Behind Closed Doors: Surviving the sexual desert

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September 8, 2009

3:35 AM

I hate to say it, it’s even worse to think about it, but sometimes there comes a time in your life when sex isn’t appropriate. Sometimes, you have to put your sex life on ice. For clarity’s sake: This column is not about those who abstain from sex entirely; it’s about sexually active adults who have decided to press pause.

There can be a variety of reasons for temporary abstinence, or as I like to call it, self-imposed sexual frustration. You might be in a monogamous long-distance relationship. Or you’ve just gotten out of a relationship, and you’re not ready to be intimate yet. Or you’re waiting for a sexually transmitted infection to clear up. Or you’ve just been on a sex spree, and you’re welcoming some down time. Whatever the reason, you will probably find yourself in this position at least once in your life, if not at least once at the College of William and Mary. So, how do you deal with a dry spell without getting wet?

The first step to temporary abstinence is the first step to sex in general: Acknowledge that you are a sexual being with dirty, filthy, wonderful urges. Just because you’re stopping yourself from intercourse doesn’t mean you can stop yourself from introspection.

Be honest with yourself. If I pass a hot guy on campus, I immediately imagine us on a bear skin rug in the mountains somewhere getting down. And I’m OK with that.

The key is not to act on it; humans have the benefit of being able to control themselves. I am not going to jump on the hot dude like a dog in heat. Now, I might flirt with him for a little while, but it stops there. Flirting can be a fun and rewarding experience if you’re momentarily out of the game. Just because you flirt and don’t hook up, it doesn’t make you a tease or lame. Flirting is flirting; you don’t have to promise anyone anything.

The second step is to masturbate often. Don’t allow yourself go untouched by the human hand. We all need sexual release in one form or another. Plus, you wouldn’t want your genitals to feel left out from the rest of your organs. In the case of temporary abstinence, it becomes more important that your masturbation is meaningful. This may mean setting up candles and taking the entire night to enjoy your own company or just making an effort to make self-love a little more loving.

Many people have told me that they feel ashamed after they masturbate. They get a feeling of regret and emptiness. To these people, and those like them, I say let that feeling go. Remind yourself often that your diddling is for a good cause and that there’s no shame in fondling yourself once in a while.

The last step, and perhaps the most important, is to understand why you are abstaining. If you have a reason that you can justify to yourself, you put yourself in the best position possible. If you are unclear as to why you’ve chosen this path, you are likely to stray into the world of sexual decadence. As with masturbation, you must remind yourself that it’s alright to do this. Taking a break is a common and healthy occurrence. Not every time in our life can be a sexfest.

To keep yourself in good spirits, always remember that there is an end in sight. As you struggle through your sexual desert, keep the oasis straight ahead. Remind yourself that when you do start having sex again, it’s going to be incredible, like a bite of a fresh peach after a hunger strike.

__Maya Horowitz is the Flat Hat sex columnist. She loves lavender scented candles from Bath & Body Works and jazz music playing softly in the background.__

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