Why My Real-life Boyfriend Feels Imaginary

Another Woman Series ♀♂♀

My boyfriend and I were sitting on the patio of the best sushi bar in town, a refurbished bungalow with the front yard converted into a rock garden lounge. It was a 2-hour wait for the experience of being served a $10 bite of buttered snow crab sushi by a charismatic waitress named Stephanie. We killed some time by people watching.

Under the heat lamps, there was a group of women with cigarettes tucked between their fingers. They took turns photographing each other against the modern Japanese decor, juggling between them a community stash of iPhones and wine glasses. The wind carried the stench of smoke our way.

“I don’t miss it,” I told my him.
“What?”
“Being single.”

I explained to him how sometimes Girls Nights were quite the opposite when it came to single women. How dinner and drinks were a thinly-veiled guise to dress up and nonchalantly catch the wandering eyes of an intruding male, an ironic tribute to female empowerment that was trailed by the latent expectation of finding someone to put a hard stop to Girls Night, indefinitely or forever.

While some meet-ups are sincere, it’s clear to all girlfriends that there are generally two types of women who show up: those who are there to hang out and those who are there to hunt.

“You were a predator,” he teased.
“And now I don’t even have to look!” I smiled. “Already know I’m having sex tonight.”

He took my hand and led me inside the restaurant. We waited 20 minutes longer at the bar, where a server came around with complimentary appetizers on spoons. It was our first fancy date night in a while. We had to skip the previous week because I has house-ridden with the runs. Romantic, I know. My boyfriend spent the whole weekend delivering me chicken noodle soup and soda crackers, streaming movies with me in bed, and checking my temperature.

At the bottom of my first glass of wine on date night, I felt it again—the overwhelming sense of undeserved luck, gratitude, and fear.

Right in front of me was the person I didn’t expect to find: a singular source of mental, sexual, and emotional compatibility. Even crazier, we were on the same page and timeline of what we wanted out of our companionship: intimacy, meaning, support, and growth. Against all odds and personal reservations about monogamous relationships, I saw someone I could happily, voluntarily, and exclusively spend the rest of my life with.

What the actual fuck?

“You’re not going to cry again, are you?” He laughed and cradled my knees between his hands.
“No,” I said, looking up and out the window.
He leaned in and planted a kiss on my forehead.
“I love you,” I whispered.
“I know.”

Loving him feels like running. It’s kinetic. It’s refreshing. We have momentum.

Despite how energized I feel from from this second wind, this second chance at believing in love, I can’t help but feel every step forward is just bringing me closer to the end. No one can run forever. I fear the moment my body stops to catch a breath, just long enough to clear my mind, come to my senses, and realize my legs have stopped moving.

I’m in the monogamous relationship I didn’t believe existed 6 months ago.

In some ways, I still don’t believe it.

***

At the time of my involvement with taken men, their relationships had lasted anywhere from 2 years to a decade.

In comparison to my current relationship, the longest relationship I interrupted was 30 times longer.

30 times more good-bye kisses.
30 times more car ride conversations.
30 times more chicken soup deliveries and date nights.
30 times more reassurance in the solidity of the relationship.

I don’t know which realization was more defeating—that infidelity could happen years into a seemingly secure relationship, or that cheaters failed to show the remorse or resistance I expected.

In the movie Nymphomaniac, the protagonist talks about how easy it is to engage a romantic prospect:
“Make eye contact and smile.”

It felt exactly that way, and the ease of it amplified the cruelty. Beyond that, none of my interactions were a drunken, one-off mistake for the cheaters. Rather, the first contact was an open door, where I had their repeated (and proactive) consent afterward, even if nothing physical happened beyond incriminating text exchanges.

I feel sorry that my current boyfriend is up against the pessimism from my history. No matter how faithful and loving he proves himself to be, I haven’t been able to shake what I witnessed in my past life: men professing lust to one woman, and love to another.

It’s unrealistic to think my boyfriend and I are the glowing exception to common relationship pitfalls. What couple doesn’t think they are the special case? This doesn’t devalue the unique memories and time shared, but we don’t get to pick and choose the beautiful moments to build a case for “it could never happen to me.”

In reality, I just don’t know. Nobody ever does.

And the worst part is even if it’s good now, it doesn’t always stay that way.

I was the tip of the iceberg for those men, only a fraction of their romantic lives. Under the water, I believe they had deeper relationships I never had the chance to see, ones where they treated their long-term partners with kindness and intimacy and true compassion. I don’t believe any of them were bad men—they were all good men who did a very hurtful thing.

***

I watched the latest episode of This is Us, and bawled my eyes out (as usual). No spoilers here, but I will say an ongoing theme in the show is the human conundrum of love and loss. The best scenes show how the privilege of loving someone dearly is often coupled with the pain and fear of losing them.

It feels like I simultaneously hold two conflicting views:

  • In one reality, I’m in an amazing monogamous relationship with a new guy in my life.
  • In the other reality, I am grounded in how I’ve experienced infidelity from the other side. As beautiful as love can feel and appear when protected by naiveté, it’s not favorable to bet against the forbidden chemistry of two people. I remember exactly how easy it was for a committed partner to stray and go back to what I believe was still a meaningful love. A boomerang, leaving as forcefully as it returned.

I understand people are different. The past doesn’t predict the future, so it isn’t fair to let a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. But after eating so much rotten fruit, I’ve conditioned myself to expect the worm when the juice tastes too sweet.

The most alert prey is one who can think like a predator.

From my experience as another woman, I feel like my relationship is under constant threat, not by any reasonable measure, but by how opportunity and attraction naturally manifests.

It’s in our biology. Granted, we have self-control and the ability to resist temptation—this in no way excuses cheating or implies people are predisposed to infidelity—but it’s reasonable to recognize opportunity is everywhere, even if you don’t pursue it. You can find potential in your cashier, your coworker, and pretty much any stranger you encounter throughout the day.

Make eye contact and smile.

It takes one look, one conversation, and the slightest response. The small signals that brought me excitement as another woman are now the very things that makes me distrust smooth-sailing monogamy. You can call poetic justice served ice cold.

I don’t want to die, but I know my life will end one day.
As depressing as it sounds, I feel the same way about love.

Sometimes, we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s in danger, similar to how a terminal diagnosis sparks a new vigor for life.

Life and love have much in common.
It happens fast.
It ends too soon.
And it always feels a bit unfair.

The untimely end of either shouldn’t take away from how great they can both be. If anything, the uncertainty should give us an urgency to live and love in the moment as much as we can, while we still can.

How Social Media Saved Your Relationship And Ruined My Outlook On Love

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Another Woman Series ♀♂♀

Our first time going all the way was outdoors, under the moon with the earth against my back.

A dog barked at us from afar, but it felt like wolves in my head—the howl of a distant danger, a single woodwind playing in minor.

