#Love & Sex

Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

by The 4-Way Panel

Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Commitment before sex is a good rule of thumb for a lot of people, but everyone needs physical connection. The 4-Way discusses fulfilling your needs without breaking promises to yourself.

Dear 4-Way,
My last relationship ended almost three years ago; that was also the last time I had sex. I don’t know how else to say what I’m feeling other than to tell you I’m incredibly horny. My friends think I should just go out, meet a guy that I’m attracted to, and hook up with him. That sounds really fun, but prior to this last boyfriend, I had a history of hooking up with people, then feeling really bad about it (and myself) afterward. So I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t hook up with anyone until I was in a committed relationship… but I made that promise fresh off of guilty hook-up sex. Three years later (almost four since I made the promise), I’m dying for sex, and also dying to have a man just touch me again. What should I do? —TK, Miami, Florida

The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy
Let me just start by saying I respect your decision to only have sex with someone you’re in a committed relationship with. In theory, that’s the way to go. It’s self-respecting. It’s clear. It’s physically and mentally healthier than sleeping around. Now… throw that all out the window, you half-nun!!! You’ve hit your breaking point—understandably so after three years. Get you some sexin’!

Okay, seriously, you don’t want to be the town whore, and your past sleeping around made you feel like a harlot. Fair enough. BUT truly, you are human and human beings need physical contact. It takes a committed relationship with God to go without sex for years and I imagine even those men and women have to pray and ask for help to maintain their celibacy. To avoid intimacy because you’re not in a “committed” relationship isn’t doing you any good and is making you unhappy.

So let’s find the happy medium here. Take your friends’ advice. Find people you’re physically attracted to, date them, and see if you have some chemistry. If you do, let things progress. Sounds like any contact would be good medicine for you right now anyway. Baby steps. You’re an adult; you can figure out how to be “physical” without having to sleep with someone right away—which is what you seemed to have a problem with in the past.

So get back in the saddle—just keep your hands on the reins this time… and let yourself enjoy the ride.

The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer
History repeats itself unless we consciously go about changing it. You made a promise to yourself to change, but I’m unsure about which part of your history you want to change. Is it the hook-up sex or the feeling badly about yourself afterward? There are folks out there who have casual sex and don’t feel badly about it at all. They’re clear about what they’re there for and are honest with the other person. Of course, you want to be safe about whom you choose and what you do. If you’re not, then you do indeed have a legit reason to worry. Don’t go into this kind of encounter thinking or wishing for something that it isn’t, and perhaps you’ll get the physical touch and release you crave.

Another way to satisfy your touch needs is to get a massage from a good-looking guy. It’s all about you in a massage, just don’t expect him to be sexual. As for being horny, you’re a big girl; there are many ways to take care of that without involving a man. I don’t think I need to make a list for you. If you do decide to go for the hook-up, change your outlook about it and that will help change your history. The massage option could open a whole new garden of delights, too. Whatever you choose, enjoy it and feel good about your decision. That’s taking history into your own hands!

The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox
First of all, I commend you for making it this long. Three years is quite the accomplishment. And four? You deserve more gold than Michael Phelps!

That said, I want to recap what you said in your question. You said you’re “dying for sex,” but you’re also just “dying to have someone touch you again.” That takes baby steps. How have you handled this over the past few years? Have you been in a situation where you had to tell a man that you weren’t planning on having sex until you were in a committed relationship with him? There’s one sure-fire way to put the fear of God in most men: thinking that they might actually have to be committed to get in your pants.

My advice to you is to go with the flow of things knowing that it may lead to sex and it may lead to heavy petting—either way, you win! Don’t just close the door on sexual pleasures simply because you’re scared things won’t turn out as you’ve planned. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having sex with someone you’re attracted to if that person is also attracted to you. (Unless of course you’re underage, live in a convent, or have an unnatural attraction to relatives.) It sounds like you have this kind of bet going with yourself to see how long you can keep your promise to yourself without chewing your arm off. There’s nothing wrong with holding out, but there’s nothing wrong with letting nature take its course either.

The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown
Three years! Good god, woman, how are you even able to focus on typing full sentences?

I applaud you for trying to take control of the situation by deciding not to have sex with someone until you’re in a committed relationship. But to me, it seems like you’ve got two issues going on—besides your current sexless in Miami situation there’s also the fact that you felt bad after having sex with people. Sex can be a lot of things: loving, meaningful, dirty, sweaty, whipped creamy, and sometimes even downright disappointing and uneventful … but when you feel bad about yourself after it’s over, that’s unhealthy. It’s kind of like baseball—there’s no feeling bad in sex, or at least there shouldn’t be. If two people go into something knowing that it’s going to be casual, no-strings-attached, why feel guilty? You had fun, you move on. But you couldn’t. That tells me that you went into sexual situations with a certain degree of inequity—you weren’t on the same page as your partners. Maybe you hoped for more out of the situation (a relationship?) and quickly saw that you weren’t going to get it.

I’d like to tell you to go out and get yourself some (because god knows you deserve it), but unless you’ve pinpointed whatever issue it was that made you feel bad about yourself in the first place, you’re just going to feel that way again. So go out and meet some people. Make out with them. Dry hump on your couch (a well-placed thigh can do wonders), maybe let them graze a (clothed) boob or two. Then send them home. You’ll get some touching and some action, but you’re not giving away the store. The ones who keep coming back to get to know you and your boobs are the keepers. Narrow it down to one and then have some real fun, sans clothing. If you really do want the relationship and the sex, you’re going to have to forgo the sex for a little bit longer to have them both. (I think I just channeled Charlotte York.) Most importantly, remember to have fun whenever you do finally get yourself some action.