Ahem, @buzzfeed? A quick note about antidepressants…

Buzzfeed has an article that is making the rounds, 16 Things No One Tells You About Taking Antidepressants.

Yay! Awesome! I am honestly thrilled to see more conversation that normalizes and de-stigmatizes taking antidepressants if needed. The piece has a lot of good information that’s shared in a positive and reassuring way. Again, awesome. Thank you.

That being said, let’s chat about “#5. Yes, they might affect your sex drive.”

I do enjoy this graphic

Antidepressants often have sexual side effects..

 No one tells you that sexual side effects can occur while on antidepressants?

*ahem*

If I could please direct you just over a few clicks to your Trashy” Feed. There, I linked it so it’s nice and easy. Scroll down a little over halfway down that page and note “This Woman Is Live-Tweeting Her Struggle To Orgasm On Anti-Depressants.”

Hi! That’s me.

Baby Crista!!

Selfie from right after I posted the first #OrgasmQuest post

A year later, still chillin on the “trashy” feed. Talking about how antidepressants can affect your sex life and ability to orgasm. Talking about how important it can be to prioritize your sex life/sexuality through depression if you are a sexual person. Talking about all the media attention I was getting and the bullshit I was dealing with because I deeply believe my message is vital.

Let me put this out there: Maybe. Just maybe, more people would be talking about the fact that medications can screw up your sex drive and orgasmic ability if they weren’t shamed or mocked for doing it.

Most of the comments on that article are great, and most of the votes are pretty okay. However this article on me/#OrgasmQuest – while marked “Win” – has stayed on the Trashy Feed for a fucking a year. I mean, thanks for the views an all, but seriously – the tag for the trashy feed says “adj. of poor quality …. Ugh, so trashy.” People are trying to tell people about how medications/antidepressants can affect sexuality, sex drive and orgasmic ability. Without being shamed.

Maybe try that.

Just sayin’

Edited to add: Re-reading this post 24 hours later I want to add that my issue/annoyance is not with the author of the piece. As I said at the top, I was/am thrilled to see good information shared in a positive and normative way about depression. I also don’t expect the author to know every article ever on Buzzfeed, especially one that is a year old. My annoyance is with Buzzfeed the site. I’ve seen a few articles that talk about the importance of de-stigmatizing depression/sexuality while a few clicks over I’m being stigmatized for talking about sexuality and depression. Apologies that I didn’t make that more clear at first.

CristaAnne.com breaks into the Top Ten Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015!!

So proud of my little blog that could…

#MedicatedandMighty selfie

#MedicatedandMighty 

When introducing myself in panels, workshops or in interviews I’ll often call myself “a professional oversharer who has blogged since long before the term “blog” even existed.” Starting with angelfire sites in the late 90’s and then LiveJournal, blogger and other platforms – writing online has been a natural comfort zone for my ambiverted self. As I moved through my journey of self discovery I tried out many urls and personas, looking for the perfect fit. Eventually it was obvious that I was most comfortable as myself, so I picked up this domain with the intention of it being a small personal blog and writing outlet.

About a year ago I began writing more about my battles with depression and PTSD which quickly turned into #OrgasmQuest. My little blog that could had worldwide media attention, my life changed permanently. When The Madness hit our life (the custody battle that consumed most of this year) I had to back off posting here for many reasons. For months this site was almost exclusively instagram posts and very sporadic brief updates while we made our way through our worst fears come to life.

While I was unable to speak about my life in a public way, you amazing folks stuck with me. Love and support flowed our way through and after the worst of the worst – I am forever grateful. Right as I began to return to the world, Kinkly launched their Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015 contest. Shamelessly I courted votes without a ton of expectations, my life and thus my writing had not been very sexy. My goal was top fifty, my hope was top twenty-five.

When the results were released a few days ago, I almost dropped my pad.

The Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015:

  1. The Black Pomegranate
  2. The Redhead Bedhead
  3. A Sexy Woman of a Certain Age
  4. Oh Joy, Sex Toy
  5. Girly Juice
  6. Crista Anne (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  7. Hey Epiphora
  8. Girl Boner
  9. Slutty Girl Problems
  10. The Ins and Outs

The rest of the Top 100

Crista Anne bills herself as a “rainbow-colored pleasure revolutionary.” We love that slogan as much as her bold writing on sex, depression and everything in between.

Credit where credit is due, my moniker of “Rainbow-colored Pleasure Revolutionary” was bequeathed to me by Carol Queen in the Good Vibes #OrgasmQuest interview. It’s perfect. When my writing is praised as being bold and unique – my goals have been achieved.

It’s taken me a few days to find words of gratitude. 2015 has been the hardest, most painfully soul wrenching year of my life. The darkness that covered so much of this year got the best of me more often than I care to admit. While I count down the days to the end of ’15 so I can put this horrific year behind me, this recognition means a great deal.

Thank you.

Let’s Talk About Sex and Depression Article

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX AND DEPRESSION

Imagine for a moment that I took away your ability to enjoy sex. It’s just gone. Now in order to get it back, you would have to declare that you belong to two categories of people who are regularly stigmatized in pop culture. While you are dealing with this, you may also be experiencing feelings of worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness, lethargy, anxiety, and the inability to concentrate. If you can get past all that and reach out for help, there’s a big chance no one will do anything. They may not even believe you.

Welcome to the world of a woman dealing with the sexual side effects of depression and its treatment.

Read the rest of Let’s Talk about Sex & Depression by JoEllen Notte at Bitch

As I said on FB earlier, JoEllen is the Sex & Depression Rockstar and we’re living in her world. Really, it takes all of us speaking out our truths to get a fuller picture of the intersections of pleasure, sex, mental illness and survival. No one story or set of experiences can begin to cover the depth and complexities here, but in the year that this conversation has been one of the centers of my life, amazing progress has been made.

On a purely selfish level, another life goal achieved – mentioned in Bitch. Baby Feminist Depressed Crista is doing backflips with excitement.

Please read this article and share widely. JoEllen’s skills as a writer combined with the incredible data she’s collected are invaluable. Thank you for the #OrgasmQuest shout out love. <3

So Thrilled to be Speaking @WoodhullSFA #SFS15

With everything else happening in my life, it’s incredibly important for me to continue working. This year I am branching out and speaking at Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. (@WoodhullSFA with the hashtag #SFS15) This is thrilling in a number of ways, I’d previously considered the Summit above my “pay grade”. It’s a chance to spend time with so many people I hold dear, not to mention the Summit itself is going to be an absolutely incredible learning experience.

I’ll be speaking with my love JoEllen Notte, & the fantastic Stephen Biggs  on the workshop: “The Monster Under The Bed: Starting the Conversation About Sex and Depression

At some point in every person’s life they will either experience depression or know intimately someone who has depression. Currently the most prevalent forms of treatment are pharmacological, and the focus is often placed on the alleviation of symptoms like low mood, apathy and amotivation. Relief in any of these areas constitutes success, however, for some there are unwanted sexual side effects to treatment, which unfortunately are seldom addressed. Similarly, when sex is affected by symptoms of the depression itself, the issue is rarely addressed at all. This workshop will discuss how sex-lives are impacted by depression symptoms and current treatments, with a view to empowering both clients and professionals to better address the issues that arise when sex and depression collide.  Specifically, we will share the results of JoEllen Notte’s Sex and Depression Survey and follow up interviews conducted over several months beginning in the Fall of 2014.  Incorporating both mental health consumers’ perspectives and the most current information regarding treatment impacts and side effects on sexual functioning we hope to provide consumers and their sexual partners with practical information that can help them give voice to their concerns.  It is our hope that the information we’re gathering will also inform the way health care providers provide a space for sexual concerns in the treatment of depression, and we also hope to offer some concrete practical direction in this regard.