We shook the dirt off our clothes and walked along the street to somewhere more like normal life. Headlights painted us white for seconds before releasing us back into the night. We were hand-in-hand when I called him out.

“After tonight, you’re going to go back to your life, the birthdays and holidays and anniversaries, like none of this ever happened.”

I hated how he could have his cake and eat it under the table, too. Society entertains two versions of reality: the one on social media and the one that actually exists.

***

I was involved with a handful of other men as another woman. I felt like I had discovered a portal to a hyper realistic dating scene—one where rampant infidelity plagued relationships and I was one of the few who was granted access to this Unpleasant Truths club.

My negativity reached a point where I believed every couple who had been dating longer than a few years was guilty of infidelity at one time or another. I played a twisted game in my head, where I gauged the people in the relationship and guessed which one had once cheated or was currently cheating. If there were so many incidents from my personal sample size, then I could only imagine how many others there were.

I felt so certain about this infidelity epidemic that if someone didn’t think their partner was capable of that kind of betrayal, then I assumed they were the ones being fooled. The wool was so far over their eyes it covered the rest of their body, and it felt warm and fuzzy and something a lot like love.

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And it wasn’t just men who had wandering eyes and bodies. I was at a birthday dinner among extended friends, where two of the women spoke casually about slip-ups in their relationshipsmake out sessions in foreign zip codes that didn’t mean anything, just a set of lips that never came to light.

Without an ounce of faith left, I believed there were only two kinds of people in relationships: the cheaters and the blissfully unaware. I couldn’t decide who I felt sorry for, or who I’d rather be.

As another woman, I had a unique vantage point where I could see how a relationship was portrayed online vs. how it really was.

I was sick of seeing photos of #relationshipgoals and #wcw, when not long ago, I knew for a fact these men had different priorities in the flesh.

No matter how picturesque the occasions were, I dismissed them all: postcard snapshots of weekend getaways, festive holiday gatherings, candlelit dinners, and doe-eyed pets caught in the middle of pseudo-family portraits. Just another scrapbook moment for the Bullshit Shrine of Monogamy.

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Yet, I was voluntarily digesting this perfectly plated crap on social media. And it was both baffling and understandable. Like how I’m aware of how McDonald’s chicken nuggets are made, but I still eat them.

I would like and double-tap couple pictures to show solidarity with friends who weren’t apart of the Unpleasant Truths club yet—either from ignorance or from tearing up their notice when it arrived unsolicited in the mail.

It’s not a fun thing to admit: that the person who is suppose to be your #1, your support system, and your most trusted companion could not afford you the most basic form of respect: honesty.

I wanted to be positive. I wanted to have hope. But how could I possibly believe in monogamy and loyalty in relationships, when I knew what it looked like from the unedited side?

Every time I saw a picture of someone I was involved with in a sappy couples photo, I felt like Kristen Wiig in the bridal shower meltdown scene in Bridesmaids, where she launches into an epic rant with the words:

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

She storms into the backyard and punches a hole through a 4-foot heart-shaped cookie, wrestling the giant baked good until it falls off its easel and crumbles on top of her.

That is how I felt about social media as a false reinforcement in relationships.

I imagined another reality, one where I could easily bridge the discrepancy between perception and truth.

Step 1: Click on the comment box below the offending photo.

Step 2: Type “You cheated on her with me. #honestygoals”

Step 3: Repeat with every man who thought a picture could solve his problems.

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***

When I was done being angry at Instagram, for making me feel ugly or unwanted or alone, I reflected on why I chose to enable such a heartbreaking violation of trust.

I wondered if my involvement as another woman had more to do with actually being with someone or dismantling an ideal of romance—one I secretly longed for, but couldn’t actualize: a long-term relationship with a person who cared about me, and wanted to be with me exclusively.

I wondered if I could be so small of a person that I would intentionally ruin for others what I couldn’t find myself. It was easier to live without beautiful love if I assumed the couples I envied probably didn’t have it either. It was easier to cope with loneliness if I convinced myself a happy and healthy relationship did not and could not truly exist.

Maybe monogamy was just a product of superficial demand, created and marketed to us like a trendy commodity, one the masses never truly owned yet bragged about having anyway.

Empty yet enlightened, I kept seeing these men who, on some level, did love other women to the best of their ability. They documented and polished those moments for the world to see, and adjusted the saturation and warmth to fit the mood. I felt these relationships grow in my hands with the haptic feedback of every like I gave.

Outside my phone screen, I lived the photos men chose not to post.

The dark drives to my apartment.

The grainy noise of being quiet behind thin walls.

The low resolution nights of blurring her to focus on me.

***

Next post coming soon…

The Moment Cheating Actually Happens

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Another Woman Series ♀♂♀

We were on my bed the first time his girlfriend called.

“Should I answer?” he asked, his phone vibrating on my blue sheets.

“Would you normally?”

He picked up, and welcomed a beloved stranger into my bedroom. His voice was even, the way familiar souls fall back into conversation over the phone rather than start anew with plastic formality.

She asked what he was doing, and he gave an answer as forgettable as our afternoon chewing on greasy sandwiches at the bar, staring at sports I never watched alone but enjoyed beside him. It’s eerie watching someone lie. You reflect on all the times they seemed so honest and normal to you.

She repeated her questions. Once for him to answer, twice to convince herself. Cheating is only explosive in its initiation and reveal. Otherwise, it’s a very calm and passive process.

I climbed on top of him and straddled his thighs as he spoke. It was brazen and inappropriate and one of his favorite things about me.

I kissed his neck and his words reverberated in my head, as if I were part of the conversation, too.

“I’ll see you later,” he reassured her. “I love you.”

She murmured it back and he hung up.

Alone again—her voice an echo of ignored advice—we confirmed everything I imagined she worried about. The stuff of nightmares when you finally let someone in. The feeling of knowing and loving everything about someone, and ignoring the doubt of any of that being true.

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***

It wasn’t always like this between us. There was a time when we were just friends, and I thought I could protect him from himself.

We were out with a group of friends once when he drank too much and spent the rest of the night trying to pinch my ass. I drove him home after last call.

We arrived at his address, and he loitered in my passenger’s seat, hoping I’d give him a reason to stay. Heavy and swaying, he leaned over the console to try his luck.

“I’ve always liked you, Connie,” he said, his breath muddied with the stench of beer.

“I know.”

Men always think they have to admit their attraction, as if we didn’t already know. Most times, we know long before they do.

“It’s always fun when we hang out,” he said. He lurched forward and I dodged his lips, flattening myself against my car door.

“We do have fun,” I said, pushing him back into his seat. “But you don’t want to do this. You have a girlfriend.”

He agreed and argued all at once. He had enough alcohol in his system to act on his desires and claim plausible deniability later.

Back then, it was him trying to kiss me, and me lying on his behalf.

