When I first starting reading this, I thought Oh no, another sex-tips story that the Medium algorithm thinks I need, but it’s such a brave story. And as someone who is two decades older than you, let me say this: been there, done that. It’s such a weird space to be in where sex brings you pleasure (of sorts) and fulfills a need (or sorts) but then ushers in a whole other set of problems. It seems impossible to untangle, until it’s possible.
As someone who has done it all, long term relationships to one night stands to long stretches of celibacy and aloneness, I can say that managing the need for human touch is tough. Eventually I figured this out, making sure to hug my friends more often, making sure to allow myself more massages that I could afford, making sure to pet my dog. (It helps!). Not sure how to end this comment other than to say that you aren’t alone in this.