On Sadness, My Sex Life, and Being a Whole Person

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A love of lipstick and a passion for sex toys: only two of the innumerable things that make up who I am.

Recently, Fist You Podcast did an episode about sex and sadness, in which they discussed how being sad affects their personal sex lives. In it, they talk about how we like to think of our sex lives as separate from our emotional lives, but that idea is just wildly inaccurate. We are whole people, and emotions and sex are part of us. They can each influence the other, as can a whole host of other things. It’s a great episode and you should give it a listen. It got me thinking about how my sex life is affected by my various emotional states and vice versa, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. Everything that follows is my own lived experiences and not meant to dictate how you ought to feel or behave.

When I’m stressed, I tend to get much hornier. It’s like my body wants to find a way to release the built up tension and is craving the good, relaxed, euphoric feeling that I get immediately after orgasm. Part of that means that while I’m really horny, I don’t really want to engage in partner sex or lengthy masturbation sessions that much. I rush towards a quickie orgasm instead, which isn’t always as satisfying as a longer session. But settling down to hours of drawn-out, exploratory play requires a level of relaxation that I just cannot muster when I’m stressed. I can’t help feeling like that time is better spent working on the things that I need to be doing, because I’m supposed to be productive and then I won’t have to think about it anymore.

Sometimes this feels like a breakdown in self care. I only have time for so much, so my sexual well-being falls to the wayside because it’s easier to ignore than pressing deadlines. I don’t like that I do this, though, and I want to work towards changing it. I feel neglected, but the only person neglecting me is me.  Another thing that happens is that sometimes I will just completely forget about my sex drive. I won’t feel consciously horny, but I’ll be stressed and tense and grumpy. And then I’ll have an orgasm and realize that’s what my body needed all along, I just wasn’t listening to it.

Sadness is a bit different. When I am sad, the kind of release I crave is crying, not orgasm. I believe that pain demands to be felt. Sadness requires time alone, in my own head, to process it and feel it and let myself be sad. I can’t imagine a positive sexual experience when I am busy feeling my feelings. It’s an emotional task, to work through that sadness and let myself cry it out. Usually, this is a good thing. Sometimes I have trouble stopping, and I fall into a downward spiral of sitting alone being sad doing nothing but thinking about being sad, which makes me more sad. To break this cycle, I have to distract myself. That distraction usually takes the form of a book or other quiet, solitary activity, at least at first, when I am still bursting into tears at intervals and can’t quite keep the sadness away. Later, when I am not quite so upset, I can go out and do happy things to distract myself, including spending time with people that I love, working on projects, or having sex.

I wanted to talk about this deeply personal aspect of my life because I think it needs to be talked about. I am a whole person and there are an infinite number of parts of me that make up who I am. My sexuality is part of that, and it affects and informs the rest of me. It shouldn’t be disregarded, especially not when discussing emotional health.

How do emotions affect your sexuality? Are you comfortable with that, or is it something you want to try to change?

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