Being Abstinent For 11 Years Has Helped Me Redefine What I Really Want In The Bedroom

abstinence
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A lot of people make the grave assumption that since it’s been over 11 years since I’ve had sex, that must mean that back when I was gettin’ it in, it must not have been very good.

Child, please.

I’ve never really had bad sex; each of my 14 partners brought something new to the table (for the most part, in a good way) and aside from one guy who felt like he needed to put me in 10 positions in under 15 minutes (#egomanic), I have no regrets.

Well, when it comes to the act of sex itself I don’t. Kinda.

I’m the kind of writer who is pretty big on definitions, so I know that regret means remorse. And I think that mature individuals should feel a sense of sorrow for some of the choices that they make if the decisions are poor ones.

Looking back, I think I feel a sense of sorrow for not always using a condom and getting pregnant before I was spiritually, emotionally or ready to become a mother (I currently don’t have any children. I’ve shared on this platform that I’ve have four abortions). I feel a sense of sorrow when it comes to some of the people I hurt, because some of my partners were in relationships at the time I was sleeping with them and some of their girlfriends found out. I feel a sense of sorrow that sometimes I didn’t require more from SOME of those men than backboard action.

However, again, when it comes to the act of sex, probably the only “regret” I might have is sometimes faking orgasms in order to get certain ones off of me because they were taking too long. Other than that, my memories are pretty golden. Lots of passion. Plenty of curiosity and fun. Minute-men are something I am very foreign to. There was even cuddling afterwards. The act of the sex was good. Really good.

So, why did I stop? What’s crazy is that although I can speak on my sexual past with vivid clarity as if I just got some last night, the last time I had sex was when I was 32. The last time I had sex with someone who wasn’t my boyfriend was 26. Even as I’m writing this, I can’t help but think “Wow. Just wow.”

Anyway, I stopped having sex with my boyfriend because the relationship wasn’t going anywhere. Because I didn’t want it to. He was a good man. Wait, he’s not dead and I do tend to see him on occasion. From what I can tell, he’s still a good man. One of the smartest and kindness ones I knew at that time, based on who I was at that time.

To tell you the truth, I honestly had more vaginal orgasms with him than any other guy; in part, because I trusted him so much because the foundation of our relationship was (best) friendship. But I wasn’t attracted to him. Not at all. In fact, the last couple of years, I had to force myself through having sex. It’s weird, the orgasms would still come but my heart just wasn’t in it. He wasn’t my person and so, good sex or not, it just wasn’t worth it anymore.

The guys prior to him? Some were close friends, some were homie-lover-friends and there also were a few other boyfriends sprinkled in. Looking back, they all had an uncanny way of making me feel good, almost as if it was a personal mission to do so. But also looking back, due to being a survivor of just about any kind of abuse you can imagine while growing up, having low self-esteem and not being clear about what healthy vs. unhealthy boundaries were, I realize that I wasn’t really having sex simply for the joy of the experience. It was more like I was having sex because it was one of the very few things in life that I knew I did well and made me feel good.

For me, sex wasn’t so much a fun moment or bonding experience as it was my fix.

I have substance abusers in my family. My father was one of them. Before he died four years ago, we used to talk about his off-and-on struggles with substance abuse. It’s ironic and yet I totally get where he was coming from with his struggle. The thing that you chase in order to feel good can be the very thing that causes you to hate yourself in ways that you would never imagine. Before you know it, you keep going back to that thing because you keep needing it to feel good, and to numb the pain of needing it.

Back when I was having sex, I didn’t totally see it that way. With abstinence brings clarity, though.

When I set out to be abstinent on January 9, 2007, I said to myself that it would be a year. That’s it. Now, over 11 years later, while the physical part of me misses it — on some days, to the point of tears, REAL tears — this time of going without it has been oh-so good for me.

I’ve been able to look at my patterns. I’ve been able to find resolve with my sex partners. I’ve been able to process why I found myself in the kind of sexual situations that I chose.

As a result, I’m a lot more healthy and whole than I’ve ever been.

Now I know, firmly and without question, the next time I have sex (which for me, will be when I get married), it won’t be because I need something to make me feel good. Don’t get me wrong, SEX FEELS GOOD and yes, I am yelling that! But I no longer need that “fix” from sex because other things feel good, too.

Making a living off of my craft feels good. Having connections with men who dig my mind more than my body feels good. Not spending money on pregnancy tests or STD testing at the doctor’s office feels good. Knowing that I can tell my future husband that I loved him enough to wait for him feels good.

Understanding that sex is a gift and not a fix — that feels SO good.

Looking back, I think a lot of the men who had the privilege of having sex with me still won’t get what my husband will. They had a pretty good physical performance and a few of them had the shell of an emotional connection, but you know what? It’s hard to give yourself over to someone when you don’t even know who you are yet.

Me, now? I love her. I love (just about) everything about her. These days, my sexual performance is the icing on the cake. That’s a good thing because at one point in my life, it was the cake. I really didn’t have too much more to offer than a good time. At least that’s how I felt in my mind.

However, this woman? While I’m not big on using the phrase “make love” to define sex, what I do know is that on this side of hiding and wisdom, good sex is about so much more than two people getting each other off. Cats in heat do that.

Good sex is more about two people who are spiritually in sync, emotionally whole and mentally healthy choosing to share their mind, body and soul with one another because they want to make a real — and hopefully lasting — connection. The motive doesn’t come from a needy place. It’s about making the decision to be present with someone in the most intimate way possible because the love you have for one another is SO BIG, it can’t be contained.

It’s pleasure experienced in the most profound way possible. Not a fix.

This kind of good sex is what I’m willing to wait for. Shoot, I already know that I’ve got gifts on the physical level. There’s no need to keep rehearsing that point if I can’t get the spiritual and emotional connection, too.

For me, I had to “dry out” before coming to this conclusion. If I had never been abstinent, my standards would’ve remained right where they were — counterproductively physical.

On this side of abstinence, if my mind, body and spirit can be on one accord, if they can’t give a unanimous vote, then it’s not my time to engage, yet.

Finally, I am fine with that. Excited even.

I am looking forward to someday having tons and tons of my redefined definition — and expectation — of good sex.

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SHELLIE RENEé

Just a woman who digs all things relationships. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, that is. I've been writing (professionally) for close to 20 years, including having two books published. I'm also a marriage life coach and doula. Sometimes I speak to large audiences or do radio interviews, but usually I'm sitting in my favorite chair, surfin' the 'net and penning stuff that I wish I had read in my early 20s.

Listen, I don't have all the answers, not by a LOOOOONG shot. But whatever I can do to spare folks any heartbreak, bitterness or straight-up drama, I'll devote some keystrokes to doing. 

That's it...in a nutshell. For the most part. Kinda. ;)

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