“So are you seeing anyone at the moment?” It was the question that all single people - who are distinctly not seeing anybody at that moment - dread. Especially when they’re at a romantic wedding in Sorrento, Italy.
I debated the now-tiresome shrug, and stolen-Miranda quip about seeing a whole bunch of ‘unspecial guys’, and I also debated burying my head in the centerpiece until she went away.
I decided to lie instead. I really didn’t need a stranger with lipstick on her teeth to make me feel bad about my love life.
"I'm seeing everybody! I wish I had more time!” I exclaimed. (What was a little white lie to a prosecco-soaked wedding guest I’d never see again?) She lifted her arms up in the air, made a little “whoop”, and hi-fived me.
“Well, don’t get me wrong, being married is amazing,” she spilt wine on her dress, “but the next best thing to love, is being a slag.”
I laughed at the time. Everyone did. But was there a sliver of truth to her comment? Was the reason so many single people aren’t happy, simply because they’re not getting enough sex?
Theoretically it made sense. Why do you think it’s an age-old joke that grumpy people need to get laid? ‘Cause it’s true: endorphins and oxytocin released during sex create relaxation.
And according to research from the University of Wales, those who had sex at least once a fortnight had lower levels of stress when it came to sweaty-palmed situations, like public speaking.
It’s something that frequently comes up, with the Samantha of our group confessing just days before: “I can’t even think straight at work, I proper need to have sex”. And after five months, even we knew she needed a gash-smash. “I just feel like it straightens my head out once I do.”
Totally understood her predicament. I think I got to eight months once and then started to hear colours. It’s legitimately dangerous. Just last week, “sexual starvation” caused a hairdresser to plant a spy cam on his co-workers… When WILL the NHS recognize dry spells as a disease?
But also, being single is hardly fun when you’re not getting any. Dating is often complicated and tiresome, and when our friends are busy and it’s raining outside, it’s boring. But perhaps we spend so much time daydreaming about that happy ending - and how to get it - that we don’t even realise we have the one thing most couples don’t: sexual freedom.
Granted, being a “slag” may not be on all of our agendas, but it has to be acknowledged, that experiencing sex with different people before settling down is something to be taken advantage of – or appreciated at the least.
But later that week, when a number of the boys went home early under the thumbs of their highly-strung girlfriends, I wondered if perhaps we just had more freedom overall.
Personally, I didn’t find being single a death-sentence like some do, but there were obviously times when I’d prefer to come home to a boyfriend. Like in winter. Like on Valentine’s day.
Like when loneliness begins to creep in, and we’re susceptible to afflictions like, depression, desperation, and downing neat vodka before throwing ourselves at someone who is – not only, totally uninterested – but chooses to wear necklaces made of beads and shell.
Or… like now.
I was starting to feel real needy on the flight back; a couple weeks without sex, a few days surrounded by gorgeous Italian men, and an empty bedroom to go home to. Right now, a boyfriend would have been perfect.
But I knew the reality of the situation: I’d have a wank and wonder what all the fuss was about. (It’s only serious when you have to hug yourself after masturbation).
In fact, horniness can trick many of us into thinking we’re lonely. You know like how you think you’re hungry, but really you’re just thirsty. Sexual needs aside, loneliness can also be a byproduct of boredom, social isolation, and insecurity.
So when the prospect of a boyfriend is only imminent when we’re horny, hungover, or have nothing in our diaries; did we really want love, or just consistent dick?
Of course, ultimately, we want that someone who always has our back, and to shove it in the faces of everyone we know on social media. But what about now? We were busy, career-focused 20-somethings, so perhaps weren’t immediately seeking something that we didn’t have space for.
But it’s also often concluded that you can’t be interested in short-term sex and long-term love at the same time, which just isn’t true. The difference, perhaps though, is that those who are enjoying their sexual freedom while they have it – don’t get as needy as the rest of us.
*BRB, gone hoe-ing*
To read more from the Single & Fabulous? series click here.