Jan 222015

Note that says: "You're never alone, okay? Someone somewhere cares about you and wants you to be alright. Even if it's just a random person you met on the internet. You are loved. Don't forget that."I need to preface this post. You won’t learn anything from this. I have no answers, no treatment plan, no quest. I have uncertainties and questions.  It isn’t an eloquent post. If you need a visual, I am huddled under a hoodie unable to make eye contact, I’m fidgety and exhausted. I’m skimming in some parts because I don’t have enough introspection to be able to elaborate. This is raw and uncomfortable and it’s not a pretty post. Like I told Reenie when I got her opinion on this post, this is a glimpse of me in therapy (and a clue as to why I don’t DO therapy). I’m all over the place, I skip details, yet I repeat. I’m saying all of this the best I can. This isn’t for fame or notoriety, because let’s face it, I’d like to think I normally write better than this. But if I take the time to polish it, it will never get published. Take it or leave it. 

For the last year or 18 months, I’ve mentally been on a downward, slow spiral. Stress and unknown other factors have made me subtly feel less awesome. It’s been so subtle that I’ve only recently thought “hmmm, maybe this is depression?”.  I want to write about this because it’s high time. My friend JoEllen has been writing about it for awhile now; plus there’s Crista’s world-famous OrgasmQuest. My angle is a bit different though. 

 The Vibrators

Despite the fact that it’s my job to use sex toys, I feel some internal guilt about having an orgasm by myself when it’s not “for work”, since I’m getting off by myself and not bringing my husband into it for something that could benefit us both. Even though intellectually I know that masturbation is healthy and there are tons of reasons that partners in very healthy relationships with great sex lives would masturbate. I know this. I still feel guilty sometimes though. Yet my orgasms, the ones from masturbation, aren’t really for pleasure. I don’t take my time and luxuriate in sensual self-play; there are no candles, no erotica, etc. Everything’s usually done in 10 minutes or less and often my pants don’t even come off. Most of the time I’m using my Tango (lately the L’amourose Rosa Rouge is helpful if a climax is being particularly stubborn) and I flip over to Tumblr for some audio and visual stimulation, enough to help with an orgasm. And then I’m done. Close out Tumblr, no more porn, no residual sexy feelings or thoughts; it’s like flipping a switch on and off. When I start masturbating through to finish, I’m not aroused. I’m not horny. So why the fuck am I masturbating, you might ask?

 For something to do. To maybe help myself sleep. To relieve some anxiety. To maybe not feel melancholy for a little while. Maybe it’ll wake me up. The reasons are varied but 99% of the time my libido is not in the deck of cards that contains my reasons. Sometimes an orgasm is not much different than brushing my teeth, as an activity.  It feels good but it’s not really registering, there’s a brain-body disconnect. 

The Sex

I’ll be honest, most of the time lately I have no sex drive. Luckily (an ironic sort of luck) my husband was going through his own lack of sex drive and issues, so while we both still love each other deeply the lack of sex bothered us only on a more cerebral level. A “shouldn’t we be bothered by this?” kind of bothered. A “it’s been HOW long??? Wow…that’s bad…we really should have sex this weekend” (and then we wouldn’t) kind of bothered. I think this past year we’ve both felt a bit of a strain due to the physical disconnect, but we both know that it’ll come back and we’re happy together regardless. But for two people who love each other dearly and still find each other attractive….the frequency of the sexing is frighteningly low. I don’t know yet how to fix it. 

The Depression

So I may, or may not, be clinically depressed 1 and I’m not being treated for it, nor am I seeing anyone. I’m not on any medication that is hampering my ability to orgasm, like Crista is dealing with on her #orgasmquest. I’ve had such awful experiences in the past 16 years with mental health drugs that I’m reluctant to go down this path again. The hazing period of newer drugs is intolerable sometimes. So I’m not actively seeking help. But I’m not happy, like overall – I mean, duh, right? And I have these weird “quirks” that I never had when I was younger – primarily, the ability to cry at the drop of a hat. Reading a book/watching a TV show where someone else cries? I cry. Happy cry, sad cry, the tears are just always there right under the surface. I also have a really hard time sticking with something I like – you know the whole typical depression question of “do you find yourself no longer getting pleasure from hobbies you previously enjoyed” thing. It’s, quite frankly, amazing that I’ve kept up with this blog for so long. I have definitely had feelings of “why the fuck am I still doing this” over the last 2 years. I tend to let my insecurities and the need to feel accepted and liked by my peers rule too much over me. When I start feeling like my peers don’t give a flying fuck about me/my writing/reviews, I consider throwing in the towel. But then I get thank you notes from my readers, the people I actually write the reviews for, and my brain returns to normal and I stop being such a pain in the ass. Needing validation is a sign of weakness for me because of past, unhealthy  experiences. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do. The thought of finding a psychiatrist/psychologist that doesn’t annoy the crap out of me feels too daunting. But I think I owe it to my husband to try and get my sex drive back. I’d say I owe it to myself, too, but my brain is like “pffft don’t care” so that thought doesn’t even occur to me. And yes, a tiny part of me feels like a fraud of a “sex blogger” for having no libido and reviewing sex toys. Thank goodness I dropped the whole “sexy” sex blogger thing years ago or I’d be feeling double the pressure. 

