I’ve written extensively about my own challenges with Mental Health and I apologise if I repeat myself here, but, this is such an important, misunderstood and awkward topic I feel justified in doing so.
Has mental health affected your sex life?
My battle with depression and anxiety has impacted our sex life on many levels and in many ways.
When I had my breakdown in 2005 all I wanted was physical contact. It was the first time I allowed myself to admit to being vulnerable and needing physical contact.
When our relationship started I told MrH that we were not in a relationship I was just using him for sex. I was determined to be casual. I was determined to be carefree. My brother (who I admit knew me better than I would like to admit) warned me against falling in love at college. Well actually he said not to think that just because a bloke wanted to sleep with me he would fall in love because that wasn’t the case.
So I met MrH and I fell in love. I tried to hide it and I think I succeeded, too well really, and when it transpired that MrH had had a casual encounter with the friend of his friends girlfriend, it nearly broke me.
I wondered what the hell was wrong with me that I couldn’t satisfy a man? Why did they need to be with someone else?
Of course, realistically it was unfair of me to treat MrH as if he had cheated on me. I was the one who constantly told him we weren’t in a relationship but in all honesty it didn’t stop me feeling that way.
That was a turning point for us. I admitted I had feelings for him, and didn’t want it to be casual. He admitted he would like that too but I held myself away afraid to be hurt again.
As time passed we planned to move in together, we found out I was pregnant (and subsequently S2 arrived) and we got married. Still I held back, waiting for him to leave.
As a result I refused to ask him for things I needed. I wouldn’t ask to hold his hand. I wouldn’t ask to snuggle on the sofa (instead he sat at one end and I sat at the other).
After the breakdown I did allow myself to reach out for him but now I expected him to leave not just because I was inferior sexually but because I was mentally unstable.
The fact that he’s still here is testament to the fact that his never happened.
I started to put on weight. Inactivity and comfort eating played a part and then I started with back pain. The pain meds and further inactivity meant the weight piled on, and before I knew it, I could no longer look at myself in the mirror. I felt physically sick when I did. I looked old, I mean older than I am, old too. I definitely didn’t feel sexy.
Unfortunately I was unable to work, and this along with my mental and physical conditions put considerable strain on MrH. He was often very tired but when I would reach out to him to initiate sex he would tell me he was too tired.
I made this into a personal rejection. I spent many nights crying silently as MrH slept thinking he found me as unattractive as I found myself. This of course meant my mental health spiralled further.
In 2014 I had a hysterectomy and with that I no longer had issues with constant bleeding. My pain also reduced and I made a commitment to loose weight. I joined slimming world and slowly but surely I lost weight.
Just as things were going well, my back caused a new problem. I woke up with saddle anaesthesia and was hospitalised. I was placed on bed rest. I continued to loose weight, with MrH continued support, and as I did I found I could look at myself again.
I began to feel sexy and attractive again and realised that I wanted to ask MrH about BDSM.
This has been the thing that improved my mental health the most.
The talking, the discussion, the openness, the honesty. Every single one of these things meant that we explored what we wanted and what we needed – well what I needed.
We faced my insecurities. We had discussions around playing with others. How I didn’t want to do that and I hoped he didn’t either. Of course I didn’t just leave it there, no, I picked at it and had nightmares. I worried that he was just saying he didn’t want to have sex with other women to appease me and that he would eventually talk me around, or that he would simply tell me he wanted to do it and I had to accept it as the submissive. After many chats and tears he convinced me this wasn’t the case. He didn’t want to have sex with anyone else and he certainly didn’t want me to. He told me he would hurt anyone who even attempted to touch me. I admit I liked the possessiveness of this statement. I still do. I like being his.
We discussed my need for reassurance, physical contact, hugs and snuggles. I learned to allow myself to reach for him and he touches me more, which I love.
Although we have had some emotional ups and downs as part of this journey, ultimately it has meant that I have found an emotional and mental equilibrium that I have never had before.
I am calmer, less anxious and happier.
I admitted to faking orgasms and have stopped doing so. MrH will sometimes play for his own pleasure only and this feeds me emotionally. Knowing he takes pleasure from my body and (in my mind) is so turned on he has to fuck me hard, fast and isn’t thinking about making me cum too. I feel able to ask MrH when I feel a physical need to orgasm. If he doesn’t plan to play, I will ask if I can masturbate – or he will tell me to. I no longer feel that he is rejecting me if he doesn’t want to play, after all he is the Dominant, and he controls it.
If we went back 3 years I wouldn’t have told MrH I was sexually frustrated, and I probably masturbated 3 or 4 times a year when I really felt that physical ache and it wouldn’t go away.
I believe that D/s has enabled me to be a better wife and partner. I am more open and honest. I am more attentive and less critical and I hope that MrH feels the same way. I am also more emotionally stable and our sex life has never been better.