For some people a whole month without sex would be easy. Perhaps, gasp, common. But for me being a sex and relationship writer means I spend an embarrassing amount of time researching, road testing and talking about all things sex. It’s my job.
But somehow in my quest for sexual certainty and finding out what putting out is all about, I had accidentally forgotten about my other life. My desk had become cluttered with overdue tasks and unanswered mail. Personal projects lay stale and unloved; I had even forgotten to send Jabulani, my Africa sponsor child, his 32 dollars!
So right then and there I created Tara’s Holiday Season Chastity Challenge. No sex for 31 days. Including (but not limited to) no sexting old flames that had long lost their glow, no casual trysts after too much tequila and definitely no steamy emails or flirty Facebook chats. I would also resist reading, writing and even discoursing about sexual intercoursing!
I was going to enjoy the holidays in some serious celibate style.
It was clear from the start that such a challenge would never fly in Sydney town.
I needed wide open spaces to shake myself free from the heavy weight of boy drama, a place far from distraction and temptation as I start to detox and de-sex.
So I packed up my books and pencils, and headed to the only place I knew I’d be safe: the family farm house in rural Tasmania. A place where rain tanks catch the water and the postman doesn’t even bother to bring the mail. There is no WiFi, no Foxtel, not even mobile reception. And most importantly nobody under the age of 65!
Slipping into my favorite flannelette shirt and out into the sunshine, I threw myself into the farmyard tasks, my frisky fever kept at bay by the stinky work of shoveling horse manure.
By day three however, I had begun to weaken, I was sweaty and shaky, craving a sexual hit. All I needed was a flirtatious encounter, maybe some sexual statistics, a tiny murmur of the word penis.
It got worse. I started to pout at the cows, began winking at the sheep. I wondered if they thought I was attractive. I even asked my mother if Dave the dairy farmer was single, she said he didn’t have any teeth and I said I didn’t mind.
But I stuck to my promise, and as the days wore away so did my edginess. My previous anxiety towards my messy personal life softened. And as the country worked its way under my skin I stopped worrying about not having it all figured out.
The late night urges in the deep depths of my belly still remained, but crossword puzzles and books about growing orchids helped a little.
And I baked. I never even knew I could. I also discovered I had a hidden talent for toilet paper origami. My dad and I would surprise each other with loo paper folds, outdoing one another with elaborate designs. That’s just how we roll.
By the end of the month my hard city shell had cracked and I felt like a brand new baby chick. My eyes felt clearer, as if I could see people a little more closely. I also realised just how much I liked being by myself, away from the complications of men and the constant tick of the clock scaring me towards commitment and adulthood. I came to realise that while all the games and adventures, the boys and toys were fabulous fun, the one relationship I would be investing in this year, is the one I have with myself.