The first time I had sex I was 14. I fucked my first love, and the experience was magical, extremely Notebook-esque. It gave me a good idea of what sex could be, but also made me less afraid of sex. Because of that I went into sex with a thoughtless abandon, which was unusual for most of my peers.
This recklessness is coupled with my firm belief that fucking an indiscriminate amount of people does nothing to lessen my worth as an individual person. I still believe that. And for a long time, I loved having sex.
But eventually it became something other than just getting off. My self-esteem has always been uneasy, and sex became a great way to feel better about myself. Having sex with random people and knowing that I was wanted gave me confidence. And I was doing what everyone else in college was, right? Fucking random people on a drunken Friday night was what college was for, supposedly. That’s what I was told.
Then I came to a harsh realization. I wasn’t having sex in an empowered way. I was having sex because I wanted that validation. To know I was worthy of something. I wanted to be seen, noticed—I wanted to be important. And yeah, having sex with random people gave me that. For a few brief moments I was the center of their world, and nothing else mattered.
Afterward though, when awkward goodbyes would be given and I would lie alone in my bed reflecting, I felt empty and hollow. When I would see these people around outside my bedroom, I felt disgusted with myself most of the time. What I was looking for wasn’t an orgasm, it was real human connection. I was searching for myself in the arms of people who didn’t know me and would never understand me.
I decided to stop filling this emptiness with people who didn’t value me, and to stop using people as objects to fill the void. And yeah, this analogy of filling the void is getting pretty vulgar, but fuck you. So I took a tolerance break from having sex, and it ended up being the best decision I could’ve made. I couldn’t distract myself with other people anymore, and was forced to look at myself as an individual, not just a part of another.
To me, sex is most valuable with someone who genuinely cares about you. I didn’t care about these people and they didn’t care about me. They were trying to get off, and I was trying to cloud or fix the loneliness and insignificance I felt.
This isn’t supposed to convince people to stop having sex with a bunch of people. It’s awesome that our culture has become at least a little more accepting of people who have sex for the sake of having sex. But I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons. This isn’t meant to shame anyone or myself—it’s a reminder that you can’t always fill the void with another person.