When a Sex Writer Doesn’t Want to Have Sex or Write

CW: depression, anxiety, discussion of body image/weight

I am a sex writer. That’s my profession. Sure, I tend to present it as part of a list: “Sex Writer, Educator, Mental Health Advocate” but I spend most of my time focused on writing about sex. The phrase “sex writer” calls to mind a whole array of qualities, ideas, and frankly activities, and, let’s face it having sex and writing are pretty high on that list. So, what happens when a sex writer doesn’t want to have sex or write? We’ll get there in a minute but first let me get you all caught up on what’s been going on.

2019 has been a strange year for me. After walking into a doctor’s office in late 2018 and announcing that I was finding my anxiety to be increasingly debilitating and I seemed to be gaining weight at an abnormal rate, I spent the next 11 months locked in a battle with a doctor who had her own agenda and never let the facts that the anxiety was getting worse and worse and my weight was still climbing at an abnormally rapid rate derail it. By April I tipped into a depressive episode and, after launching myself into a whole lot of work to help sort out the mess in my head, by September I had pretty much lost the ability to function (seriously, sometimes things DO GET WORSE before they get better).

Additionally, between November and July I packed on eighty (yes, 8-0) pounds and my doctor’s only response to this was to insist I had an eating disorder (and the only hope for my mental and physical health was being admitted to an inpatient eating disorder clinic) and tell me I needed to accept my body. Now, as my body was one I neither recognized nor liked and really just felt like a visible manifestation of all the mental struggles I was going through, that felt not only unhelpful but frankly, kind of cruel. Also, while I do have some emotional/binge eating tendencies, I do think that the sheer amount of weight I gained in the time I gained it is a bit of an indication that something else was/is wrong. My doctor, on the other hand, seemed to relish telling me that tests “looked fine”, refusing to adjust my mental health meds, and digging her heels in about how I needed to “do the work” which, for her, meant going to the clinic (for the record, I have been seeing therapists, making dietary changes, engaging in all manner of self improvement, the only “work” I wasn’t doing was the weirdly specific thing she wanted). None of this was helped by the fact that as months of no improvement crept by I tumbled further and further down the well of anxiety and, eventually, completely debilitating depression.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, I found myself rarely writing and avoiding my website– seriously, between April and September it was crickets and tumbleweeds in here. While I usually genuinely enjoy writing about everything from depression to vibrators and everything from lube to why we shouldn’t call things “sex toys for women“, I just COULD NOT. I knew I wanted to be working, I knew I needed to be earning money but my focus was shot, my inspiration deserted me, and even when I tried to write it went… not great.

So, we’ve covered that I was feeling anxious, depressed, angry, and frustrated and we’ve talked about how I couldn’t bring myself to work, and eventually, could barely bring myself to move, and seen how I became uncomfortable and unhappy in a body that felt distinctly like a physical manifestation of all the depression and anxiety. So, with all that in mind, it will probably come as no surprise to learn I lost all interest in sex. Now, I know, all bodies are beautiful and lots of people maintain a raging sex life at any size and/or mental state– trust me, I get it and spend a lot of time beating myself up for my less-than-body-positive response to finding myself in a completely different body, all that said, I basically stopped having and/or wanting sex and because SO MUCH else was going on, I kind of didn’t notice.  Something that really drove this home for me was when a manufacturer whose product was designed for use doing P-in-V intercourse reached out for my feedback on said product and I had to say “I really don’t know because I haven’t been having sex.” That one hurt because it really highlighted how separated from my sexual self I had become.

So what does this mean? What happens to a sex writer when they neither want to have sex nor write? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the anxiety and depression got worse. I became convinced that I was irrelevant, that my career would never move forward, and that my upcoming book would fail. Additionally, I started to believe that I would never be the strong, brave, sexy, sexually confident badass that I once was. So, I guess the upshot is that I kind of fell apart.

So far this has been a pretty big downer, hasn’t it? I’m not going to lie to you, there’s not really a “happy ending” here…but there is some progress, hang in there with me.

Everything kind of came to a head in the first week of October when I woke up the morning after an appointment with my doctor full of rage and unable to stop crying. My partner came to town to stay with me, I travelled back to New Jersey to see my family, I dumped my doctor and saw a new one… really, A LOT of stuff happened in October. Perhaps the biggest thing that happened though was a bit of a mental shift for me. I started to feel hope, I started to understand that I’ve been working through a lot of stuff and that’s hard, and I started to accept that this just may be where my mind and body need to be right now. I guess the biggest thing that happened is that I realized that I won’t lose my “sex writer” badge (not a real thing, in case any of you just panicked) because I am going through a time when I don’t want to write or have sex.

I learned that, at the risk of sounding cliché, this too shall pass.


This post contains sponsored links. The opinions in it are, as always, my own.

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