I started this blog really as a “primal scream.” I was hurting so much and needed to express all the pain I was in. I felt angry at halacha for the fact that I had never been kissed and angry at Jewish men and the Jewish community for the fact that I was alone. Not all those feelings were rational but they were what was inside and I needed to scream! I wanted other people to understand how I feel, to know that there are people in the world who are trying to be good Jews and who are lonely and suffering very badly. I was tired of hearing things like “if you were really serious about getting married then you would just get married.” I wanted people to know that being single for me is like being in a black hole and I would do anything, anything, to get out of it – with the right person. I have tried so many things but the right person has not come. Perhaps I also have not been the right person to someone else – but I am not any “worse” or “at fault” than any of the other normal but flawed people my age who got married 10 or 12 years ago and now have several children.
I did not think about how much this blog would help me. I did not expect that writing would be such a helpful exercise for me because I never considered myself good at it. It is true that it is so important always to try new things! Writing my feelings has helped me to put them somewhere else, on this blog – so they do not have to be inside me anymore.
I also did not expect to be helped so very much by the people who found and commented on my blog. Yes some of the advice was shall we say extraordinarily unhelpful but I have learned that there are so very many kind, supportive people in the world who really want to be as helpful as they can. It has made me stronger to know that. Also even though I still do not entirely believe I deserve it, it is very nice to be told that my words have inspired others, that I am an aishes chayil, that I am strong, etc. I never thought of myself that way and it feels good to have it pointed out. A very little bit I am allowing myself to believe it and that shines some light into the dark.
Finally I never expected that after expressing all my feelings and getting comments from others that I would actually feel better about being S.N.! I thought that the blog would be my last expression of excuses of why I can not be frum anymore or at least not S.N. I thought that the blog would end by saying “being S.N. until you are 35 is impossible and so now I will go and find myself someone, anyone, to not just kiss but have sex with because I can not take this anymore.” But instead I have realized how much worse I would feel if I did that. Even if I never get married which would be very sad, even if I never am kissed ever in my whole life, which would be horribly terribly sad, I would rather have that than give something away before I am ready or to a man I do not trust. I hope that soon I will find a man I trust and that always always whatever I do with him will be in proportion to how well we know each other and the nature of the commitment we have to each other. I cannot promise to be S.N. until I get married but I can promise to myself now that I will not do anything rash.
Here are the things I have learned from writing this blog and reading the comments and emails left by the readers:
- Being sexually frustrated is indeed frustrating and terribly terribly difficult but after all it is the lack of emotional intimacy that is even worse. The true problem is not that I am S.N. but that I have no one in my life I am close enough to be be not-S.N. with.
- I became depressed because I was sad about being single and S.N., but once I was depressed the goal became to feel better in general. When I feel better in general I will feel better about being single and S.N. That should be the goal, to find a way to be happy somehow even if I never get married and I am never kissed.
- The halacha about being S.N. is not as important to me as it was 10 or 15 years ago but it is still important to me. Maybe 10 percent because it is the halacha and 90 percent because for me doing something physical with a man will also have a large emotional component and I do not want to cheapen that.
- I am not a pathetic loser just because I have never been kissed. First because there are many other normal, sexually healthy people who also have never been kissed for one reason or another and Second because maybe, kissing someone you do not care about would be the truly crazy thing. I have heard from so many people especially women who have not been S.N. and now regret it because they feel they were used. So who made the worse decision? We are taking risks either way. I took a risk to be S.N. and lost because now am still single and I have never been kissed. Other people took a risk and were not S.N. and now have memories they regret. Who can say which is worse?
- There are some very nice, supportive, and smart people in the world.
- There are also some mean and/or stupid people in the world.
- The world really is more cruel to fat people than to skinny people.
- I knew this before but some of the comments reminded me more that the goal is not to get married it is to get married to a good person who I can have a happy, healthy relationship with. As sad as I am to be single I feel worse for the people who are in unhappy marriages.
Here is what I hope other people have learned or thought more about from reading this blog and the comments:
- The “singles crisis” is not just about singles who do not want to get married or are not serious. Even people who are very serious and focused are not getting married sometimes for reasons beyond their control. Even if there is something “wrong” with them it often is not any more “wrong” than what many married people have “wrong” with them.
- Just because a person is Shomer Negiah does not mean that they are not a sexual person or do not want to have sex.
- Many women do in fact have strong sexual urges and men should not assume that all women only want emotional intimacy. Men: Every woman is different and the important thing is to be happy with the particular woman who is in your life! Women: Even if you are S.N. it is still possible to be a sexual person. Our bodies are not dirty or forbidden to ourselves. Explore and have fun!
- This may seem like a contradiction of the last point but well life is complicated. For women in particular any kind of touch, even just kissing, can feel like “giving something away,” especially if the woman is frum and had previously been S.N. but even if not. Emotional intimacy and sexuality are very intertwined.
- When teaching children or students about the halachos of S.N., people should keep in mind that intimacy and sexual fulfillment are both basic human needs and if a person lives without them for a long time it can have a very very detrimental affect on their psychological well being.
- People in good marriages should please appreciate that you have companionship and that you are one of the lucky ones.
- If you know someone who is single and becoming less frum as time goes on please do not be too quick to judge them. You cannot know for sure what kind of pain this person is going through or what choices you would make if you were in their shoes.
- If you are single and S.N. you are not alone! We are a small group but it exists and you are not alone.
- If you are single and cannot be S.N. anymore because you cannot take it, there is someone here who understands. I myself do not know what I will do about that when I do find a meaningful relationship, if I ever do.
- If you are having signs of depression please get help! You do not have to suffer. I know what it is like to be so unhappy and lonely that you feel like you would rather be dead. Please do not let yourself feel that way any longer. Go to your doctor and ask for help. It really does work . . . slowly but surely.
May Hashem answer our prayers.