There are many moments in my life in which I’ve wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole out of embarrassment and shame. I’m sure this is true for all of us. But I’ve never been so desperate for this to happen as the time when during a passionate and intimate evening with a boyfriend, I lost my libido.
It was like a light had suddenly been switched off inside me. I froze in terror as I realised what was happening.
“I’m sorry”, I whispered to my boyfriend.
We lay there in the darkness, unsure of what to say next to each other.
The ground might not have swallowed me up but it felt like the ground between us had split and the distance was widening by the second.
“I’m going to go home now”, I said to him.
We had only been going out for a month. This was the first time we had gone further than a kiss, and it had ended in disaster. I didn’t understand it. I was infatuated with him. This was “the one”, I was so sure of it.
Things were never the same again after that night. We never broached what had happened; whilst both physically and emotionally we grew further and further apart. A couple of weeks later we split up.
That was two years ago now.
During the last year or so I’ve been searching for someone. Frantically. I want to prove that I’ve still “got it”; my libido that is. I’ve been on every dating site and app possible. From Guardian Soulmates to Grindr, I’ve been chatting to countless guys. Nothing has come of it though. The truth is that I’m petrified. My pride won’t let me be intimate with another man in fear of history repeating itself.
Currently, each time I reach a new location in London, I turn on all my dating apps, hoping I’ll find someone special close by. I’ve spoken to and flirted with more men than I can remember. I even enjoy talking dirty to them-it’s the closest I can seem to get to any form of intimacy. I may talk the talk but I sure as hell can’t walk the walk.
I know I’m not alone. According to the NHS, loss of libido is a common problem affecting up to one in five men – and even more women – at some point in their lives. But no-one seems to be talking about it.
When I was at university and first acknowledged to myself that I was gay I sought intimacy whenever, wherever and with whomever I could. I felt sexually liberated after denying my sexuality for so long. My mojo was in great condition!
Underneath this exterior though, I was deeply troubled. I had been struggling with my mental health in silence for some time and at 20 I had a breakdown, partly triggered because of my battle to “come out” to friends, family and the Jewish community I lived in. Back then being gay in the Jewish faith was a taboo and not exactly warmly welcomed. I ended up in a psychiatric hospital and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and depression.
It took the next few years to begin to feel like myself again, but even then it felt like something was missing. I was “a shadow of my former self” as my psychiatrist described, and this was true not just emotionally, but also sexually as well.
I lost complete confidence in myself, my self-esteem reduced to a thread, and my insecurities imploded. The anti-psychotic medication that I was taking bloated me like a balloon and as noted in the list of side effects lessened my “sexual performance and the ability to produce sperm “. Soon after I was also diagnosed with IBS which didn’t exactly help matters in the bedroom.
“Who is going to want me now?” I asked myself. It’s a question I ask myself still today at the age of 28. Intercourse is an important part of our society and indeed any relationship.
I miss sex. It’s now been 4 years since I last had it and the longer I go without it, the more I fear that I will never have it again. But what I miss most is post-coital: holding onto and intertwining limbs with another. I miss that a hundred times more than I miss making love.
So it is time to take action. During the course of writing this, I have been deleting the many dating apps I own, vowed not to date again for some time, and decided to go to my doctor and discuss this issue. It’s not going to be an easy conversation but if I can write about my loss of libido and share it with you, I can certainly talk about it face to face with my doctor.
I’ve always looked to other men to help “fix” me. Now, finally, I realise the only man who can truly fix me is the one sitting here writing; myself.
Wish me luck.