Right before I turned 30, I started feeling all the “What am I doing with my life?” vibes that come with entering a new decade. Those were expected. What I wasn’t expecting were all the “What am I doing with my body?” vibes that became more persistent each day leading up to my birthday.
I was open. I was restless. I was… horny.
I was also on jury duty. I had been assigned a case expected to last 30 days. Jury duty isn’t exactly how one expects — or hopes — to spend their final month as a twentysomething. How do you sow your wild oats while being a responsible citizen?
That’s why it came as a big surprise to me when I starting finding myself wildly turned on by the judicial process — and I don’t just mean taking a keen interest in law. Was I heading toward a major career change or was something else — something sexier — going on?
Following my summons, I found myself unexpectedly turned on by the strict rules of the courtroom: the objections, the power, the secrecy, the 45 seconds at the beginning and end of each day when everyone in the courtroom stood and watched as we walked to and from our seats. I half-listened to, half-fantasized about the well-dressed defense attorney who resembled a young Bill Pullman (Don’t judge me!). Even the awkward stares, silences and slander from the witnesses gave me goose bumps. Every day, I sat in a room with complete strangers and pretended they were all performing only for me. Was this some pathetic charade or a fantasy to embrace?
I didn’t know what to make of all my new fantasies. I found myself retreating into my imagination on a daily — no, hourly — basis. Without warning, certain smells, certain movements, basically anything could jump-start my brain into a full-blown NC-17 scene that had me questioning my sanity. I even started binge-watching Ally McBeal (sadly, removed from Netflix) hoping that the nearing-30, horny lawyer from the late ’90s with a fantasy problem of her own might shed light on my current predicament.
Ally was fantasizing long before and long after the CGI dancing baby you’re probably thinking of now. What was intriguing about Ally’s fantasies was that they weren’t a problem for her: She got off on her imaginary release. Embracing my fantasies became easier as I saw the ease with which Ally found relief in hers.
I started picking out attention-grabbing outfits the night before, imagining the DA stumbling on his words as he questioned the plaintiff while admiring my polka-dot dress. I hoped the better I got at taking advantage of my own personal mental playground like Ally, the sooner I could discover what gave me release in real life. My case wasn’t going to last forever. Soon, I would be back in the real world without the restrictions of the courtroom guiding me on this new sexual journey.
I may have become an expert at fantasizing, but embracing what came after the fantasy still scared me.
As I exited my 20s, I was also exiting a long, drawn-out relationship. Enjoying sex now felt tainted, and I found myself questioning the perfectly normal urge to have sex with someone. Was I allowed to enjoy sex where love may not ever exist?
With my trial coming to a close and my birthday creeping closer, I knew it was time to reach a verdict. I wanted to enter my 30s with a fresh outlook on sex and put love in a temporary timeout. I pushed myself to start putting myself in situations where sex, not love, was the priority. I had my first one-night stand! And my first threesome! And my second threesome! I even asked out the defense attorney (after the case was over, of course). He was married, but still!
Here, I was surprising and arousing myself. Even more arousing was the unexpected intimacy shared in these moments with near strangers. Intimacy borne not from emotional connections but from a mutual appreciation of making each other feel good.
Jury duty tapped into a simmering sexuality stirring inside me, but I realized it wasn’t just the phallic judge’s gavel or my odd attraction Bill Pullman, Esq. My time spent with strangers and their stories made me realize how much I valued connecting with people. I spent my 20s committed to relationships — committed in a way that didn’t allow me to experience the simple pleasure of getting to know another person sexually for fear of hurting my partner. I now knew if I was ever going to be in that situation again, I would never let my love of someone else hinder a new connection. There are too many people in this world worth knowing.
Everyone’s sexuality will be shaped differently. A courtroom helped shape mine, a bedroom might shape yours. As long as you’re listening to yourself and your body and embracing your fantasies in all their shapes and forms, sexual justice will be served.