La vie en Violet: dixième partie

I don’t really remember when it started. But a few years ago, when I had consensual, safe sex with my then sexual partner, it felt like claws were tearing open my insides. And we weren’t having passionate, violent sex, nor was he hung like a horse. So I was horrified by the amount of pain I was in. This was when I wanted him. He still turned me on. I desired the sex. Besides, we only met for sex and a smoke after. In that time, we caught up on his life, work, and travel. He was not privy to my mind. It was an arrangement built on mutual respect, admiration, and desire. What we both had in common was a love for well-written copy, travel (him more than me). It helped that we were both such workaholics, we never complained about the other being too busy to catch-up or even shag. We genuinely understood. For as long as that arrangement worked, it was empowering, sexy, and honest. The sex wasn’t break-a-bed hot, but we were both no longer in our 20s, and so we satisfied each other well-enough till that day when having his dick inside me was not pleasurable at all.
The chafing and scratches remained for an agonising week.

A couple of weeks later, it was the same. I wondered if it was him or me.

I did what any sensible girl would do; I found another lover. Unfortunately, this turned out to be someone who didn’t believe in penetrative sex with condoms. And I will never have unprotected sex because diseases and infections have a way of catching me. He had other ways to satisfy a woman that worked, but after a while it didn’t help my experiment.

I succumbed to a meet-and-fuck date. The guy was civil, polite, decent, with clean hands and feet, and didn’t smell bad. I am not ashamed to say that to me he wasn’t even a person. He was just a penis whose insertion in my body would show me if I were the problem or the men. I used lube and supplied the condom. When it was done, I burnt a little but nothing at all like before. I thanked the bloke sincerely in my mind and drove home feeling sexy and powerful.
In three hours, I had a UTI. My body broke out in chills, a fever, and I constantly had the urge to pee. I went on antibiotics and medication for a week. It was not pleasant nor easy.

After I recovered I travelled to Europe and America for a long awaited holiday. I avoided penetrative sex on holiday concerned about having another UTI episode. Celibacy trumps trauma any day. Besides, I knew, or so I thought, that I wasn’t the problem.

Last year, I was in bed with a lover whom I found very exciting. But we recognised quickly enough that my vagina was shut for business that day. No amount of lube or other work helped. I recognised that it was during a very stressful period, but I felt desire for this man. I always had. Yet there I was dry as a raisin in a summer sun in the tropics. It was as if my lips were sealed shut with a chastity lock. I didn’t even know such a thing could happen. He was wonderful about it all and for that we still remain friends.

Around the same time, my mother, who has rheumatoid arthritis like me, also suffered from a dry mouth that altered the way she tasted food. Everything she ate felt spicier than it was, and burned her mouth. Her eyes on account of being dry, even with regular drops, developed infections at an alarmingly frequent rate.

Watching her suffer and plough through this with aplomb but a great deal of discomfort has been like watching my future in a mirror. But my mom’s issues started when she was in her 50s. I am still in my 30s, I chant in self-pity.

So when I returned to India last year, I rushed to my psychiatrist who is also a sexologist and told him about my many instances of extremely painful sexual intercourse.

In the meantime, I had, of course, done my research. It seemed possible that I was peri-menopausal. But it seemed more likely that my body had betrayed me yet again and that I now had another auto-immune condition called Sjögren’s syndrome (pronounced Show-Grens). He sent me to visit a gynecologist and she ruled out the possibility of this being a physical issue. I was next supposed to show myself to a rheumatologist and corona happened.

In the midst of the first lockdown, my father’s health took a turn for the worse. I was stretched thin and so stressed that my Blood Pressure started to climb and never dropped down to normal again. I now had high blood pressure too.

Finally, earlier this month, I started experiencing debilitating fatigue for no reason. I stopped even the sporadic exercise I had been doing. Just breathing felt draining. I had begun to notice a slight sensation of dryness on my tongue.

For years now, I have found it extremely difficult to cry, to weep, to actually shed tears. I recognised that this had started almost around the same time as I started having issues with sex.

A couple of weeks back, when I finally drummed up the courage to visit a new rheumatologist, he confirmed Sjögren’s syndrome for both my mother and me. It’s an autoimmune disorder, often existing in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus where the body eats up its own lubricating glands. There is no way to prevent this. The degeneration of the glands is permanent. Eye solutions, sprays for the mouth, vaginal lubricants, rarely surgery are the only means of relief. It also leads to extreme fatigue. It could also work on one’s organs.

I decided to drown my sorrow in substance and painkillers only to recognise that the act further dried up my mouth to the point of acute discomfort. No amount of sipping water or chewing ice-cubes help.

So unless India legalises CBD oil for conditions such as mine, I have to try and make do with prescription drugs that unleash a chain of adverse reactions.

