The Sex Blogger’s Curse: Low Libido

A photo collage depicting my low libido as it relates to sex toys; it shows two dildos tucked haphazardly beneath of pile of clothing, headphones, and an ear thermometer. The text reads: "The Sex Blogger's Curse: A Low Libido Story (aka: DO I really have to masturbate today?)"Buying a house. It may not be a stressful event on the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory’s top 20 but it’s been stressful for us. We’re both anxious people and we loved the house, so we REALLY wanted it. Then, things went to shit. The seller’s agent was also part-owner / flipper of the house and when it appraised low it was our own personal World War 3. I was under so much stress that I had near-constant chest pain; turns out stress/anxiety really makes your gallbladder grumpy and that chest pain was mine freaking the fuck out. A little over a year later from the start of things and I’ll be having the fucker removed. So yes, we bought our first (and maybe only) house. We have been dealing with all the things (and then some) that new homeowners deal with, including slowly finding out that little things around the house weren’t as well-done as they seemed. Compound all of this with two people who both already have mental health issues, one of them (me) untreated and the other starting a new treatment and the stress continues. Add in an unknown “injury”for myself that’s stumping doctors and racking up bills. Add in 8 weeks of illness (5 of them fairly major including oral surgery) for the spouse and 4-5 months of illness for me culminating in my first surgery of my life.  And hey just for good measure….let’s mix it all up with that lovely little side effect that some people get with untreated depression or anxiety: trouble keeping up with personal hygiene, things as simple as showering regularly. Yes, it’s a thing; it’s a thing we don’t talk about it, but it’s a thing1. The chances of us both having the ability to shower on the same day? Low.

Do you know what you get? You sure as hell don’t get laid.

And we both know that the lack of intimacy isn’t necessarily healthy for our relationship but we both see it for what it is – out of our control and something we’ll work on when our health improves. We know this and we miss it, but our libidos are too low to care *too* much, so at least we’re both in the same place. We know it’s nothing personal. But you don’t feel sexy when you haven’t showered in 4 days or brushed your teeth since yesterday.

But it feels a bit frightening for a sex blogger! Thankfully I’m no longer the “sexy” sort of sex blogger who writes erotica, takes sexy photos, writes about her sex life, etc. If I were I’d have nothing to write about. If I were, the pressure I’d be putting on myself would be huge.  The lower sex drive is affecting my reviewing, though, too. It’s making me less interested overall in anything that doesn’t vibrate, for one. Dildos just don’t hold as much appeal to me. I could, were it not for the reviews, go a month or so right now without needing g-spot stimulation and that’s the sad truth. I have a Lelo Tiani 3 that I very badly wanted to review now that it’s being sold in the States once more but guess what that kinda requires: a partnered sex life. Guess who doesn’t have that right now? This guy. And when we do finally have PIV sex do I really want to waste time on a vibrator that I know won’t help me orgasm? Been there done that and I’d like to not repeat that again but that’s the life of a sex toy reviewer. It just means that, for now, I have to put the Tiani 3 review on hold and I feel awful about that.

[pullquote]Update: Since writing this post I got the chance to try the Nuelle Fiera Arouser for Her, a product designed for low libido[/pullquote]I reviewed the Doc Johnson Truskyn dildo because I felt strongly about telling everyone about the new, affordable dual-density silicone but I wasn’t really very sad to be done with using it so that I could move on to cutting it and burning it for science.  The same thing happened with the CuRious Wand – I really wanted to tell you about it, penny stink and all, and re-acquainting myself with the Pure Wand as part of the testing was nice but I could have gone without it. Testing vibrators like the L’amourose Prism and We-Vibe Rave have been a different story because at least they vibrate. I can still form strong opinions about sex toys and feel good while using them. I can still orgasm; it’s just that I can go a week without even wanting to. I have this complete Orgasmatron X2 kit waiting on my review and trying to find the ability to really put it through the paces has been rough; as of this writing though I’m realizing that perhaps I need to just force it because I don’t know how many weeks after my surgery I’ll be in pain and unable to use insertable toys.

There’s no answers, and I’m not really seeking them. I don’t feel like I can just take time off again from the blog; I had to do that in 2013 (actually I thought I might have to quit) and it created a lot of problems. One of the problems being a drastic decrease in affiliate sales. My sales are finally at a level where they really are helping out with our household expenses and I can’t afford to see a drop. I don’t want to lose readership or followers. I don’t want to fall out of contact with my blogsquad – I fucking need them! At this point I think I can just be grateful that I can still orgasm and that I no longer have the “sexy” expectations hanging over me; due to a bit of a traumatic dramatic “thing” 4 years ago I lost all taste for that sort of thing. It was to such a dramatic degree that I didn’t just stop doing it, I hid it from view on the blog. You can’t easily navigate your way through to those sorts of posts anymore.  But that’s a story for another time…

