The Word Rabbit

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This article was written on 25 Jun 2014, and is filled under Uncategorized.

My genitals have fallen off

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My genitals have fallen off. Not literally, you understand, as that’d be very alarming and a bit bloody, but in a figurative way. You see, the thing they don’t tell you when you take anti-depressants is that the chances are that you can bid a fond farewell to anything approaching a desire for sex. It’s in the leaflet, but so are lots of other things you hope will never happen to you. Like vomiting, trapped wind and disconcerting dreams.

I’ve noticed that we tend not to talk about this as we might be depressed, but we’re also English. And that means talking about anything below the waist that isn’t prostate cancer might cause someone to start suddenly. So to explain how this feels, I need to ask non-depressives to indulge me.

When you have a sexual thought, it meanders pleasantly and then either your partner reciprocates, the thought wanders away or you take matters, so to speak, into your own hands. But in my brain, there is the equivalent of a rather large left back who kicks it as soon as it has the ball. It’s there for a moment, and then snuffed out before it can go anywhere.

This isn’t the same as impotence, which is the presence of desire and also of the inability to do anything about it. It’s the absence of the desire as well. And even if the desire was there, my short-term memory, another thing that gets into the leaflet in very small type, means that even if I was having sex, I’d end up wandering off absent-mindedly and making the tea.

At the heart of this is a problem. And it’s that none of me wants to go back to how I was when I had really bad depression. Trying to imagine myself back there only gets me so far, and it’s enough to remember the sense of wall-eyed panic that made me hate and fear my own being and sent me to bed at nine every evening, even in the summer, hating myself for daring to draw breath. Not fun.

No, I don’t miss really bad depression, but I’m dimly aware that I should perhaps miss sex. It’s the reason why we’re all here, after all, and I think I can vaguely remember a time, through the anti-depressant fog, when it all seemed like fun. Now, things that used to turn me on seem bizarre and the very word ‘masturbation’ seems like the name of an Italian hillside village.

So here I am, with curiously detached genitals. In my immediate future, I’d really like someone to invent an anti-depressant that reattaches them and makes them work, which seems like a fairly modest aspiration, but while I wait, I’ll keep taking the tablets. And if you happen to find my genitals, do please let me know.

 

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