I‘m twenty-four years old and I’ve never been in a relationship. Well, unless you count those fiery three weeks in 6th grade when I dated a girl and we changed our AIM names to things like “ILuvUxoxo143” and I bought her soccer ball earrings for Valentine’s day because I was romantic as shit. But if we erase this fling from the record books, that’s twenty-four years of single solidarity. How did this happen? Because relationships and sex are two of my greatest insecurities and I’d like to tell you how this came to be.
It all started in fifth grade with the discovery of porn. I can still remember the first video that I ever watched: it was this grainy old thing, that looked like it had been filmed with a toaster, of a girl stripping and dancing on a chair. It was glorious.
The events that followed could best be described as an avalanche of porn. I was on Google (or maybe even AskJeeves in those days) searching all the basics: “boobs”, “girls kissing”, “naked girl dancing”.
This wasn’t an easy task, by the way, because back then there was only the one “family computer”: a centrally located device that could only be accessed via stealth missions in the middle of the night, when I would pull Mission Impossible moves and drop down from the ceiling for my nightly excavations of the sexual internet mines.
I also learned to the second how long errands would take. Parents going to the grocery store? Should allow for 35 minutes of computer time. Taking the dog for a walk? 10 minutes. Getting the newspaper? 15 seconds, make ’em count.
While my initial probings of the internet were tame enough, I quickly grew bored and started branching out to watching videos of people having sex. Then anal sex. Then onto god knows what. Shit, I knew what bukake was before I could do my times tables. For those of you who don’t know what bukake is, remember on Nickelodeon when celebrities would get green slime poured on their heads from a bucket? Well, replace the celebrity with a porn star (a gray area in some cases), the green slime with jizz, and the bucket with about 20 dicks and you’ve got yourself bukake!
My porn viewing began well before I ever had any Sex-Ed classes, so it served as my initial schooling in sex. This was not healthy for a developing mind and the lessons I learned went thusly:
- all sex lasts for an hour
- there is a hell of a lot of screaming involved
- all girls love giving blowjobs, anal, hair pulling, ass slapping, getting choked, and getting jizz on their face
- big sausage pizza isn’t actually about pizza
- Japanese school girls have a weird relationship with octopuses
- and most importantly, you’ve gotta have a 9-inch dick if you want the girl to enjoy herself
This last one proved troublesome because, alas, I don’t have a 9 inch dick…it’s 13. And it’s hard because my lower back hurts, and I’m always tripping over it, and I have to stand on a step stool when I use the urinal so that it doesn’t fall into the water and, alright, fine. I have an average sized dick. And this might not be a problem for everyone, but for the crazily insecure perfectionist that I was in my youth, it certainly was.
Perfectionist may seem like a strange word to use, so let me elaborate. I was OBSESSED with being amazing at everything I did from the first time I tried it. What this meant was that if I was good at something right away, I would stick with it, and if I thought I was going to be bad at something, I wouldn’t even try it. Fortunately, I was naturally talented at a few things, or else I imagine I would’ve spent my days locked in my room, rocking back and forth in the fetal position afraid of failing.
For sex, this meant that I had already decided I could never be any good at it. Ten-year-old me was comparing my dick to pornstar McMassive Cock, and so of course I fell short. Plagued to roam the world with my sub-pornstar weiner, every future trip to 7/11 to buy condoms would serve as a reminder of my inadequacy. “Magnum condom sir?” “No *sniff*, regular please.”
Thus, the seeds for my sexual insecurities had been sewn. Now, let us shift the focus over to relationships.
Relationships have always scared me. I’ve tried to think my way back through my childhood to determine if there was some initial incident that triggered this fear, but I can never recall anything concrete.
I think it all stems from a fear of death. Relationships mean allowing someone into your life, opening up to them, and letting them become a part of you. This means that when they die, the pain you feel at their loss will be that much worse.
My relationship with dogs is a good example of this (not a peanut buttery relationship, ya fuckin’ dicks). I love dogs. Someone once asked me if I would ever want one, and I said no because it would be too sad when the dog died. This was incredibly indicative of my mentality: sacrifice the potential joy of an entire dog’s lifetime so that I wouldn’t have to feel the one moment of sorrow at its death.