The timing of all this is ironical at best, downright cruel at its worst. Corona scare implies the absence of any and all sexual activities for most aware, sensible, sexually active non-partnered people. Honestly, sex is the absolute last thing on my mind.

The drug busts that are happening everywhere ensures that legalising medical Marijuana in India (which is great for dealing with anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, and the like) isn’t going to happen in my lifetime, at least.

The constant fatigue and joint discomfort has rendered even gentle walks impossible in the past few weeks. Naturally, I have put on more weight or maybe it’s just how I feel now – heavy, ponderous, dry, stiff.

The rain doesn’t help.

Weight loss tips or other such insights won’t be tolerated, so hush, dear reader.

So why am I unabashedly sharing such personal details and bragging about my new autoimmune acquisition?

The purpose is not to elicit pity (fuck you) or sympathy or exclamations of concern (Thank you, but really no) or titilate people about what is now definitively, my non-existent sex life.

I think I write because women’s sexual health and pleasure is never talked about even though it is about health. Living with a dry vagina or a wet ass pussy, the two ends of a woman’s sexual spectrum and reality (and everything in between) needs to be understood better by both men and other women. I want to talk about vaginismus and how frustrating and debilitating the idea of being dry really is. It also fucks with the way you view your own sexuality.

Lastly, I want to help people understand and look at co-morbidities seriously and with empathy.

Rheumatoid arthritis by itself won’t kill a person, but look at the life it forces its people to live. Note also how everything from anxiety and depression to Sjögren’s is connected to having an autoimmune disorder.

As a diabetic, hypertensive person with at least three diagnosed autoimmune disorders, and living with ageing parents one of whom suffers from dementia, COVID-19 is the worst nightmare to live through. Compound that with the fact that I live in India as a business person dependent on an economy that enables sales, and people still living with the great denial of our political lives and times, and now see how stress takes on a whole new meaning. And stress is a great trigger for everything from RA to panic attacks.

Then I speak to people who say COVID-19 in itself doesn’t kill. It’s a conspiracy. It will just come and go, drink herb tea.

I step out of the house and see people who wear no masks or wear masks at their necks, shoulders, eyeballs, what-have-you, spitting phlegm happily and noisily on streets.

All this and I literally cannot even cry.

So tell me now, how is that for a fuck.

 

 

 


Read the past health episodes here. 
And if you notice how I really can’t count, shut up. 
La Vie En Violet – 9
La Vie En Violet – 8
La Vie En Violet – 7
La Vie En Violet – 6
La Vie En Violet – Yo are not sick; just fat
La Vie En Violet – 6
La Vie En Violet – 5
La Vie En Violet – 4
La Vie En Violet – 3
La Vie En Violet – 2
La Vie En Violet – 1

About Bhumika's Boudoir

I love to laugh, and end up being a part of high drama and stormy emotion even when I don't pursue it. Being creative, and communicating with people get me going. I enjoy all the good things in life especially those that are slightly risque, and apologise little, if ever, for all that I do. Literature is a passion and so is music.
This entry was posted in Blue Funk, In Sickness and In Health. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to La vie en Violet: dixième partie

  1. Tapan Mozumdar says:

    Nothing I say can mitigate your conditions. Just know that I am there if you ever need to speak

    Like

  2. P says:

    Hi Bhumika,

    I can’t thank you enough for voicing out what you’ve. As someone who’s struggling with a auto-immune disease or two, I know the ordeal.

    We are so trained to look at things in isolation and consume singular narratives day in and day out, that we don’t realize how entangled our bodies, relationships, societies and health are. We talk about health, both physical and mental, as an individual’s problem, whereas the causes could be well beyond us.

    If we see these interconnections, we wouldn’t be so reckless and arrogant about our existences. Or for that matter, we wouldn’t be so blind to the existence of other species.

    Love,
    Purnima

    Like

  3. Sirish Aditya says:

    Thank you for writing this. Really. I don’t know if a writer has a social responsibility but in as much as I have a manifesto, it comes from Charlie Kaufman who said, and I paraphrase, that the best thing an artist can offer to the world is her honesty and vulnerability, undoubtedly it takes immense courage to do that, and if it can make atleast one person feel less lonely about being themselves, then she’s done a good job.

    You’ve done a good job. Thank you.

    Like

  4. Samina says:

    Thanks for writing this. I have had similiar experiences, feel free to reading my blog post x

    Like

  5. Ravneet says:

    Hey Bhumika, thanks for writing and sharing this. There are so many things we don’t talk about and we should. There is nothing I can say to mitigate your situation but want you to know that you inspire me with your honesty. Hope things get better for you.

    Like

  6. Pingback: Epiphany | Bhumika's Boudoir

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