Aug 252014
 

Love the tuxedoWhen I look in the mirror I am usually pretty happy with what I see. I like my body, my hair, my face – but sometimes I get frustrated when what I see doesn’t fit with how I feel inside. I like being female, but there are times when I feel very male. I struggle with how to present myself as a male. How do I express who I am as a man?

I recently fulfilled a long time fantasy to dress as the man I see myself as and it was really pretty much a perfect evening. I had so much fun! My friends got married and held a masquerade ball. (Congrats guys!) The invitations said, “dress to impress” and I immediately thought about wearing a tuxedo. I’ve always wanted to wear a tux. It seems the epitome of men’s fashion, suave and debonair. What could be sexier?

I fetishize tuxedos to such an extent that just picking up the tux gave me a high like participating in a BDSM scene for a couple of hours. I went to the Tuxedo Club in Kirkland and they were amazing. I had a lot of anxiety going in because I worried that it wouldn’t be right. I was there for over an hour while they explained each piece. I love the details – cufflinks, spats, pocket watches and such. They worked with me to make sure that I had exactly what I wanted in a tuxedo. I left feeling exhilarated.

DW and EvoeI wanted the perfect date for this wedding reception, so I invited DW. I got dressed at his house and he was full of useful information, like tips on how to better use a compression vest to bind my breasts. (“Pull together and you’ve got cleavage, pull up and out toward the armpits and you’ve got pecs.”) I am so grateful to DW for all of his graceful instruction and sense of humor. He also looks damn hot in a tux.

We had fun at the party. I saw people I hadn’t seen in years, and a few of them didn’t recognize me! I felt amazing: strong, sexy, grounded. DW and I got increasingly friskier, groping each other surreptitiously while everyone focused on the bride and groom cutting the cake. It felt good when his fingers brushed against my clit, but I kept wishing that I had decided to pack so he could feel my cock.

DW and Evoe kissingWe left while the night was still young. We stopped at a grocery store because DW insisted on getting me food I could eat, something that earns him a hundred gold stars in my book. Walking through the store in a tux made the experience real. I was not just going to a costume party, I was in public. It was awesome. I want to own a tux so I can put it on to run to the grocery store. (After 5:00 p.m. of course, as DW pointed out.)

Once we had taken off the tuxedos and I had eaten, we retired to the bedroom. DW has a perfect way about him. I feel comfortable and I trust him, which makes it possible (just barely) for me to submit to him. He brings me right up to the point where I would have to stop. I find myself sitting in uncomfortable places that I would not normally tolerate with anyone else. And then I feel amazing afterward. This man has incredible skill.

Pre masquerade He called me “boy” the entire time. I dropped to my knees in front of him. He urged me to take his cock deeper and deeper into my throat, slapping my face when I didn’t try hard enough. I gagged and tears ran down my face, but I eventually found my rhythm.

He wrapped his fingers in my hair and dragged me to the bed. He bent me over the edge and bit my back while I squirmed in protest. He was gone briefly then came back with what I think was a belt. He used it to encourage me to use proper responses to his attentions. It sounded like this: “SMACK. (breath, breath, moan…) Yes Daddy! SMACK. (sucked in breath, exhale) Yes Daddy!” Between the belt and his hand I started to get the hang of it.

Our play got gentler after that. I did more cock sucking. We snuggled. I orgasmed. He is a fabulous kisser. He wove incredible fantasies for me. He rolled me over and fucked me hard, like I had been wanting in a desperate kind of way. I also wanted him to come all over me, so he straddled my hips. We took turns with lube and his cock. He talked dirty to me (cuz I’m a dirty boy). I played with his nipples and really felt like a boy. I could feel my cock and I wanted him to sit on it. I wanted to fuck him with my cock while he spilled on my chest. It was toe-curling, back-arching, super-hot fucking.

Morning strollI had so much fun. I’m still on that high a couple of days later. It’s interesting to me that none of the (sometimes crippling) anxiety I feel in social situations plagued me at the reception. Perhaps it is the power of the tuxedo. Maybe I feel more confident as a boy. Could be that DW puts me at ease. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

I’ve felt great all weekend. I put on the tux again to take some photos with Harold, this time with me on top. Those images turn me on so much. Like crazy horny. I’ve never had that experience with photos of myself before! I don’t even know what to make of it. Renting a tux has been more than a costume for a party, more than cross-dressing, and more than a fetish. It’s been a dream come true.

