The mental and emotional stages of a dry spell

I’m fine about it


The dry spell is a journey of discovery.

There is a moment when the penny drops. “I cannot remember my last sexual encounter”. Casting around to ask friends how long their droughts have lasted is not reassuring.

There are waves: quiet acceptance, spliced with phases of antic self-doubt. Occasionally, some toy with bad ideas, like entreating interns to come for Friday beers.

These are all the stages of a dry spell.

One week

Did someone say “top shagger?” I pulled last week; I am high as a kite, invincible, unstoppable. It was unexpected: meeting someone turned into going to his for a few drinks turned into shagging turned into an extended period hopping around his bedroom in the half-light hunting for my knickers. Must leave before he wakes up, obviously. And do not ask for his number – that’s not in the spirit of elusive foxiness. At no point will I need to call him again: I’m on fire. I can shag whoever I want, whenever I want.

Four weeks

Did I forget someone’s birthday? I’m definitely missing something… Ah, that’s it: I haven’t shagged for a month. Maybe I should have taken that guy’s number. No. It’s OK. I’m not in the danger zone just yet. Everything will be OK.

Is it too obvious if I make this my profile picture?

Is it too obvious if I make this my profile picture?

Six weeks

EVERYTHING reminds me of sex. I cannot watch a film, I cannot see a couple, because everything reminds me of just how little action I am getting. I both avoid any conversation which may lead to sex being brought up, and simultaneously hoik everything back to sex. The sex I am definitely not having.

Drunk and lonely, I text my back-up. Sure, last time we hooked up he kicked me out at 2am and we haven’t spoken since. But I’m still in control.

Two months

So the booty call didn’t work out. Whatever. Now is the time to prowl, to re-download Tinder and widen the age range, repeating the questionable mantra “there’s no difference between boys three years younger and men 10 years older”. People who are not fit become delicious specimens. Because you have the permanent squint of the sexually frustrated.

Three months

I have accepted my fate. Sex is overrated. Renouncing hope is curiously liberating. It is quite fun being smug while a colleague panics about being a stalker (ie she texted back the guy she is seeing). I feel peaceful.

Four months

Thanks to Jenny, who won’t fucking shut up about how good the guy she’s seeing is in bed, I am no longer at peace. I heard The Dolphin is where the truly desperate go to get laid. I am considering it. It is a new low, but surely the only way is up from here? I will wash my hair but I will not put in any more effort: I already reek of desperation.

Nothing happens, obviously.



Five months

It’s time to face up to the facts: I am the problem. I am a cock block. The curse can only be broken when if I change absolutely everything about myself. I am the problem. I AM THE PROBLEM.

Six months

If I wear my new underwear out tonight, does it jinx the chances of me pulling?

Seven months

Fuck. This.

Eight months

It’s a Friday night out in Shoreditch. I am brave. I am talking to a man. It is going well. Oh my god, could this be it? It’s been an hour and even though we’re each with our own groups, we keep looking at each other. What knickers do I have on? Did I shave? Who cares, I don’t have to see him again, I just need something. Shit, he’s coming back over. I’m nervous. He goes for the lunge. I hate PDA but I will go along with this because I cannot fuck this up. I am going to his house. I am so drunk. He is so drunk.

Sure, he’s swaying. His head is actually going. It’s fine. The fresh air will wake him up.

He is asleep and I am fucked off, rather than being fucked.

10 months

The last time I had sex there was snow on the ground.

A year

It’s official. You are no longer having a dry spell, you are a born again virgin.

Additional contributions by Beth Harrison