Masturbation Monday: Masturbating When Depressed

I know I’m depressed when I start masturbating not out of horniness, but out of a desire to just feel something. I know I’m really depressed when I stop masturbating completely.

Heads up: this one talks about severe depression and briefly mentions suicidal ideation. I also discuss needle play in a kink context. Please take care of yourselves.

The reasons for the former are perhaps self-explanatory. When you’re depressed, you can feel adrift, listless and lost. Finding a way to simply become grounded in your body again can be tremendously helpful. Orgasm releases endorphines and dopamine, the body’s natural “happy” chemicals. That’s why you sometimes feel spacey and euphoric after really good sex.

As both a writer and a person with a laundry list of mental health issues, I spend a lot of my life in my head. And my head isn’t always a calm and happy place to be. This means that the opportunity to get out of my head and into my body is precious. Masturbation can be a way to give that to myself.

Even if I don’t really want to masturbate, I sometimes make myself because I know it will help. It’s a bit like making yourself drink a glass of water when you’re feeling crappy. You don’t wanna, exactly, but you know it’ll make you feel better so you do it. And usually it does help, at least for a short while.

The latter, though, is harder to both explain and deal with.

When I’m in my deepest, darkest pit of depression – the kind where I either cry for days or lie on the sofa doing nothing while I seriously contemplate killing myself – I sort of lose the ability to properly feel anything physical. I’ll know intellectually that I am, for example, hungry or thirsty or needing to pee or that my left arm has gone to sleep. But I don’t really feel it, at least not in the usual way. It’s like all sensation is masked under a thick layer of cotton wool or a heavy fog. The best way I can describe it is that my sadness is so dense that it sits around my body like a physical barrier.

It’s at this point in depression that my sexuality completely vanishes. It’s at this stage where I’ll recoil if a lover touches me, and beg my partners not to talk about anything sexy. “I can’t bear it,” I wrote to one of my lovers the last time I was this sort of depressed. “Can we just forget I even have genitals for a bit?”

It’s at times like this that I neglect this blog and my social media accounts and seriously consider just shutting it all down because I’ll never ever want to have sex again anyway , right?

I think there’s another element to it, too. Depression, for many sufferers, is intimately bound up with feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. This is definitely the case for me. When I’m in the grips of it, I feel on a deep level that I’m somehow bad, broken, not worthy. And of course that drives a feeling that I don’t deserve pleasure, so why would I have sex or masturbate?

I’ve tried, in the past, to use kink to pull myself out of this headspace. The results have been mixed. Partners are often, very understandably, reluctant to do things like hit me when my ability to consent may be compromised by my mental state. This is especially true when I’m in the aforementioned self-loathing spiral. On at least one occasion, a Dominant partner has realised that I’m asking them to hurt me not out of kinky desire, but out of a feeling that I need to be punished for some fundamental flaw in me… and, rightfully, refused to play under those circumstances.

On another occasion a few years ago, I invited Fondlebeast over when I was in the depths of this kind of depression. I asked him to do play piercing (sometimes called needle play) on me. The express reason I asked for this was “I want to feel something so I know I’m still alive”. And you know what? It actually did help.

As an educator I don’t necessarily advocate for this approach. But in that instance and in that time, it was what I needed and it worked. There was also a very specific relational context at play. I’ve known Fondlebeast for well over a decade and we’ve played together dozens if not hundreds of times.

To bring this back around to masturbation, though, I really don’t have any easy conclusions or solutions. When the fog of depression is this dense, I don’t think the “just make yourself masturbate because you know it’ll help” would be effective. Chances are I wouldn’t physically be able to reach orgasm or probably even feel much pleasure anyway.

Sometimes mental illness just fucking sucks and all we can do is sit in the suckyness, waiting for it to pass. One of the most useful coping strategies I’ve found is to remember that it is always temporary. The fog always does lift. My sex drive always does come back. Eventually, I feel wanting of and deserving of pleasure again.

Something else I’ve found helpful is to think of my sex drive as the canary in the coal mine of my mental health. Under this schema, losing all desire is a warning light to heed, rather than a symptom to manage away.

How do you handle masturbation and sex when you’re depressed, lovelies?

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Masturbation Monday is a meme created and run by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what everyone else is getting off to this week! If you enjoyed this piece, please consider buying me a coffee to show your appreciation… or join my sexy patron community on Patreon!