Also, opening up scared me because it would make me vulnerable. It would mean giving the other person access to my fears, my insecurities, my dreams, and they could wield these against me if they so chose. Or maybe they simply wouldn’t like what they saw and would leave me. I never wanted to feel any of this pain, so I shut people out.
I didn’t comprehend any of this while it was occurring. It’s all come retroactively as an attempt to understand why I acted the way that I did in regards to relationships. My first stabs at dating in high school all followed the same pattern:
I would like a girl and she would like me. We’d hang out, I’d show her how fast I could do a Rubik’s cube, she’d swoon, and it’d get to the point where I should ask her out – and then I’d bail. At the time, I told myself that I no longer had feelings for her so there would be no point in us dating. In reality, it was because I was afraid of the potential hurt that could come my way. But by shielding myself from this hurt, I also prevented myself from feeling any of the potential joy – condemning myself to a purgatory of relationships in which I never felt truly sad or truly happy.
Underpinning these failed relationship attempts was my furious sex drive. I was constantly stewing in sexual anguish, and I assured myself a permanent residence in virginity land by running away from any girl who showed the slightest interest in me.
High school ended with my V-card immaculately intact, like a holographic 1st-edition Charizard card placed in a protective case, only to be gazed upon from afar but never touched.
I fell victim to the 40-year-old-virgin “puttin’ the pussy on a pedestal” mentality. Sex became this unattainable act that I was only ever going to be able to experience second-handedly through the dim glow of my computer screen.
But I wasn’t about to let myself become a real life Steve Carrell (I realize that he’s a real person, but can you remember the name of his character in that movie? Me neither). I was determined to end my coital drought before going to college and had that mentality in mind when I visited a friend over summer at UC Berkeley.
He had some friends in a frat, and we went over to their house at 7 to pregame for a party that was being thrown later that night.
We approached the house and I got tingles just looking at the place. It was a borderline mansion filled with around 30 fratboys – a holy monument dedicated to getting shitfaced and getting laid. I was home.
As soon as we entered, I was baptized with a drinking game called snappa. For those who have never played, you can read the rules here. It’s a near sacred game in fraternities that involves four people and a lot of beer.
I was fresh out of high school and had never been faced with such mass quantities of beer in such a small period of time, but there was no way I was going to embarrass myself around these frat stars. I packed my stomach until I felt like the Octomom and then hit a moment where I knew I had gone too far. Vomiting was imminent, but I was not going to throw up in front of these drinking champions.
“Excuse me gentlemen, I just need to nip off to the bathroom real quick”.
I strolled as nonchalantly as possible across the room, hoping that my painfully contorted facial expression wouldn’t reveal the fact that I was imploding, and once I rounded the corner, I fucking ran. I ran like Jenny was screaming at me to do so, burst into a bathroom stall, and projected liquid from my body like a broken fire hydrant – hitting nearly every surface in the bathroom except for the toilet itself. I surveyed the damage, wiped the vomit from my nose, and then headed back to continue playing.
This process was repeated twice more throughout the game and, despite my body’s best efforts to rid itself of alcohol, I ended up steaming drunk.
The party commenced and I was an insecure mess. I had no clue how to talk to girls and stood about as much chance of getting laid as a blind guy with Parkinson’s does of hitting a bullseye. The night swirled past in a drunken haze until I felt vomit number four knocking at my tonsils and ran off to the toilet.
I emerged from the bathroom, wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, turned down the hall, and then I saw her: my Cinderella. Or should I say my Cinderellas, because I was seeing double by this time. She was standing unsteadily at the other end of the hall and appeared to be in an equal state of inebriation as I. Only twenty feet of hallway separated us, but it seemed impassable. We drunkenly lurched forward, like two lovestruck pirates amid a tempest storm, stumbling toward each other from opposite ends of a bucking ship.
I asked her what her name was through a heavy slur and then we started making out. Yeah, I got fucking game. The door we were pressed against was unlocked, so we tumbled in and found that it was unoccupied. Sex was at my fingertips.
