My Excruciating History Of Sexual Awkwardness -- And How I'm Overcoming It

Let's get physical, but let me dry-heave first.

My relationship with sex, like most of my relationships with men and the gym, is complicated. Luckily, I now have an understanding and patient boyfriend, but before him, I haven’t had sex in [redacted]. I won’t divulge the exact duration, but I can tell you that it equates to approximately 38.9 years in gay years.

My bout of unintentional chastity started after my last relationship. It was an extremely toxic relationship that resulted in my ex-boyfriend going to rehab and me going to therapy — need I say more? Exactly. I guess my celibacy wasn’t purely unintentional, for the most part, considering I avoided sex like I avoided eye contact with the person who just audibly voided their bowels in the bathroom stall next to me. I was dealing with some serious trust and intimacy issues that made getting close to someone again, especially intimately, extremely difficult for me.

Also? I never went through a slutty phase in college because I was busy handling my newly diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder, which usually meant I was equally balancing my time between having a panic attack and dreading my next panic attack. So my lack of experience in the bedroom only added another nail in the coffin that would soon accompany my sex life six feet under and rendered me crippled with a bevy of sexual insecurities. I’ve had boyfriends in college and my level of intimacy with them was almost totally unburdened by my anxiety, and I was able to let my guard down and enjoy myself in the bedroom because I was consistently getting laid, so sex didn’t feel foreign to me at the time. And between boyfriends I’ve only hooked up with a handful of men and five times out of five, those hook-ups were facilitated by tequila and desperation. But then came said toxic relationship that demolished any ability I had to enjoy the naked tango without breathing into a brown paper-bag.

Even after working through a majority of my trust issues, my sexual insecurities started to add up after being out of sexual commission for so long and made getting back into dating game even more insufferable than it already is — especially in a place like New York City, where dating is notoriously a pain in the ass. They’ve prevented me from meeting new people and have taken a toll on my sex drive. I was terrified of meeting someone and then having to explain to them why I’m half-hiding behind their Oriental room-divider while they sit there naked and ready to get down to business. I wanted to be spontaneous and have adventurous sex —like doing it in a used car dealership after dark — but I couldn’t. I knew that even if I tried, I would panic and stop, drop and roll away from the situation.

I remember back in December that I was making out with this guy outside of his apartment building. We went out on a date and found our hands wandering downtown in this dark little crevice near the entrance of his building. I remember thinking, I can totally do it right now. Sexual insecurities be gone. This was the first time that I actually felt like I could go all the way without wanting to run in the opposite direction. Then he was all like, “BTW, I have a boyfriend and we’re about to be engaged,” and I was all like, “bye.”

Cut to a few months later: I’m dating someone who would soon become my current boyfriend. He’s cute, sweet, hilarious, and is willing to spend nine dollars on a piece of cheesecake for me — he’s got it all. But most importantly, I was able to open up to him. I don’t know why I haven’t been able to talk about this openly (until this essay), considering the filter that was supposed to come with my mouth apparently got left behind in my mom’s uterus. I’m shameless; I’ll tell the person I’m riding the elevator with that I’m uncircumsized. But for some reason, my involuntary celibacy made me ashamed, which is weird for someone who doesn’t even have a lot of shame to begin with. But, as fate or luck or whatever may have it, I have someone in my life who understands me, makes me feel again, and raises me up, JOSH GROBAN. That last part was an homage to Nicki Minaj. But I digress. What I’m trying to say is, like taking a D up my B again, I’m taking baby steps to stop feeling inadequate about my sexual (in)experience and letting it affect my life — in every aspect: social, love, and sex — and just go at my own pace and stop feeling bad about it.

Oh, and for any other unintentional celibates out there: JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU’VE ADDED ENOUGH, ADD MORE LUBE. Speaking from experience.