Lust for Life


It is a truth universally acknowledged – in New York City, at least – that a single twentysomething gay man in possession of fairly good looks (and even better buttocks) must want to get laid.

This I found out at dinner a few weeks back where my friends and I got to talking about our plans for the summer. G. wanted to sign up for a cardio class; L. was going to take up knitting and travel to Barcelona; I decided to – what the heck – give up sex for 100 days.

Apparently, nothing can sober up a band of gay men teetering on vodka-induced incoherence faster than denouncing one of life’s deepest (pun intended) pleasures. They did try to be diplomatic, I think. Aside from being accused of squandering my youth away, I was merely told to expect the onset of throbbing headaches and, starting in the fourth week, the gradual deterioration of my psychomotor abilities, which last I heard was among the symptoms of syphilis. Hypochondriac that I am, this warning gave me pause, no matter how hysterical it was. When I was 8, I had convinced myself that I was going to die of Rabies after my Labrador Retriever licked a closed wound on my finger even when he’d already been vaccinated. The bitches at my dinner table, however, had not, making them a little harder to deal with.

“So tell us why you’re doing this,” L. gently prodded, the duel of bewilderment and amusement playing out nicely on his face. I can see why he’s curious – L. and I share a fondness of applying the metric system to certain parts of the male anatomy. By that point, I knew that “for kicks” will not do for this crowd. Sun Tzu said that the best way to neutralize your opponents is to stun them, so I did what any Catholic boy worth his circumcision would in moments of persecution: I took the high road.

“Are we totally powerless against our hormones that we can’t possibly shut down our sexual urges even for a while?”

Surely the minute the words flew out of my mouth I knew I’d asked a rhetorical question. For one, 100 days in gay calendar isn’t “for a while”, it’s pretty much the entire run of Sex and The City on HBO. 

But as glib and ironic as I was trying to sound, I caught myself seriously mulling over the question. I’m a single gay guy who has, in a fitting homage to aging Southern belles, occasionally depended on the kindness of strangers. As it so happens, the little – or big, if I’m lucky – acts of kindness are seldom transferable to actual dates or even coffee. The guys I do have coffee with first and end up dating seem to confuse sexual chemistry with emotional connection and we part ways eventually, leaving me just a little worse for the wear each time.

In this city that never sleeps – or does so with just one person – I know that there are countless others like me, men and women, gay and straight, friends and strangers, whose emotional lives might have gotten screwed by sex – and not in a good way.  What never ceases to surprise me, though, is that everyone manages to bounce back after the dramas and awkward mornings-after. That’s not possible if one has no anchor, some form of spiritual rudder keeping him or her from falling to pieces after walking one walk of shame too many. Almost always, we owe this to our relationship with the engulfing yet nurturing force that is New York City. (Well, New York City and Ryan Gosling.)

My Hundred Days of Solitude – and, by extension, this blog that will chronicle those days – will be an experiment: Will New York City keep me enamored and diverted long enough to actually be worth stepping back from sex for 100 days? For each of the 100 days, I’ll be looking for an alternative to sex, whether a dessert, an outdoor concert, an interesting character, anything under the NYC sun, that is Better Than Sex, which is what this blog is called. This is where you come in: you give me suggestions on things to do during my dry spell and help me finish the marathon. It feels nice depending on strangers for more than some splendor in the grass, the kind with the high thread count.

The experience will be quite an adventure too, not unlike the undertaking made by Sir Edmund Hillary more than fifty years ago. It’s like climbing Mt. Everest, only I’m not allowed to climax. And this will go on over and over. For 100 days. Did the Lady sing the blue balls yet? And more importantly, will guys continue speaking to me at parties once they find out about my deep, dark secret?

I’m going to have to count on the wisdom of Barbra to pull through this one:


“Ooh, life is juicy

Juicy and you see

I gotta have my bite, sir 

Get ready for me love

‘Cause I’m a “comer”

I simply gotta march

My heart’s a drummer

Don’t bring around the cloud to rain on my parade.”


Time to bite something juicy. Start the countdown. 




13 Responses to “Lust for Life”

  1. *the storyteller Says:

    don’t forget my suggestion: late night jazz show @ dizzy’s club (stay till closing time) =)

    best of luck with the challenge!

  2. Fairly good looks (and even better buttocks).

    Hot damn!

    What a waste of 100 days.

  3. Well… I guess you ar giving up the physical aspects of the sexual act. Therefore, I recommend u hit Washington Square Park this weekend for the World Science Festival, where in addition to science demonstrations, perhaps they will be discussing the science of sex. sex for the brain and not the waist


    I suggest you spend one weekend of the 100 days reading this book:
    Commitment and Healing:
    Gay Men and the Need for Romantic Love
    by Richard A. Isay MD

    Psychoanalyst Isay trains a Freudian lens on the difficulty gay men have sustaining serious, long-term romantic partnerships. … they’ve separated sex and love. As adolescents, gay men suffered the rejection of unrequited affection, but most formatively, they sustained emotional damage in childhood from paternal rejection and/or maternal inattentiveness to their feelings or disregard for their need for autonomy. The result is an inability to fall or stay in love, arising from deep-seated anxiety about dependency, lack of self-love and mistrust of another’s love. Isay analyzes dozens of case histories of chronically single gay male patients (he has worked with gay men for more than 30 years), tracing their attachment difficulties to childhood experiences with remote, rejecting or smothering parents. … He voices important emphasis on the happiness found in long-term, loving relationships, but his account remains too basic for mental health professionals and lacks concrete strategies for real sufferers.

  5. SteveMNYC Says:

    Check out the “Cast Party” at the Supper Club on Monday nights. Good, high-quality, unpredictable entertainment – with a few surprise celeb’s from time to time. You never know what you’ll see there!

  6. If you need an outlet, I’d say something either physical (exercise of the VERTICAL variety) or creative. I’m taking a silkscreening class right now, and, discounting the busy work, its pretty therapeutic. You should think about something along those lines.

  7. Caroline Says:

    I think in lieu of sex you should try sex as exhibition?
    New York City’s Museum Of Sex!

  8. Luv your site, but …
    honestly I cannot support the idea of giving up sex for 100 days, I just can’t.
    I rather suggest the combination of:
    – a nice bike tour along the Hudson River … and sex
    – picknick at Central Park …. and sex
    – swimming at the new Flushing Pool …. and sex
    I will do further research on this … 🙂

  9. Are you kidding me? Penitensiya ito for what?!?! What have you done this time?? It can’t be bad enough to merit this kind of punishment, no!? I’ll buy you a drink on the 100th day… if you last that long!

    What you doing sweetie? I’m moving closer to you in September!

  10. if your 100 days do not start until June 1, 2008 at 12: 01 AM, do you plan to have one wild orgy on May 31 up until 11:59 PM? DO TELL. Is it like a Last Meal for a Condemned Man? How do you choose who to do it with? Are you accepting last moment applications? Check link above

  11. Elle Wang Says:

    Giving up sex doesn’t promise the emotional bond. Why are you doing this to yourself? You just needn’t rush into a physical relationship. Besides, how can you compare leisure to sex? They belong to different categories. They’re simply distractions. Therefore I really can’t be more supportive of this.

    But, if you feel a strong desire to practice your self-restraint, maybe you want to check out Gandhi’s “brahmacharya” as a way to distance yourself from carnal desires and be more “human” as Gandhi put it.

  12. I think its a great idea “V”..what is 100 days anyway? it’ll be over before you know it… Suggestion: go skydiving! –its symbolic don’t you think? LOL

  13. Enjoyed the pilot post and looking forward to reading more. Cheers, Kiddo.

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