Sex and depression: sneaky hate/thought spiral

I’ve got a blank space, baby.

There really isn’t another way to describe it. Those two words – thanks, Tay Tay – are pretty much exactly how I would like to convey to you that my mind has been doing something not at all funny during sex. And it has been doing so for longer than I’ve cared to admit on here in the past.

We haven’t had a lot of sex recently. In fact, since Eroticon, we’ve only had sex twice. Granted, both times the sex was bloody magnificent. In fact, I wish to God I could grab those two moments by the scruff of their neck and point them towards my depression, yelling SEE, SEE, I AM GOOD AT THIS AND FRANKLY I DO NOT CARE MUCH FOR YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS MY SEX LIFE, SIR.

Or something, I don’t know.

It’s worrying how my depression likes to stick its claws in me during sex. Sometimes it even does so during masturbation. And it never changes its tactics, either – what it likes to do is create something called a sneaky hate spiral. Now, what I would like you to do is to take a moment to open that link in another window and have a quick read, so you know the basics of what a sneaky hate spiral is.

Done that? Good. (Also, if this is the first time you’ve read Allie Brosh, bookmark that shit because she is boss).

Now, I am willing to bet you a quid that you have, more than once, experienced a sneaky hate spiral. In fact, I am willing to bet you another quid and possibly a pint that you’ve experienced at least one this past week. As Brosh says at the start of the comic, sneaky hate spirals are merely the confluence of a series of many unremarkable annoyances.

But how does this translate to my experience of sex (be it partnered or solo)? And how does it link up with my depression?

Well, let’s break it down, shall we?

The buildup:

A general sneaky hate spiral starts simple enough – confluence of a series of many unremarkable annoyances, remember?

Sure enough, the ones I have been experiencing during sex do so to.

All it takes is one thing to set it off. One tiny little thing.  And it doesn’t need to happen during the buildup to the sexual interaction. (For example) It can be as simple as waking up after only three hours of actual sleep because your neighbour (lovely as he is) decided it to be a grand idea to watch all 137 minutes of Fast and Furious 7 on a volume so loud, every time Vin Diesel speaks (which, considering the movie, is a bloody lot) your bedroom wall vibrates with his basso profondo.

At four in the morning.

And you’re due at work later on.

One tiny thing can set it off. This one thing is usually followed by a lot more tiny things.

Pins and needles in your leg as you walk up to the Tube station.

Someone rather shamelessly elbowing you in the ribs while trying to get on the train before you.

The one customer who just can not resist asking you a stupid question.

Remembering the reason why that fucking awful Wiz Khalifa song from Fast and Furious 7 is stuck in your head.

Hearing it at least three more times in various places throughout the day, including probably while waiting in the queue for something.

Slipping and skidding on a puddle of water while running for the bus.

Narrowly missing that very bus.

It starting to rain again as you wait for the next bus, making an average nine minute wait feel like a year.

Imagine it being like an ever-worsening hail storm. With a bro rap ballad tribute to the memory of Paul Walker as your constant soundtrack.

The tipping point

Now is where it turns to the sexual interaction bit. It has not yet turned on me, but boy howdy is it ever about to.

Allie Brosh describes the turning point of a sneaky hate spiral as a minor but slightly jarring incident, initiated by some force of nature that cannot be blamed or scolded – like gravity or sleeplessness or wind. In these specific sneaky hate spirals (which, as you will see, are kind of also sneaky thought spirals in my case) it won’t actually be an unscoldable force of nature which pushes me over the edge.

Unless my own brain is actually an unscoldable force of nature, in which case, motherfucker do I need to be studied.


The scariest thing about the sneaky hate/thought sex spirals? The one thing that really, really freaks me out about them? They also happen (and have been doing so far more often) without any of the buildup. Like a broken record, it skips to the tipping point. The one thought which takes me right out of my body and back into my brain, drawing me into a seemingly never-ending, numbing loop of dark, bad memories and thoughts which you really don’t want to be having when you’re in the middle of ANYTHING sexual.

It happened the other night – I’d been feeling a peculiar mix of frustration and singular-focus anger, with a scoop of anxiety waiting in the pit of my chest (and a dollop of having my period pretty badly) I wanted some kind of release, so I trawled the tube sites and (much to my surprise) pretty much instantly found a video that seemed pretty much destined to get me off – Doxy armed and ready, I was even more surprised to discover that the vibrations stayed strong even through the fabric of my pants and my pad. It felt nice. It felt, for the first time, like I was in the zone and nothing could stop me.

And then my brain did.

I toppled over due to just one teeny tiny thought. A thought which, although incredibly stupid in essence, made way for other – less – stupid and gradually more destructive thougths.

You want to know what the one thought to ruin them all was, dear reader?


Yes, people who read this blog. It was Trumpets by Jason Derulo – or at least a flash of its GODAWFUL lyrics which set me off on a spiral of thoughts which started with “Jaysus, that’s a crime against music.” and ended with me having flashbacks to a rather sexual MSN conversation which happened several years ago.

Even the fact that I not only had ILB masturbating nakedly next to me but was watching a scene featuring James Deen, a ridiculously sexy tattooed lady and a yoga ball did nothing to get me back. Verily, the trumpets did not go TOOT TOOT TOOTOOTOOTOO TOOT.

When I do manage to bypass the spiral – however infrequent that may be at the moment – the sex is gorgeous. My medication is helping me along fine and is causing no real problems (except when I run out) and, most of all, I have a wonderful, caring, loving and understanding boyfriend who doesn’t run from my disabilities because he understands them (and he, also, has his own battles with the black dog of depression) and is not ashamed of me for having them.

I am, however, ashamed of having this as a problem.

And you may think of me whatever it is you want – it is a real problem to me. A real problem which keeps me from enjoying an active sex life. Because creeping in between those disconnected, silly thoughts are evil things. Words I recognise come from a space within me that opens up whenever I feel like I have a grip on my day. Creeping in between thoughts of stupid song lyrics, embarrassing conversations and irritations are the words of my depression – the words which put me down, over and over and over until I am nothing but a stripped bare mess of tears and ferocious noises I don’t even recognise as being human.

But they are human because they are coming from me. And the fact that my depression makes me feel this way in my most intimate moments, with my partner or solo, makes me the person utterly terrified.

You may also like


  1. I am also experiencing this spiral far more frequently and consistently. I think it’s my job, and by the time I am home I am already done with the day. I have a few solutions at work to try, and then I’m quitting if they don’t. Because I hate everyone and everything, and that’s not like me.

    You’re right, most of us go through this. I’m glad you have a bf who is so supportive and understanding.

    1. Big hugs. Definitely reassess if you know for sure that this is unlike you. You’re already on the right path in knowing what’s causing it – try a few of your solutions but if they don’t work, see what you can do to move on to a new job. x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *