How To Freak Out During Sex


Be sober. Be so sober. Every touch stuns you with some electric charge and you’re left hanging like a limp string of spaghetti. Limp. Oh wait, we’re not there yet. Give me a second.

You have sober sex and you have drunk sex. There’s no unhealthy inequity though, nothing that would suggest a larger problem with drinking and achieving intimacy. You prefer having sex with someone for the first time when you’re buzzed to calm the nerves and then, if you enjoy it and your partner, you’ll happily transition to the kind of sex that’s anytime, anywhere, in an unaltered state. Your partner has to earn that though. They don’t get to have all of you at first. You’ll give them Drunk You: A floppy body, a sloppy tongue, and a numb heart. You’ll give them selfishness, an excuse of being tired to get out of a blowjob because you feel like nothing is owed. That can change, of course, but it’s something to work toward.

Meet someone you like and do everything backward. Have them come over to your place at 1:45pm with the sun shining through your windows (it’s as if the sun is saying to you, “Really? You’re going to have sex now?”) and watch your body start to tremble like you’re John Cusack in Say Anything. Kiss their lips for the first time and realize that they are soft and plump, and think to yourself, “Oh, I think this will work out just fine.”

But it doesn’t. For the first time in your sexually active life, it doesn’t work out. You’re kissing on the bed and everything feels amazing but you notice that something’s a bit off. You’re getting distracted and focusing on what’s going to happen next and what will be expected of you. You’re getting blinded by the sun and touching this unfamiliar body and feeling your mind drift to the scratches in the paint on your wall. You try to reel your mind back in and think, “Naked. Sex.” But you know it’s fruitless. Your body is being groped but you feel detached from it somehow. It feels like it could already be somewhere else. In Reno maybe, doing the slots. Or in Bogota doing whatever it is you do there. Wherever it is, you know your body is no longer here. Your mind has detached itself, which prompted your body to fly away as well. You’re freaking out. You’re not going to be able to have sex with this person.

There’s this notion that you can only be “not ready” to have sex when it’s your first time. You can be indecisive and wishy washy when you’re a virgin because, yes, sex can seem terrifying. But once you take the plunge, it should be a cinch for the rest of your life. Telling someone “I’m not ready” when you’re 23, after you’ve already slept with a handful of people and maybe even had a one-night stand, is met with utter confusion. “What is there to be ready for exactly? You know what’s coming to you. It’s come before.”

It doesn’t matter how much sex you have or haven’t had. You can always not be ready. And it’s usually a good thing. It usually means “I like you. Having sex would be too easy and I don’t want this to ever be easy or expected.”

Push this person off of you and give them a variety of different excuses as to why you and your penis/ vagina can’t proceed. Feel a swirl of guilt and shame rise inside of you and wonder if something is wrong, if your body is broken. It’s not. On the contrary, it means that everything, at last, is working fine again. Your heart is no longer numb and your body is just now waking up after being checked out. It’s the jet lag. The f**king jet lag…

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image – Howard Lake