While it would seem that the V-Card ridding stars had aligned, there was still one major obstacle: my mind. First, I was very drunk. Not a good thing for sexual performance. Two, I was terrified. I was also excited, but I was terribly anxious about the whole event. And three, I wasn’t very attracted to the girl. But hey! Beggers can’t be choosers – on with the virginity losing!
We got naked, hopped onto the bed, and started having sex. Problem was, I was only getting about 85% cooperation from my dick – enough to function, but not really enough for me to get much enjoyment from it, especially with the added layer of desensitizing fun that is the condom. I remember thinking,”This is it? This is sex? This blows.” The problem was that my drunken, semi-flaccid humps did not live up to my expectations: beautifully lit scenes where gorgeous humans have perfectly choreographed sex.
It’d be like if I grew up my whole life as a soccer fanatic who had never actually played the sport. Every day I watched professionals play on T.V. and meticulously studied their every move. Then one day, I decided to play and assumed it’d be just as awesome as what I saw on T.V. But it was raining out, I was horrifically out of shape and had no clue what I was doing. I wheezingly ran after the ball, rolled my ankle, and ate shit face first into a puddle of mud.
Of course sex couldn’t live up to my ridiculous expectations. To add insult to injury, I was a drunk anxious mess and with a girl I had no attraction to. But I couldn’t understand this in the moment and thought that the problem had to be with me.
After she seemed satisfied enough (or at least pretended to be), I hopped off and laid on my back next to her. She fell asleep, but I was still raging with horniness so I jerked off. As I lay with my jizz covered stomach in some poor frat boy’s bed, the snores from the drunk girl beside me mingling with the moans of sexual bliss drifting through the window from the room beneath, I couldn’t stop thinking, “what the hell is wrong with me? Why didn’t I enjoy it? Why couldn’t I get hard? I finally get to the moment that I’ve been obsessing over since I was ten and now that I’m here, I can’t even enjoy it?! What am I, a 90 year old man? Do I need Viagra? What the fuck is wrong with me?”
Looking back, it’s easy to understand why my first time having sex wasn’t a resounding success. But, at the time, I let it shift my mindset to one of self-beratement: what the hell is wrong with me?
In addition to being afraid of relationships, I was now also convinced that I was some kind of subset of human who couldn’t properly enjoy sex. With this mindset, I entered college, and not just any college – UCSB: a whirling mess of drugs, alcohol, jizz, and vomit.
Many people hope to change the things that they don’t like about themselves upon entering college. I was no different, but quickly found that my anxieties and insecurities didn’t vanish simply because I moved postal codes.
I did, however, find one salve to soothe my anxieties: alcohol. That sweet, sweet elixir. I fucking loved alcohol for two main reasons. The first was, like most people, it helped me come out of my shell. The second was that my mind was an incessant whir of thoughts, especially in social situations: “Was that a stupid thing to say? Go introduce yourself. Gah, too late now. Is she looking at me? Or is she just zoned out in my general direction? Should I make a joke? There’s that other girl who I’ve met twice now but I can’t remember her name. Shit. Probably best if I never speak to her again”. Alcohol helped me reduce this mess to a much more manageable two thoughts: find more alcohol and have sex. I succeeded tremendously with the first, not so much with the second.
Girls still terrified me, and the only way I could bring myself to flirt was if I had already drunken myself into oblivion. The issue was that whilst in the depths of drunken oblivion, I wasn’t exactly an all-star performer in bed.
My first two sexual encounters in college went the same: too drunk and nervous to get full support from my dick and I eventually rolled off and claimed I was tired. Again, the negative, “what’s wrong with me” thoughts began to run through my head.
The second time I was so frustrated that I took the condom off hoping it would make a difference. It didn’t. It did, however, mean that a week later when I had a slight rash, I became convinced that I had herpes.
I was certain that I had herpes, but was too afraid to go to the doctor to confirm it. I eventually called a friend from back home in a drunken panic:
“Oh God man, I have it. I fucking have it.”
“You finally got that first edition Charizard card?”
“What? No. That dream died long ago. I’m talking a different type of fire – Herpes. I’m riddled with it.”
He was able to calm me down and convinced me to see a doctor. I went and learned that I didn’t have herpes; my skin was just slightly irritated. Apparently, it’s possible to have a rash without it being herpes. Who knew?
