Prozac and penetration

Sex on Tuesday

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In my experience, pillow talk, supposedly a requiem of romance and sex, is the easy but necessary let down — the, “No, you are never going to make me cum” talk, a dialogue like pulling teeth. You can try, but the historical success rate still hovers at zero. And to my ex, if you are reading this: In full transparency, I faked it every single time. 

Everyone always says, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Clearly, no one has considered the validity of that statement with regard to sex. It is all about the destination, the climax and the final release; quite frankly, the journey is just a formality to get us there. However, for me and the other thousands of college students on antidepressants, we have nothing other to do than appreciate the journey. The destination is rendered inaccessible by our medication as an unfortunate side effect. The only destination I was reaching was on my walks down Durant Avenue to the beloved Walgreens Pharmacy. 

So, after three years of psychiatric treatment and medicinal cock-blocking, I have finally accepted that Prozac and penetration just simply do not mix. 

Prozac goes above and beyond; not only does it disrupt sadness, but it ruins enjoyable sex as well. Even in a committed relationship, I was unable to reach any kind of climax, not to mention the miracle of me getting turned on in the first place. Sex was neutral: not bad but not good. Prozac dulled the emotional extremes of my depression but took away the highs of intimacy as well. 

Thankfully, I have become accustomed to my robotic response to “getting it on,” but that doesn’t mean my sexual partners feel the same way. I am not one to blame problems on inanimate objects, but I will blame my lack of libido on the cocktail of medications I’ve been prescribed. It honestly seems easier this way; there isn’t anything wrong with me, other than brief confrontations with depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are the ultimate antagonist to my sex life — and certainly the main character in my first heartbreak. 

I really loved my ex-girlfriend, but any attempts to express my feelings physically would result in awkward silence or frustration. Don’t get me wrong, we had a sex life  — I guess, more accurately, she had a sex life. She enjoyed all aspects of the journey and destination, and no matter how hard she tried, I would never experience the same thing. In bed, seconds would turn into minutes, and minutes would turn into hours of conversations validating my attraction toward her. Unfortunately, the conversations were not enough, and she sought that validation elsewhere: Tinder. 

I caught my girlfriend cheating on me, her reasoning being that I wasn’t into her, her evidence being my absent sex drive. I know I shouldn’t have blamed myself, but it was hard not to. I had gotten bored of the monotonous journey with no destination, the manifestation of the number pi. She was never going to make me feel the same pleasure she enjoyed with me or her Tinder matches. And, big surprise: we broke up. 

There I was, a college freshman in a sea of UC Berkeley’s horny undergraduates, from high school valedictorians to overachievers, with no sex drive. I considered going off of my medication in hopes to restore any sort of desire, but that wouldn’t work. If I stopped taking Prozac, I would feel depressed, and if I felt depressed, there was no way I would have the desire or drive to do anything — sex included. Finding a solution would not be easy, but luckily, I soon discovered I was not the only one looking for an answer.  

Just like me, a few of my peers were on Prozac or some other form of libido’s kryptonite: the SSRI. Plenty shared my wayward, destinationless journey. I could have never guessed that talking about it, exploring those uncomfortable pillow-talk conversations, would give me a road map in which the journey is actually much more important than the destination. 

I learned that I could enjoy sex without a flaming desire to jump my partner’s bones or expectation of finishing; and after a failed relationship, I discovered that sex means a lot more than I thought, enough to bring people together but also break them apart. Sex was not just a physical encounter but an emotional one as well. I find pleasure in the mental transaction of intimacy, which is much more gratifying than the primal exchange of bodily fluid.

I depart every hookup or sexual encounter having gained knowledge, learning about either someone else or myself better. You would be surprised how much people can open up between the sheets — something I don’t think I would have noticed had I been living a passionate, “normal” sex life. I have time to appreciate individuals beyond initial attraction, learning more about my hookup in one night than I could from dozens of surface-level interactions, and more times than not, I wasn’t the only medicated body in the room. 

Antidepressants are an unrivaled cock block, but this shared obstacle does not have to ruin sex. Turns out that getting in someone’s head can be just as powerful as getting in their pants. 

Gigi Laurin writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @dailycalopinion.