In his new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules, Tim Gunn reveals that he hasn’t had sex “in decades.” He remarks, I wanted to say that, whether you’re gay or straight, you can live a celibate life and be perfectly satisfied and happy.” Learning this made me unexpectedly sad.
Not because I’m a proponent of “go out, sleep with everyone on the world! Embrace your inner Samantha! Have a sexy epileptic seizure style twitch fest in front of some fundamentalist Muslims!” I’m not. I often think of a friend who told me that when it came to sex, she really believed that “most women would rather just go out to a nice restaurant.” And in a way it’s true. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a nice restaurant, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is better than mediocre sex.
But good sex? Great sex? There’s nothing better than that.
Maybe this wouldn’t bother me if Tim Gunn just said he derived no enjoyment from sex. Then I guess I could say, “that’s cool, I’m amazed the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches haven’t taken a toll on your physique, but that’s cool.” But he says that he had a romantic relationship over 20 years ago that ended wth “a betrayal so wounding” he never risked romantic involvement again. That isn’t the same as being asexual.
I want Tim Gunn to be having great sex. He seems like he deserves it.
But I guess the real reason it makes me sad is because it makes me worry that Tim Gunn is lonely. I like to imagine him going home to some sort of Huysmans style apartment filled with impressionist paintings where he sits by a fire and sips tea and discusses his day with his handsome partner, who, say, runs fundraising for the Metropolitan Opera. I want to believe that they chuckle warmly over smart-people inside jokes, and bicker over the proper way to load the dishwasher, and have a great sex life that they don’t talk about publicly, because it’s private.
But maybe I’m at fault for thinking that a lack of sex connotes a lack of intimacy. Because a lot of the people who I love the most, who have been in my life the longest, aren’t people I’ve had sex with. Does it really matter whether Tim has sex or not? He’s Tim Gunn. He’s ridiculously beloved because he’s ridiculously cool. I’m sure he has a very lovely life. Maybe good friends and work that you love, maybe that’s enough. But somehow, I can’t help but feel that it’s just not quite enough.