“You’re going to regret this,” I said. I nudged him toward the door with a smile. “Good night.”

The next morning, he thanked me for not letting anything happen. I was so drunk, he told me. I do really care about her.

I spent the day feeling good about myself. It was a wholesome high, the kind you get from leaving a generous tip or picking up litter on the sidewalk. I felt noble for being a “relationship savior”—a woman who held something pure and fragile in her hands and chose to defend it. Call it a case of superhero syndrome, but I had spared a defenseless civilian from the worst kind of heartbreak.

Or maybe I was the super villain, milking a monologue dedicated to my own greatness, my only redemption being the mercy I showed someone I had endangered in the first place.

***

I was 22 or 23 when my love life turned to shit. Or rather, my outlook on love.

I felt foolish for investing time, hope, and heart into other people.

I felt burned from caring too deeply.

And most of all, I felt jaded.

I was in a state of disbelief that relationships could work in my favor, that all the effort of dating could possibly ferment into something tasty and intoxicating, instead of the usual regret and sour emptiness the morning after.

The superhero syndrome started to fade and I realized the city didn’t need saving—I did.

I had no place ripping off my freshly-ironed work clothes to reveal a righteous identity, because I simply didn’t have one. I was just an average civilian, looking out for my own in a city of outright chaos and heart crimes and injustice.

I stopped resisting.

He approached me again on a separate occasion, one where he was more sober and I was more angry at the world, and it finally happened. We continued seeing each other on those terms: tipsy and pissed and needing to touch each other. He would fight with his girlfriend and come find me. I would fail to form any worthwhile connection and send him a text.

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Like clockwork, we would massage this twisted partnership from pleasure to pain and back again. As incremental and as compounding as time, our attachment grew from sex to something more threatening—a craving for one another, even after our bodies had nothing left to offer.

“I don’t like when you hang out with other guys,” he once told me. I was applying face cream before bed. It was one of the few nights he could stay over without raising suspicion.

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“I know you can do what you want, but I guess I still get jealous.”

“You legit have a girlfriend. I am single.”

He would always apologize after that. For putting me in that situation. For making me feel that way. For making me think we could un-fuck the past and be something normal. It was comforting to think someone else was to blame here. That being on the receiving end of I’m sorry redeemed me somehow, when I knew exactly what I signed up for.

***

Looking back now, I’ve stopped quantifying loyalty on a scale of execution, which assumes the act of being physical with someone else—whether it’s a touch or kiss or more—determines a relationship’s shift from “intact” to “broken.”

A more accurate measure of loyalty would judge someone’s intent, rather than their actions.

It’s easy to pinpoint when a person physically strays, but it’s much harder to determine how long it took the body to catch up to the mind.

Had I agreed to my friend’s advances the first time instead of the second, would it really have changed the value of his loyalty initially, or lack thereof? What’s the significance of a monogamous relationship when the restraining factor is a lack of opportunity instead of the self-discipline of those involved? If the consent of another woman, or third party, is the only thing protecting the sanctity of a monogamous relationship, then there was never a true promise of exclusivity.

In my case, the cheating didn’t occur when I formally had his body beneath mine. It happened when I had his attention, his willingness, and his intent.

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***

“I think you should change my name in your phone,” I said. I kept thinking about how her voice sounded through the speaker, the hollowness of her pauses.

“She wouldn’t go through my phone,” he said.

“You don’t know that.”

“What should I change it to? Domino’s?”

“Why would Domino’s text you….”

“I don’t know. What do I use then?”

“Pick a generic guy’s name. If she goes through your phone, she’ll be looking for a girl’s name.”

He tapped on my contact information. With a few drags of his finger, I no longer existed.

And it was like we were back in my car again—parked and in the way of life in motion around us.

Him leaning in, leaving his sour breath and essence on my interior.

Me, wafting the evidence of our moment out the window, erasing myself, still trying to protect him.

***

Next post → How Social Media Saved Your Relationship And Ruined My Outlook On Love

Another Woman: A Series About My Role in Infidelity

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Another Woman Series ♀♂♀

Home wrecker. Side chick. Mistress.

A rose by any other name will bear the same thorns. When you add an unannounced third party, the situation changes—for better or worse. Compared to 66 Days of No Sex, this series documents not a future of restraint, but a history of indulgence.

This is my experience as the other woman.

From singular lapses of judgement to the repeated and calculated violations of exclusivity, I’m sharing my perspective of disrupted relationships from the inside. I’ll write about broader realizations from experiencing it firsthand and include scattered thoughts I haven’t sorted so nicely yet (and may never).

I’ve titled this “Another Woman” instead of “The Other Woman” because it’s counterintuitive to think of my love life as secondary to someone else’s. I’m fascinated by the idea of “otherness” in relationships—it’s like I’m an out-of-place chapter in a couple’s fairytale, an amendment to another woman’s happily ever after. Or maybe the couple is the one making an appearance in my storybook.

What’s crazy is my story doesn’t necessarily make their final draft. The fairytale can still be printed in black and white, omitting detrimental details as if the affair never occurred. Sometimes, I worry that not talking about certain things deludes us into thinking they don’t happen.

Why I am writing this

  • To give a voice to the silent participant. We hear stories from all other spectrums—the heartbreakers and the heartbroken, brooding and blissful singles, disgruntled and happy couples—but rarely does someone in my shoes willingly step into the limelight (without first being broadcast on national news for an affair with the POTUS). This side of the story stays under wraps for obvious reasons: damage to one’s reputation, shame, guilt, and even loyalty to the cheater. But it’s necessary to tell every side of the story, especially when the stakes are a generation’s understanding of modern love and commitment, in ideology and in practice.
  • To challenge society’s perception and fetishization of monogamy. I question whether there is more than one path to romantic fulfillment and life-long companionship. Mutual monogamy can be a beautiful thing, but it shouldn’t be the only socially accepted practice. Especially when not everyone is capable of or interested in exclusive relationships. Especially when our actions indicate otherwise. Especially when a cookie-cutter prescription to dating could hold some people back from a truly satisfying way of living and loving.
  • To reframe the complicated dynamic of relationships. I have a word-vomit list of lofty factors I want to address, including the role of timing, self-interest, emotional and physical involvement, discretion vs. public recognition, temptation and opportunity, and much more.
  • To spur conversation and reflection on a personal level. If this series can encourage self-reflection or spark an honest discussion between two people about intentions and expectations in dating and companionship, then I will have accomplished what I wanted.

Why I am NOT writing this

  • To clear my name. This is about revelation, not redemption.
  • To apologize for what I did. It would be insincere of me to claim remorse, or to say I’ve undergone a moral transformation since the first incident. It’s a process, and not necessarily one of progress.
  • To out someone’s infidelity specifically. Real names will not be used, and identities will not be confirmed or denied.

