Sexual dry spells happen to everyone. One day you're loved up; the next you're single, alone and Mapquesting nearby nunneries. Welcome to your secondary virginity, a dry spell of Sahara proportions.
The good news? Almost every dry-speller we spoke to said that celibacy -- voluntary or not -- was a valuable growth experience, helping some feel more confident while others relished the surplus of "me time." And surely that's worth more than, say, sleeping with one of these dudes.
We discovered three main types of dry spells and spoke with survivors for insight.
Type 1: The Spiritual Dry Spell
So you've been to paradise, but you've never been to ME, right? Many see a period of celibacy as an opportunity to reboot, reassess and do a little monk-like soul-searching. Theresa (not her real name), coming out of a messy breakup, dealing with the challenges of being a single mother, and focusing on "growing up" after years of excessive drinking, went this route at age 30.
Little did she know then that her dry spell would last three years, but Theresa now says the time alone was worth it. "Those three years were some of the best years of my life," she says. "I was able to focus on myself, grow spiritually and not be distracted by other things. I think that it gave me a chance to see what I really wanted in a relationship. Things became clearer."
Type 2: The "Ehhh" Dry Spell
Dallas has had one (lousy) sexual encounter in the past eight years, and chalks up her dry spell to simply not being interested in sex or dating. "I do occasionally see an attractive man and feel a sexual impulse," she says. "And of course physically my body still has its desires, but overall my mind/life situation puts all of that on the back burner.
In addition to being busy with work and focused on her own goals, Dallas had another compelling reason for making the decision to 86 sex: "I'd simply had enough bad sex by that time, and I'd heard enough stories from dating friends about their own dull or strange experiences to know that it wasn't just me."
Type 3: The Breakup Dry Spell
After her divorce and another failed relationship, Gina (not her real name) decided to lay off the sex as a way of avoiding falling into bed with the first guy who came along. Ironically, it was a one-night stand that brought her out of her sex coma ... three long years later. "At the time, I decided that I needed to do it and 'get it over with,' because it wasn't very fun or good for a woman my age to stay celibate for that long. Of course, I called all of my friends the next day. They were so proud. It was kind of weird."
Unfortunately, her celibacy-ending romp didn't come with fireworks and cartwheels. Says Gina, "It was like losing my virginity all over again. It was awkward, and I was very self-conscious and scared."
So enough about why you're not getting any -- let's talk about what you're going to do about it. Not surprisingly, Dallas swears by sex toys for your entertainment, saying, "While that isn't even a feeble replacement for a good experience with a man, it's also a million times better than a bad experience."
She also recommends surrounding yourself with good friends and having an active life, so you're not fixated on the lack of sex in your life. Catherine, currently on a year-long self-imposed dry spell, seconds that, saying that her celibacy has deepened her friendships.
And if friends and Rabbits don't do it for you, there's always the gym. Wendy credits ballet class with helping her feel less frustrated during a recent sex drought, noting that the endorphins were great for relieving sex.
How long was your biggest sex drought? What'd you learn from it? How'd you end it?