Dec 232013
 

Evoë on datingI never thought I’d see the day, but I actually met a man I’m interested in dating on OKCupid. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to date. I’ve never really done it before — what I’m used to is letting friendships evolve over time into sexual and/or romantic relationships. As a result, I’m finding my current interest rather excruciating. Getting to know each other is fascinating, and playing with our mutual attraction is exciting, but we haven’t earned each other’s trust yet. I’m tearing myself up inside over this guy with whom I’ve spent exactly 90 minutes in person.

I’m really taken with him – he’s intelligent, very physically fit, good looking with a gorgeous smile, spiritual without being religious, a good communicator, and deeply respectful. I was impressed when I asked him for more photos and he didn’t send me a cock shot. Perhaps my favorite thing is that he’s very sexual without seeming desperate or sticky. He wants a chance to explore his sexuality and this appeals to me on many levels. I get so much pleasure out of helping people open up and showing them new things.

But not having established trust is getting to me. I don’t know how to find a good balance. My desire wants to just go for it, make a sexual connection, and use it to build trust later. The rest of me is freaking out a bit. I’ve been through date rape, and I certainly don’t want to put myself in that position again.

I sense that he’s not being totally forthcoming with me. I can’t find him in a Google search, which may mean that he’s being private online or it may mean that he isn’t who he says he is. He told me that he wouldn’t want me to blog about him because he likes his secrecy. I’m violating that request right now because it’s essential to me to be able to talk about my feelings and my process. I’m thinking about being alone with him, vulnerable and intimate, without really knowing who he is. How do I know he can be held accountable? What is a reasonable amount of faith before you have a solid foundation of trust?

He tells me he’s married, been married for over 20 years. They’ve just recently opened their marriage. This could be a very good thing for me, since I am so busy with my family that I have very little time and energy to give to another relationship. But here is my warning bell: he and his wife evidently have a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. He doesn’t want to meet my other partners and he won’t be telling his wife about us. He seemed confused by me trying to explain that I tell my husbands everything. Actually, I am unlikely to share his private confessions, but I would certainly be telling them about my emotional experience and the overall shape of the relationship. I don’t want to have to keep one part of my life separate from the others, and I doubt I’m even capable of it. I am profoundly suspicious of anything that must be kept secret. How, for example, do I know that I’m not causing harm to his wife?

There is also the body hair issue. After it became clear that we are attracted to each other, he asked me if I shave below the neck. While I’ve shaved in the past (body, head, everything at one time or another), I am currently really enjoying my body in a natural state. I love my hairy armpits. I trim my pubic hair, but I won’t be getting a Brazilian any time soon. I think I look ridiculous with a bald pussy and I hate going down on someone all stubbly. I don’t find shaved genitals attractive in general, but I do respect people’s right to do things they like with their body.

For him, however, this seems to be a deal breaker – he says he can’t get turned on if his partner has body hair below the neck. In his favor, he has wanted to know why it seems important to me not to shave. He is respectfully waiting to see what I want to do. Do I want to modify my body to make him happy? Don’t I want him to like me the way I am?

I suspect he may want clandestine sex. An affair. I understand the allure of something forbidden, a kind of exciting shame-fueled sexual adventure. I understand the attraction to the fetish-like taboo of secretive sex, but this is so not me. He says that he’s interested in my passion for normalizing sex, so I’m curious to see if he’s willing to step out of his comfort zones to meet me. But how far should I go to meet him? Where is the right balance between pleasing a prospective lover and holding your own boundaries?

I’ve been enjoying our interactions – mostly texting or sexting. I’m having fun! Sadly, this week is super busy. I had to cancel the second meeting we had scheduled because I am so overwhelmed with holidays, work, and child wrangling. Since I broke that appointment, I haven’t heard from him. Maybe he’s giving me space in this crazy chaotic time. Maybe he’s given up on me. Maybe, like me, he’s trying to figure out how to trust.

I’m not sure how to do this dating thing. I’ve had sex with strangers in the heat of the moment, but never this negotiation of preferences and boundaries, dreaming of steamy relationship potential while trying to navigate all the risk factors. Figuring out public transportation in a foreign country has caused me less stress than this. And yet… I want him. I want him to meet my challenge.