My obligation as a writer is to share pieces of my reality, even if the truth may not present me in a flattering light and especially if the truth may not otherwise be known. I find that purpose to be greater than my personal reputation.

I want to thank you for reading up to this point, for giving this endeavor a chance and your time, and for allowing me a platform to share a vulnerable part of my life.

 

“The thing you are most

afraid to write

Write that.”

-Nayyirah Waheed

***

Next post → The Moment Cheating Actually Happens

If We Talked About Food the Way We Talk About Relationships

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Being single is synonymous with a state of lacking.

Dating is the process of escaping said emptiness.

And marriage or an exclusive lifelong partner is the gold standard.

What bothers me is there isn’t a tame opposition to a committed relationship. If you don’t believe in the “one and only” lifestyle, then you have the option of being:

  • Asexual
  • A sex-crazed polygamist
  • A man-hating/woman-hating pessimist

…instead of someone who simply doesn’t believe in the finality of a single love, lasting (and satisfying) forever. It just feels like there’s no checkbox for normal people who don’t subscribe to monogamy.

It’s hard separate the actual practice of monogamy from its positive connotation in society, so here’s a hypothetical scenario discussing the same arguments about relationships, but with a lighter topic: food. The scene is me and a friend. Let’s call him Bob. It’s a chill Sunday and we’re at the pond.

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Me: I don’t think I could eat one kind of food for the rest of my life.

Bob: Oh, don’t be dramatic, Connie! You’ll find your dish.

Me: I don’t think it’s a negative thing. I’m saying that is not something I could see myself doing. I don’t know if I’d enjoy that.

Bob: You don’t think you’ll feel hungry when you’re older?

Me: I’m not giving up eating all together, it would just be a variety of foods.

Bob: It’s fun to try everything when you’re young, but you’ll grow out of it.

Me: Will I? My taste may change, but I can’t imagine being happy eating the same thing over and over again for the rest of my life.

Bob: Maybe you just haven’t eaten the right food. Once you do, you’ll want to eat it forever.

Me: I don’t know. I don’t apply that level of permanency to literally any other aspect of my life, so it’s just kinda strange that this would be the exception. What if I have salty or sweet or sour cravings? I don’t think there’s any one food that can satisfy all those moods.

Bob: Well, you have to be realistic. Pick a food that satisfies your most important cravings. Like pickles can cover the salty/sweet. Actually, pickles can cover the sour, too. Just pick pickles. They’re great.

Me: *RBF, while throwing breadcrumbs at the ducks*

Bob: You’re not suppose to feed them.

Me: Let them eat cake, she said.

Bob: *rolls eyes* What’s your favorite flavor?

Me: I guess sweet, but I can’t eat sweet stuff forever.

Bob: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Me: But, I can. Plus sushi, pasta, pizza, so on.

Bob: Nothing’s perfect. You just have to figure out your non-negotiables. Just look at Joe–he values health so it’s salads everyday.

Me: Um, Joe eats burgers.

Bob: What?

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Me: Yeah, we grabbed bacon cheeseburgers last week.

Bob: He and Sarah have been dieting for 2 years.

Me: Apparently not.

Bob: He loves salads.

Me: I don’t doubt that. At the end of the day, Joe is a salad guy. But he also likes burgers.

Bob: That glutton.

Me: He’s not a glutton. A liar? Yes. A glutton? No. And those cheeseburgers were the shit, thanks for asking.

Bob: Why do you think he lies about it?

Me: There’s stability in a diet. I’m sure there are fresh days along with wilted ones–either way, there’s a salad waiting for him. I mean, I’m not excusing his behavior. If you’re going to commit to a diet, stick to it. His parents are health nuts so I can see how there’s pressure to keep up appearances. And all his friends are in that stage of life where they’re dieting, so it’s natural for him to follow suit. Even if he’s not passionate about salads anymore. Even if he’s still eating burgers.

Bob: Shit.

Me: Yeah, it’s fucked up. It’s so common though–the perception of your food preferences overriding your honest cravings. You know Carrie? She hates being a vegetarian.

Bob: You don’t say?

Me: Yeah, but it’s the “wholesome” thing to do so it’s all you ever see on social media if you don’t know her well. Sometimes, it feels like she spends more time talking about loving tofu than actually loving it.

Bob: Sometimes it’s a learned love. Not an immediate inclination, but something that grows on you. Especially if it’s good for you.

Me: Beth was vegetarian before she met you, right?

Bob: Yeah, we dieted for about a year until we both committed to spaghetti and meatballs.

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Me: What do you think changed for her?

Bob: I don’t know. What’s crazy is I never asked that of her–she said it just felt right. And we’ve been noodleheads ever since.

Me: That’s cool. Seems like you’ve got a good thing going. See, the foodie pool wouldn’t be so screwed up if people were like you and Beth. If people were just honest with themselves. But you’ve got these frauds like Joe and Carrie contaminating the waters.

Bob: But sometimes the Joes and Carries start out like me and Beth. It’s not as black and white as you make it out to be, Connie. The loyal ones vs. the liars. It’s messy and hard. Beth and I have almost slipped up.

Me: So why even do it? Why not just eat the foods you both want and be happy.

Bob: You think I don’t miss brownies? Of course, I do! But I care more about the connection I have with Beth from our shared meals. That makes me happy. It’s something we’re going through together that nobody else can understand.

Me: Hmm…

Bob: Think of it this way: when you go out to eat, you never know what you’re going to get. They may run out of the dish you order, they can overcook the food, they may not even have seating for you! I know what I like. There’s no reason for me to scrounge Yelp when I have a homecooked meal of my favorite dish waiting at home.

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Me: That makes sense.

Bob: It can.

Me: I think that’s where we differ. I love having options and being able to satisfy my every impulse without thinking of anyone else, even if it comes with the risk of disappointment. I can’t sacrifice my freedom to eat what I want. And it’s not fair for someone to think I will.

Bob: You’re the only person I know that can make an all-cookie diet sound like a highway robbery. Nobody’s trying to take anything from you. If it’s right, you’ll want it for yourself.

Me: I suppose.

Bob: You’re over-thinking things. Eating is a part of life. People handle it a bunch of different ways. Some ways more common than others. At the end of the day, you choose how you want to live. And that’s all I got today. All out of wisdom.

Me: No dessert course?

Bob: Nah. Wanna catch the 7pm show later?

Me: Sorry, I’ve got dinner plans.

Bob: …burgers with a certain someone?

Me: I’ll order a veggie burger if that makes you feel better.

Bob: Just stop feeding the birds and we’ll call it good.

Conditions of Happiness: My Thoughts on Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington

I’ve been watching many videos of Chester Bennington since his suicide last week. In one interview, he points an index finger at his temple and tells a radio host:

“When I’m inside myself, I’m in my own head. This place right here. This skull, between my ears. That is a bad neighborhood. I should not be in there alone. I need–I cannot be in there by myself.”

