Like Riding a Bike? Dry Spell Dilemmas


I have spent this Valentine’s Day season wrapped in the loving embrace of feminist friends and family who have expressed their care and affection through thoughtful cards, shared meals, and copious amounts of cocktails. I have been reminded numerous times how bootleg a holiday is that celebrates heterosexual coupledom at the expense of all other kinds of love, and I have felt blessed to be reminded of all the other kinds of love and care I experience routinely.

But can I talk about how sometimes a sister just wants to get laid?

I mention this not because it goes against all that I laid out at the start of this post, but because, for me, the love I get from friendship and family has not coincided with anything approaching a vibrant sex life and, if I can keep it 100, that’s not something I feel great about. Real talk, this year I have felt my lack of sexual intimacy more keenly than I have for a while. For a long time, I felt like I could go on forever being celibate, but now I’m not so sure.


Was that a tumbleweed going past my vagina?
Was that a tumbleweed going past my vagina?


It’s been almost five years since I’ve dated, or kissed, or touched another person in a non- platonic way. After a bad breakup and a series of hilariously tragic dating mishaps and misadventures, I took a little hiatus.  One year became two years, two years became three years and, before I knew it, I had spent almost half a decade sleeping alone. Some of my friends wondered why I haven’t just exploded or looked for a rifle and watchtower. There are lots of reasons.

Reason #1. Oops, oh my!
Reason #1. Oops, oh my!

I’ve also been busy getting my career together and living my life. And it’s not like my life has been sad and pitiful. Quite the contrary. Plus, loving and loving on myself is a delicious pleasure. I definitely know what I like and am more than happy to lavish myself with orgasms. But I do miss touching, kissing, and hugging another person—especially since there is so little space for such activities outside of romantic relationships.


Owning this desire has been a journey. Putting yourself out there can be scary. And with so much foolishness in the world, it can be perversely easier to pour yourself into activism or scholarship rather than working up the nerve to holler at a cutie—or maybe it’s just me?

Don’t front. I’m not the only one
Don’t front. I’m not the only one


The fact is, however unfeminist it may sound, after this epic dry spell, I definitely have trouble thinking of myself as someone that other people might find sexy. But, then again, I had trouble with that ish before. And, as I’ve been told time and time again, the energy you put out there is what attracts people. So, I have to feel to sexy to attract others? But feeling attractive to others makes me feel sexy. Color me confused.

Then again, I have noticed that folks who I might find busted and disgusted and that ooze negative energy, but who fit particular aspects of the beauty spectrum—thin, able-bodied, cisgender, for example—don’t necessarily have trouble getting their mack on. I’m not saying all thin, able-bodied cis folks are just fucking with reckless abandon, but I am saying that some shit matters more than others—even in so-called progressive queer spaces. Take it from someone who puts the “B” in LGBTQIA.

Still, I’m trying to make an earnest effort in pursuit of some good loving. What I do know that you have to do more than talk about it, you gotta be about it. So, excuse me while I clear out the tumbleweeds.

Have you experienced an epic (or not so epic) dry spell? What’s been your post-dry spell experience? How have you gotten back in the saddle? 

11 thoughts on “Like Riding a Bike? Dry Spell Dilemmas

  1. Still looking for a way to end a twelve-year dry spell, haven’t found one yet. (And the period before that was not particularly rainy, more like living in a desert with the occasional shower.) Being well past the age where women “become invisible” and being a woman of size does not help, either.

  2. this post sounds exactly like me. I also went through a 5 year dry spell and it was pure hell! How did I get through it? Honestly I have no idea. For 1 I guess I put all my energy into getting my degree and focussing on me, myself, and I but recently things changed.Over the holidays I hooked up with an old friend (ironically the last person that I’d had sex with before the spell began) and we started seeing each other. honestly I don’t really have any positive advice all I can say is wait it out and keep doing what you’re doing. it may be hard ad freak but trust me when I say when the time comes for you to finally get your freak on with the RIGHT person it will be worth the wait!!!!!

  3. I am on a three year epic dry spell, but before that I had only one partner and was 27 years old. I don’t have any reasoning aside from I was a lonely girl longing for male attention. Now I sometimes wish it never happened. I feel you on almost all of these points. It is hard to get out there, it is hard to imagine giving myself to someone who can’t actually see me as well. I have been keeping it to myself because I’ve been trying to work on myself. But I’ve realized recently that this is the part of myself that needs major working on.

    Good luck with everything and I am glad you wrote this essay.

  4. Hi Sis, The last minor relationship was a blind date. It lasted all of a year; very blind indeed. Love “Reason #1”, I call her ‘Toshi’, shes always there for me, doesn’t feel like my life is ‘not available’ for her, “it’s me, not you”, etc. I’m looking for another year before I consider breaking the spell. When I do decide, I plan to go out of my comfort zone; to museums, talks, cultural events that are jam packed with people other than poet-space and actually get out of my shell and speak to a woman who sparks my interest. I wish you well in yours.

  5. Great post! Keeping it very real. Glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing 5+ years celibacy. Like yours mine started out on purpose, and now with libido-killing meds and a whole bunch of other subsequent issues I have to deal with, staying celibate and stocking up on batteries gets easier and easier to do.

    I’m happy enough, but like you, I do miss the touch of other human beings. But as I wander closer to that “invisible woman” barrier myself, I often quail at the thought of getting back into the game. But I suppose I will anyway when I’m ready, however far away that day may be. Good luck with those tumbleweeds! 😉

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