Drew Barrymore is setting the record straight after a recent comment on her eponymous talk show gave some viewers the impression that she “hates sex.”
Last month Barrymore, 47, addressed actor Andrew Garfield’s claim that he gave up sex for six months ahead of playing a Jesuit priest for the 2016 film Silence. In response, the actress — a single mother who has been candid about dating dilemmas on the show — quipped, “What’s wrong with me that six months doesn’t seem like a very long time? I was like, ‘Yeah so?’”
But some took that off-handed remark about celibacy the wrong way, as Barrymore discovered when she was recently approached by a woman after wrapping up a workout. “You look just like Drew Barrymore except for you look like you have mental wellness and besides … she hates sex!” the woman told her.
After finally connecting the dots between that woman’s comment and what she said on her show last month, Barrymore felt moved to clarify how her view on intimacy has evolved over the years, from her wild upbringing as a child star to her current state as a single mom who shares two daughters with third husband Will Kopelman.
“At nearly 48 I have very different feelings about intimacy than I did growing up,” the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial star shared in new blog post, titled “Rebels Who Love,” on Sunday. “I did not have role model parents and I engaged with people in grown up ways since a tender age! I was looking for companionship! validation! excitement! pleasure! hedonism! fun! And adventures!! Now, because I can’t get in the time machine and change my history … [I] choose to look at it through a positive lens, which is that I lived! I lived a very rich full life.
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“However, after two kids and a separation from their father that has made me cautious, I have had the pleasure of shifting my focus when it comes to love for myself and my two daughters. I know that does not include a man nor has it for a while,” Barrymore, who divorced Kopelman in 2016, continued, adding insight from her therapist that has helped her distinguish sex from love. “I’ve come to realize through working in therapy (with Barry), he said something and I had to write it down. He said, ‘Sex is not love! It is the expression of love.’ I have searched my whole life to have words like that to help me understand the difference and now, thanks to him, I do.”
The Never Been Kissed actress went on to explain how being a mother to 10-year-old Olive and 8-year-old Frankie has changed how she approaches relationships, both with herself and with others. Barrymore shared that “since entering life as a single mom, I have not been able to have an intimate relationship.”
“I have had the honor and a pleasure to actually work on myself and learn what parenting is, again something I was not exactly clear on growing up and I’ve had many learning curves thrown my way,” she continued. “I’ve been intimidated. I’ve been triumphant. I’ve been asked to be educated in every way I can be. The truth is, it’s different for every family and every individual, but I have had to try and find my own way. I’m also raising two daughters, so how we raise girls to be appropriate and empowered and to love themselves and to realize that we live in an age where the images and messages that they will see will also contradict what I have come to believe intimacy is! Intimacy is something that makes you feel good about yourself! I also talk about and have learned when something doesn’t make you feel good or it makes you feel bad about yourself, pay as much attention to that as what makes you feel great because there’s a lesson in there.”
While Barrymore has been open about her dating life, she isn’t looking for anything serious at the moment.
“I am just in a completely different place in my life and maybe in the near future I will get into a relationship … but it simply hasn’t been my priority,” she wrote. “So I’m not a person who needs sex and has to go out there and engage with people on that level. I am someone who is deeply committed to fostering how young girls, my daughters, and myself as a woman, are supposed to function in this world! A relationship with a man has not been top of mind for me for a very long time.
“Some people can get out of a marriage or relationship and in the near future find themselves in another relationship,” she noted. “There is nothing wrong with that! Not one bit. I do not judge! I celebrate their journey! Because for some people that really works. It didn’t work for me. I needed to stay very celibate and honoring and in some sort of state of mourning of the loss of a nuclear family that I swore I would have for my daughters and to find grace and acceptance and what our new normal of a blended family would be. It took time. I’m proud of myself that I took that time. That’s what I, as my own individual and no one else just me, needed to do and I honored that and I respect myself for it, as I respect anyone else for their choices. I have just simply come to laugh about the fact that it is not my personal priority to be with a partner, but that doesn’t mean it won’t become one someday. I need time. And my view on sex has truly changed.”
Barrymore, who has been married three times, also reflected on her love life over the years.
“I wish when I was younger that I had had the chastity and the thoughtfulness that I do about intimacy now as a 48-year-old woman,” she admitted. “I wish I had been taught by my mother or my father or my friends that there is age-appropriateness business and that there is a way to become a classy young woman! There are things that are fun but also boundaries that can lead to tremendous self-respect. When you are selective and you look at sex as an expression of love and not love itself … well, I’m so glad to be here now in my life. But don’t forget I’m a naughty monkey who is rebellious and weird and comedic and wacky and doesn’t judge others and really doesn’t want anyone highly involved in my choices when it comes to this vulnerable subject but because I’ve been an open book my whole life but here we are!”
Barrymore ended her essay by making it clear where she stands on the subject of sex.
“So for the record, I do not hate sex!” she wrote. “I have just finally come to the epiphany that love and sex are simply not the same thing. I searched my whole life … to be a calm woman and not a bombastic party girl. Also, when you grow up and are in a marriage with kids and you think you’ll only be with this one person for the rest of your life and then that doesn’t happen? It rocked me to my core, to put it lightly. But I am lucky enough to have my cup runneth over in the love department: I have my two daughters, and for the first time ever in my life, I’m actually including self-love, too.”
She concluded, “I wish for everyone that they find out what makes them feel good about themselves and seek that! And if and when they happen to find what makes them feel bad about themselves, that they pay attention and avoid it, and even abstain from inviting in emotions that do not lead to self-respect. And then of course, find out what makes them feel good about themselves and seek that! And to be passionate and protective in the fact that we all deserve love! and we should all give love! but love and sex are simply not the same thing.”
The talk show host’s reflections on relationships and motherhood echo comments she made during an appearance on CBS This Morning in January.
“I had never realized and said out loud that I don’t know how to date with kids,” she shared. “My kids’ dad is happily remarried with the most wonderful woman in the world, Allie [Michler]. My children have this extraordinary stepmom. Our processes have been different and their side of the street is so functional and whole and happening. And I think I’ve been on the sidelines — in a beautiful, honoring purgatory.
“I’ve been saying ‘It’s me,’ ‘It’s my choice,’ ‘I’m not ready,’ ‘I wanna wait,’” she continued. “I don’t think I’ve said out loud that it’s really because I have these two daughters.”