The radio hosts laughs and says, “What do you mean?”

His nonchalant response comes off as insensitive only because Chester did end up killing himself. I don’t fault the radio host; Chester even smiled through it to keep the interview conversational. Thoughts like Chester’s are only classified as symptomatic once it’s too late.

I browsed the comments section of this interview and found many people who could not understand:

  • “Must be so tough having a millionaire musician lifestyle.”
  • “There are people who have it way worse.”

No amount of wealth or privilege or even love guarantees invincibility from mental illness, or for those who are slow to pull the medical trigger, mental turmoil.

This kind of turmoil has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have. It’s not about counting your blessings or being grateful. It’s a state of “being” so far removed from how you actually live.

You can have a good job and generous cash flow, success and power, a fulfilling side hustle, family and faith, a community of friends to the point of social suffocation, attention and admiration from strangers, and those nice shiny shoes in the window.

It is possible to have all the conditions of happiness without feeling any of it.

Chester spoke of self-inflicted pain and being inside of himself, the internal struggle. When people asked what’s wrong, what happened today? I imagine he thought:

Well, there’s no immediate threat. The neighborhood is just unsafe.

One Matchbox Twenty lyric that always stuck with me is: “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know right now you can’t tell.”

Unwellness.

The state of being not okay.

People talk about the symptoms of depression as being cries for help. Save the ones in rough waters, flailing their arms for a life ring.

But that’s not what it looks like. Oftentimes, we can’t tell. Depression comes in all forms like a liquid taking the shape of a vessel, or rather, a host. Depression doesn’t discriminate. The extrovert is as susceptible as the introvert. The happy are no safer than the sad.

We’re suppose to lend a hand and a listening ear. Reach out to me if you have no one else. Talk to me.

But how do we know who to save when nobody looks like they’re drowning? It’s sunny. Hot sand, plastic coolers, colorful towels. Nobody actually dies at the beach because we all came here to swim.

So we swim.

Even when it feels like we’re not moving at all. Standing waist-deep in room temperature water, existing in two wildly different states that feel exactly the same. Whether we’re planted on our own two feet or bottom up, nostrils bubbling underwater, legs forked up like antennas from a calm, glass surface.

 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

If you hate talking on the phone like me, you can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. https://www.crisistextline.org/

66 Days of No Sex: A Reflection from the Free Side, Part II Q&A

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66 Days of No Sex <– Where it all began…

You asked, so I answered.

These questions were collected from readers in an anonymous survey after the 66 days. Sorry, I couldn’t include all of them! I tried to pick a variety of umbrella questions that covered most of the feedback. Here we go!

Q1: What do you feel you got out of this challenge?

I have a greater appreciation for self-awareness. One of my fave entrepreneurs Gary Vaynerchuk stresses the importance of knowing yourself. For me, 66 Days was about cutting off my own crutch. This challenge was me executing on a “self-audit.” It’s important reflect because no one will tell you to get your shit together like you can.

I have a lot of blunt friends, but no one was going to say:

Connie, you talk like President of the Lonely Hearts Club, but one that hosts meetings from the middle of a dick frenzy. You want to find a worthwhile connection? Start acting like the type of person you want to attract. Because your path now and all the dumb shit you’re doing? It’s not going to get you there.”

  • Step 1: Figure out what your crutch is.
  • Step 2: Have the conviction to be stronger without the crutch.
  • Step 3: Try your fucking hardest.

Q2: Did you learn something about yourself that you hoped to learn?

Intentional or not, the challenge forced me to be vulnerable with myself. There were moments throughout 66 Days where I would just cry: in the car going home from work, in bed after a night out with friends, and in the middle of writing my next post. Instead of relying on a person or body to distract me, I had to lean into the discomfort of an unspecified sadness. It was never a single trigger, but rather a perfect storm of loneliness, anger, hopelessness, resentment, disgust, and envy.

In piecing together my week to write a coherent blog post, I realized a lot of things didn’t add up. Despite the overhaul of my love life, there was still dissonance between what I did and what I said I wanted. I documented my life as a stream of consciousness when I couldn’t identify a theme. The blog was a novel with a convoluted story arc and underdeveloped protagonist.

I learned I’m in a selfish grey area where I want the comfort and convenience of an exclusive partner, but the freedom and wishful thinking of single life. All this analysis means nothing if I don’t first figure out what I’m willing to invest.

I’m pleased that I felt disappointed in myself during the challenge. Disappointment is a great place to start because it means you have expectations of yourself. You can’t better yourself if you don’t know where you went wrong.

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Q3: I’m an Asian woman and I judge myself for wanting sex outside of committed relationships. The thing is, I judge all people (not just women) for sex outside committed relationships. Is this something you experience at all?

I can’t say I feel bad about having sex outside of committed relationships. I think sex inside a committed relationship is not inherently better or worse than sex outside a committed relationship. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Looks like we disagree here, which is fine. However, I do relate to the feeling of self-judgement when I behave in ways against my own approval. Example: I judge fuckbois and belligerent drunks, but have I acted like a fuckgurl and a belligerent drunk. Whoops.

Your conflict is consistent in that you disagree with all sex outside of committed relationships, regardless of if it’s you or someone else. I read a good quote somewhere: “The first thought that goes through your mind is what you’re conditioned to think; your second thought defines who you are.”

Step back and think about why you judge sex outside committed relationships. Is it because of society’s standards or your own beliefs?

You and I face the same stereotype of Asian women being submissive, reserved, and modest. If we don’t fit that mold, then we also have the option of playing the “exotic sex object.” It’s hard to find middle ground as an Asian woman in American culture, especially if traditional upbringing reaffirms the former and pop culture reaffirms the latter. How do we win here?!

I have an Asian mom who is unusually supportive of my independent thinking and outspoken nature, but also wishes I didn’t kiss so many boys. When I told her the premise of 66 Days, I joked I was turning over a new leaf to be a good girl. She said in Mandarin, “Dog farts. You are a bad girl.”

My mom and I may not agree on what I ought to do with my body, but we can agree on the choice being mine to make.

Peace of mind comes from living in accordance with your own values.

So I ask: How do you privately feel about sex outside committed relationships? When it’s just you and nobody else is judging your answer. I know it’s tough to separate our morals from what we’re raised to believe, especially when those lessons come from people we may love and respect. 

If the concept still feels wrong in the the privacy of your own brain space, then that may be your true belief. Having sex should be a comfortable decision to make, something you feel good about before, during, and after. If it feels off, then start making strides toward a sexual lifestyle you do feel good about. If you aren’t already, try only having sex in committed relationships or not having sex until you gain some clarity.

Also consider if it’s really the sex you’re seeking. Are you looking for something typically associated with sex, such as companionship, connection, or validation? I found I often confused horniness with loneliness. Make sure you’re identifying the right problem to find the right solution. A 12-course meal will do nothing to cure a thirst problem.