After this incident, I avoided sex like a basilisk avoids roosters (esoteric Harry Potter joke, it means I avoided it entirely). Sex brought me nothing but stress and potential STD’s. Instead of chasing girls, I spent the first two quarters of school focused on getting really drunk and playing Super Smash Brothers. It was an incredibly fun time but did nothing to aid my troubles, although I can play a pretty mean game of Smash as Ness now.
I decided there was only one course of action: join a fraternity. All of my friends were either already in one or planning on joining, and it would mean lots of very drunk, very fun parties. Themes for prospective parties included: Lingerave(lingerie-rave), ABC(anything but clothes), flannies(flannel shirts) and panties, and numerous others that followed the “______ bro’s and ______ ho’s” rhyme scheme. It would be like immersion therapy for me – groups of scantily dressed, heavily intoxicated sorority girls would flock to the fraternity house multiple times a week. Even I would be able to sort things out.
Wrong. If one girl made me nervous, a sorority’s worth put me into a catatonic state. And so I drank. Drank to erase the nerves, drank to escape the thoughts, drank to escape myself.
I found myself in a perpetual state of discomfort which meant that I was also in a perpetual state of drunkenness to combat it.
The partial good news was that, at some point, my body worked out how to maintain an erection while shit-housed. Nice one. The bad news was that I still wasn’t enjoying sex. I mean, I didn’t hate it either. It’s just that, it never quite was what I thought it should be.
Sex, it would seem for most people, is a time when you lose yourself and enjoy the moment with another person. For me, it was all nerves and anxiety and I was in my head more than usual: “I wonder how long I should stay in this position? Maybe kiss her neck? Should I bite her ear? Or maybe she doesn’t like ear action? Make a little grunting noise like you’re enjoying yourself. I said like you’re enjoying yourself, not like you just shit yourself”.
More often than not, I wouldn’t finish. I’d just do some heavy breathing and pretend I did. However, I decided that this was only a temporary situation and that I could fix it by having as much sex as possible.
Thus I embarked on my second stage of college: man whore. Essentially, my strategy was to get black out drunk, make some jokes, hop around like an idiot, and sleep with whoever happened to be near me at the end of the night. As a result, I banged a lot of Dominos pizzas. Just kidding (or am I?).
Not so surprisingly, the sex situation remained largely the same. What I needed to do was the exact opposite of what I was doing: I needed to slow down, get to know someone I liked, connect with them on an emotional level, and then work through the sex thing together.
Unfortunately, I put myself in a sexual Catch-22. If I really had a crush on a girl, I wouldn’t go for her because I was afraid and wanted to resolve the sex issue first. But in order to resolve the sex issue, I needed to let myself be with someone I really liked.
Like in Superbad, I wanted to be “the iron chef of pounding vag” before I went for girls that I really wanted. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Or worse, what if I didn’t enjoy the sex with them? What if I was forever meant to have these anxiety filled hump sessions? I preferred to give myself the hope that one day the issue would resolve itself.
The trouble with getting blacked out before having sex was that I made a lot of poor decisions. As it was generally a struggle for me to finish, I would drunkenly decide that a condom was a silly, fun-blocking load of nonsense and usually plowed ahead without one. As some of you may know, UCSB doesn’t have the…cleanest reputation when it comes to STD’s, and I paid the price.
Fortunately, I have no children, but in grand total I had to buy the morning after pill four times and I was also the motha fuckin’ Ash Ketchum of STD’s: gonorrhea twice, scabies once, and finally HPV, although I’ll touch more on that one in a bit.
Now, STD’s aren’t the end of the world. Shit, Magic Johnson has had HIV for over two decades now and the dude is looking stronger every day. But, I let each STD serve as another reason to dislike myself.
I always associated sex with negative thoughts about myself: The first one, “I’ll never be good at it”, followed by, “what’s wrong with me?” and finally, with the STD’s, “I’m disgusting”.
Each one plunged me a little deeper into self-loathing and brought a fresh wave of pain and humiliation. “Pissing out razor blades” is not an exaggeration, and I can think of no better way to describe the pain of Gonorrhea. I started avoiding all liquids so that I wouldn’t have to pee as much.