When: Friday, August 14
Where: Walnut B

I’ll be sharing much of my experience with #OrgasmQuest along side JoEllen’s findings and Stephen’s expertise, with a strong focus on finding a health care provider who respects the importance of sexuality while treating mental illness. This workshop is going to be incredible, so make your plans for attending and put us on your Must Attend list.

(Also, having my own speaker page along side the rest of the absolutely incredible people who will be there makes me want to attempt a backflip of joy, even though I’d wreck myself.)

 

We Will Not & Cannot Work for Free Product

Professional Compersion, it’s real and I am having it right now for JoEllen Notte & Elle Chase.

This week I received an email (I’m sure many of my colleagues received it too) from a large, well-known condom company offering me the “opportunity” to “collaborate” with them (you’ll understand all the quotation marks in a minute). I thought “Collaboration? That sounds fun! Do they want my input on a new kind of condom? Maybe they’re looking to bring in sex educators to help spread the safer sex word! Collaboration could mean so many fun things!”

Except it didn’t.
Read the rest of “Won’t Work For Free (Or Condoms)” By JoEllen Notte

Elle Chase also has excellent commentary here “Will (Not) Work for Condoms”

I am a now a professional sex educator and writer, who has worked for free, for many years to gain experience in my field (and still do, on occasion). I now get paid for a career I put a lot of work, time and money into creating. It might not be a lot, but I provide a valuable service to individuals, stores, institutions, websites, and companies who recognize that you actually have to payprofessionals in exchange for the work they do. They understand this because they are professionals who get paid in exchange for the work they do.

Read the rest of “Will (Not) Work for Condoms” by Elle Chase

Writing, like a real job with work and skills and everything

Made by JoEllen Notte, speaking truth

The world has changed with the rise of sex blogging/reviewing/activism online. It’s evolved drastically, the amount of work a writer puts into these marketing campaigns is significant. Free condoms, free product – it doesn’t pay our bills.

I’ve been here since the start in one form or another when it comes to blogging, so I’ve done a fuckton of free work. Most I was happy to do! The difference is now that it takes a great time of work and a lot of skill to run these successfully. Which is why I don’t do *any* on my site.

I highlight items that I find to be exceptional on my site from places that I trust with affiliate links – that do make me some money! (When I can find the time to actually do so) However these marketing campaigns are no longer worth my time. What we’re doing is work and we need to be compensated.

These posts are so grand, I’m so thrilled to see these words that I want to say being put out there. Thank you, both of you.  Professional Compersion: That glorious feeling of seeing your peers rocking it.

An Open Letter to Folks in the Sex & Depression Conversation

This post is the results of JoEllen Notte (The Redhead Bedhead) and my endless conversations about what we love and hate about the conversations coming out regarding sexuality and depression. After the glorious response from her Must Read post: 5 Tips For Writing About Sex & Depression we decided to expand upon that and share our thoughts with the world.

PSA: An Open Letter to Folks in the Sex & Depression Conversation

By JoEllen Notte & Crista Anne

It’s heartening to see so many people talking about sex and depression, sharing their experiences, normalizing this topic that can be so scary and isolating for so many people – that is amazing. We are both thrilled by the increase in discourse!

What is a bit alarming, however, is the practice of drug-promoting. Let us explain…

We often say that when we talk about sex and depression we are standing at the intersection of two taboo topics. When we decide to talk about sex on the internet we have a huge responsibility to our audience.  Unlike if we were writing about, say, fashion, we are dealing with a very vulnerable audience, an audience that is looking to us for the answers to questions they are afraid to ask. We have a responsibility to not lie to them. A responsibility to not make them feel bad about themselves (the world does enough of that already), to do our homework so we can provide accurate information, to be good at our jobs, to be worthy of their trust.  When we decide to add mental health to the conversation we are increasing our responsibility exponentially because the vulnerability of our audience increases. Keeping that in mind is vital.