Q4: The whole basis of no sex for 66 days made me think, “Can this girl not go without sex for 66?” Sounds crazy, but 66 days isn’t that long. Before I just thought you were quite normal, but now I’m thinking you’re a bit of a slut? It’s 66 days! I’m no “stud” myself but I think I’ve done over 66 days at least 3-4 times in my sexual career and I’ve yet to write a blog about it. I’d have doubts about dating you after this. I just don’t like a girl’s sexual history laid in front of me before I’d even met her.

Not really a question here, but I wanted to address this. Let’s get one thing straight: It doesn’t bother you that I share my sexual history; it bothers you that I have a sexual history. Because regardless of when you learned about my past—before meeting me or years into a relationship with me—your perception of what earns a girl “slut status” does not change.

Help me understand your definition. Am I a slut for publicly admitting I’m sexually active? If I fuck in a forest and nobody hears it, am I still a slut? Or maybe I can be Schrödinger’s slut where if nobody finds me in the bushes with my pants down, I’m simultaneously a virgin. 

Does “slut status” depend solely on activity level or also choice of partner? Am I slut if I have sex with a hypothetical boyfriend for 66 days straight? Or is it sluttier of me to have a single one night stand? Am I slutty if I sleep with a different partner each week but am transparent about my engagements? Or is it sluttier of me to cheat on a long-term boyfriend in secrecy?

If a slut is someone who likes sex and wants it frequently, then I am a big slut.

I love having sex and addressing sex has a healthy and normal part of life for both men and women. I don’t get why people are so ass-backwards about women talking about sex. Nobody bats an eye if a chick takes three dicks in her left ear canal, but the second a woman wants to have an open dialogue about S-E-X? She’s a slut.

Women can watch porn. But we can’t talk about it.

Women can masturbate. But we can’t talk about it.

Women can have sex. But we can’t talk about it.

The reason you think I’m a slut is because I’m talking about it. It’s as if women’s mouths were designed for something other than making men come prematurely.

If you prefer girls who are embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing sex, then I advise you get tested. You’re due for a retroactive STD warning from a woman who was shamed for “laying out her sexual history.”

I don’t think 66 days is a long time now, but dry spells are subjective. Heck, I once went 18 years without sex.

But it was never about the length of the challenge—it was about the stage in my life when it began. Accomplishments are measured in the context of a person’s life. A month of sobriety for me is not the same as a month of sobriety for a recovering alcoholic.

If I started the blog in the midst of a dry spell or even as the person I am now, it would be a dull read because there lacks conflict. Similarly, maybe you haven’t written a blog because limited female attention and a dormant sex life are normal for you.

Please lean into your doubts of dating me. You don’t deserve the driest, nibbliest, virgin-mouthed blowjob, let alone mine. Men don’t get to shame women for the practice and then reap the benefits of a woman who knows what she’s doing. Women are scolded for putting out for anyone other than the one trying to get in our pants at the moment. Oh, the karma of a Catch-22 chastity belt designed to frustrate the very inventor.

That’s not how this works, dude. Should you ever pull your head out of your ass and surface from the infinity pool of pussy I’m sure you’re drowning in, I’d be happy to have a conversation with you about sex.

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Q5: How different would it have been if it were 6 months? Or a year? Any thoughts about how different that challenge would be for people who have a more difficult time hooking up with people/are less attractive based on social norms?

If it were a longer timeline, I may have felt more discouraged in the beginning because the goal was daunting. Bite-sized milestones are easier to digest. After overcoming the first few weeks, the rest of the challenge became exponentially easier like I caught a second wind. By Week 6 or 7, I plateaued with fewer urges (unless temptation was directly in front of me).

A zero-sex challenge for people who have trouble hooking up? It wouldn’t be a challenge, it’d be cake. They would just keep living as usual. That’s like me saying I’m going to go 66 days without becoming an Olympic gold medalist. Probably couldn’t fail if I tried my hardest and drank Michael Phelps’ body sweat as an elixir.

Being attractive gives you an advantage, I don’t think the impact is as drastic as you think. When guys hit on me, I don’t think it’s because I’m incredibly attractive (though it’s a nice assumption if I’m feeling down). It’s because 1) I’m female and 2) the guy is the type who generally hits on women. This guy has probably approached 5s as well as 10s. I was the lucky (or unlucky) number in his immediate range of options. 

Hooking up isn’t about looks or game as much as it is about timing, convenience, and persistence.

I stand a chance against more attractive women because I proactively approach men. I reach them before other women (timing) and break the ice, so it requires minimal effort/work from their end (convenience). Then, I occupy their full attention (persistence), so they have no time to approach their Choice A. That’s how the turtle wins the race.

Attractive people have more opportunity in the sense they can select from a pool of people at their attractiveness level and below. It’s like when you’re shopping a BOGO sale and you have an item in hand and need a second of equal or lesser value. If you have an expensive item, you have more options in the store. However, you’ll be shopping longer for a piece of comparable value that you really like.

In other words, hotter people have the benefit of choice, but the burden of selectivity. They want maximum bang for their buck.

At the end of they day, everyone can get laid. There are enough horny people to go around. It’s a matter of if you’re willing to dig through the clearance bins instead of shopping the front table.

Q6: Will you attempt this again?

I’m still on my first attempt (Day 128 – May 8th). Honestly, I feel like I could go years without sex. The magic of habit! I’m still guilty of the occasional SnapChat to old friends with benefits, but it’s nothing compared to my former sense of urgency.

I couldn’t attempt this again because I’m in a different mentality, one where I don’t consider it “giving up” sex. When I do decide to have sex again, I think I’ll feel a stronger sense of control. I don’t need to have sex; I want to have sex.

I’d like to think I’ll never return to a place where sex dictates so much of my happiness. Out of respect for the great thing sex can be, I need to separate physical involvement from my unresolved issues with intimacy. Until I can have sex in a responsible mindset, it’s best I don’t have sex at all.

I don’t want to be a man-hater.

I don’t want to be a relationship-hater.

It’s easy to blame external factors, but so much of what shapes life and love satisfaction is internal.

Despite the many male characters that made appearances in 66 Days, the only relevant character was me.

To answer your question: If a similar challenge could have a significant and positive impact on my life, then sign me up, babycakes.

***

A HUGE THANK YOU for following the 66 Days of No Sex series. It means the world when you choose to spend your time reading my stuff. Sending you all a million virtual ear nibbles, the kind you like so much! 😉 Actually. XOXO

Area Woman Maintains Professional Persona Between Weekends of Getting Mercilessly Dicked

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CHICAGO—Feeling refreshed from a weekend of nonstop coitus and sinfully creative foreplay, local woman Sarah Goodman arrived to work early on Monday to catch up on emails. “Sarah is one of the highest performers in the department,” reported her manager Glen Frederick, who ran into Goodman in the kitchen and ignorantly directed conversation toward the weather instead of the saucier topic of how aggressively she was shagged less than 24 hours ago.

