SEX, LOVE & DEPRESSION.
I should start by saying these things are not, by default, one in the same.
And now I am going to tell you a story, a story about when these things were one in the same. And sex is involved, sex is a big part of it. And so is love, and so is depression. Alors, sex, love and depression; A modern tale.
I had sex for the first time three days before my nineteenth birthday. This is not shocking, but it seems to shock many people. I have always been outwardly sexual. And sexuality is not a measure of quantity, or quality, of the people you fuck. Sexuality is innate, inborn, (in most), and something that can exist entirely on its own. I was sexual on my own. It's hard to define what is "sexual" because truthfully anything could be. My particular sexuality presented itself in multiple ways. Sexting was a big one. That started when I was just twelve. I would send pictures to boys. Not nude, but definitely revealing for my age. I put my vibrating cell phone between my legs at 11. I had a boyfriend at twelve, and we would touch each other at school. I got detention for public displays of affection in seventh grade. I liked to wear short skirts, thinking maybe people could see under. I thought about sex a lot. I explored pornography but it never pleased me. I began humping pillows. Fantasising about teachers.
When I was 16, I had a distant love affair with a 19 year old British man, who happened to be my camp counsellor. We would Skype sex and sext all night long. I would type things I would do to him, things I had never actually done. But somehow the actions still came to me. At 17 I began masturbating with jacuzzi jets and electric toothbrushes.
At 18, I had a serious boyfriend. Everyone was waiting for us to have sex. We never did. We tried, but it didn't work. I wasn't wet enough (my pussy wasn't fully engorged, a sign of full arousal), or he wasn't right, or my pussy just decided he wasn't the one to enter.
I then went to the University of San Francisco. I broke up with my high school boyfriend and two months later had another boyfriend. Idiot. Let's call him, Roger. He was one of the only straight attractive guys at the school, and he went for me and my roommate. Gentlemen. Two other women liked him as well. Because of the close knit community and how many women liked him, we hooked up in secret. How hot! I thought then. And we kinda fell in love. Quickly. We made out in the rain, behind buildings. He wrote songs about me. We got boba every friday night. We watched scary movies together. Kissed each other on New Year's Eve. And three days before I turned 19, we had sex.
I had spent the night in his dorm room, and I woke up to him caressing me all over. Playing with my pussy. Getting me wet. It was pouring rain outside, and we could hear it loud out the window. The earth was getting wetter and so was I. Foreplay took place somewhere in between sleep and reality. This in-between place allowed me to feel free from inhibition. It went on for about an hour. And then, he went inside me. It went right in. No blood, no pain. He looked at me and said, "Baby, we're having sex." I was thinking, "This is it?"
I was bored. But there is a reason for that. I didn't know what I was doing, I was just laying there. And he had only had sex a couple times before me, so there wasn't much flavor in the whole charade.
In the weeks that followed I lost a lot of friends. Because my roommate had liked him, and we lived in a ten foot space, our relationship became awkward. I regret choosing a boy over her. The group of friends I had made was full of women who liked him as well, so they really didn't like me anymore. And then everyone didn't like us because we were that annoying couple, and I see it now.
I needed him. And that was the problem. Somewhere inbetween boba and bad sex, I lost myself. I was undeniably with someone, and unexplainably alone. I was terrified of everything. Our love was so strong, it was like an overcompensation. When you start a relationship by sneaking around, you always think somewhere in the back of your head your partner could still be sneaking around. We didn't trust each other. He would stay up all night crying, saying, "But you are so sexual, I will never be enough, you will ultimately leave me." He made me feel bad about my sexuality, while simultaneously taking full advantage of it. And I was just as un-trusting. I always thought he was lying. And to cover up this shit show, we had sex, all the time. Three times a day- minimum. We would fuck and fuck and fuck to cover up the distrust.
I think perhaps I was fucking, to make up for all the years I wasn't fucking, as if to say, see, I am sexual! If only I knew that being sexual isn't about how much you're fucking, or even if you've ever fucked at all.
If only I knew then that I needed to be alone, I needed to love myself. I was nineteen, I needed to be free. I needed to not need at all.
I began feeling depressed in December. December blues. Christmas lights illuminating my insecurities. I noticed I didn't want to be around people. I only wanted to see Roger. I was losing feeling, falling into a chronic numbness in the middle of Alamo Square. Looking for refuge in coffee shops, trying to find the best latte in San Francisco; Thinking that that latte might make me forget that someone else determined my happiness, sadness, and being. And there was pas du tout that I could do about it.
