I’m 6 Months Sober*

Featured image: a shirt I bought at PVD Fest from Hungry Ghost Press with “Rhode Island Slut” on it. It’s funny because its ironic.

Trigger warning: sexual trauma. Also, if you are uncomfortable with a woman openly talking about her sexual experience then get out too.

*from men

When I tell people I’m six months sober from men, the responses are both indicative of how well they know me, as well as a lot about themselves. My two favorite responses have been: “do you feel better?” from someone who knows me and “I’ve been sober from women for 20 years” from a queer man at a gay bar.

I am just as proud of this sobriety as an alcoholic and so when I tell people this I genuinely expect congratulations, but it’s not what I receive. Just as an alcoholic or any other addict might, one doesn’t want to have to explain their addiction in order to be praised for their sobriety. It may not seem like much time, and it might not seem like an accomplishment, but to me it is.

Since losing my virginity a few weeks after turning 15, I have not gone 6 months without having sex. Since like 10 years old, I haven’t gone 6 months without having a crush. For god’s sake, since learning how to orgasm I haven’t gone this long without one.

I’ve said “no” very few times in my life for two reasons: 1. Men’s ability to ignore it, and so I learned that saying it meant nothing or could put me in more danger, and 2. My guilt/shame/blaming myself for putting myself in the situation in the first place. So if I was in a room alone with a man I was screwed, (I guess literally and metaphorically), especially if I was drunk. In my youth, I was naive in that I thought I could hang out with a guy and them not have expectations, and then I got older and started to think that, with age, guys wouldn’t be so predatory. Yet men of all ages have proven to me that they cannot be trusted with my body, no matter how friendly, how long I’ve known them, how much they say “you don’t have to do anything”, how much they say “I wouldn’t hurt you”. Like I’ve said in this post, I’ve never really had a male friend that hasn’t tried to hook up with me at some point, some are just better than others at taking no for an answer.

Looking at the list of people I have slept with, only about 25% had all these qualifications:

1. I had plans to, or happily chose to have sex

2. Wasn’t intoxicated

3. Wasn’t coerced/ I felt safe

4. Actually enjoyed it

Yikes, am I right!? Only 25% has been sober, enthusiastically-consented sex that I didn’t walk away from feeling used.

It has all started to make me sick to my stomach. My body recoils at the idea of another man touching me without proof and documentation that they respect me and, even then, the evidence can lie.

So that’s the trauma part of all of it, but then there’s the addiction side of things. I was severely depressed in college, and few things could give me the serotonin shot I needed —weed, chocolate, and sex. The problem was, sex had the highest return. Not only was I getting a huge influx of happy hormones, but I was getting attention, and (because I didn’t really like platonic or familial touch at the time) it was the only time I was touched at all, which humans biologically need to decrease cortisol levels (stress hormones).

And at the time, I thought I was empowering myself. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and I had pretty much zero experiences with other guys. I had very low self-esteem due to him and so when we broke up and I found out guys did want to fuck me, well I had a goddamn field day. I just never said no because I figured I’d just try to enjoy it for what it was (like that “I guess!” meme).

After college, I stopped doing hookups (well, tried to). I wanted to actually date people. And so I would go on a few dates with guys who said they liked me, sleep with them, and then the whole thing would fall apart because they got what they wanted out of me (or I realized I didn’t like them). And so my “body count” still rose even though I thought I was doing the right thing by trying to date.

And now I’m tired. The last guy seemed so nice but he gave me covid and then slept with his ex. Literally, the last time I had sex, in the first week of January, I got covid. And I haven’t had any since. In fact, I think I’ve maybe had one orgasm (self-made with hard work and dedication). Just like physical touch, orgasms are good for you! They decrease pain, increase white blood cells (immune system), help with heart problems, and, of course, increase those “happy hormones” to make you feel better mentally. Which is why my own gynecologist was saddened when I told her I was no longer having sex!

But I’m happily taking a break. My brain needs a break. My body needs a break. I spent too many hours agonizing over men who never cared for me. I spent too many hours having sex I didn’t really want to have.

And now, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the dangers of having sex with men have increased. I also just found out that Rhode Island only has two abortion clinics, which often have no open appointments. It’s also not covered by Medicaid, and I assume many insurance providers, so besides the physical and mental cost, there’s also a hefty financial cost to having an abortion because men often can’t be bothered to practice safe sex on their end. We put ourselves through various forms of birth control, none of which are without side effects that can affect our brains, our bones, and everything in between. Those with vaginas are also more at risk for UTIs, STD/STI symptoms that affect fertility, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis. One man gave me a goddamn staph infection (UTI, but the bad kind), which made me go on 2 antibiotics and a steriod which caused me to have sleep paralysis demons laughing at me at 2 in the morning. 

It is overwhelming to have a vagina. Can’t control what goes in nor what comes out of it, yet if you actually choose for yourself what does, you’re judged. But keep fighting for control, for autonomy; choose what is best for you and only the best.

Bonus Content:

And for the love of god if you are a cishet man DO NOT COME INTO MY DMS SAYING YOU CAN CHANGE THAT. It’s in no way funny.

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