My Dog Is Ruining My Sex Life

I’ve had a dog for 12 days. I haven’t had sex in 12 days.

I’ve been longing for a fluffy, wide-eyed, wild, squirming, sweet puppy of my own for the past decade. For the past several years, the urge to care for a vulnerable animal has felt as visceral as protecting my siblings from the wrath of a high school bully.

“I want a child so badly, my ovaries are aching!” My friend Amanda used to yelp whenever she saw a yummy mummy pushing a flushed-cheeked baby around the city in a chic, frilly stroller.

“I want a dog so badly, my soul is bleeding,” I would darkly reply, staring at some trendy, older gay male couple strutting around lower Manhattan with a well-coiffed dog decked out in the latest puppy couture.

I fought back the urge to get a dog, with every fiber of my reckless 20-something being, with the same remarkable ferocity in which Amanda fought back the urge to poke holes in her slew of rockstar boyfriends’ condoms.

“I’m not ready for a child, I can hardly take care of myself!” Amanda would declare to the Universe, sucking back streams of cigarette smoke in-between dramatic gulps of diet Redbull.

“I’m not ready for a puppy! I keep destroying my own Chanel handbags, I don’t need a dog chewing up my designer shit either!” I would also declare to the universe in solidarity, gazing into the whiskey stains and clumsy rips peppered across the thighs of my $200 jeans.

💥Dirty hair, dirty mind, dirty LIFE. 💥

A post shared by Zara Barrie (@zarabarrie) on

This pattern of living and loathing continued until about a year ago. Sometime around the ides of March of 2017, I found myself doing things that were wildly out of character for me: I started remembering my cab rides home from the bar. I stopped asking my friends questions like: “Did we run into ‘so and so’ last night? Or did I dream it?” I started putting my exorbitantly expensive purses on shelves inside of my closet when I got home from work, instead of hastily tossing them on to my bedroom floor. I began to occasionally use grown-up services; like professional dry-cleaners and board certified dentists.

“I think I’m ready for a dog,” I chirped to Amanda one afternoon. It was two days after Christmas and we were sipping on ~organic~ Bloody Mary’s and slurping back ~vegan~ eggs benedict (don’t ask) at some pricey hipster dive downtown. The Manhattan sky was a magnificent Tiffany blue and the promise of sparkly 2018 was sifting through the polluted city air, its fragrant scent sweetly delighting all five of my senses. My cuticles were trimmed as beautifully as an Upper East Side lady and for once, I wasn’t worried about my credit card declining.

A month and a half or so after the sudden realization that I was finally, indeed ready to care for a dog of my very own, I found myself breaking into tears as I held a fist-sized Mini Australian Shepard, Pomeranian, Chihuahua, squirrel mutt of a 10-week old puppy in my shaking arms.

“No one wanted him because he didn’t have blue eyes,” my girlfriend Meghan said to me. On cue, this stunning derpy-looking creature stared at me with eyes so soft I felt my aching, tired soul sink into the softest mattress to ever exist. He breathed his delicate puffy breath right into my face and released a fart so pungent it burned the protective hairs inside my nose right off. I started to weep.

“Don’t you like him?” Meghan asked, crossing her long, skinny arms, looking annoyed.

“I love him. He belongs to us,” I whispered as black mascara tears ran down my hot cheeks. I looked Meghan right in her seafoam eyes, “These are tears of joy, duh,” I hissed.

“I forgot you’re tapering off your meds,” Meghan said, looking relieved. She had a point. I hadn’t really cried in the past six months due to an emotionally numbing cocktail of Cymbalta and Wellbutrin and the newfound rush of feelings was clearly overwhelming me. I sobbed for the next several hours.

That night I broke the cardinal dog training rule, and let my new dog sleep in our bed. Meghan and I named him “Luka” like the Suzanne Vega song because we’re insufferable 90s lesbians who just can’t help but dyke out all the time.

Luka rested his tiny head on my shoulder and snored right into my ear. I didn’t sleep. Not because of the snoring, but because I was equal parts ecstatic and equal parts terrified. I firmly decided I would choose to live off zero sleep in order ensure I didn’t crush this precious creature whilst writhing in the throes of one of my signature, antidepressant-induced nightmares.

I’ve now had Luka for a total of 12 days and Meghan and I have also not had sex for 12 days.

This is by far the longest we’ve ever gone without having sex in the two years that we’ve been hooking-up and dating.

