I’ve written quite a lot about anxiety here on the blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything as beautiful as this guest blog on performance anxiety. The way he captures the minutiae of life intruding on sexual pleasure, then zooms out to place those in the context of larger existential panics – it properly punched me in the heart. If you’re thinking of pitching me a guest blog but you’re nervous, please read this and see that you don’t always have to focus on one specific story, or give a super-comprehensive and detailed piece of advice: sometimes the best sex writing is about capturing a feeling, articulating it beautifully, and then sharing it to help other people feel a little less alone.
You know those meditation apps which show a circle increasing and decreasing in size, which encourage you to breathe in and out in time with the animation? Sometimes I like to fuck like that.
CN: drug use, minor references to panic attacks. But broadly this is a super-hot one, I promise.
When I move in, it takes a couple of days before I can get my bearings. Before I can survey my domain and think ‘fuck yeah. I am queen of this.’ When I move in, it takes a couple of days before my heart stops racing like it’s trying to escape from my chest. Before I stop thinking ‘shit. What the fuck have I done.’
Katherine Ryan tells a fabulous story, in her stand-up show Glitter Room, about the time her ex-boyfriend moved to Japan. He had to go for work, and she didn’t want to move with him, so they split up. Shortly after he arrived in the country, he rang her to express shock that she had stayed where she was, and hadn’t followed him halfway around the world. He tells her: “I thought you needed me more than that.” Katherine replies: “Oh sweetie, I didn’t need you – I liked you. I enjoy having you around, but you are a luxury item.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think I understand a bit more where I fall on the idea of ‘needing’ men (or ‘a man’). Friendships are one thing, but when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships, men are a luxury.
I’m not very chatty on Twitter any more, and it wasn’t until last night when I spoke to a friend on the phone that I realised… I don’t even call my friends that much these days. The last few weeks have been weird and frightening, and they’re only going to get weirder and more frightening until sometime in June when the fear will come to a head and I’ll either sink, swim, or cling desperately to any of the friends I haven’t so far pissed off by ignoring. This is how it works, when my mental health is bad: I hide.