I wrote about my slowly-increasing depression a year ago, mere days before we found The House and that whole snowball of stress started building. I am no stranger to it, but back then the low libido hadn’t affected my desire to use any and all sex toys. I am, at least, in good company (if there is such a thing in this not-great space to be); plenty of other sexuality bloggers & reviewers have gone through this same thing. I don’t think it gets written about a lot. Sure, maybe we’ll tweet about it but it’s not a hot topic. So I kinda wanna drag this one out into the light – not at all for sympathy, please don’t fawn with sympathy – but in solidarity. There’s things that get discussed only in private messages and I’m ready to say “Here I am, here’s my issues, anybody with the same issue need to chat?”. Whatever pedestal you’ve maybe put me on, pull me down, I don’t belong there. I might feel a little broken some days, but deep down I know I’m not. And if you’re in the same boat, you’re not broken, either. Far from it. I know that this could be worse; I could be completely unable to orgasm. Couldn’t very well review regularly if that were the case. I could lack a support system and understanding spouse; I am grateful to have friends in the same boat and a spouse in the same boat! At least we’re going through this together. With Tumblr porn at the ready I will carry on and hope that soon it comes back, for both of us. In the meantime we’ll have substitute intimacy in the form of curling up together on the couch for TV time, finally sleeping in the same bed, and supporting each other. There are fixes and workarounds there’s something out there that will help me, I just have to find. I hope you are able to find the thing you need to help yourself, if you’re in a similar situation.

Some other posts and must-reads from other bloggers dealing with similar issues:

Sugarcunt on depression, anxiety and zero libido

Jillian Boyd on being the “sexy” sex blogger with low libido

The Redhead Bedhead’s articles on Sex & Depression

  1. Why don’t we talk about this? Oh that’s right, because not everyone is like this and the people who religiously shower once a day or more will judge you so fucking harsh. I have confided in other bloggers privately and we have compared notes on how long since our last shower. For those who are judging us, fuck you. Count your blessings. This isn’t abnormal

6 Responses

  1. Tzipora says:

    If you ever wanna feel better about the shower thing, hit me up on literally any given day and I promise I have you beat. But I agree I wish people talked about that more. For me I know my physical health circumstances are the bigger issue but depression plays into it also. And well, I’m a very open person and still won’t tell you here in the public comment section how long ago my last shower was but damn it does make me feel better to hear I’m not alone. Frankly I think not showering in a few days wouldn’t keep me from sex but I’ve just gotten that good at covering up how long it’s been I guess.. I also honestly was raised in a family where once a week baths is the norm so I have never ever been a shower everyday person. Shoot, not even, believe it or not, when I danced daily. So I don’t know if that makes you feel any better about hygiene or not. But either way I applaud you for bringing up. I also know the lack of showering isn’t the main point and its more how that and the depression interact (but gosh it can be such a mood lift to finally get that shower, right? Like damn it, I did one productive thing today! My skin feels nice!)

    Sometimes I want so much to start that whole disability sex blog I’m on and off thinking about. Because I think this kind of post would be a big part of it. That and some of what I’ve learned and fought through and all the bullshit inside my head and judgements of myself I’ve had to fight have a broader reach and I think would be helpful to literally anybody. I had a lot of mental health problems growing up and if anything have been my most emotionally stable since my physical health crashed which is totally weird (not sure I’d be alive otherwise though and you can interpret that in several ways, each of which is probably true). However, since getting stuck in my current living situation with toxic family in a small town and a few other things I’m definitely seeing I’m dealing with a lot of depression myself.

    I’m with you on the lack of appeal of dildos. I bought a bunch around black Friday and most I haven’t touched. Just takes extra energy and cleanup. I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting off but also finding I keep going for this not at remotely aroused almost compulsive let’s try and have clitoral orgasm so I somehow feel better, maybe line of thinking. Maybe you can relate? It’s half of why I want that Womanizer. I may be hoping I magically make it easier or better or whatever but if it works for me at least it’s something I’ll use.

    Anyway I’m rambling but I just happened to be moping around reading your blog tonight when this post appeared so let me be the first of no doubt many to say I always appreciate your openness and honesty. And I think you’re a super rad person and I wish you weren’t struggling with all you are. It sounds like, and I’m just guessing here, you and your hubby have had more important things going on in life and sex blogger or not, you shouldn’t have to feel guilty. Sounds like you guys are supporting each other through some really hard times and that’s huge and that’s important too. Sure beats being alone. (Or being alone but trapped with toxic people!). I think it’s always hard to balance health issues (of any and all kinds), life stressors, the general relationship maintenance stuff, as well as healthy partnered and self sexuality but I also know that sometimes there’s no choice but for one or even more than one of those things to need to take a backseat for awhile while you deal with the rest. I think that’s okay too. Healthy even. You realize it’s being neglected and you’re not feeling it but it will come back eventually. There’s so much damn pressure to be perfect and to perfectly manage a million things at once in life and if anything sometimes the internet in particular is frustrating because a lot of people aren’t so open and they paint pictures of idealistic perfect versions of themselves and that’s easier to do online than anywhere else. But that’s why it’s awesome when bloggers like you speak their truth.