Feb 072013
 

EvoëThis morning I had an epiphany: I am not treating my body with respect. I have worked hard to have a good body image and to listen to what my body wants during sex. I eat foods that are right for me and nourish me properly, but I’m terrible when it comes to not feeling well. When I have health challenges, I do my best to ignore my body’s messages.

I am reminding myself that embodiment, existing fully in the physical self, is not just about sex. To be sure, being present in your body makes for wonderful sex, but it should carry over to other areas of life as well. When I was contemplating that, I was suddenly able to see the patterns that surround my difficulties being kind to myself when I am ill.

As a child I was in a lot of physical pain. For example, I had constant ear infections and ruptured ear drums. Once I broke my wrist and wasn’t taken to the doctor. Because there was abuse in the home, I think that going to the doctor happened rarely, like going to the hospital when my sister almost died from pneumonia.

I was taught to ignore my body’s signals, keep them to myself, not tell anyone about them. I felt ashamed because I thought that anything wrong with my body was my own fault. I was afraid that I was bad for feeling pain, and no one wanted to know about it. I was convinced that no one would believe me if I spoke, and I’d be punished for causing problems. At the same time, I was also terrified that something serious might really be wrong with my body and no one would do anything to help me.

Many of these childhood messages around illness have been further reinforced by my later experience in the culture at large. We’re encouraged to “suck it up” and go to school or work even when we feel pretty bad. People with chronic illness and/or disabilities are often looked down on. They aren’t seen as strong in this culture where we revere the ability to endure pain. I cringe every time I hear a parent tell a child to “man up” or “be a big girl” instead of comforting the hurt. We are taught that pain does not exist, or when it does, it’s weak, embarrassing, or maybe even crazy.

I think some people are drawn to BDSM because it can provide a controlled, “acceptable,” form of pain. Experiencing or providing pain in this context is letting one pain stand in for another, or granting the release of built-up pain. It’s not a bad idea, kind of like going to therapy to work out emotional pain – setting aside time to hurt. Perhaps BDSM is often misunderstood because people do spend so much time denying their pain.

Ignoring pain and sickness is occasionally necessary, as when there are no other options to take care of children, but I have made a habit of it. No, I think I never learned how to listen to my body in this way. I’m trying now. I think being aware of my body around pain and illness is going to be challenging because it brings up a swirl of emotions that are hard to sort, but I know some part of me really wants to be heard, wants to be comforted.

This shift in my way of thinking will help my body get more of what it needs. It will help me negotiate better with unhealthy impulses, such as cravings for foods I’m allergic to. Being able to acknowledging my own discomfort will let my family support me better. I’ve often felt so ashamed and scared of my own pain or illness that of course people don’t know how to treat me, which plays right into my fears that I will be punished or at least derided for malingering. If I can admit to myself that I do actually have some chronic health problems, then I can give myself permission to go about seeking appropriate support and medical help.

I want to be in my body the way I can be during sex – unselfconscious and aware. I think this will make losing weight easier, being more fit easier, and improve my overall health and happiness. I do love my body and all of the sensations I experience in it, and I want to own it all. I’m ready now to accept being embodied.

Jan 262013
 

I have a strong masculine side that I’ve been exploring over the past couple of years. I don’t feel any less feminine, it’s just that sometimes I feel more like a boy. I’ve needed to pay attention to some pretty deep stuff. It’s confusing to acknowledge a piece of me that is so different.

At first I considered more of a butch persona. I appreciate butch women, but I don’t feel like one. At least part of the time I am a man. A gay man, who doesn’t want to be gay. I call him Jaxx.

There is a sexual component. I want to have sex as a man. Strap-on sex becomes more important, but not necessary. Jaxx is not as mature as I am – perhaps late teens or early adulthood. I have all of the sex drive, teen angst, and body image issues.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t look like I imagine myself to appear. I guess no one does, but it’s hard to figure out what kind of boy I am. How do I dress? What are my mannerisms? Who are my role models? How do I fit those things with my current limitations?

For example, I have large breasts – G cups. I have a compression vest to try to minimize my chest, but it still tends to be a problem. I need to layer shirts. I don’t have the chest I want to have as a boy. However, I can use a soft pack to give myself that all important bulge in my pants.