I remember one day, being at the park with Roger. He was threatening to leave me. Something I did made him mad, or maybe he just got high off making me feel like shit, and maybe he needed to hear me beg. The grass was below my fingertips, I felt it so strongly. Like if it wasn't there, I wouldn't be able to hold myself up. The land below me and I became one, because without it I would not exist. It was keeping me above ground, and alive. And I thought, if he leaves me, I am going to sink into this grass and stay here forever. How can I go anywhere without him? This was the beginning of me thinking I needed him to survive, me thinking that when the grass wasn't there, he would be the only thing holding me up.
That is not romantic, it's unhealthy, it's also innocent... and a lesson.
Around February I went to the school therapist. She said I was "depressed," a word I had never heard applied to me before. She also said I had "anxiety." Another word never stamped on me before. She said the school couldn't treat me because I was "a liability" and I would have to seek "outside treatment." I had to find a therapist on my own. I told Roger what I was feeling, and he said he didn't want to hear about my depression, he said he would leave me if I talked about it. I don't know what it is, maybe the fog, but every therapist in San Fran was booked, and their rejection of me made things worse.
I kept fucking, fucking to forget, fucking to feel something, fucking because it was the only thing I had left to do, the only thing I knew how to do...
Around March, I went to a cafe to write an essay for my Sex & Sexualities class. As I was sitting there, I realized I didn't want to do my homework, I also didn't want to talk to Roger, I didn't want to go back to school, I didn't want to go anywhere at all. I was worried about what I might do if I was alone. I left the cafe to be outside. And there I was, on the corner of McAllister and Baker, crying on the street. I didn't want to die, but I didn't want to live. Tears were flooding out of me, mimicking the three day rainstorm we had had earlier in the year, that now I feel was probably a premonition from Mother Nature that went completely missed. My school books and supplies were everywhere. Not a single person stopped to check on me. Even a dog walked by and didn't come up to me. I wanted to melt into that concrete and disappear forever.
Luckily, one of my professors had sent me the suicide hotline and I called. They sent a car for me. I called my mom on the way to the hospital and she didn't recognize my voice. Somehow I ended up in a psychiatric waiting room. Funny to be in a waiting room, when you're not waiting for anything. The problem was there were people all around, and I couldn't stop wailing. Not just crying, wailing. They put me in a side room and then a man came and took my hand and led me to the ER. He skipped the line and said, "She's suicidal." That's all I really remember of him: he was an angel who took my hand when I needed it most.
I was then in a white room, and they took all my things. Even my phone so I couldn't tell anyone where I was. I had rehearsal that night, and I was locked in a hospital. I felt like the life was draining from my body, and I badly wanted to escape the room. I felt I had nothing to live for at the moment, but a small part of me knew there was something to look forward to in the future.
Roger picked me and made me feel bad for ruining his day. He said, "I just don't understand why you're sad, it's so easy for me to happy." I thought, fuck you, and I said, "I love you."
I got help. I was on anti depressants for one year, and I started therapy. I've stopped the pills but kept the therapy. Roger and I broke up and I moved to the wilderness for three months. I slept in the dirt, woke with the sun, fell asleep under the stars. I fell in love with people in a non-romantic way. I played in rainstorms, letting my clothes and belongings get soaked. I had sex with a man from England below a waterfall. I had a love affair with the mountains, and to thank them for their kindness, I made love all over them.
But sex isn't the solution to depression, it's a pleasure. Sex is a gift. It's a fucking cupcake with pink frosting and sprinkles. It's pasta. It's rain. It's anything you want it to be. But sex exists separately from relationships, and even sexuality. It is it's own entity that has become undervalued and misrepresented. Associating it with people or norms can be dangerous.
I needed someone, and that caused an extreme unhappiness. Sex and relationships are a battle for me, an everyday learning experience. Sex should be enjoyed and it should be liberating. But sex is a fucking rose, beautiful and enchanting, but it also comes with thorns. Those thorns can be sexy and part of the intrigue, but they can also prick you. Have sex because you want to, you really really want to. Love someone, but know that you exist on your own, and you love them on their own. Put sex in a vintage glass priceless vase, and don't forget to give it water, treat it well. Honor it's beauty. And when it starts to wilt, in a way that it makes you feel sad, empty, and reliant, recognize it, let it go, pick yourself up off the grass & start flower shopping.