When I was in my early twenties, I was having serious issues at work and they were affecting my mental health. This was twenty years ago and “mental health problems” were common parlance where I lived for being some kind of nutter. Either you’d had a breakdown and cried all the time or you heard voices or you were on your way to drinking yourself to death.
I didn’t do those things, although drinking myself into a stupor sounded good. I didn’t sleep, couldn’t focus, forgot conversations other people swore I’d participated in and was royally fucking up my first job.
My mum carted me to the doctor. I don’t remember much about the appointment but I strongly remember the doctor asking me if I was having enough sex.
I wasn’t having sex. Was that not enough? Good girls, without a committed relationship and preferably a wedding ring, didn’t have sex. Even then, what they did was “making love”. How was that related to everything else that was going wrong?
Looking back, the poor GP, who’d never met me before, was probably trying to ascertain if my libido had dropped. But I had not clue of that, and he had a particularly lumpy “down with the kids” way of asking.
No one was looking for autism as a possible root cause despite various attempts at coping with inexplicable anxiety for over half my life. If you managed school, that was that.
I didn’t masturbate. It was never talked about in any sort of sex or relationship education, even in terms of basic biology and in all honesty I didn’t know it was something girls could do. I had never explored myself in an area mysteriously only referred to as “between my legs”, like I was some sort of Sindy doll, with nothing of interest there.
I was so completely isolated by anxiety there was no way I was going to manage to find someone else to have sex with. There had been periods in my life when this was possible, but new to the town I now lived in, and new to a heavy workload, this was not it.
Jump forward twenty years… and I look forward to the #30dayorgasmchallenge coming around in April.
I still have issues with my mental health balance, but I now understand how they fit with autism and can be gentle and appropriate with my self care. And my self care includes masturbation. Wanking. Jilling off.
I think the doctor should prescribe it. Or at least, be willing to talk about it.
In my case, there is obvious dislocation between emotional and physical responses. I can have a physical panic attack without the mental feeling of panic at all. I can (sometimes very inconveniently) have all the sensations of a physical orgasm while doing something mundane and unstimulating. Similarly, and this way round I know it is much more common, there is no certainty that physical acts that are my normal go tos for pleasure will work and blinding anxiety where I can’t think in a straight line doesn’t always trigger a panic attack.
I use all sorts of sensory seeking behaviours to help link my body to my brain in a more connected way than it can manage on its own. Whether that is dealt out with a stingy little whippy stick or paddle, temperature play, restraint (where the sensory feature is the struggle) or something nice and gentle like a morning or bedtime wank, sensorially stimulating my body seems to fire up neuro connectors which are otherwise happily in standby mode.
The lovely Tabitha Rayne’s original idea for the #30dayorgasmchallenge came from a mental health perspective. I think it’s a fabulous idea and if you haven’t come across it, check out the link. Lots of lovely bloggers joining in and writing about their experiences.
In recent months I have been sent for some “me time” led by the local mental health team in my home town. They tried (for about the third time in my life) to start from scratch with the concept of mindfulness. I know it works, but when the only thing on offer is to contemplate a raisin, feel it in your mouth, taste it, concentrate on every aspect of its sensory impact, I am bored and my mind wanders, which is not the point. If I’m looking inwards to my own body, something is always irritating and distracting. If I have to concentrate on the feelings in my toes, I want it to be because they are curling in pleasure.
And of course, some days you don’t get to orgasm. That is just life. Try again later. Don’t feel guilty about squeezing in a bonus on the days they are easy. Call it fun.
Call it self care.]]>