The effect of depression on your libido is no joke.
Like a camel storing water in its humps, I can go for long periods of time without having sex, or even the desire to have sex, and it's less an accomplishment than it is a sad and disconcerting fact.
I haven't been on a date since November 2021, and the dates I had then were essentially platonic. Before that, I hadn't dated since September 2019. That's two and a half years ago, for those of you keeping track. Those dates weren't platonic, but they also weren't really dates.
What even is a date anymore? Is hooking up a date? I feel like I'm getting too old to answer these questions.
My point is, because of depression, my sex drive can be super low for long periods of time. It makes me feel abnormal and like less of a human. Like less of a woman.
Luckily, when I am actively dating (for example, when I'm not locked down in quarantine for months at a time due to a pandemic) and I have access to romantic partners (to put it delicately), my sex drive resumes.
Perhaps there's no point paying attention to how thirsty you are when the distance to the next (young male) oasis is likely months (or even years) away. It feels more tolerable to notice your thirst when you know the waiter will be by in a few minutes to take your drink order.
In keeping with this metaphor, I haven't been to the restaurant in a long time. It feels like a century. Especially because those two dates I had at the end of 2021 involved looking at the menu but not actually ordering anything, if you catch my drift.
Thus, it's been two and a half years since I've had sex. I'm reaching the point where I need to think about getting back to that restaurant called dating again pretty soon. You wouldn't be wrong if you accused me of starting to get thirstier.
That's the thing - I don't stop having sexual needs and feelings; they just get buried under the symptoms of my mental illness. Maybe I need the right man to bring these feelings out in me. (Operators are standing by.) I need inspiration, I suppose. Inspiration has been hard to come by isolating alone during the pandemic.
I don't stop having sexual needs and feelings; they just get buried under the symptoms of my mental illness.
I'm tentatively taking steps towards ordering something on the menu of dating life again, but I need to make sure I can cash the cheques I'll be writing. Which is a convoluted way of saying talking the talk is a hell of a lot easier than walking the walk.
As a matter of fact, the cougar hasn't been getting much exercise at all, to put my convoluted metaphor aside for a moment. The cougar is out of shape and low on confidence in her body, so that isn't helping her lean into dating again.
It's a bit of a catch-22: I'm more motivated to work out when I'm dating because there's always a chance I'm going to be seen naked; when I'm not dating, I don't feel motivated to exercise, which makes me less confident about my body, which makes it less likely that I'll start dating again.
Essentially, I need to be dating already in order to find the motivation to do the things I need to do to feel comfortable dating. We have a bit of a chicken-or-egg situation on our hands.
I stop worrying about the muffin top that has more muffin in it than it did before the pandemic, and I just get out there and start dating now.
I accept a life of celibacy for the next year or two while I reduce the muffin top by exercising and eating right (for example, by not eating muffins).
I keep the muffin top indefinitely and give up on dating altogether, because maybe going out and having a meal at the restaurant of cougar dating is overrated anyway.
I write a blog post about all of this and see if the Universe offers me delivery service. Whatever the hell that means.
I think the metaphor is getting lost on me. What I'm trying to say is this: I haven't had sex in a really long time and I hope to find the confidence to do it again before I die, okay?
Unfortunately, when it comes to the question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg, the answer is no one is coming anytime soon until I get my shoes on and get out there and run after what I want, in true cougar fashion.
If I quit delaying and just start from where I am, it might lead me to the restaurant sooner than I thought was possible.
It's not going to be easy to start dating again. If it were, I would have done it by now. Courage and confidence are what this cougar needs, and these things have been in short supply. I'll have to find a way to come up with more of those things for myself, regardless of how much muffin is in my muffin top.
Do I have the courage to risk getting rejected? Do I have the confidence to give it a try?
Writing this, I feel more optimistic, and I'm able to admit to myself how thirsty I've been all these long months during the pandemic. I shouldn't be embarrassed about it; there are real reasons that have prevented me from dating, and one of them was a goddamn pandemic.
I need to start dating soon. Like water, intimacy is a human need.
I need to start taking decisive action and find the best route to get me out there again. But a route is nothing if you have no intention of taking it.
Leaving all metaphors behind, it would do me a world of good to literally put on my running shoes and literally go for a run. I can embrace my body as it is while choosing to take better care of it, and of myself. I can have a muffin top and eat muffins, but getting exercise is perhaps less optional than I've been trying to convince myself it is.
So there we have four essentials: food, water, intimacy and exercise.
I'm not getting what I need. What am I going to do about it?
The only one stopping me is me. I can't stay thirsty forever. I think it's time to get out there again. Spring is coming.