Last week I received an email from a woman who wasn't thinking about sex. Or at least she told me that sex was the last thing on her mind. She explained that living with a very busy body and mind (she included fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, chronic back pain and colitis among the things she has been diagnosed with) meant that she couldn't imagine having sex and that she was now worried about her husband of 16 years whom she loved and with whom she used to have very good sex.
I pointed out that writing to a stranger about sex probably means that it isn't anywhere near the last thing on her mind. But I knew what she meant. Sex, as it's usually presented to us, that spontaneous physically transcendent act of pure joy, is something she can't imagine herself having. With her body and her moods it just doesn't compute. Even though it is something she thinks about and was a part of her life she enjoyed in the past.
The result for many people in this situation is to just stop having sex and to feel lousy and frustrated and increasingly isolated as you try to deny parts of yourself (sexual desire, sexual worth, sexual being). Years of denial coupled with a culture that ignores your body or treats it as an object of pity or fear, would leave any of us confused and angry and alienated.
One way to resist this is to do what they tell us we can't do; connect to others, speak honestly about our desire and sexual value, and turn our backs on normative ideas of sexuality that close more doors than they open.
In my response to her, which you can read by following the link below, I try to be a bit less theoretical and a bit more practical. But I can't avoid being political about it, since sex (whether we have it or not) may always be a political act.
Read More: Sex Is the Last Thing on My Mind
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