Day 15 of 66 Days of No Sex
I miss familiarity. It’s not just about the sex. It’s the comfort of being around someone who knows my idiosyncrasies, like how I always want a glass of water afterward. Someone who is not surprised by my birthmarks and has seen my guard down, all bare-skinned and suggesting things with just my eyes.
Even in a strictly physical sense, it’s reassuring knowing the compatibility of someone’s body with mine—the muscle memory, learned tempos, and perfected chemistry. A one-night stand satisfies the bare minimum, but a longer arrangement has the perks of intimacy that are worth the risk of emotional attachment.
I miss comfort. The moments before and after sex when a guy asked about me, knew the pain points in my life, and told me about his day. It was a good setup—brushing my teeth and coming back to a warmed bed, ducking under the covers, and shocking him with my icy hands. We’d fool around to the point it was no longer playful. The best sleep followed the most exhausting nights.
Tangled limbs, deep breathing. In the middle of my sleep, I would roll around in soft and heavy blankets. My arms and legs would poke out to catch bursts of cool air. And I’d scoot over too far to feel patches of hot skin in what felt like the least lonely place on Earth.
I believe my most recent hookups cared more about me more as a person than as a body, which is nice. They’ve all been in contact with me this year but not about sex. It’s likely a combination of them rooting for my success and not needing me as much as I need them.
A few friends have asked how I’m holding up. I definitely feel more temptation than last week, with Friday being the hardest day so far. I grabbed dinner with some friends and we took a few shots of lemon-whatever at the bar. I got home and plugged in the string lights above my bedroom door, which triggered memories of gathering the dirty laundry off the floor and waiting for the “I’m here” text.
Friday was a prime example of my most vulnerable state: inebriated, socially enticed, and eager in an empty house. Usually, at this point of the week, the backlight of my phone illuminates my face as I text a few regulars. And the night is determined by the first to reply.
This past Friday, I looked up at the string lights from a crisp and cold bed. The bulbs were still the multicolored ones I used to decorate for Christmas. I closed my eyes and thought about the times the lights had witnessed.
It was my idea to take videos one time. The string lights were bright enough to expose, but dim enough to leave a little mystery. “For later,” I told him.
I was tempted to watch one on Friday. I told him to delete the pictures of me from his phone once, to which I watched him comply with no protest. I wasn’t sure if this would be a violation of his privacy, though he never asked the same of me. I didn’t end up watching them, but I didn’t delete them either.
“That was really the last time,” he said. That could have been his catch phrase.
He handed me my shirt from the floor of his backseat. We were in his driveway. I parked my car at his place and he drove us to a steakhouse nearby for dinner. You could see my handprints on the fogged windows. I tapped his shoulder.
“It’s like that scene in the Titanic,” I said.
“I’m serious, we can’t do this anymore. I’ve been feeling so guilty lately.”
“You choose to feel guilty.”
We dressed ourselves and moved back to the front seats. He kept the heat on and the music low.
“I thought it was fun. You didn’t have fun?” I stroked his leg over the denim.
“Of course I did, but we shouldn’t. I don’t want this to affect our friendship. I still want to be able to hang out without it being weird.” We had an unspoken agreement where I would bait him, and he would voice concern, as if that somehow made our actions less reprehensible.
“I’m going to want to do stuff with you when I see you.”
“Me, too.” He brushed my hair back. “But we have to be good.”
“So basically, we can’t see each other as much.” I waited for his argument, but he just put his hand on my knee.
He always had a way of touching and almost examining my body. He needed to be aware of the state of things and have a sense of control. If things were off, he’d correct it. He brought me food on nights I stayed late at the office. He fixed my laptop before we watched movies together, and pushed me to go to the doctor’s for regular checkups.
It was pitch black besides the lights on the dash. I started crying. He pulled me into a hug over the console. I breathed hard into his chest, as I had times before when he comforted me about the pain he caused.
“You know I’m still here for you,” he said. “If you have car problems, or it’s late at night and you don’t know who else to call, I’m here.” He wiped tears from my face.
That was actually the last time.