Where’s Charlotte? A Tale of Low Sex Drive & Body Image Issues

"Wanting Sex Again" book on a scale with sex toys

Where have I been? Right here. Right on the edge of this very blog, looking in, wondering what’s happened and why I can’t seem to look my blog in the eye these days. I’m racked with guilt every time I glance at the Twitter icon on my phone, wondering if people are missing me, or worse, disappointed in me. I see new emails come into my inbox, and I swipe away the notification, wondering if it’s worse to read it or ignore it (sorry to those who go ignored). So many parts of my brain have shut down lately – namely my sexuality, my self-esteem, and my ability to talk about either.

But this feels like it’s important to talk about on a blog that focuses solely on both. Visiting my front page or my Twitter and seeing images of dildos and naked bodies just remind me of the things I can’t bear the think about right now. I don’t know why; I’m in therapy to figure this out, among other issues, but please know that I’m not doing it on purpose, and being away from a group that I very much consider my kin sort of sucks. I’m worried if I’ll ever be invited back in, which amplifies the guilt, the repression, and so on… it’s a vicious cycle, guys.

First off, my sex drive is doing a thing, as it has done for many women before myself. Sex just isn’t occurring to me, and when I do find myself open to it (but not craving it), my brain floods with reasons to not do it. I’m tired, it’s late, we both work tomorrow, I haven’t shaved, I’m hungry, dinner will burn, it’ll take too long. I’ve always been the person who says there are a hundred good reasons not to do something, but always one very good reason to do it anyway, and yet my brain has decided to disagree with me.

And yes, it IS my brain! Yesterday my Clue app told me that my fertile window was beginning. Standard, and something I pretty much didn’t care about until I noticed an interesting side-effect. In the last day or two, I’ve been turned on… or rather, my genitals have. I sat on the couch last night craving touch as I pressed my hands against my vulva and enjoyed the sensation. The thing is… I didn’t want to be touched sexually. I thought about going downstairs and whipping out some dusty dildos, or pouncing on my partner when he got home but… nah. The idea of turning this pleasant feeling into something sexual just wasn’t a conversion that my brain could make. It was really frustrating, wanting to be touched but not wanting to make an orgasm out of it because that requires sexy things. What the hell, brain?

But this is comforting to me in a way, because a) it means that I’m still very much capable of arousal in a biological capacity and b) I now know that the issue is purely psychological. Not to say solving psychological aversion is an easy road, but it’s a bit easier when there’s actually a road to follow.
Then there are the body image issues, which I’m sure are at least 25-50% of the problem. Lately, I just find myself hating my body… and I mean loathing. My stomach jiggles, a new crop of stretch marks have popped up, even dresses I bought 4 months ago seems tight (do they? I can’t trust how my body feels anymore). My mind goes through thoughts of how skinny I used to be, if I’ll ever lose weight, if it’ll just get worse, and why the hell did this all seem to happen when I began eating a balanced diet and exercising 3 times a week?

My partner suggested a trainer or a nutritionist if it would make me feel better, but in addition to not being that wealthy (and hate being told what to do), it just wouldn’t solve the root problem. I haven’t hated my body like this since I was a skinner 18-year-old and throwing up in a grocery store parking lot after lunch… I might even hate my body more now because there seems to be so much more of it to hate. Many days I look in the mirror and love my curvy, chubby little body, but for some reason, my brain can’t stop thinking about it, even when a mirror or scale aren’t involved. I’ll feel a jiggle when I walk, I’ll compare myself to someone (I think) is near my size, I’ll feel the little back roll below my bra as I wait for my coffee. It’s unavoidable, and living inside a vessel that my very essence is attacking is exhausting. My anxiety has found something new to focus on, and it’s something I can’t even hide from: me.

The issue isn’t whether or not I need to lose weight, it’s that I need to re-learn how to love and accept my body in any state. I can’t diet my hatred away, and dieting from a place of body negativity is dieting that won’t work because your motivation is already flawed and will only reinforce your brain’s bad thoughts. I see body positivity role models on Instagram and I rejoice and cheer because they are so bloody beautiful and it makes me so proud to among them, but then my brain reminds me that I didn’t always use to be this way and that maybe I should be doing better instead of being proud of a failure.
So that’s my journey, and why you may not have heard from me lately (maybe after this I’ll get REALLY brave and check my email!) I’d really, really like to hear from those of you who might have been in one or both of these scenarios and found your own ways to cope and maybe pull yourself out. In the meantime, I hope and I can still putter on through and contribute in my own way and come out the other side.

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One comment

  1. sole gonzalez says:

    First let me send many hugs and tell you you’re brave. And also that I admire the way you have found how to put this feelings into words. I hate my body since I can remember. I’ve tried to lose weight… for my whole life. I have stopped dieting because now I am the mother of two teens (a girl and a boy) and I don’t want to pass the “try to change your body forever” model to them. So now I am overweight and I hate my body. Every time I am forced to think about it, I cry. A week ago I had to take out of my closet all the dresses that I kept there because.. you know… maybe some time I’ll be slim enough to wear them again. I won’t. But I cried (a lot) while putting them away because it meant acknowledging my defeat. I’m not, as you can see, any way out of it. But most of the time I am able to just put any thought about my body out of my mind. I eat healthy. There’s no scale at home (if I use a scale, I’ll want to diet, and weight myself 3 times a day, and then more diet…). I started to run three years ago, but I deliberately severed it from weight loss: I tell myself that’s “self care”, just that.

    One thing I’ve learned through 48 years of self image hatred is that any time something that triggers my anxiety, whatever it is, there’s a bout of body image issues and self scorn. It is like the common way in which I deal with all my problems.

    I hope you find a way out, you’re young and brave, and you deserve it.

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