    And just as someone who’s seen a million different things threaten and even virtually turn off my sexuality and change things with it far more times than most 20s & 30-somethings, the one thing I know to be true is that it does come back. Maybe it comes back a little different for one reason or another but it comes back and that’s awesome and it will be there and it will be okay. But it’s equally okay to just be too damn overwhelmed with life right now to fuck or shower or whatever. You do what you have to and push through and even when life seems like it’s at a standstill or only getting worse, sooner or later it gets better. That’s at least what I tell myself. Beats feeling irreperably broken or hopeless. And maybe this sounds weird but somehow I can see hope in your post, like between the lines. I’m sure it took a less depressed or sick day to write this but somewhere underneath it all it seems pretty clear to me that you know it’s not forever too. So more than anything, I hope you will always be able to at least see that glimmer of light in the distance, and never be completely consumed by the dark. Sending <3 <3 <3

  2. Scarlet says:

    You know, I have been dealing with the same thing for the past few months and often I really thought that it was just starting to turn into me not being able to do the job of blogging any longer. So this was actually almost refreshing to hear that it is not something that I should feel like I am alone in.

  3. Glad to hear this makes you feel less alone. I think the world would be so much better if everyone knew they’re not alone in whatever they’re going through.

  4. Sex & disability just isn’t talked about enough, so I think such a blog would do well, if you have the spoons of course. And yes I can have a clitoral orgasm and start off not at all aroused, but cannot do that with a dildo.

  5. Sarah says:

    It’s a rare thing indeed if I shower every day. Part mental health, part horrendously dry skin, part super-hard water. It’s hell trying to convince myself to wash my hair. (Luckily, my hair is thick and coarse, and I have dry shampoo.)

    Thank you for talking about this. I’ve had sex drive issues for a long-ass time now, and it comes and goes. People assume we’re all having sex constantly, and that it’s always amazing and adventurous.

  6. “And we both know that the lack of intimacy isn’t necessarily healthy for
    our relationship but we both see it for what it is – out of our control
    and something we’ll work on when our health improves. We know this and
    we miss it, but our libidos are too low to care *too* much, so at least
    we’re both in the same place. We know it’s nothing personal.”

    ^ All of this! Fiance and I are the same way right now. He’s had a lot of health issues in the past year – give or take. First, it was the herniated disc in his lower back. Got a back brace for that and wears it at work. It’ll heal and not hurt for a long time, but he aggravated it again shoveling snow, so he has to be careful. After that, he was in the hospital with a bowel infection from diverticulitis. He was in the hospital for four days on IV antibiotics. Then, he fell down the stairs, bruising his tailbone and spraining his MCL (for which he needed a knee brace). Recently found out he has high cholesterol, so he’s on a prescription for that now. Add his health issues to the fact that he has tax debt with the IRS and is having his wages garnished by about half for that, and you get a very depressed man.

    If we’re talking about me, I’m also depressed but for different reasons. I don’t have health issues, and my wages aren’t being garnished, but we’re living with his mother because I’m supporting us with my paycheck and paying all of our bills and can’t afford rent, too. I feel like we’re a burden sometimes. While our relationship is solid otherwise, we don’t have much of a sex life. We’ve had sex twice since October, so the intimacy is definitely lacking, and when we do have sex, I rarely reach orgasm, which sometimes brings me to tears. I don’t take care of myself like I should (re: the bathing/brushing my teeth thing), but I do all the chores with little help from him, so I’m always tired.

    However, we’re both very much in a similar place, and it seems like things with us are the way you talked about in this post. I know the lack of intimacy isn’t healthy for our relationship, but he hasn’t been healthy, and neither of us makes much of an effort to change things, and it seems like neither of us minds all that much. It really isn’t personal, and we still love each other and otherwise have a positive, supportive relationship.

    “It’s making me less interested overall in anything that doesn’t vibrate”

    ^ Because I have an incredibly hard time reaching orgasm without a vibrator anymore. Vibrator = less effort, and that’s less intimidating when it comes to masturbating, which is good because I’ve been preferring masturbation to partnered sex the last several months. It’s just easier, but even when I masturbate, I’m like, “OK, Magic Wand, let’s get this over with.”

    “I might feel a little broken some days, but deep down I know I’m not.”

    ^ Same here. I feel broken when I can’t climax, and that’s why I sometimes cry after sex, but deep down I know that he doesn’t think of me as broken.

    “In the meantime we’ll have substitute intimacy in the form of curling up
    together on the couch for TV time,…sleeping in the same bed,
    and supporting each other.”

    ^ This is where we’re at right now, too, and it’s working for us for now. We just have to hold it together until things improve.

    Hang in there, Lilly. I’m right there in the same boat with you. If you ever need someone to talk to, I can relate to what you’re going through, even if you just need someone to listen and not say anything.