I guess all this rambling is to say that there is no normal, we need to talk more about sex & depression and masturbation & depression and depression in general, and I’m just as nutty as the next squirrel. I expected that writing this would be like therapy, but you know what? I feel twitchy. I feel like I’m in a therapy session with the therapist staring me down and after 10 minutes asking a “how do you feeeeeeel about that” question and my only response is “I dunno”. Oh hey….it IS just like therapy. Ha.

So uh……yeah. I think I need that orgasm right about now.


Links to help:  ADAA page on Depression  –  1-800-273-TALK  – NAMI

  1. But I absolutely do have ADD-Inattentive type and fibromyalgia, and I’m not really on anything for either and both of those, left untreated, can cause depression
 Posted by at 10:59 am

  12 Responses to “Vibrators, Sex, and Depression”

  1. Wow! hearing your story I feel like I’m not alone lol. I can honestly relate to you COMPLETELY. It does seem like a slight depression, which is what I myself am battling now. Even when you mentioned lack of libido and the validation thing I feel like I’m listening to myself. I hope that you will find that happy place again, I know its a struggle sometimes. But like you said, your readers inspire you to keep going and when you aren’t feeling the greatest, remember why you started. You are inspiring so many people out there, including me.

  2. I can tell you that I have heard your words before from both my own brain and countless others. You’re right. There is no normal. And the “shoulds” of partnered sex are remnants of cultural sex negativity. Let go of the expectation (for the record, this has been a common theme of my marriage, and we almost divorced because of “shoulds” about hetero partnered sex). The process is daunting, and it’s not cheap to get help. I’m getting help now. I suspect what JoEllen will find for the survey is that what you’re going through is pretty typical.

    You both do deserve for you to seek help and if at first you don’t click with a therapist, see someone else. I want to say more but I’m tapping this out on my phone. Look, you make a HUGE difference to your readers, to your peers, to the industry. It is because of you I took on blogging (you basically told me to just go for it), why my business model shifted to educate on toy materials – you’ve made a significant impact on me. Thank you for that. How many countless other lives have you touched directly and indirectly here and via Reddit, and other arenas? Your work is important.

    But more than that, YOU are important. *HUGS* No matter what you decide what works best, we’re here for you, Lilly.

  3. I super appreciate these words, I really do, BUT I do want to say that asking for validation was far and away not the point of my post, I don’t want it to come off that way, you know?

    It’s just simply a fact, a quirk, a something I deal with. but I’m still here!

  4. I’m not saying what I’ve said about my unsavory internal need for validation that I fight off at every turn to warn anybody and I don’t mean it to come off that way, but it is simply a mental struggle I deal with by myself. I don’t like voicing it. I have no plans to quit!

