Three hundred and twenty-two. That’s my number. I computed it some time last week, with a margin of error at plus-or-minus 17. I know what you’re thinking: Easy, Casanova, is this another one of those goddamned braggy rags-to-riches posts about how very average straight dudes can seduce women via mind-games, clever approaches and predatory behavior? You must be new here. I don’t write shit like that, and if you like to read shit like that or — worse — do shit like that, I don’t want you as a reader. This is not a post about seduction. Go to Reddit, Don Juan Kenobi.
Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to talk to the rest of you, and I’m going to tell you why I told you that. This is, I suppose, a ghost pepper take of a piece, which of course means there’s a better than coin-flip’s chance you’re about to leave here feeling dumber and unfulfilled, but then again … you’ve had sex, right? You’ve left somewhere feeling dumber and unfulfilled before. Anyway, here’s that take: How the fuck can y’all be fucking at a time like this?
Look, I love sex. It’s a goddamned blast. I love to talk about it. Think about it. Watch it (hello, PornHub!). I love to do it to myself when I just can’t discipline myself to wait (also, hello, PornHub!). I love to flirt and to feel sexy, and wanted, and adored. I find that most people agree on these principles. I just … two factors have collided that have made me back-burner the actual act. One’s personal. One’s (I think?) universal. I think they’re both valid. I’ll explain them both — and you’ll call me a moron in the comments.
Reason #1: I’m In A Relationship
… with myself. As in, I’ve been taking care of me. Over the past 11 months or so, I’ve been treating myself the way I should have been treating myself the first 34 years of my life. This may come as a shock to you (narrator: it won’t), but I’m not a complete person yet, and I never was. So I started small: I stopped gorging myself on 100 servings of alcohol on a weekly basis. This meant not going to bars, which is — you know — where I did some of my best work. I’d get about six shots deep and suddenly find myself chatting up total strangers I had no intention of meeting.
A funny thing happened when I stopped downing whiskey until I saw god every night: I had all this energy. (To have more sex, right? No, calm down.) I decided to use it to — are you sitting down? — start exercising. I know, I know. Like … I started going on these long runs every morning to reset my brain and do some creative non-linear thinking. The vast majority of these essays stem from those brainstorm sessions. (This one included.) So now I’m running and writing. It gets worse.
My mood began to stabilize. And I started to take even better care of myself. I routinely grocery shopped for fucking vegetables. Vegetables! To make salads! Cucumber and tomato and dill and onion and avocado god what have I done? And I started noticing in the mornings, with my blood sugar peaks and valleys finally not in the dangerously diabetic territory like it was in August 2017, that I wasn’t all that hungry in the mornings, so I would buy juice, too. For breakfast. I cut back on coffee. I stopped having post-lunch craters. And my energy just exploded. But also — also! — with my head clearer and my cravings for booze and rich foods and richer women subsiding, I channeled that energy into … (god, you’re not ready for this) … serving my goddamned community. I know … I can’t believe it, either. I started donating to causes I admired. I joined the board of a damned school. And after that, I took the next logical step. (Sure, because all of these seem logical.) I got into politics. I took my one skill — writing, although that’s still up for debate, and this stream of consciousness mind-dump certainly shouldn’t be held up in court as Exhibit A, B, C or Z — and put it to use for congressional candidates who align with my ideology and my vision for the future of this country both locally and nationally. One is a name you might know, and the other is a name you might not know (yet). Worse still, I started reading. About Egalitarianism and Humanism. I decided to indulge in mind-fucks instead of well, actual fucking. And when I’m not doing all that, I’m podcasting and playing music.
Then came the quitting spree: First it was cigarettes. Then, this month, it was Xanax. Yup, I had a seven-year stretch where every night before I went to sleep, I dropped 0.5 mg of alprazolam to calm my anxious mind. And, as my mind leveled off, and my satisfaction with life and my role in it increased to unprecedented levels, I decided I didn’t need the stuff anymore. It’s been 20 days — the longest stretch without those little orange ovals since October 2011.
So now, you’re probably thinking: well John, now you’re a 35 year-old successful professional, clean, sober, clear-headed, well-read and smoke-free. Now you’re someone who eats healthy, takes care of himself, takes care of others, impacting the community and the globe and the dialogue in ways that are beneficial for society — you must be raking on dating apps. Nah, man. I’ve never even downloaded a dating app. I take myself on dates. I travel alone. I eat alone. I run alone. And, you know what I learned? I really like my own company. I’ve slept with one woman this year. You’ve read about her.
Reason #2: Sex Feels Self-Indulgent, Given The State of the Country and the World
Yeah, I said it. The world is dark and scary. The middle class imploded. We’ve devolved into fascism and feudalism. There’s a full-scale backlash against women striving for equality. Babies are in concentration camps alone, and being put on trial. It’s getting exponentially darker by the hour. So I’m pouring my efforts into being a light.
Maybe some of you think, “Well, John, if the worst thing that happens to you is that thinking about the outside world has a net-negative impact on your libido, you’re pretty damn privileged.” You would be correct. I acknowledge that. I am making off really well comparatively, which means it’s the perfect reason to reach into my bag of tricks to try and make the world a better place for the people who don’t have all the cheat codes like I do. There are bigger concerns in this world than whether or not my love life is firing on all cylinders. I don’t think it’s asking a lot to keep that car in the garage while the birds with torches, orange skin and too many guns are out here shitting all over everything in sight.
I had this discussion with a few people, and most respondents — men and women — say, “No, this doesn’t affect the way I approach sex at all. Why are you thinking like this?” However, I want to zero in on one person in particular, who, when I asked this question said:
“It’s made me want it more. A lot more. If people are out here dehumanizing me, I want to have more sex. It’s the most carnal of human acts. I want my orgasms early, often and awesome.”
Well, then. That’s a pretty solid counterpoint. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still send weapons-grade sexts to partners (or very obvious potential partners) that I feel comfortable with, and who feel comfortable with me. However, no one is trying to dehumanize me. And so I can’t relate on a visceral level, even though I understand and appreciate the perspective. I want more people to feel that way, but — more importantly — I think it’s important that we work toward a world where they won’t have to feel that way, given the state of everything.
I have no idea if this is the right move. I feel like it is, though. It’s a conscious decision — candidly, one of the easiest I’ve made, and one of the most beneficial for me and (I hope!) the world out there. On a purely personal level, I’ve noticed a drastic change in myself, but we — as a collective — won’t really know until we start seeing real change. And I realize I can’t fix the world’s problems on my own: All I can do is show up the best I can, and spread positive vibes and warmth with the things I write, the way I listen, and dope Spotify playlists.
I still go on the occasional date with someone who could be a solid life partner, but I’m not looking for anything — and certainly not forcing my hand. Love can wait. Sex can wait. Until I become fully-formed, highly-evolved and complete on my own. Until this world gets a little brighter than the night is dark.
At the risk of opening Pandora’s Box, I’d be curious to know your thoughts. In the meantime, here’s a dope Spotify playlist.