting a ‘you up?’ text at 1am does not mean I am doomed to a life of celibacy.
June: Revisiting Mr Reliable
To be honest, I came fairly close to revisiting old flings (cue the boos from the girls’ bathroom) but I never followed through. You should never drop your standards, let alone your panties for someone you know is bad for you. As Edna Mode says ‘never look back darling, it distracts from the now’. I realised my dry spell wasn’t only evidence of insecurity, but a commitment to my standards. Contrary to popular belief, your hymen isn’t going to grow back if you don’t bang one out soon. I reminded myself that holding out for good sex with a good boy that you are 100 per cent about is worth it.
July: I am too pretty to be this sexually frustrated
Don’t ask me how I fluctuated from crippling self-esteem to a superiority complex in two months.
September: Good Vibes Only.
Ten minutes with a Satisfyer Pro vibrator, and I forgot men existed. Not sponsored, but should be.
November: Day Zero
Yes folks, IT HAPPENED. I just had sex. The experience was clichéd, with many whispers of ‘I never do this’, followed by a dozen whispers of ‘are you sure about this?’. Despite being a confidence booster, I did not feel hot girl summer-esque afterwards. Sex was never the solution to the anxiety and self-loathing I’d felt during my dry spell.
Everyone’s sex life ebbs and flows but if you care enough to label it, it is worth investigating why sex is so validating for you. The dry spell may have brought your anxieties and self-loathing to the surface, but masking these feelings with orgasms and pillow talk is merely a temporary solution to a more serious problem. Dry spells can feel like losing your virginity all over again and just like virginity, it simply doesn’t matter.