Singledom in a Sexphobic Society & Other Love Lessons
Today marks two years of me being single, making this another “happy anniversary” post to me – yay! (If you don’t understand what I mean by this, read the last blog entry I wrote here.) And I can tell what some of you are already thinking… “Helena, are you seriously going to be that pathetic and try to celebrate the fact that you’ve been single for two years?” Well, not exactly, but here’s a counter question to that, which I think deserves further contemplation: “If I were to celebrate my independence in that way, why would we consider it so sad?” After all, having been a social network fiend since I was 13, I have never not seen images and captions posted by happy couples celebrating their relationship, engagement and wedding anniversaries online. They’re a social media staple. Yet, there always seems to be something so cringey about a single woman declaring her joys and struggles with love in the virtual world. So, with that in mind, I thought I would share all the lessons I have learned from being single for the past two years with you to break the taboo…
Society Is Still So Sexphobic
I thought that with the dawn of the age of self love and body positivity, we as a society would have decided to leave the outdated world of slut shaming behind us by now… but apparently not. As someone who describes herself as queer, bisexual and sex positive, I have been appalled at how strangers and friends have treated me regarding this fact. I think that most people seeking a partner can agree that attitudes towards sex are pretty important in deciding how compatible you are with someone. Yet, the amount of times that I have been treated completely differently by people for actually expressing my views on it have been… I wanted to say, shocking, but unfortunately, it isn’t. It’s just disappointing. So, here I am to reiterate what I think should be common knowledge but isn’t: A woman who’s just seeking sex isn’t a slag. A woman who thoroughly enjoys sex can also thoroughly enjoy intellectual conversation and want both at the same time. A woman who describes her sexual desires and needs early on with another deserves the same respect as those who are more demure. Ultimately, a healthy sex life is encouraged between sexually-active romantic partners, so can we stop shaming singletons who care about that aspect of their lives too, please? Thank you.
Platonic Relationships Are Seriously Underrated
When I was in a relationship, I made a mistake that is common in co-dependent couples and it is one that I hope to avoid in future: not spending enough time alone with friends. When you find someone you connect with on all levels, it is so easy to rely on them solely for your comfort and entertainment. However, life has felt so much richer to me ever since I started to actively invest more time into old and new friendships. I’ve learnt so much more about the world thanks to immersing myself fully in other people’s lives. Life has also felt easier since realising I could reach out to different people for support at different times, rather than overwhelming the same person with each and every problem. So, “the more” really is “the merrier” at times.
Being Alone Isn’t Always Lonely, But Sometimes It Is And That’s Okay
Before the pandemic, I did a little experiment in January 2020, which I called #NoManuary, where the premise was to do activities alone that usually, you might be expected to do with a friend or a partner. (If you want to read about that in detail, let me know as I have a whole post sitting in my Drafts folder that felt a bit too personal to share with the world wide web, but I’d be happy to do so with friends!) To sum it up, though: it was a bit scary and bizarre, but so freeing! What I’ve learnt since then is how much I love doing certain things by myself as opposed to with other people. For example, it turns out that I much prefer going to museum exhibits alone as I can do them at my own pace without feeling like I’m slowing anyone down. Knowing that I also can do more extroverted activities by myself, like going to comedy clubs or performing at poetry gigs, has also been so fulfilling and I would urge everyone to try it at least once! Life is too short to avoid doing things you want or love just because you can’t find someone to do them with. Besides, I’ve found that sometimes it’s a great way to meet like-minded people anyway…
Nevertheless, despite all of this, throughout the last two years, there have also been times where I have felt extremely lonely whilst alone. Often, I’ve berated myself for it, thinking “For god’s sake, you’re meant to be a strong independent woman!” But now, I am much kinder to myself when this happens because I’ve realised it is unfair and unnecessary. There is a reason why so many people end up in relationships, after all, so it is okay for me to want one and it does not mean I am letting the “modern woman” side down. True love is beautiful and I can respect my independence, my standards and my values in life while simultaneously wanting to find love one day. One does not cancel out the other.
So, those are my two cents on the topic of sex, love and relationships as a singleton of two years. Will I make it to three? I guess you’ll know in a year’s time because if I do, don’t doubt that I’ll be sharing another anniversary post all about me and my single life…