An article in the BMJ last week triggered a flurry of newspaper interest. Sex is a surefire generator of column inches as it were. Stories appeared in all the major broadsheets.
Rather surprisingly I didn’t put two and two together until the Daily Mail took the tried and trusted tack of talking about one of our problems – happening in another country. The Americans, they reported, were linking lack of sex to antidepressants.
Doesn’t happen in the UK apparently even though the BMJ article put depression down as the biggest cause of sexual difficulties.
Depression isn’t. Antidepressants are. Very few people who got a diagnosis of depression in the BMJ study will have escaped without an antidepressant.
Profound depression can lower libido just as it lowers an interest in food or anything else but profound depression is rare – perhaps 1 in 100 of the people who get diagnosed as depressed. For many of the rest of us when out of sorts, sex can be like comfort eating or when things go really wrong – well disaster sex is a well-recognised phenomenon.
So why would all the commentaries about this article, most of them from serious health correspondents shy away from the topic of antidepressants? This is an enduring mystery – an enduring dysfunction even. As more and more of the population of Western countries, particularly our teenagers, end up on these drugs surely someone has got to grasp the nettle.
The last post reported on permanent sexual dysfunction following Xarelto – Rivaroxaban. Checking out Rivaroxaban and sex on google, the number 1 site that turns up says Rivaroxaban cannot cause sexual dysfunction. This isn’t necessarily a conspiracy. This site may have ended up where it is because people with sexual difficulties have been googling the issue.
Rivaroxaban and other NOACs (blood thinners) are being heavily used and producing floods of reports of a range of serious problems – hemorrhage into every body orifice and cavity imaginable. Sexual issues are not likely to be top of anyone’s mind given the gravity of the problems being treated and the serious difficulties treatment can cause. But this doesn’t mean sexual difficulties aren’t happening.
Between the NOACs, and finasteride, isotretinoin, and the antidepressants, there are a growing number of drugs causing problems on treatment (over 200) and liable to cause problems that endure long after stopping (at least 30).
There was concern a few posts back about possible links between Treatment Resistant Depression and Assisted Dying. Well Dignitas have had requests from people suffering from PSSD. This was not a new condition for them, as someone I know who approached them recently found out.
And the enduring sexual dysfunction forums for finasteride, isotretinoin and SSRIs, which do so much to keep people alive know of a growing number of members who have committed suicide.
What if we were to create a reverse pornography? Can we come up with a new set of words to replace pornography – the depiction of prostitutes, fornication – entering the fornixes of the uterus, masturbation – disturbance (turbare) introduced by manual effort?
Can we replace the Marquis de Sade’s accounts of violence interwoven with sex or Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s very subtle and appealing Venus in Furs, updated in 50 Shades, with sexual scenes complete with pharma executioners and dominatrix?
Why do it?
If we can make the interaction between drugs and sex imaginable, maybe people will be able to talk about something so obviously going on, which at the moment they just don’t seem able to get their head around. At present, we are at the “cover the ankles of the legs of the grand-piano in case anyone gets ideas” stage. We need to move beyond this.
The Victorians were helped by photography and its use. Sex is now the number one use for the internet and health number two. We need to find a way to get health and sex into bed together – and not just the missionary “its good for your health to have sex” position.
At some point soon, we hope to get a publishing imprint off the ground, as a possible home for some of the very many health issues – fiction and non-fiction – that mainstream publishers seem reluctant to go near because they touch on pharma.
Imagine if one of those books had perhaps 10 different takes on sex and drugs. One might plunge from phantasmagorical sex to nothingness.
Another might have an anthropologist from Mars where sex was eliminated some years ago visit earth and describing the behaviour of these very strange animals – in respect of drugs. This is not so far-fetched – its possible that pretty soon super-intelligent machines will control us by manipulating our Achilles heel – sex.
There is likely to be a revenge option where someone with no distractions left focuses on those who are to blame.
If this strikes a chord, and you have literary skills or know someone who has, think about starting a conversation about what can be worked up. Contributions can range from 10 to 10,000 words. Graphics welcome. Publication aimed for 2020.