I always tell my friends I’m in the studio working on Da Drought 4 (shout out to Lil Wayne) when I’m going through a dry spell. It’s my light-hearted way of saying yes, it’s been a while since I had some and yes, I’m OK—at the moment.
Tim Gunn recently stated it’s been 29 years since he last had sex—literally half of his life—and that number caught a lot of people’s attention, considering how sex-obsessed Americans are. When Tim explained the reasons why he’s gone without, it’s understandable how he’s lasted so long and why he says he doesn’t even remotely feel like less of a person for it. Tim told “The Revolution” that his last relationship was very intense and damaging, and it led him to become celibate:
“My partner ended it, saying that, quite frankly, he was impatient with my sexual performance.”
Concerns about sexually transmitted diseases also played into his decision, he said. “I think a lot of people simply retreated because they were concerned about their health. I certainly was, and I’m happy to be healthy and alive, quite frankly.”
A lot of people like Tim who make a conscious decision not to have sex find more peace when they go without it. When you’re clear about why you’re not having sex, the urges are a little less powerful and the temptation to go back on your decision gets a little less weaker as time goes on. But if you’re in the category that just happens to not be having sex at the moment, well, that peace doesn’t come as easy.
If you haven’t gotten any in a while but you’re open to it, it usually means you’re waiting to get it on with someone you at least have some sort of connection to, because sex really isn’t that hard to find. In that case you’re always sort of on the lookout for who could be the next one and the physical urge for sexual contact is magnified by the fact that you want somebody there to provide that intimacy—and get rid of those cobwebs.
I’ve never really chosen to abstain, I’ve just fallen into droughts from time to time. Personally, after being in a monogamous relationship for a while, the thought of going back casual just didn’t appeal to me. The sex could be good physically, but the mental and emotional connection that would make it great would be missing. Sometimes when you get the urge you think, why not just put an end to all this pent up frustration and scratch the itch, but other times you figure, if I made it this far I might as well wait it out until I get what I really want. Hearing stats on STDs and other non-committed sexual relationship drama also helps. With every new fact or story that comes out, it feels good to know you don’t have to worry about that foolishness for now. But it sucks whenever you have a little temper tantrum and someone wants to hit you with the “that’s because no one’s cracking your back” shot.
A little brush with abstinence—chosen or placed upon you—can be good preparation for the next relationship though. Often sex can cloud your judgment when you get involved with someone new, and if you’ve been in a drought for a little while, you’ll likely spend more time getting to know who a person really is before you get to know their body, and that never hurts. When you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the opening doesn’t seem so far away. You also learn more about your own body when you’re not so wrapped up in someone else’s—again, major plus.
Whether you’re holding out for the ultimate one to put a ring on your finger, or just the one you feel some sort of connection to, I think everyone feels like Tim when it comes down to it—you’re still a sexual being and you’re willing to sacrifice a little pleasure now for a greater reward later. As Tim put it, “I have feelings. It’s not as though I’m some barren forest. I don’t want to imply to anyone that I have a mandate that says no sex…. I don’t know what’s around the corner.”
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sex? Do you usually fall into droughts or make a conscious decision to hold off on sex until you’re in a relationship?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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