It may surprise you to think of sex as a tool to beat depression. First of all, let me be clear that intercourse is not the end all be all of your sex life. Masturbation during solo sex can be just as helpful. Sex is one component of holistic health. So if you're not engaging in some form of it, you doing yourself a disservice. Sex gets our happy hormones (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin) going, thus can improve mood. Sex may help us feel closer to our partners. (Bonus: Ejaculation also clears out an enzyme that gets trapped behind the prostate decreasing risk of prostate cancer. And orgasm helps relieve menstrual cramps).
Ironically, low libido is caused by both depression itself and also by some common anti-depressants. In rarer case, orgasm can cause a sudden crash of low mood. This is called sexual anhedonia. However, there are tips and tricks to get through this. Depression can be managed if not cured!
When You're Too Tired to Have Sex
Not all fun things happen at night. Frequently my clients will tell me that they come home after a long days too tired to have sex. If you have not had sex for a while because depression has zapped your energy and killed your libido, then you may need to reschedule your date with sex. Consider having sex about an hour or two after your workout, or make a date for it the middle of the day. Having sex after light exercise also means you may have better blood flow to your genitals so that you can combat erectile dysfunction due to depression.
1/27/2018 0 Comments
I have been doing anti-sexual violence work for well over 10 years. I have had countless clients on my therapy couch, asking me if what happened to them was really rape. I've spoken to people who were ashamed because they were forcibly turned over and anally penetrated by their attacker but were confused about whether agreeing to perform oral sex earlier negated the violent act that came later. It does not. Anyone can consent to one act and not to the next. Rape is any coercive or forcible penetration of a bodily opening--vaginal, anal, or oral.
I do this work to lift silence around the issues of sexual assault, or rape, and to bring awareness to the pervasiveness. I am making a conscientious effort to say rape is rape. It does not have to result in post-traumatic stress disorder, time off work, or a lost career to be rape. There are enough lay people promoting the narrative that "coercion" amounts to a "bad date" in papers like The Atlantic and New York Magazine that I decided I had to provide clarity. This time the backlash involves Aziz Ansari.
1. The Face of the #TimesUp Movement Is Not White
I hate white feminism. It's the exclusionary brand of feminism that thinks able-bodied, straight, cis-gendered, middle class, Caucasian experiences of sexism apply to everyone. Oprah calls out white feminism without labelling it white feminism when she honors the life of Recy Taylor. Recy Taylor was gang-raped during a hate crime decades ago but died this year at the ripe age of 97. While this might seem like a story of the distant past, black women are raped and murdered weekly in this country because they are also queer or trans in numbers not comparable to white counterparts.
Black women, in particular, may be harassed on the job, because they are black as well as female. The harassment might contain both racist and sexist slurs. The harassment may not be believed because black women are not thought to be capable of being raped. The Mammy stereotype leaves us sexless. The Jezebel stereotype paints us as wanting all sexual advances, even if the advances are violence. The Sapphire stereotype depicts us as brash enough to fight off all unwanted attention. The Superwoman stereotype who works three shifts comes home tired and abused but does it in the name of her children leave us depressed.
1/2/2018 0 Comments
1. Believing Your Abuser
Some survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a negative association with masturbation because an abuser used it as justification to harm them or because they have experienced being forced to participate in other's masturbatory acts. Reclaim your pleasure! Solo Sex is the ultimate safe sex practice because it will not result in unintended pregnancies, STIs, or exploitations. Masturbation is one tool that you can use during solo sex or partnered sex (including watching porn, reading smut, and fantasizing among many activities). Masturbation can be done on your own terms, for your own benefit. It is revolutionary to relearn sex as a healthy experience free of exploitation.
Survivors of abuse have to take extra care not to check out. So they should ground themselves by starting slow and working up to masturbation later. First, survivors should get to know their genitalia. Look at your genitals in a mirror. Tell yourself you're beautiful (repeat it multiple time with emphasis on different words until it sounds true). If you cannot masturbate without checking out or getting triggered, start with gently holding a hand over your genitals and breathe slowly. Send positive healing energy from your breath down to your vulva or penis. Rinse and Repeat. Be kind to yourself. Be your own healer. Next look at your genitals in a mirror. Send warm loving thoughts it's way. Sketch it out on paper even. Look at all the colors, blemishes, scars, and folds. They are uniquely you and they are uniquely sexy!
Sexpert & psychotherapist, Quandra Chaffers, presents Sass-y comments on love, health, and relationships--Comments too tangential or racy for the therapy room.