How a Sexless Relationship Saved Me

It was an unusual predicament: we were both too emotional and emotionless to have sex with each other. 

by Sarah T. Schwab

Nick was my best friend during our three-year relationship. But some people aren't meant to be together. It was a mutual decision that we would remain friends but date other people. Things are fine and dandy now. But there was a four-month period where I felt totally forlorn.

"Get laid," friends encouraged me. Sure, multiple orgasms with a handsome stranger is generally a cure-all. But it was a complicated time. I was swishing around the ever-conflicting tide of "breakup emotions": despair, hope, nostalgia, anger, horniness… I talked to men in bars; I went on dates. But I wasn't interested in taking anyone home. I'd recently finished the nonfiction read Germs by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad, so my mind was buzzing with facts about bacteria, viruses and biological warfare. Perhaps this is why New York's infamous hookup scene left me dry. Or maybe I just felt bad about myself in general. Even though the breakup was amicable, I still felt like I failed.

But I needed human contact…

One particularly sweltering night in early August, I turned to the Internet. Specifically to the "men looking for women" section on

There was quite the breadth of ads: "My favorite dessert? Looking for a female to satisfy my cream pie fetish" (ew), "Generous submissive wimp seeks Bratty Humiliatrix" (I can be a cunt from time to time, but no), "$$Sugar Baby Wanted Tonight$$" (not a whore). There were some affectionate ones too: "True love is all I need and all I have to give," and "Lonely widower seeks friend." But these weren't for me either. I was love logged; I had nothing to give; I wanted to be selfish.

After scrolling through weeks of ads, I found one that piqued my interest: "Bedtime Backrubs. No Sex. No Strings." There was no photo attached. But the person described himself as a "Clark Kent lookalike." He worked in finance, was "smart and sane," but wasn't looking for a girlfriend. He simply wanted to, "massage a beautiful woman."

"This is WAY too good to be true," I thought. But it was late. And I was starting to feel that third pour of Laphroaig. So I replied.

"What's your deal?" I asked under the guise of "Lola."

He responded the following afternoon:

"Hey Lola! Love your name! The 'deal' is: I'm looking to make a beautiful woman feel good. That's it. No sexual contact or reciprocation. Want to discuss in public?"

First, I put a lot of thought into my nom de plume. It's short for the Spanish name Dolores, a name taken from a title of the Virgin Mary: Virgen Maria de los Dolores, or Our Lady of Sorrows (a pretty accurate description of my sad state). But it also had sensual associations, such as the "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets," from the musical Damn Yankees (holler). Secondly, Clark Kent could spell. Major brownie points. Thirdly, he was willing to meet in public. How nuts could he be?

A few days later – a bustling Saturday morning of my choosing – we met at a midtown Starbucks. He'd be in jeans and a navy polo, I'd be in a white strapless dress. I'm cursed with being fifteen minutes early, which is a pain in the ass in a city that's perpetually fifteen late. So I was thrilled to see that my potential masseur was already there. He was easy to spot, the thirty-something, six-foot-five CK lookalike standing in line. My heart clenched; he was gorgeous.

"Keep it together," I thought. "So was Ted Bundy."


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