The Hard Limits That Changed

It’s #KinkMonth this October. To celebrate, I’m writing a post a day inspired by Kayla Lords’ 30 Days of D/s project.

Today is all about limits. Kayla and John ask:

Do you know what your hard limits are? Are there a few things you’d like to try but you’re a little nervous? They’re such a big part of D/s and kink, it’s never a bad idea to think about them no matter where you are in your relationship.

Hard limits are an interesting thing. In a nutshell, a hard limit is a thing you absolutely will not do under any circumstances. We all have them and we must respect and honour our own and our partner’s.

What people won’t often tell you, though, is that hard limits can change. Some will never change, and that’s okay. But some will shift over time. A “fuck no” might become a “well, maybe…” From there, it might go back to being a “no,” or it might become a firm “yes.”

Mine have certainly shifted over time. I have a few that will almost certainly never change (DD/lg, ageplay, scat, cutting, to name just a few) but others, like those included below, have fluctuated and evolved over the years.

Anal sex

I’ve had a turbulent relationship with anal sex over the years. Pressure to engage in it long before I was ready made me shut down and close myself off to the possibility. For a long time, I declared anal a hard boundary and made it clear to anyone I had sex with that butt stuff was off the table.

The secret to cracking this limit was that I had to come to it in my own time. I had to be in a situation with enough love, trust and intimacy to enable me to explore it safely. In other words, I needed a space where I could peek around this particular door, knowing it’d be safe and okay to slam it shut again if I needed to.

I’m only engaging in it with Mr CK at the current time, but anal sex has moved from a hard limit to one of my favourite activities in the space of a few years.

Topping

Yep. Your card-carrying Twue Switch over here once insisted that she would never, ever Top or Dominate somebody under any circumstances. I once safeworded out of a threesome because the guy tried to Dom me into Domming the other woman.

And then, well, I got curious. I wanted to see what it was like. For science, you understand. To better appreciate the other side of the slash. What I didn’t expect was to like it as much as I did. (I wrote a little about that!)

I’m still about 80-99% sub (percentages vary on any given day!) but switchiness is a pretty key component of my sexual make-up and how I like to play these days.

Play-piercing

For years I simply could not understand the appeal of this. The idea of it viscerally squicked me the fuck out.

So why did I try it? Mainly, I think, to say I had. I thought it might be a funny story, a crazy anecdote to share about that time I explored a super edgy activity. And also, a little bit, because I was annoyed at myself for being so afraid of it.

It’s still very much in the “soft limit” category – a very occasional activity (literally three times ever) and one I have to be extremely careful with, for mental and physical health reasons as well as obvious safety concerns. Not to mention, of course, the sheer amount of trust required and the fact that I wouldn’t let anyone do this to me who hadn’t been trained in at least the basics by an expert.

And one that changed back: 24/7 D/s

For years, I insisted I would never do a 24/7 relationship – the idea of letting somebody have that level of control over me was, frankly, too terrifying to comprehend.

So why did I decide suddenly, in my early 20s, that I wanted it? Why did I ask my sometimes-Dom boyfriend to be my Master? The answer to that is complex and multi-faceted, but sadly the kernel at the core is this: I did it to justify to myself the fact that he already had pretty much complete control over my body, emotions, heart and life. I already barely breathed without permission, so why not stick a collar on it and call it kink?

Of course I understand that not all 24/7 relationships are abusive. There are some great and wonderful ones out there! (Hi, Kayla & John!) But that experience was valuable for me, if only because it taught me that that life isn’t for me. I don’t want to answer to anyone except in very limited and negotiated capacities. I certainly don’t ever want to hand over control over my entire life again.

Remember: limits can change! And that’s okay!

I now have three categories of limits: hard limits (NOPE NEVER ABSOLUTELY NOT,) soft limits (sometimes, under certain circumstances, with lots of negotiation,) and only-with-Mr-CK limits (things I won’t do with anyone but him.)

Your limits will change over time too. We’re humans and change is part of what we do. What’s important is to check in with yourself regularly, and keep communicating with your partner along the way!

Kinky item of the day: Jute 5mm, my bondage rope of choice. The smell, the feel, the tightness across my skin… mmmm! (This is not an affiliate link and I have no connection to the company, I just love their rope.)