Scabies is a whole ‘nother horror story where tiny mites burrow under your skin and create a horrible, itchy rash. It can happen anywhere on the body, but mine honed in on the head of my dick. Jackpot. The nurse I went to didn’t know what she was looking at and brought in another (attractive, of course) female doctor. Two lovely ladies prodded and stared at my gross ass dick. The shame I felt in that moment was immense. (I would like to state that these STD’s are both curable and my dick is now normal looking. Well, as normal looking as a dick can look. It’s not the best looking appendage, is it? Although, I suppose it’s better than balls. Two hairy, dying old men, huddled together for warmth in the same sleeping bag. One of them probably has alzheimer’s, the other is deaf. Speaking of, ladies, you can always add me on Snapchat at dickpicnick69).
Then began my third phase of college: my incredibly dramatic “why?” period, when I really started to question it all but never came up with any answers. Why do I exist? Why does it matter if I’m happy or not? Why am I even in college and why do I try for these grades? Why do so many horrific things happen on this planet?
This last one threw me. There are two courses of action in response to this question. One, to understand that horrible things happen in the world, to know that I did not cause them, and to try and make things better. Or two, the path I ended up on, apathy. The problems are simply too large, the systems in place too established, and I am too insignificant to make any meaningful impact. Where would I even begin? It’s pointless.
I wanted to escape myself and escape from the world, and the best way I knew how to do that was to get shit-faced. But the mind and body have a remarkable adaptability, and where 8 shots used to help me achieve a temporary freedom, 10 were soon required. This number quickly grew to 12, and so on, and so on, until there came a point when alcohol didn’t quite work like it used to, no matter how much of it I drank. This was when drugs started to play a serious factor.
I never did heroin or shit like that. I mostly messed around with party boy drugs (coke and molly[MDMA]) and some mushrooms/acid mixed in on occasion.
I already blacked out a lot when I was only drinking, but with drugs, it became a near certainty. All I wanted was for the relentless thoughts in my head to chill out for a second, and to let me live free of the constant worry and self-judgement; but this required drinking all day, coke to keep going, drinking some more, and finally molly to space out entirely. Unfortunate how, in order to let myself live in the moment, I had to get to a point where I couldn’t remember being there.
I’d wake up in houses I didn’t know, sometimes fully clothed, sometimes naked, sometimes with a girl there, sometimes alone. One time I woke up naked in bed with a girl I didn’t know and she was fully clothed. What the hell happened there?! I’ll never know. I left before she got up and took eggs from her fridge for an omelette because I was a dickhead. Every time I woke up I had the same thought: why do you keep doing this?
Why did I keep doing something if I was upset with the result? When you’re drunk and doing drugs most days, it keeps you from addressing what’s really bothering you. There are two states of mind possible: find more drugs and alcohol, or debilitating hangover. Alcohol is a depressant and coke/molly leave you depleted of dopamine the next day, so the hangover would turn from headache to hating myself. Rather than try to fix the problem, I just wanted to escape from the negative thoughts, and the only way I knew how to do that was to get fucked up again.
Things really came to a head towards the end of my senior year when I found out that I had HPV. HPV is genital warts and it’s big scare is that it can be linked to cervical cancer. I have since learned that the strain of HPV I had did not cause cervical cancer and typically cleared on it’s own within a year or two. But, at the time, I didn’t get very good info about this and let having HPV continue to spiral me out of control.
According to the CDC, “Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and nearly all sexually active people will get human papillomavirus (HPV) at some time in their life”, so I wasn’t exactly alone.
Unfortunately, I ignored this information and let HPV serve as an insurmountable barrier to all prospective relationships. Like I wasn’t having a hard enough time with girls as it was?! Now, you’re telling me that at some point in the courting process I have to go,”hey, you know those things on witches noses? I used to have some of those at the base of my cock. You cool with that?” Are you fucking kidding me?!
Ever the little drama queen in my own mind, when HPV got added into the mix I convinced myself I was undateable.
Then a life line was thrown to me. Right before I took a trip to Southeast Asia, I went to see a doctor to clarify the HPV situation. He told me that if I currently didn’t have any warts, then I didn’t need to tell future partners that I had HPV. His exact words were: “It’s an epidemic. There is no guideline for what to do because it is so widespread”.
