Sex & The Seizure by Asal (author has requested only her first name be published.)
I met a gentleman From HowAboutWe the other day. It was a bit accidental, I was going to meet him at some respectable time, but I’d taken my anticonvulsants, and somehow invited him over to my apartment at 1 in the morning. Nothing like a sodium channel blocker to start adventures! In any case, we had a good time (basing this on what little the meds let me remember), and as we were falling asleep I told him “Hey, just so you know I have seizures when I sleep.” His reply was a sleepy grin. “I realize that sounds like a joke I’d make, but I really do.” His eyes popped open and he retorted “What? Really?” We then had a question and answer shpiel that mainly consisted of me asking him not to stuff a spoon in my mouth.
I need to break narrative for a minute so that I can forbid you from feeling sorry for me. If I notice an iota of pity in your reading eyes, I’m stopping this journey into my sex life, ok? I have wonderful orgasms, gorgeous lovers, a lack of guilt about my sexuality and I am in no way asking you to feel sorry for me. Got it?
That being said, I have to tell you, having seizures is a drag. Sometimes to amuse myself, I like to do the math for how many seizures I’ve had. It’s in the hundreds of thousands. I’ve been seizing since I was seven years old, mostly when I’m asleep and there’s no end in sight. And finding myself single, I once again am facing the fact that no matter how you spin it, seizures aren’t sexy.
It’s one thing when you’re in a relationship. My ex used to wake up with every seizure and hold me tight through it, and would calm me down after. At least he used to at first, then we slowly stopped being in love, and he stopped waking up. It started to become obvious that we were falling apart when I’d have to kick (purposefully) to wake him up after I’d have a seizure. Of course, not all my lovers have been so kind either. At least two threw me out of their houses, one was tired of being woken up, and the other, well she had this head cold you see….
In any case, when you’re in a relationship, you can ask certain things of your lovers. You can ask that they deal with the fact that you’ll wake up gasping for breath, that they’ll get caught by a flailing arm or leg, that they might be sharing a puddle of piss with you. If anything, it becomes a point of tenderness between the two of you. I showed up to one lover’s house after a seizure, covered in urine, and his first thought was to invite me in for a shower. Which became a lovely starting point for the rest of the night. Hint hint wink wink.
But now I’m single, and happily so. My primary goal in most of my sexual relations is to have earth shattering sex, tenderness not really being on my radar. In addition to having to worry about all the other things that come with casual sex – being murdered, having too much body hair, etc, I also have to worry about disclosing my seizures. The discussion around sleeping over is tedious. In every one night stand there comes the moment where I have to explain that my brain is broken. Remember how you liked me trembling and secreting body fluids? Well let me tell you…
I don’t get mad at these boys, after all I’m asking them for a very specific function, and caring for me is not part of the deal. But it’s one thing to know that, and another to have them tell me so explicitly. One guy, we’ll call him Marlowe*, told me he might be able to deal with my seizures “the next time around”, another guy, we’ll call Bobby* told me it was a “bit much” to expect him to let me sleepover, given my seizures.
There’s another facet to this. After years of being the dirty hippie girl I’ve started to take care of appearances, I wear makeup now, I pluck my eyebrows now, I actually think about what I’m wearing. If I do say so myself, I’m hot. No really, I’d totally do me. Unfortunately, there’s nothing about seizing that makes me feel sexy. One well meaning person, in an effort to make sure I took my seizures seriously once told me “If only you knew how ugly you look when you seize.”
Oh friends, I do know. After I seize, my face goes a bit slack, drooling is a real problem, and any spark of sexuality that I normally show in my face is lost in the post seizure expression of “That sucked.” So in addition to worrying about whether or not a man will freak out while I seize, I worry about what will happen after he’s seen me literally at my ugliest.
I have to say the reactions are better than you’d expect. When it comes to it, people are nicer than I give them credit for. But a long time ago, I was watching Sex and the City and Carrie was spending the night at someone’s for the first time. And I found myself thinking “Oh she must have brought her meds with her.” I don’t know if my sex life would be better if I didn’t have seizures, but I have to assume my sex life would be simpler if I didn’t.
*cause that was his name