How to Touch a Black Hole: Sex and Depression

These days, my little body has doubled its feelings, but halved its libido. To reassure myself, I try to convince myself that things haven’t changed all that much. The playground remains the same. I still lie on damp spots, it’s just that the wetness is tears. It’s just as salty, just a tad less sexy. You make do with what you have. It’s just that you don’t have much.

I have this weight on my chest, a lump in my throat, thousands of needles in the pores of my skin. The thought of having sex makes me sick to my stomach. It’s as though I have car sickness: each caress is like going across Canada in the back of a pick-up truck. I can no longer tell the difference between the touch of a hand and that of sandpaper. As they say: things could be better.

I turn around, with the small of my back against the fitted sheet. Another Sunday morning following a thoroughly uneventful Saturday night. Depression sleeps like a log deep in my nerves. It takes up so much space that I’ve come to dread sexual touch.

What I wouldn’t give simply to have my hair stroked while I’m in my pyjamas… But that’s not something you write in a Tinder bio. Young woman seeking pyjama buddy. I swipe to distract myself, but I no longer invite temporary love home. I’m too afraid of disaster.

Between my legs is a black hole that doesn’t want to see anyone. DON’T PUT YOUR HAND IN THE VOID. Otherwise, you’d never see it alive again, much less find it still attached to your arm. Nothing lights me up… I heard that’s a distinctive feature of black holes.

I am brimming with emptiness. But where do you put your naughty thoughts in such hollowness? Where do you put your desire?

My ribs sag with a sigh. I can confirm: depression loves spooning. It loves to mould itself to all the curves of your body, making sure to leave nothing for the caresses of others.

My roommate knocks on my door. Let’s call her June. My roommate, not my door. June, because the month of June makes me want to exist so much more than all the others.

She slips into my bedroom. I wonder what June sees in front of her. I imagine she sees a long body floating in the middle of a queen bed that is too big, too empty, too nothing. She lies down next to me like one does beside a dying cat. I am Schrodinger. I am both sexual and sexless.

I say: “I’d like to want to fuck.”

I say, “I wish I wanted to fuck. It would justify my need to be touched.”

Because that’s my problem, June: I exist on the border of a contradiction. My body is an abyss and a mountain, a falling and a stillness.

I’m afraid of open arms, yet I deeply miss the warmth of others. I would like for people to devour me with lustful eyes and salivate at the idea of taking me, but I’m not dense. I know that my body has morphed into an icy popsicle that hurts the roof of your mouth when you bite into it. I feel myself slowly turning into a marble statue.

Tell me, June: who wants to make out with a marble statue? Depression has made me this beautiful thing that is to be looked at from afar and not to be touched… because, in any case, marble statues are unfuckable.

June stretches out the five fingers of her right hand. The flatness of her palm lands on mine.

And that was


I needed.

  • Berdychevsky, L., Nimrod, G., Kleiber, D. A., & Gibson, H. J. (2013). Sex as leisure in the shadow of depression. Journal of Leisure Research, 45(1), 47-73.

    Hamzaoui, S., Maamri, A., Ouanes, S., Meziou, O., & Zalila, H. (2016). Évaluation de la fonction sexuelle chez les femmes consultant pour un premier épisode dépressif majeur. [Assessment of sexual function in women consulting for a first major depressive episode]. Sexologies, 25(4), 166–172. 

    Nimrod, G., Kleiber, D. A., & Berdychevsky, L. (2012). Leisure in coping with depression. Journal of Leisure Research, 44(4), 419–449.

    World Health Organization (2021, 13 September). Depression