I’m still trying to figure out how I want to look, and I’ve only been brave enough to go out in public once, but I’m starting to own this part of me. I’m slowly feeling more confident as Jaxx. Ultimately I am who I am, regardless of gender. Here are a few photos we recently took of him…

Jaxx

Jaxx lighting up

Paxx Jaxx

 

Click below to see what other people are doing for Sinful Sunday!

Sinful Sunday

Jan 182013
 

DormantTomorrow I turn 40. Today feels like New Years Eve at the millennia – I’m ready to leave my past behind me and journey into a brave new future. I know that things will change, and inevitably some things will also stay the same. The past decade has already been a time of intense change and action for me. I’m ready to settle down and enjoy the fruits of my labors.

40 feels so final somehow. The end of my youth. I am wading through an internal dialog I didn’t know I had. Things like, sex ends at 40, which I consciously know to be untrue. I have internalized a bunch of societal messages that say I should try to minimize the lines around my eyes, stop wearing bikinis, lose weight, wear sensible clothes, and stop dying my hair purple. I try to ignore any thought that starts with “I should…”

Looking at my 40′s, if I buy into how our culture tends to handle sex after 40, I’ve only got a few options. I can start lying about my age, perhaps pose as my 21 year old’s sister rather than her mother. I can start trying to seduce her friends. This option involves wearing a lot of makeup and tight clothes, saving up for plastic surgery. Or, I can lapse into obscurity – say farewell to my sexual self and devote my energies to something real, like volunteering at school events, where I channel my bitterness and frustration into backstabbing the other moms.

I like to think that there are other options. Infinite options. Where people get to be who they are and want to be, regardless of age. Regardless of any identity that might seem to limit expression.

I started writing publicly about sex and publishing sexy images of myself at the age of 32, after having four children. At that point, although I was following my heart, I felt that I was probably too far past my prime for anyone to be interested. I decided not to worry about it. I’ve always written from my soul though. I’ve shown myself as I am, with all of my flaws.

This is how I try to change the world – just by being me.  We need enough people to stand up and say, I am a mom and I’m sexy. I am fat and I’m sexy. I have stretch marks and I’m sexy. I’m naked and I’m not wearing makeup and I am still sexy. I am who I am and that’s sexy! I’m over 40 and I’m sexy!

Not everyone is going to find me sexy. Even if I fit my idea of perfect, not everyone would be attracted to me. The important thing is that I feel sexy. Being confident and secure in my sexuality will give others permission to connect with me on a sexual level. This is one of those things that being another year older isn’t going to change.

EmergingBeing sexual after 40 isn’t tasteless, embarrassing, desperate, or indecent. It’s normal. I am blessed to have many role models for what a healthy and active sex life looks like. And most of them happen to be over 40.

If there is anything that I am taking away from this birthday, it’s that turning 40 is helping me to free myself from a bunch of myths and limitations that I didn’t even know I was carrying. I see this next decade as a time of personal depth and security for me. A time where I will very much enjoy sexual freedom with elegance and grace. Or fishnets and butterfly knives. Whatever.

Jan 062013
 

Redecorating a segment of the bathroom this week left us with a very odd clean white space. I was quick to hand Harold the camera and jump into the void to see what kinds of fun shapes we could make in the weird little box. Like everything else that we do, photo shoots with Harold are hot! We make love in everything…

Evoë

Evoë

Evoë

Evoë

Evoë

What else is happening for Sinful Sunday?

Sinful Sunday

Oct 282012
 

You know how when you love someone, you gush about every little detail of their body? You notice the way that body hair grows just so, or the way a scar looks like a rabbit, or how a certain curve makes you feel like grabbing hold of them and fucking their brains out. This photo of my girlfriend, Blyss, is like that for me. The more I study it, the more I feel full of love and lust. The apple is just another temptation…

Take a bite

Sinful Sunday

Oct 152012
 

Evoë campingI’m not really here. My heart and mind are still at Goldmyer Hot Springs where Harold and I stayed a couple of nights ago. Our joy there was so intense that we didn’t sleep, lest we miss a moment of pleasure. We’ve needed this chance to escape the daily grind. We’ve needed time to be alone together and we were determined to cherish every minute!

