Sex & Money

Hi Darling Ones,

Last night I had a sex dream for the first time since I had the stroke in March. It was weird. The sex in the dream wasn’t weird. It was frustrating and with a man I dated about 1000 years ago, and the only way I could come is after he claimed he could fix Jane, which was apparently what I had named either my dishwasher or my air conditioner.

Sure, it was an unfulfilling sex dream, but a sex dream nonetheless, which is reassuring. Maybe. I’m not entirely sure.

I’ve been struggling with the idea of having a post stroke sex life, with sexual desire, with feeling desirable, with all of it.

At this point, nearly nine months in, it feels frivolous. I feel as though me and my body should have better, bigger concerns, more noble concerns, perhaps than orgasms and sex. Maybe you know, I should concentrate on being able to walk without a walker, or strengthening my knees, or balance. You know, something important like being able to carry something and walk at the same time

Yet, much likes the Lydia Loveless song, all I ever think about is sex and money. And not just because I’ve been listening repeatedly to “Nothing’s Gonna Stand in My Way Again” in its entirety every single day.

For real, all I ever do is think about sex and money, which is not entirely unusual. Pre-stroke I thought, read, and wrote about sex a lot. The money part is new and sucks. And some days I worry I’ll never have either of them again.

Not being able to work very much for eight months and surviving on the kindness of strangers and my nearly depleted savings has not been fun. However, once I get my vision back, I’m confident I can make money again.

But sex? I wonder how I will navigate sex with another person in my new body. I wonder if I will be able to put away the constant thrum of my brain that’s always shouting Oh my God, it’s so weird in here. We had a stroke and now everything is not right. This is not right. Our body is not right.

Will I be able to put that away long enough to have sex with someone else? Will I be able to feel desire for another person when I’m in their presence or will I spend the whole time worrying if my Floppy Scoop will be a boner killer?

It’s a lot to contemplate and it’s not anything I’ve written about because it feels embarrassing. Like I should be above this.

Whenever I start to feel guilty for thinking about sex, for wanting sex, for wanting to be desired again I remind myself of Gina Frangello’s excellent memoir Burn Your House Down. In it, she writes about having breast cancer and one of the medicines she has to take robs her of her orgasm. Her doctor chastises for wanting to stop the med because her orgasm is important to her and you know sex is important to her and the doctors like Really? and she’s like YUP!

I want to be like that.

I’ve thought about my body, being in my body, what my body can and cannot do more in the last eight months than I did in the previous 50 years in which I’ve lived in this body, which is saying a lot. As someone who is extremely tall and fat and deemed other because of this unusual body, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it.

And yet there’s more to think about, and different ways of thinking about this faulty, ramshackle body.


P.S. For the record, I have not named my air conditioner or my dishwasher. But I do say, “thank you, refrigerator raider,” every time the fridge makes ice.

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