I’ve mentioned before that I rarely masturbate.  This didn’t always used to be true.  For most of my life, I was a first-class wanker.  I wanked daily, sometimes thrice a day or more.  Although I had some residual almost-Catholic guilt about it, the thought that women shouldn’t masturbate seemed silly to me, and I wondered why girls didn’t avail themselves of this pleasure just as much as their male counterparts.

Long before I knew about BDSM, I had a solo D/s sex life (if that’s possible).  I practiced orgasm control and orgasm denial; at times, I “forced” myself to come.  I “made” myself masturbate in bathrooms the world over.  Along with these cascading orgasms came fantasies of objectification, machine-fucking, orgies, glory holes, bondage, restraint–all stuff I craved, but I thought only existed in fantasy and trashy novels.

Then I got a boyfriend.  My first serious boyfriend.  And gradually, the urge to “self-pleasure” (gag) faded.  We jerked off quite a lot when we were together, actually, but when I was alone . . . nah.  Perhaps it was that I was rarely at home, alone–I was mostly with him, and we had a mostly satisfactory love life.  But there was more–because at the end of our relationship, we were long distance.  And just as we were about to make the switch from being together to being an ocean away from one another, I fell into a psychological trough of panic and despair so deep that I am still climbing out.

I don’t think my boyfriend was the cause of my miserable moods, but I do think that the tumult of that time left some scars on my sexuality.  Before I got treatment for my misery, he and I shared a strange 10-day vacation that was so unhappy I knew I needed help.  You know something is wrong when you are in a luxury hotel in rural Maine, being served blueberry pancakes in the solarium of a federalist mansion, and your main response is fear.  Blueberry pancakes just really aren’t that scary.

But the fear spilled over onto everything, especially sex.  We would start to make love and I would begin to sob that it was wrong, dirty.  We weren’t even particularly perverse.  Treatment helped calm the feeling that sex was bad, but the medicines I was on made orgasm elusive, if not impossible.  I distinctly remember my last, great orgasm with him.  We were in a hotel in Vermont.  I can still see the white, nubbly bedspread.  And then . . . there was a huge blanket over my libido for the next four years.  The boyfriend and I parted ways long before the SSRIs and I did.  Out of practice with masturbation, broken-hearted, I gradually gave up trying.

That’s not to say I never jerked off again.  I would get on a roll at times with vibrator or fingers, but I don’t recall it as a regular pleasure, an insatiable desire, the way it had been before.

And then came Robbie.  When we first met, the intense spark between us triggered a rush of lust whose edge I could not dull, no matter how much I tried.  The rich and raunchy fantasies that burbled up as I ground my pubic bone into my palm unfolded again in emails to him, in stories, in wicked plans and schemes for the future.  I fucked myself silly when we were apart, and when we were together, he fucked me silly.

But at some point, gradually or suddenly, I stopped.  I can’t remember why or how I stopped.  I know I have tried to start again.  And it’s not there.  And it’s awful, not just because I don’t come on my own–though I think that can’t be doing me any good.

It’s awful because the stream of home-grown pornogrpahy, tailored just for me, that my subconscious offered up while I was in the throes of solo-passion is gone.  I don’t fantasize; I barely know what my fantasies are anymore.  And that is something to be scared of.

Photo by Piotr Debski, found thanks to fluffy Lychees.