Let’s just say I’m involuntarily celibate.
I hate to do the math. Last time I had sex, Bill Clinton was in the White House. “Friends” was still on air, running original episodes. Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears had just released debut albums. “American Beauty” was starting to generate Oscar buzz, people were talking about a kid who saw dead people and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” was 34.
A long, long time ago.
I have yet to have millennial sex. Not everybody made it through Y2K unscathed.
Way back then, I was in a relationship. In love. The sex just stopped. I stuck around another five years. He said he was depressed. He said he was stressed from work. I didn’t press. I moved into the guest room because he said I snored. People say sex isn’t the most important part of a relationship and I agree. But it shouldn’t completely disappear—not with a couple of thirtysomethings.
There was plenty of dysfunction in the relationship. Love petered out. I hung on far too long. Even though gay marriage didn’t yet exist in Canada, I was committed to “for better or for worse.” I assumed “worse” was just a phase.
After the breakup, I was stuck in the same house with the ex for another year. The house couldn’t go on the market until we made it through reno hell. Once out, I wanted nothing to do with men. I cherished my freedom. When I was ready, a relationship—and sex—would come. Like riding a bike, right?
Oh, god. Let’s hope.
But I’ve been ready for years. Loveless. Sexless. Heck, I haven’t even kissed a guy in the past year and a half. The closest I get to foreplay is a hand wave. These are bleak times.
Back in West Hollywood last summer, a good friend of mine told his husband about our wild times from twenty years ago. Only they were his wild times, not mine. He kept saying, “James had standards.” Translation: I didn’t partake in one-night stands and that whole sowing-of-the-wild-oats shenanigans. I wanted love and nothing less.
So, yes, I’ve lived a highly principled life. I’ve stuck to my goals. I’ve done everything possible to be the Good Guy and to keep all signs of schmuckness to a minimum. And I’m not really sure why anymore.
As much as I still long for love, I need sexual intimacy, even if it is fleeting. I need the validation and the connection. At 49, I am in great health and I am fitter than 95% of the men my age (or even ten years younger). What if I have to wait another fourteen years? I’d like another sexual experience while my body still looks good, where physical attraction, maybe even lust, is part of the act.
Standards have left me disconnected. I’ve always cherished my time alone, but it’s now laced with loneliness. This Good Guy is finishing lost.
There are outlets—bathhouses, trails in some park, online hookup sites. You can Google anything these days. It would be such a relief to cast this celibacy aside and reset the clock on a new sexless streak. For various reasons, I still can’t go there. But maybe that time will come. It seems more likely than any other option. Something has to change...and it needs to be before the next Clinton becomes president.