My dirty talk these days is, “I’m just not in the mood.”
Oof. I know.
This is not the sweet-nothing anyone wants whispered in their ear.
Sex drives come and they go. But recently, my sex drive had been going much more than it has been — and I’ve been — coming.
If I’m not in the mood one night, it’s no big deal. But it has been weeks now, and I don’t crave sex as much anymore. My sex drive has dried up like a puddle on a hot day. Horny used to be a character trait I used to describe myself. Now? Horny? Never met her. I’m busy, I’m tired, I’m stressed and I’m definitely not down to fuck.
Depression and low-sex drive are evil twins. A noticeably decreased libido that differs from your typical pattern is not uncommon if you’re in a slump. Depression, and the blues in general, is the inability to enjoy things you normally enjoy, like busting a nut.
If my life is in the dog house, then so what if I don’t have as much energy or interest in sex? Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with a decreased sex drive. Unfortunately, that’s not the main problem I’m having.
You see, after a history of boning every day, I can only look my boyfriend in the eye a finite number of times and whine, “Can we just not have sex tonight?” without it hitting him deeply. I can see my drought confusing and hurting him. I can see him taking my words personally. “Do you even enjoy it anymore?” he asks me.
I haven’t had the willpower to say that I don’t.
Psychologists have advised people in my dry-puddle situation to have! Sex! Anyway! They argue that going through the motions of having sex — the kisses, hugs, intimate talk and foreplay — can jump-start your libido. Even if you’re not in the mood, just start, and you’ll get there quickly.
I’ve been trying this fake-it-till-you-make-it strategy, and most times, have had great success. I drag out the foreplay and the cuddling and use spit or lube if I’m not turned on. Then, I just go. Usually, once the wheels are rolling, I think to myself, “Damn this is fun!”
Despite knowing that I usually have a fabulous time, I still dread starting. Dread is not a feeling that belongs in the bedroom. I lay cuddling, thinking, “He just wants sex, and I don’t want sex. He’s not turning me on. Our relationship is doomed.”
The dread creates guilt, and the guilt creates sadness. And now that I’m sad, my vagina becomes a barren wasteland. The thought of sex and the effort it takes seem insurmountable. I feel a distance from my partner. I feel distance from myself. I used to be a freak in the sheets. Now, I just want to sleep in the sheets. Dread. Guilt. Sadness. Repeat.
Sometimes the jump-start strategy has backfired. Instead of basking in the afterglow of sex, I lay in bed, sweatier and more tired than before, and I sink deeper and deeper into my darkness. I lay there naked and feel actively repulsed by the idea of sex. The smell of it, the look of my partner’s satisfied face, the memory of me trying and trying to enjoy myself — it makes me nauseous.
“Do you even enjoy it anymore?” he asks me.
And I need to tell him no. It’s a conversation long overdue. Depression’s different sex-related issues (loss of sexual desire, loss of ability to achieve an erection or an orgasm) are not crimes. And I know that it’s important to keep my partner up to date with why sex is difficult for me. I know he’ll support me, and understand, but I’m afraid to hurt or guilt him. Worries plague me. Will he think that I never want sex again? Or that he is banned from asking for sex? I’ll be sure to address those in my conversation.Cornell is a sad place on a hill. It’s a campus with staggeringly high rates of depression, extreme stress and generally horrific mental health. If your lover has started using dirty talk like mine and saying, “I’m just not in the mood,” please respect that. Create a space for conversation. Don’t blame yourself. As always, don’t guilt anyone not DTF into having sex. Get consent. And hey, I’m getting a therapist (if Cornell Health ever calls me back). So my true self, Goddess Horny will be back any minute now.
Goddess Horny is a student at Cornell University. Sex in the Stacks runs monthly this semester. Sex on Thursday appears every other Thursday.