sex and relationships

Are You Getting Any? My 'Situationship' Means I Haven’t Had Sex for Three Years

Twenty-three-year-old Michael says that undefined romantic relationships are normal for people his age.
03 June 2020, 1:00pm
Can You Have a Romantic Relationship without Sex?
A screenshot of Michael talking to the author.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

MICHAEL, 23

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Are You Getting Any? interviews are conducted via Skype video call.

Quality of sex overall: 7.5/10
Frequency of sex: 3/10
Intimacy levels: 8/10
How do you feel generally about the people you fuck: 8/10
How happy are you with the amount of time you have for sex: 2/10

VICE: Hi Michael! How’s lockdown treating you? Are you Team Horny or not?
Michael: I’m more on the horny side. The last time I had sex is going on nearly three years now, so it’s been long for me.

Oh wow, tell me about your three-year gap.
I was in a relationship and then after we broke up, I’d have sex two to three times a week. But then I met somebody else and that’s where I’m currently at. It’s one of those iffy things where you think you’re in a relationship but the other person doesn’t necessarily think you are, and so you’re in that middle stage. It’s like, if I do see someone else this person may get upset. So yeah, it’s been dry.

What do you mean by the "middle stage"?
It’s complicated because we talk every single day – more than I would talk with anybody else. You know that if you went and got with someone else, it would upset them. So, out of sheer respect and appreciation for that person, you won’t go and get with anybody else, if you know what I mean?

So, you're kind of in a relationship but also not at all. Do you think these kinds of relationships happen often in our generation?
Yeah, it is. It’s literally what defines us.

How do you feel about them?
Well, I grew up in a household where things were defined. I like and appreciate clarity. If I’m with someone, I'd want them to be straightforward like, "This is what the dynamic of our relationship is and this is how I want it." Those in the middle relationships are the sort of things that play towards people’s egos, because you’re definitely trying to say that you’re in a relationship, but you’re not in one – so you’re playing both sides. You’re out fucking, but you come back home and you’re with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I don’t fuck with that.

Skype Screenshot Are you Getting Any

So, you prefer a more traditional relationship?
Traditional in the sense that it’s mutually agreed upon and not just one-sided. I just like and appreciate solid communication. If we’re monogamous, I’m cool with that and if the other person is OK with me seeing another person, then I’m cool with that as well. It just has to be mutually agreed upon.

So, not having had sex for three years is out of choice?
I would not choose deliberately to not have sex for three years. This is the only person I’ve truly, truly had deep feelings for, so out of sheer respect I wouldn’t do anything with somebody else. It’s only in moments like this, where we’re talking about it, that I realise: damn, it’s really been that long.

It is quite long. I mean, even just a couple of months is too long for some.
Yeah two, three months – you're fine. Let’s just say I’m very thankful Pornhub Premium was made free throughout this entire time because to a certain extent, you can tame it by masturbating four or five times a week. That abates it a little bit, but I’m not one of those people who get super antsy, like, "Oh my god, I must have sex." I’m stroking my own ego here, but it’s a proud moment for me because I never knew that I could go this long without sex. The longest I’ve been before this was, like, four months. This is just something different.

Are you fine with keeping it going? Like, six years, maybe nine?
Hell no! [_Laughs._] The moment we’re allowed to not meet socially distanced and go back to some sense of normalcy, then yeah. Sex is one of the main things on the to-do list. Uni also has an important part to play, especially as a Masters student. You do not have that amount of time the same way as someone who is doing their first or second year, because you’re so consumed with learning.

You’ve gone straight from undergrad to studying for your Masters, right? Have you had time to think about sex?
Yeah. It was uni the first four years, then straight into my Masters. It’s not foremost in my mind like I’m going out specifically to. I have a few friends who go out and the only reason they go out is to get some ass. That’s the entire reason they go out. For me, it wasn’t necessarily like that. I would go out and if it happened, great. If it didn't, then fine. My first year in uni, I was with somebody so that sort of tapered how many times I would have sex with different people but it never tapered how much sex I was having in general. Then we broke up and it was like, oh hello!

Has lockdown made a difference to your sex life?
Obviously, I masturbate a lot more but it hasn’t made too much of a difference. I’m at that stage now where I’m tempted to download dating apps. I still have Bumble installed on my phone but I haven’t logged in at all. I’m like, "Should I or should I not?" You can’t do anything, anyway.

I think people have been having video calls or socially distanced dates in parks.
Yeah, but you might as well just have a video call, like this. I’m also a person who appreciates meeting and actually being physically in front of someone and interacting. That’s one of my love languages: physical contact and actually interacting with somebody.

Okay. So what do you think of the British Medical Journal research?
I think the reason we’re having less sex is because as a generation, we know that it’s on tap. We can go to it whenever you want with dating apps. You can log on at home and we have it whenever we want. We can go to it as many times as we want so there’s no pressure to be actively having sex. We have sex readily available to us so we don’t make it a priority to go out and find it.

Screenshot Skype Are You Getting Any

Do you think social media actively influences our sex lives?
Oh yeah, definitely. There were a couple of times where I would be laid up in bed scrolling through my phone on Instagram but I’m not completely zoned out from the person. It’s more a thing of, "I’m trying to show you something funny that I saw". It’s not because I completely ignored you and I’m looking at somebody else, it’s just that we’re so consumed by [social media]. So, it does have a part to play. But other people are definitely readily available to you.

Do your friends think similarly to you?
Majority of my friends enjoy being in between stages. They know they're seeing someone but also have a side piece too. More of them are in that category.

What do you think of having a “side piece”?
I think you’d only say someone is a side piece in case the main piece doesn't work out or isn’t vibing with you properly. You can go to your side piece and that side piece becomes the main.

Okay. I wanted to ask about men’s attitudes towards sex. What kind of changes would you like to see?
Sex positivity has always existed towards men but it’s always been oppressive to women. The sex positivity we should see from men should be the kind that explains that the sex you have with individuals – be they men or women – needs to be based on respect. Period. And tolerance. A lot of the time, sex positive stuff for men – whether it’s movies or Playboy magazines from the 80s or 90s – it was specifically designed for that macho Playboy vision, and that’s so toxic. I know a lot of American friends of mine who have come here and their outlook on sex is sometimes dangerous. It’s toxic.

Do you talk to them about it? Like, call them out on it?
Not in the same way we are right now. It’s usually a case of them blabbering away and me just giving a half-hearted nod. You don’t want to say something that will completely wreck your friendship with that person, but you’re also not completely agreeing with them because you have your own set of ethics and morals. If we could see more positive sex ed for men I think that would be a lot better.

That's true. I'm still stuck on it being three years for you.
[Laughs.] Well, I don’t know who is going to read this but my DMs are open.

Good to know. Thanks Michael!

@nanasbaah

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

If you’re 18-30 years old and want to be featured in the Are You Getting Any? series, send an email to nana.baah@vice.com with the subject Are You Getting Any?