If my sex life was a town, “Population: 1” is the sign you’d pass as you drove through. Some days I love everything about my dry spell. But other days it’s hard, and I focus on staying positive. When I ended my last relationship, I thought I would be back “out there” in no time. But recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship didn’t quite take the path I thought it would. I found myself in a place where it was hard to trust myself and others. I craved something deeper than casual sex but less serious than a relationship.
There has been a lot of soul-searching I needed to do before getting into another relationship, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any fun. Just like the Grand Canyon or other deserts around the world, my dry spell is both harsh and beautiful. Here are a few things I learned along the way.
1. Love yourself
As Justin Bieber says, “you should go and love yourself.” Seriously. You should. During my last relationship, I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t finish. I had more than my share of anxiety-filled moments googling “female sexual dysfunction.” But the only thing that was dysfunctional was my relationship. When I started spending more time with myself—experimenting with different toys, positions, and motions—I found I could make myself feel better than anyone I’d ever been with, and I could do it in under a minute if I wanted to. So try it out! Buy a toy or two (and blush when your friends ask why you’re glowing). Love yourself this way, and you’ll enjoy ending your dry spell even more when you can tell your partner exactly what you like.
2. Release and let go
This is a great time to get let go of items in your life that don’t quite fit anymore. Give away clothes that are a tad uncomfortable or even itchy. Rearrange your schedule so that you have more time for you. Find balance with all the new space in your life. Don’t throw yourself into work—throw yourself into something you enjoy. Now is the time to let go of what isn’t working and to embrace what feels good.
3. Date and have fun
A few months ago, I was on the hunt for some fresh meat. I went out with the intention of meeting someone, but I ended up coming home disappointed more often than not. So I decided to take the pressure off. Through dating and being social without putting pressure on myself, I learned more about what kind of relationship I want. And when I finally did end the dry spell, it was 100% worth the wait.
4. Focus on other relationships
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life, but healthy relationships with family and friends deserve time and attention too. I’ve stopped worrying about meeting someone out on a Friday night. Instead, I enjoy my time grabbing drinks with my friends (not to mention I can stay out late or call it a night early, like the grandma I really am). Make time for the people that are there for you regardless of your relationship status.
5. Take care of yourself
Whether you’re scheduling a well-woman visit or practicing self-care, do whatever is necessary to take care of yourself. Maybe you want to change up your birth control choice. I tried the IUD and I’ve never been happier with a method. If you find some emotions swelling up, talk to someone. Seeing a mental health professional provided the outlet and validation that I didn’t even know I needed. I was wasting time blaming myself and questioning the past, but when I started talking to someone, I was able to see the past for what it was and move on.
Whether you’re enjoying your dry spell or hoping for a little “rain,” be kind to yourself. My personal dry spell has been frustrating at times, but I believe saying “not right now” to sex gave me the time I needed to feel comfortable in my own skin. No matter what inspired you to take a break from having sex, we hope you feel as empowered and fierce as you are. And on those days where you’re craving a partner for your pleasure, remember that the sex life of your dreams doesn’t have to include anyone but you.