  5. OK, this comment is probably going to be long. Just preparing you, LOL.

    The paragraph about sex spoke to me a little, and I’ll tell you why. My fiance and I don’t have a lot of sex. In fact, we don’t have enough sex. There – I said it. I’m not satisfied with our sex life. I’m finally willing to admit it. Because I have a period tracking app on my phone, I know that we had sex 20 times last YEAR. We didn’t have sex on his birthday or mine or Valentine’s Day or our anniversary. We can go two months without having sex sometimes, and it bothers me in a “we’re in a monogamous relationship and really should be having more sex” way. I know I shouldn’t worry about what I think we “should” be doing, but one issue seems to be that we’re both depressed. Neither of us is in therapy or taking medication, and we haven’t been diagnosed, but I know we’re depressed. We’ve talked about our feelings, and it’s a lack of energy and a lack of giving a fuck. I’m sure we both want to have sex sometimes, but neither of us initiates, and I wonder if it’s just because we don’t have the energy to care that we’re not having sex. There are times when I’d love to have sex, but I don’t initiate because he worked that day, and I’m worried he’ll turn me down, which would be devastating to my self-esteem and body image. When we go two months without having sex or skip sex on our anniversary, which is supposed to be a day to celebrate our relationship, it makes me start to wonder if he is even attracted to me anymore. I’m sure that’s not something I have to worry about. We’ve been together for more than eight years and are a pretty good team in general outside the bedroom. We communicate pretty well about things that aren’t sex-related, and we both support each other, and I don’t worry about him cheating or anything like that. The sex is just lacking, and I wish so much that we had sex a lot more than we do. It feels like apathy, but it DOES really bother me that we’re not having sex on the regular, and I’m sure the lack of sex contributes to the depression, so that’s not helping.

    When we DO have sex, I have an incredibly hard time reaching orgasm. It takes me absolutely for-fucking-ever. Much of the time lately, I don’t get there, and I’ll give up even before he does. He tries. He really does try hard, and I appreciate the effort, but I just get so frustrated when it’s 45 minutes in and I still am not even close, so I give up. I know that me not being able to cum probably makes him feel like he sucks as a lover, and I try to tell him that it’s really not his fault that I can’t cum, but I doubt that’s helpful, and I’m sure he still feels inadequate. There are times when I go without sex because I don’t want to be disappointed or disappoint him by not being able to have an orgasm. I just want to save both of us the frustration. While I love sex toys and have made a time-consuming hobby (and one that I genuinely enjoy) out of writing reviews, I just really don’t want to have to rely on a toy to get me off when I’m having sex with my fiance. I would love to be able to get off with him without using a toy as a crutch. That’s not to say that I’m opposed to us using toys together. I’m definitely not, and I’d love to do it a lot more. We barely ever use toys together. I’d love to do it as something planned, however, instead of starting to have sex, realizing I’m totally not going to have an orgasm, and begrudgingly breaking out a vibe to get me there just to get it over with. Those orgasms suck. Here’s the thing: everybody says that sex without the goal of orgasm is more pleasurable because you’re not stressed out about making something happen and can just enjoy the moment, but for me, having sex without the REWARD of an orgasm has always been disappointing. It’s like working without getting paid. (Not that I’m saying sex is work. I hope I’m making sense. When you can’t have an orgasm, sex can sometimes feel like a lot of work.)

    Anyway, I have a lot more to say, but this comment is starting to get out of control. I’m not sure I’m even on-topic anymore. I’m starting to understand that he couldn’t care less about my sex blogging stuff, so if I want to have sex or use a toy on or with him or get his help writing a review, I feel like I’m going to have to start demanding it from him, which isn’t easy when you’re depressed either. It’s hard to feel confident when you’re depressed. I’m definitely not a dominant person, and I’ve never felt comfortable being an authority figure or a disciplinarian, but I’m going to have to develop more confidence and tell him how it’s going to be once in a while. I know that’s going to be hard to do when I’m dealing with depression making me not give a fuck. It’s going to be difficult, but I’m willing to work on it, which I ultimately think is the important part. We’ve stuck together this long, and our relationship in general is good when I’m not talking about our sex life. We’re just going to have to work on it, and I hope that some things in our life changing (finances, living situation, accomplishing some of our goals) will help with our depression, which is something we’ve both been living with for literally years now. It’s hard when depression has become a habit, but I love that you and other sex bloggers are talking about depression and sex because I’ve been reading a lot of posts that make me feel like other people understand what a negative impact it can have on sexual relationships.

  6. I know you’re not looking for validation and that tons of people have already given words of love and support, but I figure it can’t hurt to add to them, so what the hell? If not for you I would have wasted a shit ton of money and missed out on THE vibrator that ended all others for me. Like, if those guys go out of business, I’m buying twenty of them to be ensured of orgasms forever. Wouldn’t have risked that kind of expense if not for your endorsement. Fucking thank you for that.

    And I know it’s kind of a small thing compared to the size of the universe or whatever, but that’s how you’ve influenced this total stranger over here.

    And I know you know it too, because you said so, but never feel guilty about anything because shit, women get enough guilt lumped onto their sexuality and you need that crap like you need cavities.

    *HUG* again, I might be a stranger and an unoriginal one, too, but you rock damnit, and I wanted to say it.

