Once upon a time I was a girl with a high sex drive. Orgasms came easily to me. I was never the type of woman who would fake them to ‘please her man,’ or have sex when I wasn’t in the mood. I was, always, in the mood. In fact, it seemed like sex was the centre of my entire life, whether it was the actual having of it, the imagining it, or the longing for one man or another. It seemed that sex was what living was all about. I had always wanted to be a writer, and my stories often centred around sex. I had experimented a few times with writing erotica.
How Writing Erotica Helped Me Overcome Low Libido
Kissing My Libido Goodbye
Then I lost it all, in a single day. I had a medical procedure that removed abnormal cells from my cervix. Afterwards, my libido vanished. I felt like a hollow person. I also felt completely blocked when it came to writing fiction. This went on for years. Although my partner and I managed to keep some semblance of a sex life going, it was hard. Despite that, I became pregnant. Being a mother was the perfect distraction. I threw myself into motherhood. It became the new center of my life.
As a busy parent, I knew I wasn’t alone amongst my contemporaries in not having much sex, but I knew with me it was something more than that. It was as if the trauma of the medical procedure caused me to lose my sexual identity. I just didn’t feel like a sexual person anymore.
I really missed closeness with my partner. The weird thing was, I dreamed about it! In my dreams, I would feel all of the desire of my younger self and even have the orgasms. This gave me hope that somewhere, deep inside my subconscious, my sexual self was still alive and well.
Coming Back to Erotica
One day, while on holiday with time to relax and think, I remembered how I once experimented with writing erotica, both before the procedure and afterwards. I remembered that when I wrote, I felt the stirrings of my libido returning to me. I made a plan to write regularly, to make it part of my healing process, but somehow that idea got lost amidst the busyness of becoming a mother.
I was in England, and as I walked down a path toward a river, I passed a large stately home. Suddenly an idea came to me! It involved a female protagonist visiting that house and becoming involved in an erotic adventure as she discovers what everyone gets up to in the house.
I sat down on a park bench to type notes into my iPhone, and then I continued walking, stopping each time more ideas popped into my head.
It was a sunny day, with sunlight reflecting off the leaves on the trees. Everything felt vibrant and alive, including me! I was filled with more energy than I’d had in a long time. This was what I’d missed more than anything, more than the act of sex itself, the feeling of having a life-force pulsating through me, of being alive as a sexual being.
When I was younger, sex was all about the orgasm. Now I was so grateful just to feel desire. It was so exciting to have ideas pop into my head as if from nowhere. My erotic imagination was alive after all!
That evening I downloaded an edition of "Best Women’s Erotica" edited by Rachel Kramer Bussell. I was flying home that day, and it was thrilling to listen to a few of the stories as I traveled on the train to the airport. It was like having my own secret world, streaming through my headphones.
I remembered the books I read when I was in my20s, growing up and exploring my sexuality. "The Story of O" by Pauline Reague, "Delta of Venus" by Anais Nin. I had shut off from the world I used to know, and with it, my erotic imagination and my libido had gone too. Now I knew that if I just kept feeding my imagination, and writing down my ideas, then it would return. I decided that I would begin reading and writing erotica regularly.
As the days went by I forgot about that experience of my libido returning. I got caught up in my daily routine, parenting, and working on a memoir about my healing journey to recover from my experience.
As I read through what I wrote, I realized that I couldn’t continue the story because I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I knew that erotica could help me, but I hadn’t made reading or writing it a regular part of my life. I’d slipped back into my old normality.
I Had to Get Back Into Gear
I knew I couldn’t let this happen again. I knew that my sex life was never going to get back in gear if I just treated it as something that happened on the periphery of my life. Half an hour on a Saturday night wasn’t going to work for me to turn my sexual self back on. I had to return to who I was before and make sex a central part of my life.
So, I bought "Desire: 100 of Literature’s Sexiest Stories" by Mariella Frostrup, and "The Big Book of Submission," by Rachel Kramer Bussell. I listened to a short story a day. It was kind of like a mental workout to keep my mind and body in a state of erotic inspiration. I started writing erotica daily, even if it was for just 10 minutes. I downloaded the Scrivener writing app to my phone so that wherever I was, I could whip it out and write a few paragraphs.
On a weekend, if I had a longer stretch of time, I would immerse myself in this private erotic world, reading books, sketching ideas out in a notebook, or finishing a new story.
After a day, spent like this, it was pretty impossible for me not to be in the mood for sex!
Kate Orson is a freelance writer, and author of Tears Heal: How to listen to our children. She writes, about self-help, parenting, and more recently, sex! She is currently working on a memoir; A Cut in The Brain, about her experience of having the LEEP procedure, and her recovery from side effects that doctors didn't warn her about.