I don’t have sex with my partner. There. I’ve said it.
The last time we slept together was in December. The time before that, sometime last summer. Occasionally, we’ve fooled around. I’m beginning to forget what sex feels like.
Let’s get one thing clear: it’s my fault. I don’t initiate. I don’t receive. I don’t allow.
He does try. He sometimes toys or teases or throws me on the bed. We giggle; he tries to make out with me. Eventually I call an end. And he’s patient. Endlessly.
What gives? Here are My Three Problems:
Blunt fact – sex has almost always been painful for me, and therefore, hard to enjoy. In particular, with my current partner, I have trouble. Let’s just say he has big shoes.
With various partners I have tried to ignore, overlook, or literally stretch my way out of this fact. I at least had gotten to the point about 2 years ago where I could enjoy myself, if not be pain free. (Ladies: a cocktail of DayQuil and alcohol really makes a sexy painkiller. Easiest time of my life. If only I could remember anything beyond how painless it was.)
I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, psychological and physical, that cause this. But this is all water under the bridge when you consider…
Antidepressants kill any desire for sex I may have once had. I am a strictly robotic being now. The thought of sex never occurs to me, ever. Except in a guilt ridden fashion.
And it’s not like I’m just not hungry until I smell the food – oh no. When the wafts of vanilla scented make outs, chocolate massages, cherry blossom gifts and dates, wine splashed rough-housing or vodka smashed porn watching sessions hit me, I cannot be convinced. There is no indifference here. There is blatant avoidance.
Upstairs, I push away the plate of food. Downstairs, my body is blissfully unaware of anything remotely connected to hormones that should be causing arousal.
Combine this with…
Anxiety. I don’t know how my boyfriend does it because even when we started dating, I had just started having panic attacks, and as the general anxiety mounted, I couldn’t even pay attention to him when we were conversing, let alone trying to be intimate. My mind raced around the track, chomping at the bit to get out and frothing with the effort of escaping the rider.
He’d make an advance, and I’d worry he wanted sex, and with the anxious feelings of worrying about the pain and worrying about our relationship, and then worrying about EVERYTHING ELSE IN MY LIFE AT THE SAME TIME – I’d back away and try to laugh it off.
As depression and subsequently antidepressants set in with their effects, and my libido dropped into the sea of loneliness, we stopped knowing each other Biblically very much.
But with the antidepressants, my anxiety waned. I was less interested, but less impatient. I was less afraid of advances, but just as likely to eventually call a rainout.
This brings me to today. After what feels like a year of vacation from anxiety (but has really only been three months of stability), it has come back.
Motivated by a mixture of guilt and curiosity and frustration, I asked my doctor how we could solve my gladiator-like resistance. We are trying adding bupropion, an antidepressant that avoids many of the side effects of typical SSRIs, and apparently, can even help reverse them.
I am on day 5 of the medicine. In a truly glorious feat of irony, bupropion has so far reinstated my charming anxiety friend once more. If, in two weeks or so, when side effects settle, I regain some sex drive, it will be irrelevant.
I’m shaking. I’m giddy. I can’t sit still. It feels like something is wrong, but I can’t put my finger on it – all the time. Being late, getting everything done perfectly, all my to dos, trying to keep up with my friends and family – welcome back, old perturbers. Bupropion has let you in the door with relish.
Patrick fireman carried me into the bedroom and pinned me down, with laughing protests. And then it got a bit more playful, and suddenly I was retreating and he wasn’t, and I was fighting tooth and nail to get free.
You’re late! I got out, and finally he got up and headed to the door.
At the door he embraced me again, and we went through the old routine:
He pulls me in, I let in a bit.
He kisses me, I kiss back a bit.
He starts to put his hands up my shirt, and I know, I know, I know he knows that a) he’s late and b) I don’t want to go there, but still he does and still I freak out and really don’t want to, and my mind is racing with the awkwardness of pushing my own boyfriend away and the hurt of guilt, and loneliness and anger, and it’s all my fault but I just – don’t – want – anyone – touching – me – right – now. Go!
He wasn’t mad. I’m always afraid that he’ll be mad, or hurt. He knows. We talk about it. And as he left, he said, “If I stop trying, if I let this wall go up and rest there, we may never be able to get through it.” I think he’s right, and I’m afraid.
I want to want him. I want to want anything. How can I feel so normal when something like this is missing? I don’t remember what any of that feels like. I don’t remember desire. I don’t remember desperation and heat and murmurs. I don’t remember caring about any of that.
Inside me is a tiny voice that’s telling me there was a time when I was raucous. There was a time when I was hungry. It’s very hard to listen to the voice, because it seems like another person trying to feed me false memories.
But today, for the first time I can remember since this all began, I got angry. I got angry and knew that I wanted to find out what it was like to eat. For the first time, I told my brain wholeheartedly that it was wrong. And I’m going to win.
Right now, this very instant, I’m going to post this and go out to meet my boyfriend at a bar. I am going to go out and have fun, and talk to his friends who I’ve always wanted to know better. I am going to ignore my brain that’s telling me it’s cold and I have to get up early tomorrow, and I am going to take my first step to denying its power over me.
It’ll be a good experiment, anyway.