  7. Thank you, it does mean a lot <3

  8. Long comments and sharing your stories are totally welcome here. I guess our brains are kinda similar because it didn’t feel totally disjointed to me, heh.

    I think it’s the allowing myself to feel crappy from time to time that is hard for me to practice. Especially since it usually takes me awhile to realize I’ve already been like this for weeks/months.

  9. It;s damned shame to hear someone slipping into this kind of hole. Strange that so many of us could find our way into it and yet each does so alone. I hope you find your way out soon.

  10. I think you’ve just summed me up perfectly. At least, how I’ve been feeling for some time. It might just be my case, but I’ve been talking about sex/toys/sexuality/orgasms/sex education/etc for so long that I think a side effect might be a disinterest in it… or an overload of it… or a detachment from it… it’s so constantly and consistently in my face that I feel like with any ‘job’, there’s a need for a break from it. But unlike an office job, that you can walk away from for the weekend, or go on vacation from, sex and sexuality is so much of who we are that there is no actual escape. Deadening the sex drive, maybe even subconsciously or on some weird level that we don’t see, is a way to deal. And in doing so, some part of us that’s alive and happy, goes with it. And then the guilt comes. And the sadness. And the frustration. And the pressure. And the inability to connect. And the anxiety. And the… I think you know where I’m going with this.

    I don’t know if what I just wrote will help in any way, especially being that it was more of a ramble on sentence with my own experiences than anything else. Just know you’re not alone in it, that what you do with your site and in life has value and meaning, and that you are loved. <3

  11. As a fan of your writing, I am hesitant to share what I have found helps me in my depression; but as a fellow blogger who deals with depression, I feel the need to share. Take a break for a few days or a week and see how you are feeling. Sometimes the pressure to be productive can compound things and make you feel worse. Also take some time for yourself and just do something such as getting a massage or a facial and make the effort to pamper yourself. You may not feel like you have a reason to pamper yourself, but just the act of letting yourself relax for an hour can help to release the endorphins that you are lacking at the moment.

    Take the time to research the therapists in your area and check out the reviews. There will be people out there who hopefully will have found out if the ones you are looking at are sex-positive or not. Not all are so if you find one that you don’t connect well with or don’t feel comfortable enough to open up to, try another. Let them know on your first visit that you do not want to be put on medication and see if they advise a food diary or any vitamin supplements. Mine advised after doing a food diary that I should have my D and B vitamin levels checked as well as Magnesium, and to get back to taking my Iron supplement that I had been bad about. There are a number of foods that are shown to help that you might be able to make changes to your meals which will help both of you out.

    I am gonna email you a link that is from the Indian Journal of Psychiatry that you might find helpful.

  12. Oh. My. Goodness. Wow. I need to immediately say that I experience the exact same feeling of when I masterbate, I’m not even horny or aroused. I just use my tango and it’s so weird, it’s exactly as you described, like brain body disconnection. Sometimes I will be just staring out the window!! I will say , that even if it’s not even that good, it is “grounding” to me, which helps before a work shift. I also notice that when I don’t feel good mentally just feel weird, it helps get my mind off it. But still, it’s crazy how similar about the brain body disconnection feeling.

    .I am going through the very same* not even horny but still end up masterbating, despite having a difficult n time even thinking about sex, I will just use my tango or touch, just for catching an O. The shitty aspect also is the orgasms feel so shallow and not even worth it sometimes.

    But I take multiple medications for anxiety and resistant depression. I have taken themfor years, yet only about three months have I felt absolutely zero arousal.

    My biggest struggle has been ADD – I . I struggle mostly with extreme procrastinating and zero ability to stay organized I try so hard though ! But I’ll end up loosing this, loosing that, etc. It makes me feel as though i am lazy as fuck. Maybe i am? Not saying that’s what everyone with ADD I deals with, as there are tons of different aspects of it.

    I am just on a rambling spree . Basically, my reason for commenting I just wanted to say I can very much relate (in general) to some things you mentioned.

    , I only mean in general, I acknowledge our situations are different, it’s been two years + since this was written* And, your profession is reviewing toys etc, so I only say I can relate bc of the similar depression feelings does that make sense? I just don’t want to act as though I know how you feel (felt) and I also respect this post isn’t for your validation, but for writing.

    My therapist told me that writing (or typing ) our feelings helps them to “leave the body” in a metaphorical sense.

    – Chels

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