I did some research on my own and found that people tend to be pretty split on the issue. Some said there is absolutely no need to tell future partners, while others said that you should always err on the side of honesty. Really, it came down to a personal moral question.
Because I had been diagnosed so recently, I knew that there was a decent chance that a wart could come back. And I knew that, whoever gave it to me, I would’ve liked to have known that she had it. I knew this about myself, and yet, I ignored it. I shoved it aside and clung to the idea that because a doctor said that I didn’t need to tell people, then I didn’t need to tell people.
With that in mind, I set off for Southeast Asia, which is essentially UCSB transplanted – a whirling mess of drugs, alcohol, jizz and vomit, with the added bonus of bountiful transvestites.
I partied my way around and hooked up with a few girls. Each time I told myself that what I was doing was fine, but deep down I disliked myself more and more for doing it. I continued to swallow what I was feeling instead of facing it.
I placed these feelings alongside the shame from the STD’s, the hopelessness for the world, and the dislike for myself. I shoved them deep down together and let this dense ball of negative thought ferment within me.
And then I went to Vietnam and I met a girl. A wonderfully kind, beautiful girl. And I could tell that I really liked her. And we went out together and we danced and laughed. And then we were walking back to my room and I had a battle in my head: “You should tell her. No, the doctor said you don’t need to, don’t do it. You should be honest with her. But if you’re honest with her, she’ll leave you”. And so I didn’t tell her.
We were only traveling the same direction for a few cities and then we had to split ways. This was when things started to turn for the worse in my mind. How could I not have told her? Why wasn’t I honest with someone that I cared about? I don’t deserve someone like her. Hell, maybe I don’t deserve anyone.
Everything piled up – the confusion, every person I ever felt like I had wronged, my self-loathing, my insecurities. It was overwhelming. I needed to escape, to get away. And so I drank, and drank, and drank, and drank. I don’t remember much, just bits and pieces. I was at some club. I felt alone. Then I was talking to a prostitute. Then I was in a hotel room with her. Then we had sex. And then I woke up alone in my hostel bed.
That’s when I lost the plot entirely. I started thinking, “well, I think prostitution is wrong. But I just slept with a prostitute. So where does that leave me? If I believe that something is wrong, but then still do that thing, what is the purpose of the belief? If I think one way, and then act another, then the thought is meaningless. So every principle I use to guide my life really doesn’t mean shit. Only the action counts, and I’ve just displayed the type of person I am with last night’s actions. Every thought I’ve ever had about right and wrong is irrelevant. But if the principles I use to guide my life are grounded in nothing, then where the fuck does that leave me? Who the hell am I?”
I had been tip-toeing on the precipice of full-blown confusion for a while, and this last act tipped me into a chasm of uncertainty that I didn’t know how to recover from.
I achieved my ultimate stage of self-pity here: I didn’t want to be myself anymore. I no longer wanted to be in control of my life. I wrote about the full story here, but in summation, my plan was to drink and do drugs until I ended up in a hospital and someone else would have to take care of me. No more decision making.
Despite my best efforts, I woke up the next day and via some unlikely direction provided by a book written by the RZA, realized the importance of forgiving myself.
While I did some shitty stuff, hating myself for what I did helped no one. It did nothing for myself and did nothing to benefit those around me. It ultimately came down to this: do I want to define myself by past actions or by those moving forward? I’ve chosen to forgive myself and to let my actions in the present be where I focus my energy.
There are still times I do things that aren’t in accordance with what I believe. Instead of letting this plunge me into mental chaos again, I hold a different thought: just because I act contradictory to a belief doesn’t mean that the belief itself loses it’s merit. I’m human and humans fuck up. A lot. In fact, it seems to me that life is a near-continuous series of fuck ups. What’s important is acknowledging these inevitable mistakes, learning from them, and then letting them go.
On a final note, if there’s anyone who read this that’s going through some similar things, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I know I would’ve liked someone to talk to when I was stumbling my way through this stuff, and I’d love to serve as that person for someone else.If you enjoyed the post, please give it a share!