The last time I had sex was on my son’s 1st birthday — and he just turned 4. As he blew out the candles on his cake, I silently blew out candles on my own imaginary cake: “Happy not having sex for three years.”
The last time I had sex, my son’s dad and I were still together. Over time, our relationship slowly began to crumble. As the cracks began to turn into craters, my close friends kept suggesting they needed to “get you (me) laid.” To them, all my problems could be solved with a good romp in the sheets with some guy. But I knew sex wasn’t the solution.
As an almost 30-year-old single mom, I just didn’t have it in me to go looking for sex. Honestly, I didn’t even think about sex. With all of the other things going on in my life, it was easy to shut off that part of myself. Now, three years have passed, and I’m still on the fence when it comes to my feelings about sex.
Abstaining from sex is pretty easy when you’re a single mom to an infant, and then a toddler. I was so exhausted that I didn’t even have the energy to realize what I was missing. I didn’t have time to date. I had a kid who was hyper-attached to me, and I couldn’t leave him for long periods of time when he was little.
Plus, I lived with my parents. That was an issue when I was in my early-20s and didn’t have a kid; it was even worse as a 30-year-old with a toddler. I didn’t want to have to answer any of their questions about who I was with or what I was doing, and I was too old to run around and lie about it. And let’s be honest, a lot of guys my age aren’t rushing to be in a relationship with a single mom, especially one that lives with her parents, even if it’s something that is completely physical.
After breaking up with my son’s father, I was in a bad place mentally, and no amount of sex was going to fix that. I threw myself into my career instead, and spent most of my time working. I often logged long hours at weird times, so even if I did want to go out and meet someone, I was too fucking tired to do so.
Then, as my writing career began to gain traction, I started to feel better about myself; I put a little more effort into my appearance, and I even went out with friends once or twice. There was a night when I was out at a bar with my friends and a very nice guy was flirting with me. He was cute enough, but the only thing I felt was nauseous. I knew that while I was feeling better about myself, I still wasn’t ready for sex or dating. My friends (good-naturedly) gave me shit about needing to put myself back out there, but I (good-naturedly) told them to go fuck themselves and stop making me feel like there was something wrong with me for not being interested in sex. (Side note: Honest friends are the best friends.)
My friends couldn’t understand how I was able to just shut off the sexual side of myself. But it wasn’t as hard as you’d think — at least it wasn’t for me. Sex was never a huge deal for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it (because I definitely do), but I was always more interested in companionship, and then sexual interest came from that. Casual sex doesn’t work for me. And I’m not at a place in my life where I want to get attached to anyone. So, no sex right now.
Honestly? I’ve begun to really enjoy the life I’m cultivating for myself. I’m happy with my work, my friends, and my kid. I don’t want to start worrying about making myself look attractive to anyone. I like not wearing makeup, or shaving my legs, or getting my brows threaded, or wearing anything but leggings and tee shirts. I am tired by 10 o’clock at night. I don’t want to be out partying and finding guys to hook up with. If someone fell into my lap, well, I might not push them away, but I’m not actively searching.
Real talk: The thought of dating again is kind of terrifying. I’m in my early-30s, and this isn’t where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. Thinking about sex with someone new is pretty fucking scary. I had sex with the same person for four years, and since then, my body has changed. My boobs are saggy from breastfeeding for almost four years. I have a VBO (visible belly outline) when I wear form-fitting clothes. I have stretch marks on my ass, which has dropped at least 2 inches since I’ve become a mom. Plus, I have a preschooler. I don’t know if I have the energy to be with him and work all day and then be physically attentive to some guy at night.
Not to mention, the logistics of arranging (and paying for) child care, so that I could get down and dirty.
It all seems so overwhelming.
In theory, it sounds like fun to go out and flirt mercilessly with attractive men, but only if I get to go home to my bed all by myself, eat ice cream right out of the carton, and watch Harry Styles videos on YouTube. I wouldn’t even mind spending a night liplocked with someone and then getting to say goodnight and goodbye. But actual sex? That’s a tough call. Obviously, my hesitancy means that I’m just not fucking ready.
And you know what? That’s okay.