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Why I’m Taking A Sexual Sabbatical

Written by Amanda Lucidi.

Photos courtesy of Billie.

Until very recently, I was a bona fide New Yorker, working a minimally lucrative, maximally abusive bartending job and trying to weed half-decent romantic partners from the city’s masses. But — as you might have already deduced — I hated it. So I decided to move back to my hometown to save money while waiting for something stable to pull through. Even if it was the Wonder Bread world of hot trash, I figured I’d have a healthy hiatus from the clout monsters in New York.

Still, it had barely been a day before I felt the suburban loneliness set in. That first day, I neglected to bring my mattress inside, like some small act of resistance. I sank into my couch cushions and wondered how permanent this move was, if I had made a mistake, and if my old friend who lived across town would come fuck me. Spoiler: he would.

It had barely been a day before I felt the suburban loneliness set in.

We had been friends for a long time. In our youth we dated, and in adulthood we had gone back and forth about the legitimacy of our feelings and whether they were worth pursuing again. Distance, timing, and ultimately sound logic prevented a relationship. But we made a habit of having sex when I was in town.

He helped me move my mattress upstairs. We dropped it on the living room floor and fucked. Things were looking up. I was broke, but I was getting laid. Benefits included: no small talk, no games, and no fake orgasms. Occasionally I had to listen to “beats” he made in his spare time, but we can’t have it all.

I thought things were going pretty well until one morning he woke up and told me about his dream: “There was this guy being a creep to you — he looked like an Uber driver.”

When pressed about what that meant, he responded with racist comments about this man in his dream. I felt any lingering sexual attraction leave my body, replaced with anger and disgust.

Benefits included: no small talk, no games, and no fake orgasms. Occasionally I had to listen to “beats” he made in his spare time, but we can’t have it all.

Having lived in New York didn’t make me the keeper of wokeness, and social awareness isn’t for the “chosen ones,” which is maddening for the rest of us who live in politicized bodies. But ignorance and the suburbs seemed to be more synonymous by the day. My former friend had managed to steer clear of the conversations that consumed some people’s lives, conversations the entire country had been having. He was another cisgender white dude who had kept himself afloat with buzzwords and five minutes a month of the news cycle.

We stopped fucking. I don’t sleep with sexist men. I also don’t sleep with racist men. And here, that meant I wouldn’t be sleeping with men, period. If the price of getting laid is my moral well-being, I’ll accept my suburban experience as a sexless one.

I don’t sleep with sexist men. I also don’t sleep with racist men. And here, that meant I wouldn’t be sleeping with men, period. If the price of getting laid is my moral well-being, I’ll accept my suburban experience as a sexless one.

I’m pansexual, but that’s not a word in the suburbs. Sometimes I’ll call myself “kinda gay,” when I don’t feel like holding a class on sexuality. In a town where there’s a limited view of sexuality, there’s also a limited sexual community outside of straight people. Some literally leave town over it. I asked my friend what coming out was like here, and she told me she came out her senior year of high school because she knew she could escape to college almost immediately. Her older sister didn’t come out until she moved across the country.

Growing up, I thought of myself as straight, not because I didn’t think about people other than men, but because my dating history didn’t “prove it.” Even if you aren’t immediately met with hostility about your sexuality here, you are policed on its legitimacy.

Even if you aren’t immediately met with hostility about your sexuality here, you are policed on its legitimacy.

I don’t have questions about who I am, but living here while I got back on my feet felt like further negligence of my sexual identity. Because if you aren’t straight, and you are privileged enough to do so, you fucking run. You run away really fucking fast from the walking meme templates who shoulder 30-packs of Budweiser, drive pickup trucks and encourage casual use of the word faggot.

I underestimated the role sex played in my life. Education, income and job opportunities had dictated where I moved. I thought knowing my sexual identity was enough. But knowing yourself and living as your fullest self aren’t the same thing. We’ve all complained about not getting laid, but this is the first time in my life that I’ve decided to tap out. I’m taking a sabbatical, the length of time unspecified. I may have to circulate some educational literature around town in the meantime. And maybe I’ll find a community here, but for now my vibrator, weighted blanket, and I will be spending some quality time together.

Amanda Lucidi is a writer from Massachusetts and a staffer at Boston Magazine who cares about people, places and things. She has caught more fish than you and would rather be outside.

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