We backpacked in, talking about anything and everything, ranging from work to family to sex – basically the things that most people talk about. I love backpacking because you carry everything with you and no more than you absolutely need. I packed the sex supplies first: a bullet vibe, 4 non-latex gloves, 1 packet of lube, and a length of stretchy fabric to tie around Harold’s balls for CBT play. I figured that it covered the basics and presented many interesting options.

We arrived in the early afternoon, quickly set up camp and ate lunch. We had an amazing campsite right next to the river. The white noise is very soothing, even if I start to hear music in it. Harold and I work beautifully together, often lending a hand to each other while still completing our own tasks. We’re both very competent and it’s a pleasure to operate so seamlessly. And camp food tastes so intensely wonderful. Our lunch was Thai noodle soup, garlic mashed potatoes, super orange Emergen-c, a bit of red wine, fig loaf, and the most exquisite salt and pepper Mexican chocolate. Absolutely perfect!

backing out of the tentWe talk about what our intentions were for this overnight trip, wanting to make sure we were on the same page so we could get the most out of our time. Our priorities were: 1) to feel close to each other, 2) to have really hot sex, and 3) to work through any emotional issues that happened to come up. The first and second things were really the most important.

Finally we made our way up to the hot springs, stopping to talk to the caretakers on our way. I don’t actually have a lot of opportunity to socialize, so I may be a bit rusty at it, but I love getting to know people! Goldmyer is clothing optional at the hot springs. I’m mostly inured to nudity at this point, both my own and other people’s, but I still have that moment of checking other people out. I’m sure they look me over too. In that setting, I don’t care. And Harold and I were way too into each other to really pay much attention to making a good presentation.

Goldmyer is amazing. I’ve posted about it before. It may be my favorite place on the planet. It has certainly been a special place for Harold and me together – many of our big moments have occurred in those deliciously warm pools, surrounded by nature. There’s usually other people around, but they generally respect your privacy if you seem to want it. It’s just a sacred place. People tend to get that.

Harold and I talked some more while we waited for people to clear off and then we got the little waterproof vibrator out. It felt nice on my clit, but I wasn’t getting anywhere really. We stopped. Harold suggested that perhaps we were having troubles with the first of our objectives, to feel close to each other. He was right. Everything was fine between us, except that I was holding back on a deep level. When I looked at it, I realized that I was still upset about an argument we’d had 6 weeks ago. Something about that fight had left me feeling like I couldn’t trust him and it had never gotten repaired.

Evoë and Harold at GoldmyerIt’s amazing how one little thing can totally compromise my ability to orgasm. There I was, in the most beautiful place on the planet, alone with a man I adore, and unresolved feelings from an old fight were getting in my way. I’d thought that I was over that disagreement. Because what I most wanted was to feel close to Harold, it meant that I was going to have to spend some time going over objective 3) working through any emotional issues that happened to come up, even though I really didn’t want to.

We talked over things for a long time. It turns out that it was not only my stuff – Harold had issues to process through as well! Other people came up to the hot springs, but for a while we just wrapped ourselves up in each other, whispering frantically. We cleared out everything that had been building up between us, our connection coming out clear and strong. I began to feel a lot of desire.

We started thinking about heading back to our tent. Dusk was beginning to fall. Our fingers and toes were wrinkled and white. But a funny thing happened as we started to become more aware of our surroundings – we started conversing with the people around us. I am so busy all of the time that I forget what it’s like to have a normal conversation with people. If you can consider sitting around naked, talking about erotic foreign movies normal. I do.

Floating in the hot springsBy the time we made it back to our tent, made food, and crawled into the tent, it was nearly midnight. We had spent about 10 hours straight in the water! After crawling into our sleeping bags and eating, we began to make love. No, we had actually been making love all day. But we began to be carnally involved.

Half sweaty, half cold, we explored each other’s flesh under the sleeping bags. We had the body knowledge and comfort level of long time partners, with the enthusiasm and raw lust of of new lovers. With all the time we needed, we took it slow and sensuous. We were animals stalking each other’s pleasure, using our favorite sex acts to burn through the artificial boundaries that separate people. We made love until light began to filter in through the tent.

