How it happened was, when I entered Psycho Dynamic Therapy in November 2010 I was on an exceptionally high dosage of anti-depressants and had been for a large part of the year. They had suppressed my sexual appetite to the point of invisibility throughout the year and there hadn’t been much action anyway.
One thing I promised myself upon starting therapy was that I was going to use the time I had with Jade (my therapist) to truly start to get to know myself. At 42 as I was then I really was uncertain as to who I was and what I wanted.
Under medical supervision it was agreed that I would be weaned of the anti-depressants but quite rapidly. The upshot of this, tied in with very intense sessions of therapy, was that for a short time at least my emotions were truly like being on a roller coaster. I could mistake the slightest thing as something that had never been intended, It certainly made November and December last year very interesting.
Over the new year holidays last year I got a little confused over how I felt emotionally about an old friend, an old friend who had originally started out as a fantasy who went on to become a ‘shag’ but then over time became a very good friend.
We would see each other socially on occasion and had great chats on facebook, but it was becoming apparent to me that my ‘feelings were more than friendly’. On December 30th he texted me as he had seen my picture in GMFA’s “count me in” campaign that had just recently gone live.
He had the day off, as did I and we agreed to meet up. We enjoyed a lazy day of chatting and drinking coffee and just catching up. My emotions were getting very confused and then went off the scale as he took control and right in the middle of the street grabbed me and started to snog me very deep and very hard.
We went for a drink after that and while chatting agreed he would come spend the night with me.The sex was………
Well it was awful actually. Neither of us had changed physically all that much; we knew each other much better this time than we had at the time of the previous event 7 years earlier. But you cannot imagine a more awkward sexual encounter. We went to sleep hugging, saying next time we will be more relaxed.
Next time - ‘New Years Night’ - we gave up before we even started. So technically it is exactly one year today since I last had sex.
I didn’t consciously decide to stop but I was very conscious in my choice on the first day of 2011 that it would be the year of getting to know me, and of making new friends, and I guess that subconsciously I realised that SEX and all that goes with it could only confuse matters.
So I took it off the table. For me it just didn’t exist. I didn’t have a problem with that, there was so much going on for me anyhow. In January I took a second job to supplement my existing part time one and suddenly found myself working 6-day weeks and 10-12 hour days. Add in weekly therapy session that were at times traumatic as I travelled back through the mire of my past, attempting to release myself from whatever was holding me in stasis. There wasn’t much time for anything else.
By the summer when I kick-started phase two of the year's action plan, that of making new friends, I was very conscious of taking sex out of the equation, as I have confused sex and friendship in the past and didn’t want it to get in the way. I developed one or two crushes on people who came in to my life at this time, but nothing that hurt or embarrassed me, or the object of the crush.
It was around this time I realised that I was indeed celibate. It was also around this time that I started to tweet and write. I knew it would have to be covered at some stage.
When I have told people that I don’t have sex, I have had a plethora of reactions - "Really? Why? What a waste! How do you manage?" So let me answer these questions,
Really? Yes really, you should try it some time
Why? I didn’t feel I could get to know myself while worrying about getting to know someone else. Also while in therapy of any kind I felt it was a good idea to remove something that could make me feel over-critical of myself or worry about what someone else thought of me, and would I measure up.
What a waste! To me the waste was being in some stranger’s house desperately trying to reach orgasm with no emotional attachment, or worse than that, fearful that they might have more or less feeling for me than I did them. (Ego)
How do I manage? Well without being too explicit. God gave me hands!
So it’s been a whole year now… what next I wonder? Well I have already decided that 2012 is the year of career for me. Throughout my ten-year battle with depression, I have never achieved any of what I wanted to in my career. My objectives have changed enormously on that front and a lot of the foundations are already in place.
But I have made a conscious decision to no longer be celibate. I won’t be trawling streets and parks for conquests, but equally I feel I understand myself enough to be able to meet my needs on that front.
So maybe I will call 2012 The Year of the Slightly Sluttish Achiever.
Happy New Year.
This post was first published in Denis Robinson's own blog, which you can find here.