“What do you do with him when you have sex?” my best friend Ruba gabbed to me over the phone yesterday. I responded with radio silence. Ruba must have intrinsically felt the dark, under-sexed cloud hanging heavily over my head. “You’re not having sex at all, are you?” Ruba purred. I imagined her pouring herself a martini.

“Nope,” I mumbled, stroking the top of Luka’s warm head, expecting to feel the bitter sparks of resent flickering in my chest. (The resentment never came).

I hung up the phone and stared at the cracks in the ceiling of my bedroom wall. Why was I feeling so off-kilter that I hadn’t gotten down and dirty with Meghan for only 12 days? I mean, is it really that even that big of a goddamn deal?!

I mulled over this for several minutes. Suddenly hit it me like a ton of bricks falling unexpectedly on the top of my head while on a seemingly innocent stroll through the West Village.

Yes, not having sex for 12 days is undesirable, but the root of the darkness wasn’t the sex. It was the fact that I hadn’t even thought about the sex. I have been so enamored with Luka that the libido lightswitch inside of my hyper-sexual brain has been shut off.

Instead of curling up next to Meghan after the workday, and instantly becoming aroused and excited after her feeling her leggy swaggy body pressed up against mine, I’ve been spooning a four-pound mutt. Instead of waking up at 2AM overcome with sweeps of irrepressible lust, I’m waking up at 2AM thinking to myself “Holyshit the dog probably has to take a shit right now!” and rushing out of bed to take to him out. Instead of lazily dreaming about all the fabulous sex I’ll have the following night, I’m hellbent with worry over Luka. “Is Luka OK? Is he happy? Is he well-adjusted? Does he like us? Will he need therapy?” I’ll think to myself when we’re apart, digging my nails into my thighs hellbent with angst and fear.

I know I can rectify this problem. I just need to to take the proverbial shot of whiskey, swallow the proverbial Valium and bite the proverbial bullet and stick the dog in his crate. Tonight. “They like the crate. They feel secure in the crate,” I keep coaching myself when I think of him locked behind bars. “I mean, you haven’t even cuddled Meghan since the onset of Luka. She deserves your affection too,” I try to convince myself.

But what I’m truly grappling with, is the fact that this whole ordeal is making me hate myself and it’s making me question everything I’d ever been convinced I’ve known about growing up and nurturing helpless beings, like dogs and kids. If having a dog for less than two weeks is stopping me from being wildly horny (my sluttiness has been synonymous with my identity since I was a teenager) what will happen when I have a goddamn child? Will the sexuality that oozes out of my pores dry up? Will I suddenly be a perpetually barefoot and pregnant earth mother with milk flying out of my sore tits? Just the thought of my perky B-sized tits weighed down with milk makes me shudder. The thought of neglecting to don my kinky-chic lingerie in favor of some hippy-dippy loose fitted California mommy dress, sends cold shivers down my trembling spine. The thought of losing the core of myself (my sex drive! My sex drive exists at the core of who I am!) in order to care for something else (my dog, my kid) makes me want to stop writing this essay and drown my thoughts in a tub of drugstore champagne and hard drugs.

I guess the real problem is this: I’m afraid of growing up. When you’re entire identity has been wrapped around being young and wild and sex-crazed, who are you when your priorities start to shift? Can one still be young and fabulous and wild, but also a reliable caretaker? Can one be sexy and lusty and nurturing and selfless all at once? And is the whole reason I’m melting down over 12 sexless days, rooted in some kind of internalized misogyny? Is this whole existential crisis I’m experiencing all due to the glaring fact that American culture depicts moms as one-dimensional entities who live to serve and soothe? Is it because Society tells women that once we get past the age of 28, we can either be a child-less, promiscuous, fierce Samantha Jones or a frazzled, house-laden Roseanne? What if I want to be a Samantha and a Roseanne at the same time? What if I want to have sex with my girlfriend but also cuddle my sweet baby-dog Luka?

Is the patriarchy to blame for this sudden lack of libido? Or do I need to just shut the f*ck up and put the dog in the damn crate and hire a new shrink and realize that being grown-up doesn’t mean I have to lose the fire, the ambition, and most importantly, the individuality, that’s made my life the wonderfully haphazard, adventurous proverbial private plane ride to Paris, that it’s always been?

Regardless of what it all means, one thing is for sure. Crate or no crate, tonight we’re having sex.




What Do You Think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *