Sex and My Mental Health

Is the mischief being managed?

No matter how hard I try to pretend that my sex life is not intrinsically linked to my mental health, I cannot.  When I do not orgasm for a few days, my capacity to handle day to day tasks diminishes.  And when I have not been hugged, kissed, cuddled, or am starved for intimacy for any length of time I flounder.  I want to be better than this.  I want to be independent of my dependency on intimacy, but I just cannot do it.  I can be brave and strong for a while, and then, before my eyes, I see my judgement and basic autonomy over my own emotions faulter.  I see my confidence fade and worse, I begin to make negative correlations such as, my life is this way because I must have done something dreadful in a past life, and other such rhetoric.  And to be clear, I don’t even believe in past lives, so this dialogue makes absolutely zero sense.

I will admit, that I don’t enjoy asking for sex or intimacy.  It is one of those things that I take for granted and usually just falls into my lap (this is not a brag, just a pattern I have noticed).  Or I have developed a dynamic with a person who loves being the instigator and we fall into an incredible thing whereby I never quite know when I’m going to get laid (and I love that!).  But this time around, things feel different.  I’m not sure if it is age sneaking up on me, or what, but I just feel like I am looking for connections in all the wrong places.  And that is making me fail even harder.  I mean, I usually love a great challenge, and the thrill of something forbidden. This works well for me, because up until recently, I have always had something to fall back on.  So coming back from the “hunt” empty handed, was never an issue.  I have never felt this starved before. 

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And it is wearing me down.  I have questioned my self worth, my sex appeal, my value, and basically the whole, do I even deserve to be loved?  I can honestly tell you that being non-monogamous (a post about where I have been in the non-monogamous world for too long) does not make any of these feelings easier.  I feel the same loneliness I would if I was in a partnership with just one person.  Just because I am able to see multiple people does not mean that I am free of feeling this void, this emptiness.  And it would be melodramatic to state that it is even harder, because I am doubly or triply lonely.  That I should already have my tribe and never feel this way.  That somehow the whole point of this expansive relationship norm, should prevent this total collapse into my pity party.  But, I am no different from any other lonely person, figuring life out, and trying to get their needs met, both emotionally, and physically.

I just want to love with my whole being, and be loved the same way in return.  And until I can find a rational, and ethical way to get my physical needs met, I am going to struggle mentally.  I need the orgasmic release of endorphins to get me through this next little while.  I cannot fight this battle as it’s just a part of who I am.  I want to be wanted, and I want to continue going after things that make me feel amazing. And in this, there is no conclusion, simply putting out into the void the rock and hard place I find myself in. 

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My Open Relationship Means I Am No Longer One of the Guys… And It Sucks.


Once upon a time, I would talk openly about my sex life, wants and desires with my male friends.  I would have a few beers and shoot the shit with my boys.  I would talk sex, and sex appeal like it was nothing.  Guys would discuss sexual frustrations and conquests in my company and I would join, make fun or commiserate with them.  It was normal, natural and comfortable for me, but that time seems like nothing but a fairy tale now.  Why did this behaviour change?  Because of my open relationship status.
I am no longer comfortable with the guys, and the only thing to have changed is that I am in an open relationship.  I’ve struggled with the loss of my male friends as I have mentioned in previous posts, and the unfortunate thing is, I cannot get any of the friendships with these particular men back.  The dynamic has shifted to one where, being monogamous with a man, gave me the right to talk about sex without my male companions taking things too far.  I had earned the freedom to speak my mind, in part because I was unattainable.  In an open relationship, I have lost that protection. 
Now, I cannot get through guys heads, that I am still unattainable to my friends.  I do not want to sleep with every man I see, and no my close male friends do not have a chance with me.  But in the back of their minds, there is a chance that I will cave and thus they misinterpret shooting the shit, as they have a chance.  It freaking sucks sometimes.  I used to love the freedom of expression that I got hanging out with guys, my real guy friends.  And I am not just one of those woman who was deluded into thinking that she was one of the guys, as I was.  I have been the only chick who attended guys nights more times than I can count.  And, I was usually welcomed by everyone there except my ex, though he warmed up to the idea after a while. 
I have tried so many times over the past few years to make male friends.  To state explicitly that we are only friends and to just treat me like one of the guys.  But the second they find out I am in an open relationship, BAM, friendship is over, and the hunt begins.  It gets exhausting for me to keep shooting guys down.  I feel like a pompous ass writing that, but that’s the truth.  I get hit on, all the freaking time, by guys who I would like to be able to trust and open up to.  The way I used.  The way they still do to me.  
But now, I just don’t enjoy being part of guys night.  Now, I feel like I have to be on guard.  That I have to watch what I say, because the last few times I have been out with the boys, it has ended in disaster.  One instance a guy started putting E down, by telling me that I could do so much better, and would if I was free of him, and E was in the same freaking room.  A tactic that actually almost ended two friendships instead of just the one.  And more recently, I started getting racy facebook messages from a guy that I am clearly not interested in, and have not made even the slightest hint that I am.  But, he reads my blog, and feels that he has every right to start flirting with me.  Is he thinking that I write it for him?  Or just not thinking long term at all because he enjoys the pictures?  I have no clue, other than that I have tried to shut that down a few times, but to no avail.   
So the takeaway seems to be that because I am open, I have a target on my back.  I am free for the picking.  That I don’t actually need friends, or good conversation, or even just a fun night of beer and shenanigans like I used to.  No, instead, you would rather try taking that less than 1% shot that you have a chance with me, and ensure that you don’t have a cool, fun chick that you can just hang out with. 
And seriously guys, you fucked up on this one.  You’re immature and thinking with your dicks!  And what’s more, my stories are much more interesting now. 

The Shy One

When I was a girl I was shy.  I was skinny, with long brown hair, and wore glasses.  I am an only child, so I learned how to associate with my mom’s friends and was a lot slower to make friends my own age.  My entire life I have had a tendency to blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind, which my ex used to call my shock value statements.  He loved them, where as I would say them, look around the room at all the shocked reactions and quickly feel guilt about saying what seemed natural.  It is an odd position to have found myself in, that one where I say my shock statements and then I balk at the reactions and almost cocoon myself up.  I get praised by my partner, yet feel judged by the people around me.  So I found myself losing practice at saying what I wanted to for fear of criticism, which increased the perceived shyness I had.
Like anything though, I soon realized that being shy was a trait that could be overcome, and for me should be worked on with diligence.  I love meeting new people and being in situations where I have the chance to make a first impression on my terms.  I find it exciting and interesting to read people in a room and to watch them read me.  However I knew I was not going to get to play this well loved game if I was constantly fearful of what would come out of my mouth or my shyness over taking me.  As an added bonus to this, if any of you have talked to me prior to going skydiving you know I am downright cranky when I am feeling nervous or scared.  Cranky me, is never something that is going to work well with making first impressions.  And unfortunately once I reach my crankiness threshold it takes everything in my being to get out of it, and that is only if I notice that I have reached that point.
So I started playing games to help me overcome this negative trait that I had.  I recall needing quite a bit of liquid courage at first, but I would walk over to a group of men at a bar, and try and begin a conversation.  Honestly, my openers were terrible, compounded with loud music, getting flushed at having to repeat myself, it ended in constant rejection for a long while.  But soon I found a little bit of a rhythm, and being shot down was not nearly as scary.  Once that fear of rejection subsided, my confidence started boosting, and that shy little ugly duckling that I was started to disappear.   It may sound like I am repeating a previous post but I feel it is so important to pick something you are bad at and challenge yourself and try to overcome it.  You may fail, but who knows you could overcome something marginally scary and look back and laugh at who you used to be, like I have.  Few people that I meet today, even believe that I was ever shy, or had feelings of insecurities as strong as I did.  Plus now when I utter a shock statement I am able to just plow right ahead and not feel so insecure if it went over poorly.  

Confidence and Dating

I am starting to see a clear and present pattern that I suppose I always knew was there but perhaps did not know the reason.  Dating is a game of skill and practice especially Online.  There are natural flirts, born and raised charmers and charismatic people mixed into the pool.  But the truth is that the majority of us when thrown into the dating pool sunk or swam by trial and error.
When I receive messages from average or under average men on one of the dating sites that I use the notes are almost always thoughtful, personalized and creative.  Not to assume that they are not a pre-written copy and pasted message as many are (proven by a few repeat sendings) but the detail of adding something from my profile is often included in these.  The messages also include an open ended question that many of us feel rude not responding too even if the first glance at the photos or profiles is not up to our normal standards.  I will admit that in this round of using online dating I no longer respond to anyone just for the sake of not coming off as bitchy and judgemental, but the first time I used the site I would almost always politely answer these men’s questions.  This getting the foot in the door tactic is incredibly important.
Now onto the flip side, the very attractive men who rely on their photos only and often post the bare minimum on the about me section.  The messages from these men are lackluster at best with a no foresight into the responses that they expect to get.  “You’re cute”, or “how was your weekend”, leave very little for opening up conversation and quite often the messages die off as quickly as they started.  I feel almost disappointed when I receive a one-liner message from a hot guy as the feeling is he is too good to but any effort into the conversation.  I should be wet at the mere thought that he messaged me and therefore should agree to meet based on looks alone. 
So I am left in the middle of the overconfident based photo, or a charming message from a less than average guy who shows up to a first meeting 30 pounds heavier than his photo and with mustard stains on his shirt (yes this is a true story).  Over promise and under deliver, or under promise and over deliver?  Basically the under average male has had to put in more practice and work to engage in a conversation with a person that he is interested in and it is very apparent in the online world.
When I was between 18 and 20 ish I would play a little game at the bar which would entail seeing how many drinks I could get bought for me.  If I had to take a cab home that night it was a great night, but I would say that I was rejected a solid 95 % of the time.  I would get shot down for drinks, dancing and sometimes even just approaching and saying a simple “hi, how is your night going?”.   All this rejection taught me some incredibly valuable lessons in building a bit thicker skin, changing my approach on the fly and realizing that rejection is not the end of the world.  Some nights it hurt my feelings to be shot down so many times, but it is not always a personal thing, often just bad timing and bad game on both parties.  And I would not be the person I am today without having been put in my place by a room full of strangers.  I learned confidence the old fashioned way with lots of work and practice, long before I grew into whatever looks or boobs that I now have (I know it makes them sound fake saying it like that).  At heart I am that skinny girl with horrible freckles and the brown hair that had a mind of its own.  Despite that though I taught myself to smile with genuine feeling and make myself approachable and learned a confidence that is applicable now to all aspects of my life.