In all that time, we didn’t come. No orgasms, just hours of pleasure. You don’t get somewhere and stop, if you don’t come. You just reach and intertwine and want and gasp and want and love and have a happiness that is infinite but just keeps expanding and reaching – like the expanding universe. So at dawn, we lay in each other’s arms and had lucid dreams that we described aloud, feeling perfectly open and at one.

After a while, nature called, so we went to the outhouse and back up to the hot springs with our coffee. It feels miraculous to watch the morning unfold after such a night. I let the water soothe any aches in my body, listening to the river, watching the birds come out, feeling full of love. It was lovely to enjoy the stillness and experience the clarity of being fully in my body. I felt amazingly empowered, a feeling that has lasted for several days.

Reading in campAfter a couple of hours we went back to camp for some breakfast. I didn’t feel at all tired, despite a lack of sleep. I read a little Leaves of Grass by the river. We went back into the tent and made love some more – more straight fucking this time. Then we packed up our camp with the same efficiency and hiked home.

This trip to Goldmyer highlights for me a couple of things. First, it’s so important to work through the things that inevitably come up in a relationship. There is a tendency to shove those feelings into the background because life is busy, but if you let the pain and anger accumulate, lack of trust will taint your sex life. Second, sex is a sacred act. It doesn’t matter how you do it or what your religious beliefs are. Sex is a gateway to the spiritual realm, if you but open yourself up to the universe. Cherish every minute.
Oct 142012
 

Aftercare doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. This week’s Sinful Sunday image is of me after a fairly intense power exchange/bondage/spanking/CBT/anal play scene, followed by fucking. When we were done basking in the glow, I went outside to get some fresh air and eat an apple. Harold snapped this candid shot of me getting the aftercare I needed. I like it because It’s just me. I’m not trying to look glamorous or be anything else. Strangely enough, it turns out that being me looks pretty sexy!

 

relaxing after a scene

 

To see what other people are doing for Sinful Sunday this week, click below!
Sinful Sunday

Oct 102012
 

Evoë ThorneI think the worst feeling I have ever experienced is knowing that I’m alone in the world and beyond hope. Even when I’ve had people in my life who cared about me, there have been times when I’ve felt trapped in my own mind, unable to form connections or accept love. At times like that, it seems like the more I want someone, the more likely I am to push them away. It’s impossible for me to believe that anyone could want me.

Today is World Mental Health Day. More than 350 million people across the globe are affected by depression and less than 10% get treatment, despite the existence of effective treatment options. An additional 100 million people world-wide suffer from other mental health disorders. Without mental health, there is no health. And mental health is imperative for a healthy sex life.

My experience

I’ve struggled with Bipolar Disorder since my early teens. Suicide attempts and wild behavior colored my formative years. I wasn’t diagnosed until things reached critical mass when I was 21. At that time I was also experiencing intense Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, unable to eat without throwing up or sleep without terrible nightmares.

More recently, after the birth of my last child, I found myself drowning in Post-Partum Depression.

I don’t let these things define who I am or limit how I live my life, but they’ve presented huge obstacles to overcome. In particular, each of these conditions has affected my ability to have the kind of sex I want.

Bipolar

I actually prefer the term Manic Depression because it’s much more clear. People with Bipolar experience mood shifts between wild euphoria and bottomless depression. Mania has often kind of scared me because I feel out of control. I think faster than anyone can keep up with. My sex drive totally kicks in. I feel super turned on all of the time and I crave risky behavior. I want to do crazy things that push my limits. While I’ve never gone this far, it is definitely a time when I feel I could take on the whole football team. I don’t have good boundaries or decision making skills when I’m manic. When I was younger I would often violate relationship agreements in a fit of mania. Since then I’ve learned to be responsible for myself all of the time, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t take advantage of a manic state for some hot sex!

Depression can be extremely hard because it is so insidious.  Depression steals my self-esteem and I don’t even realize it. I just feel ugly, slow, and pathetic. It’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Every step is like wading through a swamp of oatmeal. I try harder when I’m depressed, present more, dress up and wear more makeup. I often feel very little desire in this state. Sometimes, though, I can use sex to try to circumnavigate the numbness. What I really want is to be loved and held, but I don’t feel capable of being loved. When we do make contact, it can be very sweet and life-affirming.

