Chicago Sun Times
800 Orgasms A Day
December 1, 2003
BY JEAN LUND
Men are such a funny species. My last boyfriend split up with me, saying he was jealous. He walked out of the door with the words: "You don't need me to have an orgasm. You do it all yourself." What can you say to something like that? There is no answer when you suffer from a medical condition such as mine.
I have what doctors have recently identified as Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome. I experience up to 800 orgasms a day and I have no control over it. I could orgasm every minute of every hour if I let myself.
I turned 'round to my boyfriend and said, "Sorry, buddy, but I can't help it. And even if you thought you could satisfy me, there aren't enough hours in the day." I haven't dated since he left more than five years ago.
I turn 52 next month and have had this condition since late summer 1995. It started gradually. Before then, I'd just had normal, good orgasms in the ordinary way. Then I felt an incremental increase in my sex drive, but I wasn't having sexual thoughts. I hardly noticed it at first but then, within a couple of months, the orgasms skyrocketed. Now I have to fight them off -- and the only time I get a respite is when I'm sleeping.
When I'm at home working on the computer, watching TV or doing chores -- or out buying groceries at my local supermarket -- a pulsating sensation will build up until I have to focus all my efforts on not letting myself go. I have to try and keep myself busy, at work on the computer or at home watching television, and delay the sensation.
It is not a pleasurable sensation. It is more intense and more painful than a normal orgasm, and very difficult to live with. I am an office manager in California, and at work I hide the problem behind an outrageous sense of humor and a loud personality.
Jean Lund is not my real name: it's just a name I write under. I don't socialize in case I lose control in someone's home. If I do go to a dinner party, I am permanently distracted and unable to give my full attention to a conversation. I used to have an active social life and enjoyed golfing and sailing. Not any more and, as a result, I have put on 30 pounds and am constantly depressed.
I only told my 31-year-old daughter Shelly this week. She had no idea what I was going through. I burst into tears on the telephone. At first, she took it lightly and laughed. Most people make fun of it when they hear about my condition. They assume that I must be thinking about sex the whole time or that I have fantasies or whatever.
Then there are those like my gynecologist who look at me and say, point-blank, "You're every man's fantasy." That annoys me more than anything. I wanted to punch him. I said, "How would you feel if you had a permanent hard-on all day long?" That shut him up.
My 30-year-old son Frankie and my youngest daughter Lisa, who is 26, know only the vaguest details about my situation. I am too ashamed to explain it to them. I went to countless doctors to find out what was wrong with me. I visited gynecologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and behavioral psychologists, and none of them could take me seriously.
I used to spend hours on the Internet trying to find out more about my condition. The only information I could find was on women who suffered from a lack of sex drive. The more desperate I became in my search, the more depressed I felt.
My marriage broke up in 1995 because of the stress. I had one long-term relationship after that, but we broke up for the same reasons. I never want to be physically intimate again.
Finally, I read an article in People magazine about two doctors who worked in the field of sexual medicine. I took a long shot and contacted them. They had heard of other women like me and put me in touch with the Institute of Sexual Medicine at Boston University, which was carrying out research into this condition. For the first time in my life, I didn't think I was the only person on the face of the earth who was dealing with this. The relief was indescribable. It gave me the courage to get in touch with other sufferers by e-mail -- and finally to speak out.
While doctors have put a name to what I suffer, they are not sure what causes it. In my case, they think it was triggered by a compressed nerve on the right-hand side of my neck several years ago. At that time I was also being bullied at work and started having panic attacks.
My doctor put me on the anti-depressant Zoloft in April 1995. By June, I had noticed an increase in my sex drive. By August, it was a full-blast syndrome. I think it was the combination of living with chronic pain, a high anxiety level and anti-depressants that led to a neuro-transmitter in my brain going out of control. I am no longer on Zoloft.
I hope someone develops a cure. Medical opinion is pessimistic because it cannot find a common link between women who suffer from this. I try to keep thinking positively, but there are days when I feel I would be better off dead. I am so sick of living like this.
If I had a message for the people who think this is funny or for the men who degraded me, it would be this: Do not dismiss me; do not think this is something I have chosen, and do not diminish my suffering by laughing. There is nothing I would like better than for my condition to disappear. I am meant to be every man's dream, but I am living every woman's nightmare.
-- Daily Telegraph