This is the first in a planned series of blog posts I’m doing. More specifically, it is the first in a planned series of blog posts I’m doing about sex, or, rather, about no-sex.
This planned series of blog posts was inspired by a conversation at the Wisdom Exchange a few days back. The Wisdom Exchange is what we call our conversations over lunch at the place where I work. The conversation was about sex but this planned series of blog posts is about no-sex, even though the blog posts were inspired by the conversation.
I promise: This will get a whole lot simpler as we go along. On top of that, it will eventually involve dolphin rape.
Okay. At the Wisdom Exchange at work, we talk about all sorts of things, a full spectrum of peculiar topics, but the topic that nobody has been talking about – the topic that has been consciously and somewhat awkwardly avoided over all these weeks – is me and my recent breakup. I mean my recent breakup with Dana, Dana being the woman who is still legally my wife in at least a handful of American jurisdictions.
You have to understand: The Knowledge Exchange is fueled by knowledge in the same way that mosquitoes are fueled by blood. Everybody knows that if there’s a warm body just lying around near a swarm of live mosquitoes, sooner or later that body is going to get pricked. It’s just too tempting, and everything needs fuel. I’m not defending it; I’m just telling it like it is.
And so it was just the other day that somebody at the Wisdom Exchange finally tapped the untapped body of knowledge that, for a long month and a half, everyone had been pretending not to notice just lying there.
Oh, the knowledge, it was flying all around the table – helter skelter, hither and yon, twixt and tween the exchangers – when suddenly, up from out of the din, a lone voice sliced right through: “How ya holding up, Katy?”
Things got really quiet really fast. I noticed the silence but I pretended I did not. I said, “Better than expected.”
I paused, I thought some more, and I added, “The nights can be a little rough, but in general… Yeah, better than expected.”
This was the truth. At that moment, I could not think of a better answer, let alone a lie, let alone a reason to lie. So I went with the truth, even though I work at a law office.
“I can’t even imagine!” said one of the exchangers. She was not the brave soul who had broached the topic a moment before. She was a septuagenarian and she spoke up and she sounded like she honestly could not imagine.
She said, “To have someone for sex, four or five times a week for all those years, and then suddenly, nothing? My God!”
A couple of exchangers nodded. Several others made sounds indicating agreement.
I thought, Four or five times a week?! but I did not say it out loud. At least, I do not think I said it out loud.
The next exchanger to speak was our firm’s CPA, and this was her contribution to the discussion: “If I don’t get sex at least every three days, I cease to be able to add even simple numbers. My hands start shaking and my brain shuts down and I can’t do the math!”
I heard somebody mumble an incredulous “Really?” to the CPA. It took me several moments to realize I had been the mumbler in question.
“Oh, hell yes! I’d go cra-a-a-a-azy!” It was now the receptionist’s turn to pipe in. The receptionist, who had had her first child at the age of fifteen. Who had had her second child at the age of eighteen. Who, now at the ripe old age of twenty-three, had four kids and a brand-spanking new boyfriend waiting for her back at home.
The next person to speak up was IT Dude. Not just any IT dude, either, but THE IT dude. The three hundred pound, bald IT dude with the combination birthmark/mole/prickly rash thing taking up the entire left side of his face. The IT dude who is paying child support to – at last count – four different women, including a prostitute who he claims he didn’t realize was a prostitute at the time, despite having routinely paid her for sex.
“I-i-i-it… It’s j-j-j-j-j-just a biolo-lo-lo-logical fact!” IT Dude declared. “B-b-biological fact! I-i-i-it’s exactly l-l-l-like b-b-breathing or eat-t-t-ting. Human b-be-be-bei-i… um, people require s-s-s-s-s-sex.”
Everybody else at the table looked positively riveted by the information IT Dude was exchanging.
Then it was Handsome Young Male Associate’s turn. “I was reading the other day about dolphins,” he said, and he said it in that handsome-young-male-associate kind of way, where everybody believed him.
He said, “If young male dolphins don’t get sexed regularly, they snap. Just snap. They will rape anything around them: Other dolphins, human divers, turtles or rafts or whatever is convenient.”
He said, “If they continue not getting sexed, a bunch of male dolphins will form a gang and start murdering other animals for the hell of it, just to get out their aggression.”
More sounds of agreement from the Knowledge Exchange. “Been there!” somebody said. This appeared to be exactly the sort of useful knowledge that the Knowledge Exchange was craving.
Handsome Young Male Associate continued. “The life of a duck is completely sex-driven,” he said. “Ducks will even have sex with dead ducks, and rape is so common in the duck community that the females have evolved genitalia specifically designed to repel these frequent attacks.”
Then Handsome Young Male Associate sat back and victoriously tossed a grape into his mouth. “From the perspective of almost ANYWHERE in the animal kingdom, your current situation is unsustainable and potentially dangerous for you, Katy.”
I looked around the table, from face to face to face, from pockmarked visage to snot-covered mustache, and on every face, without exception, I could see sincere concern. The Knowledge Exchange was worried that this horrible no-sex of mine might kill me – or if not kill me, then it might lead to my killing them!
I said, “Are you heteros being for real here? Are you all fucking insane? Did I wander into an eighth grade boys’ locker room?”
At this outburst, everybody looked sad. They probably all assumed that the weight of no-sex was finally taking its toll.
I said, “It has not just been a month and a half since I’ve had sex. It has been ten months.”
There were audible gasps.
I held up my hand to them.
I said, “My hands aren’t shaking involuntarily.”
And I said, “I can still add numbers.”
And I said, “And I am most certainly not… raping… dolphins!”
I said to the Knowledge Exchange on that day, and I say to you now, that I am not a eunuch. I am not frigid. I am not a prude. I have no real moral objections to people having sex – even having sex for pleasure and fun and profit. Hell, I think I am called a “pervert” or a “degenerate” on an almost daily basis.
But the conversation about sex that day at the Knowledge Exchange has inspired me to launch into this planned series of blog posts about no-sex because, well, because I did not understand then and I do not understand now the psychology behind that conversation. Because I need to think about it in some systematic fashion. Because these days, whenever I need to think about something, sooner or later that something is going to turn into a blog post… or two or three or maybe even four blog posts.