Disclaimer: Reader's discretion is advised.
So, first and foremost, I apologize for my 30+ day absence. Life in July of 2020 was a beast. Now I warned you in my last post that I'm sorting life out, but there's no time for excuses so I promise to do better. Secondly, if you've gotten this far into the post, you found the title intriguing and are curious as to what I could possibly be blabbing about this time. And lastly, I apologize in advance if this post offends anyone (but again, if you've read up to this point, I can only assume you won't take any of this personal). I pray that this post isn't a means for judgment, yet a means to share yet another real-life dilemma that for some reason, folks just don't seem to talk about openly. I mean, this is the 21st century, some taboos just need to be eradicated. I also pray that this post doesn't sabotage my career or future professional efforts because some uptight individual struggles with their own sexuality and finds this inappropriate- Lord knows I need my coins (and my clean reputation)! Regardless of what comes of this, I desperately need some answers, a sense of normality, and a little humor in my life right about now. So if anyone has any further insight by the end of this post, please, I beg you, SHARE! I have had a couple of rap sessions with a few of my close fellow beauties about this topic and there seems to be a common trend. Yet, despite the few talks I've had, I still feel a bit scanty about it and I'm still strongly convinced there's something wrong with me! So, it's simple... I have come to the conclusion that MY LADY PARTS ARE BROKEN! I don't feel sexy, I don't desire sex, and the thought of sex is daunting and because of all of this, my husband's going to leave me! So, I'm demanding that the sex gods swap me out for a new vagina... IMMEDIATELY!
* insert very loud screaming here *
Whew! Okay, okay, let's rewind for a bit. Now before anyone takes my rant and runs with it- NO, my wonderful, patient, sexy hunk of a husband has not threatened to leave me. He's been rather patient with me and I'm so fortunate to have him. I just naturally spiral when I feel out of control (as do a lot of us). So rest assured, all is well on the home front. And please know that I'm not saying I never want sex, but my desire is damn near close to nada. Also, I am fully aware that my vagina is not to blame for this very serious complaint. I do remember (from all my self-studying over the years because sex education in school was a joke) that my vagina is just a part of a whole, the "muscular canal" of the beautifully elaborate female reproductive system. I am also fully aware that physiologically, my vagina is part of the "feel-good" network working alongside key features in the brain such as my hypothalamus. Thankfully, my vagina and my "feel good" system is working just fine- when I DESIRE to let her do her thing, that is. Essentially, my problem lies with my out-of-whack hormones (I think). They have me feeling inadequate. So technically, I need to plead for new ovaries since that's where the lovely sex hormone, estrogen is produced and housed. And let me be honest, I chose to use the word vagina because it has a much better "ring" to it- I find the word ovary quite... boring. All in all, I want my early 30s libido and mentality back. I yearn to want sex. I miss having the desire to make love. And I would do anything to want to throw on some lingerie, light some candles, and rub my husband down, and get busy while some good ole 90s R&B helps me set the mood! But I just don't want to! The thought of it all SOUNDS amazing and to think of pleasing my deserving husband brings me joy, but again... physically, I just don't want to! I catch myself staring at my husband- his hands, his arms, his legs, his lips, him towering over me- all of that distracts me almost daily and right then and there, for like 10 seconds, I WANT him. But when the opportunity truly presents itself... nothing! Can anyone please tell me why this is? During my recent girl talks, I/we were able to conjure up several reasons why my hormones are out of whack and why I feel like sex and washing dishes fall in the same category. Hears what I came up with.
Growing up, and by growing up, I mean when I was in my late teens/early 20s, I remember thinking sex was EVERYTHING. Sex was the basis of a relationship, it was better than life itself, and if you weren't "good at it", you might as well prepare to be a single hermit for the rest of your life. Now I didn't think these things because I genuinely enjoyed sex, I thought these things because I thought I was supposed to. I also believed that I had to be secure and a lover of sex because as a Pisces, (a zodiac member of the "freak show"), good, frequent sex had to be my reality. But my oh my, are some of us still quite naive and ignorant at that age! Can we say, unnecessary (and irrational) pressure? As I read this back to myself, it's bloody ridiculous! But unfortunately, these thoughts and beliefs are what you get when a young woman is left to her own devices to figure out this part of life. I don't recall any of the adults in my life, at the time, having the formal "birds and the bees" chat with me. I literally relied on society, the media, friends, and the few "puppy love" relationships that I had had when learning the basics of sex, and looking back, that was a very dangerous way to learn (thank God for solid, well-rounded friends who had good sense!). Learning this way was unfair actually and I can't help but think that it played a major role in how I view sex this very day. I didn't have anyone telling me to love my body. I didn't have a loved one telling me that sex should be pleasurable. And I damn sure didn't have anyone telling me that's it's okay if you don't want to! I think it's safe to say that once upon a time, I hated sex and that's just unacceptable. But now, as I creep up on that 40-year-old milestone, I know exactly why I have felt this way. It took me some time to enjoy this wonderful living act. This act of connection and delight. And maybe I wasn't meant to understand it back 15 or so years ago. However, I know I definitely would've appreciated (and benefited) from some open dialogue from loved ones so that these unpleasant, subconscious thoughts wouldn't still be lingering today. So that's why I could care less about sex these days, right?! Ummmmm... maybe.
