I’m in need of some candid advice. Here goes. I’m nearly 30 and I’ve been out for a decade. Throughout this time, I have also been busy with intensive schooling and training as a physician. Six years ago, the woman I wanted to spend my life with broke my heart. Actually, she shattered it into a trillion pieces that I still can’t quite put back together.
Since then, I’ve dated a bit but nothing past a third date. And I haven’t had sex since we broke up. It’s gotten to a point where it’s been so long that I’m incredibly nervous around women. It seems I’m also mortally afraid of intimacy now. Plus I work over a hundred hours a week and have to study in my (lack of) free time, so I’m totally sleep-deprived and stressed out. I don’t even know where to begin to get my mojo back. Any suggestions? – Sydney Bristow
Anna says: This has nothing to do with your problem, but watching Jennifer Garner in Alias basically turned my ex-girlfriend gay. J.J. Abrams is clearly doing something right.
Anyway, the good news is your mojo hasn’t gone anywhere. If anything, it’s lurking just beneath the surface of your frenzied letter. The bad news is that’s not really your problem. You’re afraid of the vulnerability required to make a relationship last longer than three dates. And you’re nervous around women because you don’t want to get hurt again. Both these things are understandable. There’s no set timeframe for getting over someone — sometimes it takes a weekend, sometimes it takes all six seasons of Lost, but once you are ready, you have to fight like hell to not let fear stymie your chances of future happiness. Your intimacy issues aren’t going to be solved by a roll in the hay, but it’s a place to start. So let’s ride that gravy train for a minute.
Your hundred-hour a week job is not very conducive to, well, anything, but especially getting laid, unless you have a rolodex of prospective partners who are ready to drop trou during the next commercial break of Jeopardy. If you have an ex or a friend with benefits that can scratch that itch for you, that’s the first place I’d look. I’m one of those rare breeds that doesn’t sleep with my exes, (Prudeous Boundariesmus) but from what I’ve been told — by everyone and their gay mom — it happens often, sometimes to the detriment of all involved, but sometimes not. Just don’t choose the one that shattered your heart into a trillion pieces.
If you don’t have a go-to friend with benefits, or if you simply don’t want to go that route, then you’ll have to go online. State specifically what you want, what your time constraints are, and that you’re not there to beat around the bush (except that you are. Now I’ve confused myself.).
Honestly though, there’s no disrespect in waiting until your life becomes less monopolized by work and school before going out and trying to pursue your next Big Gay Relationship. No one’s going to fault you for caring more about your career than your libido. If you’re sleep-deprived and stressed out, your priority should be balance.
You’re not broken; you’re busy. There’s a big difference. And if dating or sex is stressing you out even more than you already are in your day-to-day life, then you have to be OK with saying, To hell with it. Your peace of mind is far more important than sharpening your sex skills, which I assure you, work just fine. So you’ve had a dry spell. Who hasn’t? In the grand scheme of things, six years is nothing. A Twinkie is still in its shelf-life infancy after six years. The important thing is not to let fear stop you from taking another spin on the hamster wheel, or to be deluded into thinking love’s your sole purpose. It’s not. You have a life. Go live it.