Stop Calling It A “Dry Spell”

Shani Silver
5 min readNov 17, 2023

Ridiculous singlehood statistics that shame us.

Photo by Shani Silver

Statistics, data, and numbers are fine. I was very good with them, but I think that has more to do with the “bad at math” programming I received during my extremely gendered education and upbringing than any actual aptitude. There’s nothing wrong with data, in fact, I enjoy a good analytics geek out as much as the next extremely online gal. Numbers and stats are an okay thing to care about, as long as there’s a good reason why you care. In singlehood, I think we have a terrible habit of tallying things that literally don’t matter. I also think the numbers we keep track of are shaming us into feeling worse about something that isn’t actually bad. “How long it’s been” doesn’t say anything about us at all. How we feel about that timespan most certainly does.

In singlehood, I personally think that numbers don’t count for shit. What matters to me is the perspective from which we view those numbers. How long have you been single? How long have you been online dating? And my absolute favorite and by favorite I mean my least favorite: How long has it been since you’ve had sex?

Ah yes, the dry spell—that old chestnut. Oh my god, it’s been how long?! This inappropriate, grotesque tally indicates to us just how much sexual value we have as women out in the world. Unfortunately, we can also use this number to assign value to ourselves in our own heads. As if our worth and desirability could ever possibly be dictated to us by how often we spend time naked with another person — any other person. Beyond that, a woman’s sexual worth is a perpetually unbalanced scale. Have sex too little? Prude, pathetic. Have sex too much? Slut, hoe. I wonder where a woman’s sexual sweet spot is? Probably regularly scheduled sex with a spouse from age 28 until death, I’d imagine.

There’s a fear we allow to root in our single brains: if we’re not having sex, if we’re not booking a lot of dates, if we don’t have “enough” people interested in us, that means we’re not desirable or lovable at all. We let what’s happening outside of us mirror back what our self-worth should be, when in fact self-worth has nothing to do with other people wanting to fuck you. Forgive the vulgarity, I need your attention.

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