Despite the subconscious, negative connotations I have surrounding sex that was produced years ago, there's this horrid, universal thing called stress. Can you believe that stress can directly affect your libido? Who frickin knew (sarcasm helps me during times like these)?! You know, stress can be just outright awful (and helpful in some cases). It affects so many people because the world we live in is just beyond bizarre. Us humans are constantly in go-mode, physically, and mentally. We are either plotting and planning our next moves (survival), caring for children and loved ones, working crazy hours, managing deadlines, running errands, dealing with societal pressures and injustices, dealing with judgments, sorting out how to make ends meet, trying to keep relationships strong, and don't get me started on the effects of COVID-19! Life can be a lot! Let me go geek for a second to put some things into perspective. According to the 2017 American Psychological Association (APA) Stress report, the global pandemic of stress affected approximately 75% of adults, all of whom reported at least one related symptom. Of those reported symptoms, irritability and fatigue were listed. The same 2017 APA Stress report goes on to say that, "since APA began conducting this survey, women, on average, have reported higher stress levels than men." Well, what do you know?! Then Healthline.com and The American Institute of Stress (AJS) both state that "when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk". Can you guess what one of those risks/effects are?! You got it, a low sex drive!
And while discovering this information, I learned that there is such a thing called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, also known as HSDD. If you don't believe me, fact check me! So let's just say, this stuff gets deep and I pray this isn't my reality. All in all, this information is only a fraction of the bigger picture. The bottom line is, we all experience stress, some more than others (sorry ladies, we are the "some"), and stress can directly affect libido. And you know what, I'm living proof. Hell, I've been stressed since I was in my late teens, early 20s so no wonder I've struggled to find the space to enjoy sex over the years.
*Low Sex Drive
Stress- and the fatigue that comes with it- can take a toll on your libido".
So, recap. We have my distorted views on sex and my adult life that's been largely overwhelmed by stress. But then there's something else worth mentioning- the major life experience called childbearing! Well, what do you know?! Ladies, we're up... again!
As I have been typing this enormous rant, my little superhero Ace has been by my side for every word. He's my shadow, my right hand, my miracle and I love him with literally every ounce of my being. But can you believe that he will soon be 14 months and I'm just now beginning to feel something like myself again? So for about two or so years (pregnancy + Ace's first year of life), I've been something like a jacked-up, walking, hormonal machine. Clearly, I'm not quite back to 100% (or I'd have my sex drive back and this whole entire mission for a new "vagina" would be obsolete), and I'm pretty sure I will never be pre-Ace Quiana. Yet, I'm motivated to do things I haven't wanted to do in quite some time. I actually want to hop in the car and drive. I look forward to cooking. I'm exploring my life bucket list again. And I'm eager to try new things (hence Half Full). But for some reason, sex isn't something I've consistently wanted to get back to (among a couple of other things). I'm working hard to be patient with myself as I've been told by a few of my mommy warriors that requiring a good year or two post-delivery to fully bounce back is more normal than many think. For example, I read here that it does very well take the female body 6-8 weeks to PHYSICALLY recover after a vaginal birth (a bit longer when dealing with a C- section), but that doesn't account for the mental recovery that tends to take longer (a year is typical). And God forbid trauma to be a part of the equation! Of course, for a seasoned mommy, the bounce back may be quicker. However, in the case of a new mom such as myself, more time is definitely needed. Navigating life while caring for another little human being can be a helluva adjustment. Adjusting to sleep deprivation, new worries, new routines, new chores, and a new type of love all while your body rebalances is a beautiful mess- a beautiful mess that takes time. And speaking of time. Did I mention that in the UK, it is standard for women to take six to twelve months for maternity leave compared to the measly six to 12 weeks standard in the US? Wild, right? If you ask me, Europe is leaps and bounds ahead of America in so many ways, but I'll save that rant for another post. Nonetheless, it's clear that carrying and having a baby is hard work- work that affects you in a substantial way and it takes time to reach a new level of normal. So maybe this is why I'm struggling to hop on the Libido Train? Do I need a bit more time post Ace's birth (and his roller-coaster of-a-first year of life)? Am I still very tired (and stressed) from all my mommy duties? Will this madness ever settle? Please, somebody, tell me!
So final recap. We have an unfortunate sexual upbringing, a heavy ladened, stressed-out adult life, and the beautiful chaos of child-bearing/mommyhood. Can anyone think of anything else we can pile on to help me make sense of all of this? Yes, I could add something about how women should've been created with more testosterone to balance out our gender-specific "crazy", but I'm sure that would've messed up the natural order in some way. Or maybe I should've dove into how my diet (which can be compromised by stress) directly impacts my libido. But then I could discuss how I need to exercise more to increase my endorphins which may in turn improve my libido, but again, you have to overcome the stress first to build up the energy to even exercise! It's endless and quite honestly, a bit discouraging. But you know, by now, as I have typed this post, I have convinced myself of one thing... there's no one thing to blame for all of this. I am currently struggling to get my mojo back and there are loads of reasons why this may be the case. I am not broken nor am I inadequate. My libido (or lack thereof) is not all that I am. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a wife. And I am a professional who's trying her best. I trust that soon my libido will ramp up and my husband will be begging me to keep my hands to myself (or not)! I do genuinely trust that "this too shall pass". Perspective is key right now as there is a bigger picture. Do I think I may need a little help in getting "it together", yeah, maybe? Should I try Maca supplements? Yoni eggs? A strenuous workout routine off Beachbody On Demand? Buti Yoga? A sex therapist? Orgasm School via Masterclass (she did)? I don't know. I may try them all. But in the meantime, I definitely plan to accept these realities, be kind to myself, continue to trust that everything is going to be quite alright, and of course, keep my vagina.
And oh, don't forget... SHARE if you have any recommendations for a sistah!
Until next time!