Sex After Loss: The First Time After the Last Time

When it comes to living your life after the death of your partner, everyone is different. There is no “How To Be Widowed” Handbook, and even if there were, it would probably be filled with endless contrived catch phrases and cliches.


The truth is, none of us have the slightest idea what the hell we are doing, and we each take different paths to get there. Love, after the loss of your partner or spouse, is a very tricky and individual thing. It is also not what this article is about. This article is about what it’s like, in the moment, when you lose your “widow virginity.” And yes, that’s our term for it. When your husband or wife or partner dies, the time after their death that you spend NOT sleeping with anyone, is referred, to in the widowed community as being a “widow virgin.” Now, keep in mind that one can hold widow virgin status for weeks, months, years, even forever. On the opposite end of the spectrum, others may lose their widow virginity in the time it takes me to type up this piece. We all grieve and cope differently.

For me personally, the first 3 years after my husband’s sudden death, I didn’t even think¬†about sex. I’m completely serious. I was too busy crying, grieving, and being in emotional pain 24/7. Also, the very idea of someone other than my husband even touching me, made me feel physically nauseous. One time, a man in a security uniform that looked a lot like my husband’s old EMS uniform, was hitting on me and asking for my number as I tried to walk home from work. When he was finally out of my sight, I turned the corner of the street and threw up. So, for a long time, just the sight of any man showing any interest in me, and him NOT being my husband – gave me a terrible, very physical reaction. It was also a very long time until I could practice in “self-love” again. This is how that would go: In order to get turned on, I would try to have thoughts about my husband, and I would try to picture us together again and our loving and wonderfully fun sex life. I would try to pretend that it was him touching me and making me feel amazing. It would work pretty well for the first few minutes, but then somewhere in the middle, I would have this realization that I would never be with him again in that way and that he would never be touching my body again or making me feel good again, because he was dead forever – and then that thought would depress the hell out of me, and I would have to stop with the self-pleasure. I could never “finish”, and then I would either get incredibly annoyed, pissed off, or extremely sexually frustrated because I was beginning to think I would never again have an orgasm. Every masturbation session would end up with me sobbing my head off for 30 minutes straight, or beating the shit out of my pillow while I screamed to nobody: “WHY THE F**K ARE YOU DEAD???” Talk about a buzz-kill.