Lee Suckling 's Opinion

Life and Style columnist for the NZ Herald

Lee Suckling: A dry spell happens to the best of us

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Friday nights are very precious after a long week, and sometimes we'd rather be home alone catching up on Game of Thrones.
Photo / Thinkstock
Friday nights are very precious after a long week, and sometimes we'd rather be home alone catching up on Game of Thrones. Photo / Thinkstock

Despite your carnal accomplishments throughout your younger years, there comes a period (or two... or three...) when you fall into a sexual slump. The dry spell isn't usually intentional. Perhaps you're fresh out of a long-term relationship, or you've exhausted your weekly pick-up opportunities at your local haunt. You might've even gone cold turkey on Tinder, Grindr, or whatever fandangled geo-dating app you've been using to hook up.

The dry spell has a clandestine nature to it. No sex for a week? Not a noticeable issue. Three weeks? You've been too busy to think about it. Six weeks? You're still carrying some holiday weight and not feeling so sexy right now.

All of a sudden, six months has past, and you finally realise you've had no touchy-touchy since New Year's Eve.

The mid-20s sexual slump, we'll call it, is particularly prevalent among urban professionals. Whether male or female, straight or gay, we all arrive at a between-milestone point in life, and feel a slight lull. Graduations and first real jobs are far behind us, but there's still (seemingly) loads of time to achieve the goals we strive for before 30.

This slump is often brought on by feeling complacent. You're happy enough, making enough money, being social enough. Nothing in life is lacking, but you haven't quite figured out your Next Big Step. Hangovers hurt more than they used to, so the 4am nights that end in someone else's bed are a rarity. You're also through that period of sexual awakening (where you finally realise you know what you're doing).

Owing to such complacency, and usually unintentionally, you put sex off. But dry spells have nothing to do with becoming disinterested in sex. Nor are such periods of chastity only obvious amongst the promiscuous. They're part of being single and getting older, and they happen to almost everyone at some point throughout our 20s.

Akin to why it's hard to make friends after 25, we get to a point where we become choosier about our potential partners. We become picky with old age; or rather, we develop a palate. No longer is the sole goal of going out at night to bed someone - anyone, as long as they have a pulse and consent.

That's not to say we all develop a "type" (some don't), but most of us lose any feeling of satisfaction if it must result in smelling like latex and crusty sheets.

Our work lives make it harder too. Few are yet of a senior level able to leave at a reasonable hour. When the threshold of home is finally crossed on a Friday night, we're obsessed with the need for "alone time". Sometimes many weekends in a row, this leads to unwitting hermitism; the practice of retiring from public life until contractually obliged to return.

There's also a wonderful sense of righteousness in alone time - your hours are now too precious to waste fending off fodder down the Viaduct. Besides which, your going-out sexy underpants get increasingly uncomfortable with infrequent wear.

The unfortunate consequence of overdoing it on the alone time, which further withers the loins into the driest of spells, is the subsequent First World, self-diagnosed, pseudo-depression that comes with being in your head for too long. It's nothing serious enough to require help; just pathetic enough to see you preferring a half-tub of Cookies and Cream to actual human companionship.

So, we're six months down the track and the memories of ugly-bumping are nearly lost.

The longer you go without sex, the less you think about it. You might think about sex every few hours, or maybe just once or twice in the day. But opportunity isn't around you, so you let the feeling subside.

It's not usually until you admit to your dry spell, out loud and in public to your friends, that you realise something must be done. Once you've heard the words, "Six... going on seven months" come out of your mouth, you realise that it's time to shake off your granny-pants.

It's not always a quick transition back to a regular and healthy sex life. It might start with wearing your sexy undies more often. You go out with friends, and start looking around the bar a little more.

All of a sudden, without planning or over-trying, you're finally naked with another human being: breathless, tingling, and wondering why the hell you waited so long. Is it fate? Is it fantasy? None of the above - you've just broken your spell and returned to the wondrous world of sexual wellness.

Don't throw caution into the wind once you're back on form, however. With dry spells we forget about the dangers of STIs, but they're still out there (and potential for contraction is too easily neglected if you haven't had safe sex on your mind for ages).

So, don't forget your gloves when you're back in the ring, if you know what I mean.

Lee Suckling

Life and Style columnist for the NZ Herald

Writer Lee Suckling pens his opinionated thoughts every Wednesday, covering issues surrounding Generation Y, New Zealand's gay community, and the ethical dilemmas presented every day to those living in a tech-centric modern world. Outside of the New Zealand Herald, Lee writes for a range of magazines and newspapers across New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

Read more by Lee Suckling

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