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Sleep is the New Sex

The other night, I fell asleep while masturbating. With a vibrator.

Or, as my husband said snarkily the next morning, “Sex with yourself was so boring you fell asleep. On yourself.” (Boy, was he proud of himself for that line. But then, he was the one who had to turn off the vibrator. And, for the record, the vibe I was using? One of my favorites, Lelo’s Lily.)

In all fairness, I was exhausted, yet so stressed by work that I’d taken an Ambien. I guess I decided that if I was going to get busy with myself, I’d see if what worked for Tiger would work for me.

I’m telling you this story not to warn you about the dangers of masturbation and Ambien. I’m a big fan of the first, and an occasional fan of the second. I’m telling you because you may think that sex authors have fabulous crazy monkey sex every single night, and as this story illustrates–you would be wrong.

It’s confession time. I’ve written five books on sex, and lately, I don’t have that much sex myself. What I do have is a full-time corporate job (and by “full-time” I mean it sucks up every waking hour that I’m not spending with my family, and not because I’m ambitious but because of the workload); a 5-year-old who I adore more than life itself; and a husband who has an equally demanding job. None of these lend themselves to an active libido. (Did I mention that I take antidepressants? Yeah, I have all the ingredients for a crazy wild sex life.)

What I do have, and what I hope makes me worthy of contributing to this blog, is a problem that I know many of you are facing. How the hell do you keep your sex life alive when you’re totally whipped by life most of the time?

That’s what I’m going to set out to answer.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a sex therapist or a psychologist. The last academic class I took on sex was back in 1981, at Stanford (for the record, I got an A-).  I am, though, extremely curious about sex, maybe because it bugs me so damn much that  it can be so hard, no pun intended. I’ve been curious since I had my first Barbie doll nudist camp when I was a kid. Combine  a life spent writing with a master’s in journalism and a dirty mind and you get: Me.

Last week I was the “guest author” at a book club, which had just read my book What Men Really Want in Bed. I made sure to tell the 15 gals in the room that I wasn’t a sex therapist, blah blah blah. But we still talked for two hours straight about men, relationships, and sex. I had a blast. I felt completely at home. I think I was experiencing what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow.” And yet, a few hours before, I’d had such a bad day at work that I’d left early, come home sobbing, and crawled under the covers; it was only by sheer force of will that I dragged myself to that book club. Thank God I did.

I lose myself in writing. I lose myself when I’m with friends, and connecting. And until I started drowning under a wave of stress, I used to lose myself in sex. I think a lot of you parents are going through the same thing–every day, you read about some survey that’s found that many parents would rather sleep than have sex. Well, duh. Extreme fatigue is not (usually) an aphrodisiac.

So I hope to explore here what happens to a sex author who’s not having sex. Please send me your thoughts. I know I’m not alone out there.


Vanessa Baker

Vanessa Baker was born in 1989 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and holds a Bachelor of Journalism with Combined Honours in Human Rights from Carleton University and an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. Her fiction has appeared in Wordlegs and A Thoroughly Good Blue. Her journalistic interests include music and the arts, feminism and sexuality, and social justice. She also writes and performs slam poetry dealing with gender-realted issues. She currently lives in Dublin.

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