I am 9.5 months into a year-long self-imposed abstinence from both sex and dating. Usually when people hear this they laugh and ask me if I am joking. When I tell them that I am not, they usually want to know why.
I am not a born-again Christian "reclaiming my virginity" and I am not doing this for religious reasons though I will admit a lot of my spirituality has resurfaced primiarly due to the fact that I am not spending the majority of my time pursuing women.
There are a few reasons I chose to undertake this journey, but the one I share with the curious is that it's something I never thought I would be able to do, so I am doing it. (I did the same thing with a triathlon last year, but abstinence is way harder than a 2k ocean swim followed by a 40k bike ride and finished off with a 10k run.) The truth is, I'd rather train for another tri than not have sex... or so I thought when I started.
When you constantly surround yourself with stimulation from the opposite sex, your body gets a charge... some of us more than others. From this charge, your body wants even more of that charge (in this case dopamine). Be it from flirty conversation to watching pornography and masturbating all the way to casual sex with mere strangers. I am 43 and have never been married. I have had a ton of casual sex with mere strangers because I thought that would make me feel less lonely. How can I possibly be lonely with a woman laying next to me?
My desire to bed as many women as I could (something young men are programmed to think is "manly") gradually left me feeling so empty and alone that there were times I actually thought about killing myself. There was no amount of women I could bed that would fill the hole I perceived I had inside of me.
I knew I had to make a change. I knew I had to do something drastic to rewire my brain and create some new connections that would hopefully lead to a more satisfied life. Maybe even with an appropriate and loving partner somewhere down the road.
The first week I experienced what I would call "sex withdrawals". I deleted every contact in my address book where there was ANY possibility of me getting a "charge" of communicating with them. This ranged from someone I could send a flirty text to all the way to what you'd term a "booty call" -- someone I could call and she would arrive soon thereafter for sex. I liken the feeling of what happened after that to the feelings a drug addict has after flushing his drugs down the toilet. I got really shaky and rocked back and forth on my couch a lot. "Something" just felt terribly wrong. I was "jonsing" for female attention. This lasted about a week after which I thought "well, that wasn't too bad", but six months later, I entered into the worst of it; what I have termed "companionship withdrawals".
I had close to three weeks of extreme bouts of longing to be with a partner. I had vivid dreams every night during this time where I was doing something and felt "very connected" to the other person. Whether it was "spooning them in bed" or sitting next to them near a campfire, I would be so incredibly happy in the dream only to wake up and realize I was indeed alone. Again.
I craved a girlfriend like nobody's business and in that craving I realized that I what I was actually starving for was the filling of the loneliness I felt. And, just like that, in one instant it finally hit me that no woman is capable of filling that void. That can only be handled by a spiritual connection... and thus I began to pray... and move day by day to an understanding of who I am without a woman by my side or in my bed.
I don't exactly know who that person is yet, but I will be sure to keep you posted...
My book, "An Open Apology to All My ExGirlfriends, Vol. 1" due out soon.
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