Dear Post-Orgasmic Neurasthenia,
It was such an interesting feature to have you accompany me through my teenage years, I suppose, but you have overstayed your welcome which leads me to say we really can’t afford you and can’t use you. I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you this rejection because we are sure there are other sexual hang-ups which we would prefer filling your position.
It was, I have to say, troublesome to deal with the 24-36 hours after each and every orgasm in which you made me feel like I wanted to jump off a bridge. Anxiety and depression and a feeling of guilt that was absolutely all out of proportion to reality would characterize the day or so after having sex of any kind. You also have often gone hand in hand with my incipient mental illness. For example, remember the time when I worried that I had caused an earthquake in Turkey killing thousands, all because I had masturbated that afternoon? In a similar fashion, hurricanes and other natural disasters were the result my libido. Garden variety guilt after sex would have been manageable as I’m told it is a feature of most people’s makeup.
Marriage, with you around, became a kind of obsessive-compulsive affair where I would, prior to having sex with my spouse, have to internally bargain with myself, asking: Is anything important happening tomorrow that I will need to have any degree of emotional flexibility for? Is there any chance that tomorrow I might receive some important or bad news which will be intensified by a factor of ten?
It must have been a contributing detail in my divorce that I found myself in a tug of war between wanting a normal healthy sex life and being afraid of sex because it resulted in feelings of wanting to die. After that marriage ended, I have never been able to go very far into any other relationship before having to admit to my new partner that I had you there living rent-free in my head. Some of them take it well but I can tell that there is always this mutual doubt and reluctance which causes further problems.
Of course, you had to bring God into it, I guess because you didn’t feel like you had enough legitimacy or weight without being a part of a larger mental complex of ideas and fears. Wasting the seeds of posterity, you told me, was worse than abortion. I have never been a part of a particularly harsh religious tradition, however, somewhere along the way you sort of snuck into my life and took up a role of “holy counselor” for all my thoughts and decision making. So now I am formally rejecting you. Your contract was on the table for a long time, but it is not being renewed for the upcoming year.
I hope you find another place which might see your pluses and appreciate you more than I currently am able to do.
Jesse Hilson is a freelance newspaper reporter and comic artist living in the western Catskills in Upstate New York. He has written 2 ½ crime novels about murder and blackmail. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in AZURE, Maudlin House, Déraciné Magazine, Pink Plastic House, and elsewhere. Both Instagram and Twitter are @platelet60.