Why I'm Officially Done Having 'Just Sex'

by Sheena Sharma
Painted Wood

I once dated a guy for six months before sleeping with him. He turned out to be a jerk regardless, but I thought that by making him wait, I was protecting myself from the inevitable shame spiral I'd feel if I had sex with him before really getting to know him.

My co-worker Zara would tell you that I used my sexuality as a tool -- a weapon, if you will -- to lure in my ex and get him right where I wanted him: down on his knees, tongue wagging and thirsty as all hell, waiting for me to give him the key to my sweet spot. That it was a control thing.

I was wary of having sex with him. I wondered if the dynamic between us would change once I gave myself to him in that way. According to Zara, "if anyone, boy or girl, authentically likes you, they won't neglect you after you have sex with them.”

I don't know if I believe that. Even if you're capable of playing the game of love with someone, it's easier to write that person off after you have sex with him for the first time. Because at that point, you've already half-won.

A couple of months ago, I called it quits with my Irish f*ck buddy. Some time after swearing to myself I'd never jump into bed with someone before getting to know him first, I had sex with someone else I barely know.

I'm not going to lie to you all: It'd been a hot minute since I'd last gotten laid. I was overdue. I really just needed do my thing and get out of my head for a while.

On a random weeknight, I pounded back some champagne and went home with this guy named Brad*. We had sex and fell asleep. And as he laid there lightly snoring, with one arm on my ass and the other in my hair, I was lying there wondering if I had played it all wrong.

I'm not that girl, I kept thinking to myself, in my half-drunk, half-stoned state. “That girl.”

What girl? The girl who happened to turn up on a weeknight and, propelled by the kind of booze-infused horniness that only makes her human, made the executive decision to have sex? The girl who kind of just lived her life as it came? What's so bad about being "that girl"? At some point, aren't we all that girl?

"So," I said to him, running my hands through his hair after he woke up. "Are you gonna f*ck me back to sleep?"

He laughed. "Do you want me to?"

I grinned and nodded my head.

As he rummaged around for another condom, I sat back on my knees and watched. I thought about what provoked me to say the words I'd just said, because they weren't me. I suppose they were the words I thought he wanted to hear. The words of the girl I thought I was supposed to be: the strong, fun-loving, unemotional, devil-may-care chick who DGAF about anything or anyone.

But I left that morning feeling ... off.

Sex positive culture encourages me to own my sexuality, but this sometimes makes me do things I'm personally not comfortable doing. I feel like I'm not a "powerful woman" if I'm not having sex all the time.

I'm not slut-shaming, by the way. I don't even believe in the word "slut." We all have needs, and we should listen to those needs, even if it means having a one-night stand.

It just so happens that my need to be loved is greater than my need to have emotionless sex. But since I live by foolish impulses and poorly planned decisions, I always end up replacing emotional intimacy with physical intimacy. I always end up doing things I don't want to do.

I don't think very highly of myself, so when I make a decision haphazardly, I spiral uncontrollably. Like, here's where I'm at right now: What if he thought I was bad? What if he thinks I don't have respect for myself? What if he files away our one drunken night together as a one-and-done-type deal? What if I haven't heard from him since because he noticed those stretch marks on my thigh that I so vehemently try to hide? What if I'm ugly and weird and never find someone who likes me for me?

JESUS. I can't stop spinning.

I f*cked him because I'm lonely. But how many times do I have to have meaningless sex until I realize that meaningless sex isn't for me? That "just sex" isn't a cure for my loneliness, but rather an instigator?

Sex, for me, isn't something that stays between the sheets. I carry it outside the bedroom, reliving it again and again in my memory, while feeling just a little bit robbed of character and compassion. Sometimes I wish I wasn't that way, but I am.

We often have to hit rock bottom to finally keep from doing the things keeping us from being our best selves, and I think that this was my rock bottom. This feeling is the feeling I've been trying so hard to fight against.

I won't have "just sex" anymore. If it isn't making me happy, it isn't worth doing. Part of being sexually empowered is having sex with whoever you want. But it also means you can NOT have sex with whoever you want.

The next time I'm feeling lonely, I'll pick up a book instead.