When asked about her weekend, the 26-year-old digital strategist reportedly made no mention of the dozens of borderline abusive acts she requested her partner perform on her genitalia last Friday. Her polite and conservative response further proved how her adopted office persona was an adequate veil for the sexual deviance that would surely jeopardize her good standing with HR and any chance of promotion.

Goodman was described by her previous supervisor as a strong technical lead who exemplified professional maturity, which largely contrasts her covert participation in questionable activities outside of business hours—she has reportedly referred to her sexual partners as father figures despite the absence of any true biological relation.

Multiple sources confirmed that Goodman’s latest training module used none of the foul language typically heard through her thin bedroom walls—spoken at a volume that countered her own request that “they had to be quiet tonight.”

“I’m excited to work with such a motivated team,” said Goodman, adding that the upcoming project would bring the company to an unprecedented amount of revenue, an accomplishment that pales in comparison to her most recent 2.5-hour session of wild and uninterrupted fornication.

Colleagues shared that Goodman was “highly organized” and “an insightful mentor” around the office. At press time, she was seen compiling user feedback surveys and not seeking opportunities to have her posterior tenderized like a fresh cut sirloin steak. She proceeded to conduct herself appropriately as if she were a dynamic and socially adjusted person, capable of compartmentalizing her life to simultaneously promote her professional advancement and satiate her fuck-nasty libido through impromptu gang bangs.

66 Days of No Sex: A Reflection From The Free Side, Part I

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66 Days of No Sex challenge ended March 7, 2017

(Previous week about female masturbation here)

Result: Failed (technical foul on Day 55, but no sex during the 66 days)

Mood: Pensive

I was destined to have sex last weekend.

My roommate was out of town and I had the place to myself. After two months of sexual hibernation, I expected anthropomorphic woodland critters to rally around my bed at the strike of midnight and welcome me back to the lifelong dance party featuring the Horizontal Mambo.

Instead, on Day 67, I sent nudes to an old friend with benefits. The red arrow next to his Snapchat name hollowed.

“How many guys you send that to?”

“Just you.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Have I ever lied to you?”

“Probably.”

We were regulars back in the day. He earned my trust when I told him I missed him and he told me he missed my body.

That’s the kind of respect I prefer: honesty in intention, not sweetness in speech.

It’s crazy how a guy who openly expresses interest in strictly sex is perceived as less respectful than the smooth talker who habitually apologizes for not replying to your texts and flaking on plans. The charming non-boyfriend figure that hangs out with you every weekend but doesn’t want to label what you have, who tells you how much he enjoys your company as you wait for him to come around and want more than your weekends.

My regular didn’t tell me pretty things. He established a relationship of utility rather than appearances, and for that I owe him the standard I now have for a serious, long-term partner: the courage to be transparent about your desires.

“Will I be the first [after 66 days]?” he asked.

“Yes, congratulations.”

“Winner winner chicken dinner.”

He’s prideful. Always wanting to be my only, even when I’m not his anything.

I’m attracted to how indifferent he is toward me.

It’s such a turnoff when I meet a guy and he immediately caters to me—compliments me and warps his very being to accommodate me. I don’t see attraction. I see weakness in the form of a man so easily manipulated, not by me but by a woman’s presence in general.

I can’t date someone who lacks emotional or sexual discipline. I can’t date someone like me.

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Spoiler: We didn’t have sex that weekend because he never followed up. It was our last chance—he left Boston permanently a few days later for a job.

I’m now batting 0 for 3 for guys I’ve been interested in (Week 6’s non-date, Week 7’s fuck-you-dead guy).

The longer I keep up my 66 days, the less voluntary it feels. I question whether this journey of self-discovery and sexual liberation was really just a narrative of a girl who couldn’t get laid.

It happens this way—the ones I like don’t like me.

Rephrase: I tend to like guys who don’t like me. I’ve damned myself to a game of cat and mouse, where I always have to be the pursuer. The problem is I like chasing mice more than I like catching them.

A few guys have asked me to grab drinks the past two months. That gesture alone makes me lose interest. I’m prompt in declining because I don’t like leading people on—it’s rude to let people be happy when they have nothing to be happy about. I’d rather be presumptuous and clear than passive and misleading.

For the record, I hate the connotation of meeting someone at a bar: the all-or-nothing dichotomy that the relationship will escalate romantically or dissipate completely, with no middle ground for friendship.

To combat this, I’ve started handing out my business card in lieu of my phone number. There’s no faster boner killer than a business card. You’re laughing and chatting it up, all smiles and shots, and then you whip out a 2×3 inch piece of card stock to really drain the blood out of Australia and everything else down under.

I wish I could put “killing boners” on my resume. I don’t need a certification, I taught the damn class.

A business card sets the tone of wanting to stay connected as people as opposed to providing a line of communication for a booty call. It’s much harder to draft an email that says, “hey what are you doing tonight?”

It’s been working well. I’ve developed a few friendships with guys who would have otherwise been lost in my contacts under pseudonyms like “Rum Guy” or “Jake from Saturday.” The further I can remove myself from situations where it’s okay to ghost someone, the happier I am.

Day 69: a Friday night.

A good friend invited me out to meet his best friends from school.

Admittedly, I love unpredictability. The thrill of primping and going out to meet strangers gives me good jitters. It makes me question if I’m prepared to be in a relationship. I love the anything-could-happen feeling, and I’m not sure I’m ready to give up that nightly sense of adventure.

Even with anticipation on high, I wore a backward baseball cap and dark purple lipstick because I didn’t expect to kiss anybody.

Handshake introductions, beers, and friendly bashing. I love how easy it is to break the ice with guys.

I was drinking a Cold Snap when my friend’s girlfriend came over.

“You vibing with any of them?” she asked, glancing at his group of friends. A decent bunch: good looks and better conversation.

“Which ones are available?” I laughed.

She spread her hands out across the dance floor.

“All of them.”

This is one of the things I’ll miss about the bachelorette life: the immense power of being the scarce female in a group of men. I’m the only thing on the menu tonight, boys. Surprise.

“I’m debating between A* and B*,” I said.

A* was sitting at the bar and B* was tearing up the dance floor.

“B* is really great,” she said. “I feel like A* could be douchey.”

“I think A* is more physically attractive, but B* is so funny. I love his personality.”

B* didn’t take himself too seriously. I appreciate when people are comfortable being the source of entertainment for a crowd. You can only derive so much happiness from looking at (or touching) an attractive person, and even that lives within a finite window of his or her age-based prime.

A good sense of humor, on the other hand, is a renewable fucking energy.

