September was World Suicide Prevention Month, but why stop now? Considering the fact that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the Unites States, isn’t it time we stopped pathologizing sex and figured out how to use it to combat feelings of depression, hopelessness and suicidality? Here are ten reasons you should consider having sex with yourself and/or others before giving up on life:
1. Dopamine – the other big D, you need both in you. Sex creates that special chemical that makes your brain feel everything is going to be just dandy. You can also get it by masturbating – the reward system you activate in the brain actually motivates you to make positive changes in your life, promising you more goodness is coming.
2. Touch – if you don’t get any, you start to feel like a Romanian orphan. Studies show that we humans need other humans to lay hands on us, especially if we didn’t get it in our formative years. Sometimes you have to stop looking for that perfect opportunity, and accept the touch of those willing to give it.
3. Negotiation – the power of consent. Nothing teaches you better skills of negotiation, communication and expression than asking for what you want in the bedroom (or the dungeon.) Therapy is good, as are 12 Step Programs and Neuro Linguistic Programming, but there is nothing quite like looking someone in the eye and being completely honest about what turns you on.
4. Connection – the greatest advice given to suicidal people is always to “reach out.” Feelings of aloneness go a long way to making people feel no one will miss them if they are gone. While it is unwise to rely on casual sex partners to make one feel loved, sometimes a random (safe) hookup can remind you that closeness is possible. And what better way to show that you are there for yourself than rubbing one out in your lunch hour? (Or how about just fondling your own breasts in traffic?)
5. Spontaneity – being responsibly “irresponsible” can be the ideal way to jog yourself out of a rut. Because depression can lower your sex drive, sometimes you have to force yourself to take a sexual opportunity, whether in a couple or not, to remind yourself you don’t always know how your current situation will pan out.
6. Medicinal – Besides Dopamine,sex produces so many fabulous chemicals in the brain it should be considered medicine, right alongside the anti-depressants the medical establishment is all too happy to give out! Think of that next time you feel any shame about giving yourself yet another orgasm – it’s just Doctor’s Orders.
7. Free – There is no shame in paying for sex (although sadly illegal in many places) but giving yourself an orgasm can be done completely free of charge, especially if you are lucky enough to have someone do it for you. If you have challenges involving the use of your limbs, consider learning how to “think off.” Tantric practices can help you have orgasms in places like your throat or solar plexus, so have at it.
8. Empowering – the notion of putting sex on some “special” pedestal belies its usefulness as a utilitarian feel-better tool. Learning to think of sex and masturbation as normal, necessary parts of life just like eating, drinking water and sleeping, can make you feel better when sometimes ya just let yourself enjoy the the fucking-equivalent of pizza.
9. Education – becoming a sex nerd is one of the most fun by-products of the Internet age. If you’re not doing it, just reading and learning about sex can make you feel better! Also it reduces the mystical aspect, thus making it more possible you will be able to actually accomplish the act again at some point.
10. Satisfaction – As someone who has struggled with depression and suicidal ideation for almost my whole life, I feel qualified to tell you that sometimes a successful day can be measured simply by whether or not you managed to have an orgasm. While conventional wisdom wants all of us Serotonin-challenged people to soldier on with a stiff upper lip, a stiff dick/clit may be better. In my radical worldview it is far better to allow or even force oneself to loll around in bed with someone, or alone, as a means of restoring one’s faith in life. In the throes of contraction don’t forget to remind yourself how much better this is than the alternative…