Turning the Tanker Around


Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Noël Fanthôme.

Once, I took part in a mass human observation study.  The computerised programme asked how many sexual partners I’d had in the last five years.  I entered what I thought was a conservative estimate.  There was a momentary pause. Then the screen flashed up a message:

“How many? Please re-enter. That seems an abnormally high figure.” I had made a computer blush!

As a gay man who came out late in life following a long marriage with a woman, I have been making up for lost time. My teenage years happened between my 40s and 50s and, I admit, I was addicted to sex.  On some days, I had three (or more) partners, and that became a fairly normal pattern for my life.  Although that has slowed down a bit, I would still describe myself as being ‘very sociable’.

You can imagine, then, that ‘lockdown’ has fired a warning shot across my bows. Slowing down my sexual urge is, literally, like stopping a super tanker, but stopping was indeed necessary for the sake of the community.  We owe it to each other. If we give in, just once, then we risk multiplying the virus and its spread.  A lot of people have made a lot of sacrifices to make this lockdown work.  I sometimes joke that my dick has a life of its own, independent of mine.  To some extent that’s true.  It does tend to lead me. My dick’s need for sex is controlling me, and the lockdown has given me a really good opportunity to take stock and take back control of my life.

Moreover, I am an NHS worker. I see how hard my colleagues are working. I’ve seen some of them die as a result of this virus, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my dick let the side down.

So, how have I been coping?  Well, the house has never been cleaner.  Everything shined and polished to within an inch of its life.   I’ve cleaned the floors, cleaned the windows, washed the patio, jet-washed the patio furniture, cleaned the conservatory inside and out, cleaned and vacuumed the car, washed the curtains and ironed the cat.  There’s nothing left to do – although I have bought a bike and, for one hour a day, I am cycling myself silly.

I’m not missing sex. Lovers come and lovers go. But when they go, they leave a sense of emptiness and cheapness, and one thing that I’ve learned from this forced period of abstinence is that I don’t actually need sex with other people – even though it’s still on offer.  I’ve been on-line and made it clear that I’m only chatting, and there have been offers. But I’ve been firm and resolute and I’m not going to let someone else’s need for sex drive me anymore.

So, having taken control and learned more about myself, I’m treating this as a period of contemplation and abstinence.  I haven’t given up sex, but I am looking forward to when we can all re-engage and I will really enjoy sex all the more when we do.  Constant casual sex became cheap and valueless for me.  Now I can take pride in the fact that I have supported my NHS colleagues and proven to myself that I can manage my own sexual urges without being driven by other people .

Thank God that porn is free on the internet, otherwise I would have a serious debt problem, although some friends have commented that I am looking tired and dehydrated (!).   They might have guessed how I’m coping but, as Woody Allen commented:

“Don’t knock masturbation.  It’s sex with someone you really love!”

© Noël F. April 2020

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