The drinks kept flowing and I lost count by the time we all went back to my friend’s house.

Funny people should be rewarded for bringing joy into the world, I thought.

I went to the bathroom, wadded up a few squares of toilet paper under the faucet, and wiped off my dark lipstick.

B* and I were rolling around on my friend’s bed, tongues in each other’s cheeks, senses spinning.

“I don’t want to have sex,” I blurted out.

We were having fun at the petting zoo, and I was already telling him about how my apartment didn’t allow goats.

“That’s fine, I—I didn’t think we were,” he said. “We can do other stuff.” He inched toward the edge of the bed and asked permission to go down on me.

Let this be a lesson to all: Always go for the nicer personality. Generosity translates to all aspects of life.

I wanted it. I don’t know what held me back, especially because he was a vetted prospect, the best friend of one of my best friends. This was exactly what I asked for a few days ago: an honest and familiar guy, saying yes to me.

“It’s okay, thank you.”

I said thank you. Like, “Thank you, kind sir, for your patronage at this restaurant. Please come again soon.”

Controlled eagerness is what I saw in him. He was a gentlemen about the disconnect between my actions and words and the other odd tidbits coming out of my mouth. We stopped touching each other as much, but still some. I felt bad.

“I don’t like it when guys like me,” I said.

“You’re a pretty girl.” He kissed me. “Guys are going to like you.”

“Let’s go back outside with everyone.”

“Okay.”

We slept on an air mattress in my friend’s living room. His other friends slept on the couch. Snores, a log of an arm draped on my side, morning like sabers through the blinds. I whispered I was cold so he would hold me closer. Throughout our drunken sleep, I rolled away and scooted back into his chest for attention.

Mouse in and out of shadows, waiting under clawed paws for the grip of life or death.

 

Read Part II: The 66 Days of No Sex Q&A

Week 8: The New Slang for Female Masturbation and My Personal Stats

Day 65 of 66 Days of No Sex

(Previous week here)

Mood: Pleased

My friend with benefits closed my squeaky bedroom door behind us. He took off his baseball cap and wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead, victim to the autumn’s dry heat.

“I was so bored today I jerked off like twice,” he said and flopped onto my bed.

“Yeah, I jerked off before you got here.” He raised a brow.

“Girls can’t jerk off.”

“Why?” I asked.

“…because you don’t have a penis.”

“You know what I mean though.”

“Why don’t you say masturbate?”

“It sounds so textbook-y. Like what you would say in sex ed. I like saying jerk off.”

He gave me that look whenever I did weird things like smell his armpits (I told him I liked the pheromones). We dropped the subject and did our business, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how women didn’t have the as many options as men when it came to talking casually about masturbation.

Wank it, whack off, jerk it, jack off. A million nursery rhyme combinations for guys going to town with their right hand.

And what do women get?

Flick the bean.

Perhaps the most underwhelming terminology one could think of for female self-love, especially when you consider that the clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings compared to the penis’s 4,000.

While guys refer to their privates as one-eyed sea dragons, soldiers, and even pork swords, female anatomy is reduced to pantry legumes.

We deserve at least a dignified salutation like Ms. Bean or Duchess Bean. But even then, I don’t like how female masturbation is classified as a dainty and graceful thing like blurry, soft-core porn where the camera man pans off into Naria like he forgot he was on set. 

“Flick the bean” would be appropriate in a world where I exclusively wore white lace dresses, frolicked in pastures, and drank afternoon tea with Mary Poppins, not a world where I am a proactive and assertive working woman who touches herself to get shit done.

Female needs and our reactions are just as intense (and dare I say common) as our male counterparts. Women should be able to speak as nonchalantly as our guy friends do about masturbation without resorting to dated and misrepresentative phrases like “flick the bean.”

So today, I’m officially coining the term “stab the cat” for female masturbation.

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It’s spicy and playful like Taco Tuesday for your vagina, minus the hot sauce unless that’s your thing.

It’s an aggressive action word—because who doesn’t want to think about Detroit’s crime rate when they are pleasuring themselves?

Most importantly, it gives credit to female orgasms because when you stab a cat once, it still has eight lives.

The great thing about “stab the cat” is you can put your own spin on it:

  • “My boyfriend was out of town so I cut up a full litter last week.”
  • “I had some time before work so I killed Cecil in the shower.”
  • “My fuck buddy asked if he could watch, so I ripped off my Tigger onesie said, ‘Meeeoooooww STABBY STABBY DOWNTON ABBEY.'”

I’m not trying to be ostentatious about my sexuality, which is the unfortunate default for any woman who talks or writes about sex. To me, masturbation is as natural as the desire for love and connection.

Acknowledging sex but not masturbation is like being okay with people eating, but then expecting them to pretend they aren’t hungry when they don’t have food.

It’s time we normalize female masturbation.

And as weird as it sounds, I think part of the problem is society oversexualizes the idea of female pleasure. Maybe overhype would be a better word.

When a guy admits he jerks off, he’s being honest. When a girl admits she stabs the cat, she’s a freak nasty pornstar who thinks about sex 24/7.

It shocks me when men are taken aback by how common female masturbation is—or better yet, how they react to a woman who owns up to touching herself. It’s comparable to me saying I pay taxes and someone responding with, “Wow, you’re so financially responsible!”

It’s not a big deal. And this disconnect in sexual liberation isn’t all on men. Ladies need to stop feeling ashamed. I certainly understand the average woman is not as vocal as I am and that is perfectly okay.

However, there’s a difference between being private and being apologetic about your sex life. To my closet feline abusers who may feel iffy about owning the masturbation movement:

You are human. You bleed from your crotch plus or minus 12 times a year, you eat fancy brunches then poop them out, and you are allowed to touch your genitals once in a whileSay it with me: I am woman, hear me roar.

***

Data is a beautiful thing, and so is the curing of curiosity. I knew people would wonder about this “loophole” for a girl who thought 66 days without sex was a dry spell. No way Connie’s going cold turkey….

So from Day 1 of my challenge, I tracked how often I stabbed the cat. It’s cool to see my physical urges visually quantified, especially when I correlate the data to how I was feeling each week.

cats-stabbed-2

The hardest weeks were 3 and 4. After that, no sex felt like a normal part of my life. On Week 5, I was so busy at my writer’s conference that I didn’t really allocate any alone time. I think that short break stabilized my libido for the remaining weeks. Aside from my technical foul on Day 55, there wasn’t much temptation or general horniness from my end, which brought me to nice plateau.

So there you have it: sex fiend to statistician in 65 days.

I’ll end with a gold nugget from a little bird. Last week, I heard a girl was upset with her boyfriend for liking my latest post—she thought my writing was too erotic.

No comment, but I love the idea of someone having to clear my blog from their browser history. Life goals I didn’t know I had ’til now.

 

After the challenge…