PTSD

When someone lives through a horrific experience, the experience can get put away in the brain as raw data (sights, smells, sounds, etc.) and not as the kind of processed stories we normally have as memories. Later, if something happens to bring that event up again, it literally seems to be happening all over again, right now. It feels real and immediate. This is what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is about. When people who have PTSD react, it can seem totally irrational, until you look at it in the context of the original trauma.

Because my PTSD has been around childhood abuse and rape, I spent many evenings in my early 20’s starting off feeling sexy in bed and ending up naked hiding in the closet shivering.

Post-Partum Mood Disorder

Post-Partum Mood Disorder is a constellation of mental health disorders brought on by the extreme shift in hormones following the birth of a baby.  Mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents can all experience it. Depression and anxiety are its most common forms.

PPMD is particularly troubling because having a baby is already a stressful and isolating time. I was lucky because when I had my youngest four years ago, I had the support of a poly family. Still, it was a difficult time, during which I gained about 40 pounds, was afraid to be alone with the baby, and feared abandonment constantly. I know that I had sex during this time, but I don’t really remember it. I had body and attachment issues. It was hard to be me, but I wanted to use sex to make sure that people would still love me. It was all I could do to get from moment to moment and day to day. I joined OKCupid for some positive feedback.

What you can do

If you believe that you are suffering from a mental health disorder, or even if you just want to make changes in how you interact in your relationships and improve your sex life, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor or a public health clinic. Get a referral for a therapist and someone who can help you assess if medications might help you. There are many alternatives to medicine, but this is not a bad place to start, especially if you have been living under this cloud for years. It is important to have both pieces: medication and talk therapy. Medication can change the chemical imbalance that’s happening in your body and therapy can help you figure out how to change the patterns in your life that are problematic.

Not all health care providers are created the same. Make sure to find people that you can trust and talk to easily. Don’t be afraid to decide that your provider is not working for you and find another. This person is going to be a vital member of your health team – make it right. Also, own your care. It’s hard to be assertive when you don’t feel strong, but please speak up if you don’t agree with a diagnosis or care plan. Passively agreeing to something you won’t do is just a waste of time. Own your health care!

I have been able to do amazing things by taking Lithium regularly and working hard in therapy. I have been able to minimize the impact of both mania and depression. I’ve worked through debilitating anxiety, learned how to have healthier relationships, and come to feel better about my body. I’ve even been able to work through the PTSD memories so as to see them as a cohesive story and put them away like regular memories. It’s a lot of work, and things are still hard sometimes, but I have hope. I know that these are things I am doing to have the life I want.

What you can do for someone you love

Loving someone who lives with a mental health disorder is challenging.  They may not want your help and you need to respect that. If they do want you to help, do what you can to understand that their actions do not reflect on you. For example, when one of my partners is unhappy, I tend to feel like I’ve done something wrong. I try not to take that on, but instead to address the unhappy feeling in a caring and supportive manner. For someone who’s life is seriously out of control however, you may need to step in. Do some research. Find a doctor and a therapist. Go with your loved one to the appointments.

Find ways to connect with each other. Sex might be a good way to be close. For some people sex transcends the mood disorder. For many, many people though, sex becomes next to impossible. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need love and affection. Don’t give up. Find ways to be close to each other anyway, that are comfortable for both of you. Go for a walk and hold hands. Brush each other’s hair. Cook together.  Read a story aloud. Write them a love letter. When things are hard, write a list of all of the reasons you fell in love. If you really need to find sexual outlet somewhere else, have a frank and honest conversation. Find a way to do it respectfully.

Make sure that you take good care of yourself. You are important too.

Remember that it will get better.

 

Because it will get better. Somewhere along the way I forgot to count the minutes. Then I forgot that I was barely getting through each day.  Things got better. I get sick and tired of working on my stuff all of the time, but it makes a huge difference. Every day I get stronger.

I don’t generally make a big deal about my mental health issues. When I was young I was told not to let anyone know because I would be stigmatized. I think that’s crap. Everyone has their issues and so few people ever seek help. If just one person reads this and it changes how they think about mental health, I will be happy. Maybe you are that one person. Are you tired of how hard you have to work to make it through the day? What if you could use that energy for other things, things that bring you joy? What if addressing your mental health issues could let you have the kind of sex you want to have? Is it worth it now? Don’t give up hope.