Millennials are having less sex than any generation in 60 years, but Victoria Stokes reckons that not-by-choice celibacy might not be a bad thing...
Personal question time: when was the last time you got the ride? Perhaps you hooked up over the weekend or maybe you got down to it in the past 24 hours, you lucky thing. But if you’re among some of the 56% of Irish peeps who aren’t having sex at least once a week, (that’s according to an Irish Times survey published in 2015), then you’re certainly not alone.
In fact, a study published in the journal Archives Of Sexual Behaviour says that younger millennials (those born in the 1990s) are twice as likely to be sexually inactive in their early 20s as the generation before them. It’s a scary and often unchartered scenario to find yourself in and unhelpful articles about how a lacking sex life can cause all manner of health concerns, (like diminishing your immune system and increasing your risk of heart disease) certainly don’t make things easier.
But far from being a negative experience, Clara, 25, reckons a break from The D has been very liberating, even though she wouldn’t have willingly gone down that route at first. After a couple of months of no blokes on the horizon, she decided she quite liked things as they were, and it turned in to a year and a half of no sex.
“There were times when I’d feel really sexually frustrated but for the most part it wasn’t all bad,” she admits. “Not having to worry about what a guy was thinking or keeping up a regular shaving routine was very freeing and the time off also allowed me to explore my own body and the relationship I have with it.” Eventually, Clara did meet a guy and things gravitated to the bedroom. “I was a tad worried that I’d have forgotten what to do,” she laughs. “But it’s true what they say; it really is like riding a bike. It all comes back to you.”
Sex Therapist Teresa Bergin agrees that a sex drought can be seen as an opportunity, rather than something to fear. “It’s a great time to re-evaluate what sex means to you and what part it plays in your relationships. Has sex been the only way in which you establish intimacy or are there other, equally important, ways by which you might express closeness with a partner?” she asks.
Similarly, a dry spell can also present a great opportunity to work on your self esteem. “Use the time investing your energy into other aspects of your life that you feel passion about,” Teresa advises. “It’ll allow you to build your self worth outside the framework of a relationship.” In fact, Teresa reckons it’s prime time for really finding your groove. “Not being in a sexual relationship for a while can allow you time to indulge in the pleasure of masturbation and learn about what kind of touch you really need and desire,” she notes. Clara agrees. “I spent some time figuring out the kind of porn I like to watch and invested in a few good sex toys during my dry spell,” she confesses. “There’s a lot to be said for taking the time to only focus on your pleasure and nobody else’s. When you spend a lot of time doing it solo you really get to know what works for you, and on the plus side you’re always guaranteed an orgasm.”
However, a lot of us would find it both physically and emotionally demanding to eschew sex altogether. Sometimes there’s an itch that only another person can scratch, but beyond being crazy horny, there are some other issues at play. “There’s nothing worse than wanting to feel like a sexual, desirable person, and then not being able to find anyone you want to have sex with,” says Aisling, 30. “I wasn’t just going to get on Tinder and ride any oul, Tom, Dick or Harry, but it was very frustrating meeting guys out and about, or meeting friends of friends, and just not sealing the deal. I actually ended up wondering if I was a bit of a minger, but looking back now, I think I just wasn’t confident enough to put out the vibes. I’d had my heart broken, and it was taking a while to mend. A bit of self-help and care later, I stopped worrying about getting the ride, and hey presto, scored a sexy doctor on a night out who I’m still seeing.”
The bottom-line advice? Just, er, ride it out. Look at the reasons why you’re not having sex and address them. If there’s no underlying issue, just relax. Everyone has a rough patch, but that seemingly never-ending dry spell will come to a (hopefully earth-shatteringly orgasmic) end eventually.
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s August issue. Our September issue is on shelves now!
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