Connect with Adolescent
Close x white

Lithium How I used sex and abstinence to take back my sexuality

Sep. 22, 2020
Avatar image0 1.jpeg416f2b39 3be0 4ca8 8e8b 517712458cd7

If you clicked on this essay, we’re more similar than you think. We both greatly value our sexuality—maybe we’re even a little obsessed with it—and we’ve long claimed, nourished, and cared for it. Best of all, we’ve been willing to go to war for it. Okay, maybe not literally, but we’re more than willing to put our middle fingers up to boomers and their stuck-in-the-past ideas about sex. 

Wanting to take back our sexuality just goes to show how much we’ll defend it. That’s true love and loyalty. So, pat yourself on the back a little bit—it’s not always easy to own and embrace one’s sexuality, especially with generational differences being ingrained into our operating view of sex. 

That’s when the tug of war with your sexuality comes in—when a third party is attempting to wield some sort of power over it. When that happens, it’s necessary to not even entertain these ideas or begin doubting ourselves. 

I’ve used different methods to combat this. So, without further ado, welcome to how I used sex and abstinence to take back my sexuality. 

I decided to spend more time having sex as a means of reclaiming my sexuality because I’d always relied on social cues when deciding what to do with my body. These cues came in the form of sex statistics, my peers, partners, the media, and more—and the problem is, I was leaving my sexuality in the hands of others. 

So, in order to fight this, I decided to go on my own journey with sex. I simply did whatever I wanted to do without worrying about what other people would think. If I wanted to have sex, I would; if I wanted to see both girls and boys, I would; if I wanted to use toys, I’d do just that. I gave myself the freedom to listen to my sexual desires, needs, and wants unapologetically. 

What made me fall more in love with my sexuality was the freedom of it all. It was about the ability to try new things and experiences, and whether I actually ended up liking them or not, it all helped me become closer to my sexuality. Lights on or lights off? Music or no music? I finally had my own answers, which meant I didn’t have to just go with the flow of my partners’ desires. 

What about this method helped me take my sexuality back? It’s like this: the more I found out about my sexuality, the more I fell in love with it—and the harder it would be for someone to break that relationship apart.  

The second method ended in the same way, though it went a little bit differently. Abstaining from having sex helped me recenter my sexuality as my own. I journaled, learned from others, listened to sex podcasts, and found sexy hobbies. 

I find that sex, whether dealing with emotional attachment or not, is a huge energy exchange between me and my partner(s). Sometimes, I find that taking in too much of other people’s energy can be distracting. When that happens, choosing to be alone for a while protects my energy and keeps my sexuality mine. It’s a reminder that my sexuality doesn’t rely on others and isn’t only there when others are around. 

Plus, sometimes I just get tired of caring about possible partners, people’s opinions, and other’s needs—so I just put them all on hold and say I’m being abstinent. It’s freeing in a weird way, not worrying who’s in my DMs; none of it matters when I’m intentionally alone. It gives me space for my own needs. Ultimately, abstaining from sex helped me realize that I’m in full control of my sexuality and body. I determine if I want other people to share in it. 

Taking your sexuality back can take time, strategy, and gumption, but there’s nothing more rewarding. You and I both know that. Sexuality is fun, full of giggles, laughs, squishy feelings, pleasure, and love. That’s why defending it is always a good idea—for you, me, and everyone else who’s striving to fully own their sexuality in this sex-immersed world where sex is so taboo.

From sex to abstinence, we got this. Next time someone tries to take your sexuality away, don’t even break a sweat—remember, you got all the tools to battle this playing field. And I’m here, virtually of course, cheering you on.

Photo-Illustration by James Gallagher for The Cut