All humans are sexual creatures.
If we weren’t, our species would have gone extinct long ago. And yet, many of us remain reluctant to accept sex as part of our shared humanness, a key component of our relationships and interactions.
Some of us have been conditioned to view sex as dirty and reprehensible, something we should endeavor not to want, think about, or even discuss.
As a result, we either go without, have bad sex, or do not trust ourselves to state our needs, preferences, or fantasies. We all have them but we pretend we don’t so as not to appear wanton or lewd, so as not to jeopardize the carefully curated exterior many of us present to the world.
This unwillingness to embrace our sexual selves creates myriad issues that can destroy lives.
Gay folks end up trapped in heterosexual relationships; trans folks end up trapped in a body that doesn’t fit; hetero folks end up trapped in lies.
With courage and communication, almost any situation is reversible. But not everyone will find it in themselves to accept their sexuality in all its complexity. Further, not everyone has the good fortune of living in an open-minded and supportive society. Or of having a partner with whom we’ve created a safe space conducive to the joint exploration of sexuality.
Although sex is never a solo pursuit, how many of us go it alone regardless of partnership status? How many of us hoard our desires for lack of a willing interlocutor? How many of us outsource our fantasies to strangers via specialized websites or by hiring a sex worker?
How many of us have resigned ourselves to a sexless existence in which the only relief we get comes in the form of erotica or porn, when we’re able to react to it at all?
Why even deny we all need sex to thrive?
Unless you identify as asexual and do not experience sexual feelings or attraction, chances are sex is on your mind even if you’re having none. And perhaps, the less you have, the more you feel the urge to write about it.
During the five years I lost to major depressive disorder, sex barely registered because illness killed my libido. My marriage was already a dead bedroom and the resentment my being sick created in my household was so dehumanizing I felt like a thing.
I became invisible to all but my cats, housebound, isolated, sexless.
Every now and then, I’d take stock of my situation, try to understand it, and fail. And every time I ventured down that introspective road, I came up with more questions than answers. While the sexual consequences of depression made sense to me, my married sex life did not. It died roughly four months after we exchanged vows, sometime in the summer of 2013.
Communication broke down. Much like there was no discussing depression, there was no discussing sex beyond the few attempts I made and which were all ignored. Although direct, my approach was always gentle; mediation is one of my love languages.
If love does empower us, it should never cage us.
I soon internalized the belief that my life, all of it, was coming to an end and spent the next five years trying to figure out how to hasten the process.
This isn’t something a married woman in her prime should ever go through and yet I know what happened to me is far from uncommon. Usually, it doesn’t get talked about because you don’t want to admit your husband doesn’t love or desire you anymore. And you probably don’t either.
And while being turned on by someone who despises you is within the realm of sexual possibilities, it doesn’t work for me.
How to come back to life sexually and otherwise is what I’ve been trying to figure out since the summer of 2018.
So far, all my energy has gone into rebuilding a life that works by channeling everything I’ve got into vocation. This means I only delve into the past if it can advance the present. Anything that might hinder progress gets systematically set aside. If I’m no further forward in understanding my dysfunctional marriage, it’s because I’ve had to detach from it to get back on my feet.
In the process, I’ve been reclaiming my sexuality word by word by writing about it, initially on a dare from a friend. They wanted to know if I had thought of turning to masturbation as a palliative for the absence of intercourse. And then they dared me to rub one out, which I duly did to find out if I was still functional.
The answer was a resounding yes and provided welcome proof that healing and transformation were slowly but surely under way. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in many an enlightened conversation about sex both online and offline. With fellow humans of all sexual orientations because heteronormativity is reductive.
It is my belief that sexuality is fluid and changes throughout our lives as we grow more confident in exploring it. And often, satisfying our curiosity is the only way to figure out what we enjoy so we can get our needs met.
As long as consent is part of the equation, no human should be shamed for enjoying whatever kind of sex they enjoy.
Whether dirty talk is your thing or you get off on relinquishing all control to a trustworthy partner, anything goes.
Shared orgasms are an effective way to unwind, reset our harried minds, and build strong bonds with another human. As for solo orgasms, they’re swift, powerful, portable and can help manage stress and anxiety.
All humans are sexual creatures; I’m certainly not the exception to the rule and neither are you.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.