Content Warning: Depression, Toxic Relationships, Chronic Pain
I have always been a sexual person, but I have not always had regular sex, even with myself. I experience depression and anxiety which sometimes make it hard to be present in my body. I have PTSD which has flared up in toxic relationships. I have chronic pain in the form of fibromyalgia and endometriosis which sometimes make me TOO aware of my body in all the most unsexy ways. But none of these things take away my identity as a person who loves sex. It is still a hugely important part of my life and a conduit for me to find connection and growth.
I understand that change is scary and hard sometimes. I myself am not an impulsive person and tend to go the long way around any situation, sometimes chilling for far too long in a bad spot because I don’t feel ready to make the jump forward. You know, make a pros and cons list, weigh my options, pretend that everything is under control and I’m ready for the change. But often I get kicked in the butt by the universe and change happens whether or not I feel adequately prepared for it. Flare ups happen, break-ups happen, work dries up. While I can accept that I ultimately have no control in the larger scheme of things, it is harder for me to acknowledge that my libido, which feels so personal and integral to my personhood, could be altered or disappear for a time.
During my last dry spell that lasted about 9 months I found it morbidly amusing that I finally had the space for my dream sex toy cabinet filled with a beautifully curated collection of dildos and plugs and my libido was nowhere to be found. I tried masturbating but felt nothing and just ended up crying. Never again would I be fucked with my favorite girthy dildos. Bye internal vibrators, it was nice playing with you. I couldn’t even imagine a toy being put in my butt when only months earlier I had begged for the Vixen Outlaw. While my life crashed around me it seemed extra cruel that I couldn’t even escape into sex because I had lost my desire. Truly, nothing is sacred.
Instead of pushing for something that didn’t seem possible, I stopped trying to get off. What little energy I had that wasn’t being eaten up by depression and trauma recovery was spent re-learning to cook for myself and reading. Come As You Are, Healing Sex, and Ecstasy is Necessary were all devoured at a slow pace and were instrumental in reminding me that I am whole no matter how, or even if, I express my sexuality. Life is not linear and there are no guarantees about anything. Just because I had been functioning thru my anxiety didn’t mean that I wouldn’t reach a point where my coping mechanisms would stop working. Instead of being sad about everything I felt that I’d lost I began to look at my situation as a clean slate.
Setting intentions and reflecting on my experiences have been powerful ways to spend this past year. Accepting limitations around my mental health and physical health is illuminating and feels really good, if also a bit terrifying. Turns out I needed to make a new container to hold myself and my desires. Once I started working on that container my libido returned. I’m learning about what feels good to me now and what kind of sex I’m interested in pursuing, knowing that none of this is set in stone and there is a very good chance that this might not be forever either.
Our bodies change over time. We get older, yes. But also, we go thru so many different cycles in life and our bodies react to them. Our libidos can be altered by circumstances that surround us and our sexualities change and evolve too. Our tastes and proclivities change and our sexual partners change. We get introduced to new things all the time. All of a sudden new possibilities are available that you hadn’t ever imagined before. Sometimes the change is slow and gradual and takes you by surprise– it’s just about meeting yourself where you’re at, wherever that may be. We are valid in all of the forms we take.