It may seem like no big deal to say “I fixed my problem with this drug” but let’s open that up a bit.

Who are you saying that to? You are saying that to a reader who is dealing with sexual dysfunction brought on by depression and/or its treatment – someone who is looking for answers. You are saying it to someone who feels broken. You are speaking with authority. You have a shiny website. Most importantly you claim to have solved the very problem they have – you have their answer. Now they think they need to go get the drug you have recommended.

So what happens when their insurance doesn’t cover that drug and they, who are already feeling like life is beating them down, are dealt another blow? What happens when they go to their doctor and she tells them that drug is completely wrong for them because it doesn’t fit their symptoms and now they feel more powerless than they did before? What happens when when they take that drug and it doesn’t work for them leaving feeling even more broken than when they came to your site to begin with? What happens then? These are all the things you need to think about before you announce that you have the “answer” with a brand name and a dosage amount.

Similarly, the practice of comments field drug suggesting (ex. “Why don’t you just take ______?” “The only good thing for that is _____.” or even “Just switch drugs!”) is problematic.

Why? Because it calls into question the ability of the person dealing with depression to make choices about their own body. It adds another person telling them what to do. It takes away a part of their bodily autonomy. Depression robs people of their bodily autonomy, their agency, in a huge way – it acts like an unwanted parasite on a host body- and by telling people who may be happy with their drug apart from this one side effect that (duh!) they just need to switch you are stomping on what little control they have left. Further, as all our bodies are different, you have no business telling them what drug will work for them because you do not know – what worked for you (or your sister, or your friend, or whatever) may not work for them at all. Finally, when we do things like this on the internet we are doing three things:

  1.  Contributing to a confusing conversation where (often) multiple people are offering differing accounts of what THE answer is. This is unhelpful
  2. Announcing an answer to all the world – this isn’t the same as making a suggestion to your friend. This is the internet- you are making this suggestion to EVERYONE.
  3. Shaming the person you are making the suggestion to. Yes, yes, you didn’t intend to. You thought you were helpfully passing on the name of something you have heard helps but people with depression get hundreds of those suggestions and eventually they all start to sound like “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” “WHY AREN’T YOU WORKING HARDER TO FIX THIS?!” “YOU HAVE TO TRY!”

The thing is, this is hard, important, necessary work and it comes with ethical standards that are higher than other forms of sex writing. You can’t review a drug like you do a vibrator. This can’t be a topic one jumps into because it’s hot and they want to capitalize on a hashtag – you have to be ready to work on this when it isn’t trending. This is hard, important and necessary work and when one person handles it indelicately it costs many of us the trust of the world – trust we have to work on building back up. We have to, en masse, accept the responsibility that comes with opening up this conversation. This is hard, important, necessary work and we’re thrilled to be doing it together.

-Crista Anne & JoEllen Notte

Has #OrgasmQuest Inspired you to share? Please read this post by @Bedheadtweeting

The Redhead Bedhead Tips on Writing About Sex & Depression

I’m taking a little break from promoting #OrgasmQuest as this is one of my full load parenting weeks. However, I’m not gone. One of the many beautiful things to come out of #OrgasmQuest has been so many other people chiming in with their experiences. As they allow, I’ll be posting snippets of these posts here to share with all of you.

My love and collaborator JoEllen Notte, The Redhead Bedhead, who has talked about sex and depression *much* longer than I have, put out this incredibly important post. 5 Tips for Writing About Sex & Depression.

Well this story has, as the kids say, gone viral and folks are talking about Crista Anne all over the place! It’s amazing- sex and depression is suddenly everywhere, this is basically my wet dream. In addition to the stories about the lovely lady behind Orgasm Quest, other folks have been inspired to come forward and speak about sex and depression as well (seriously, how awesome is this!). In light of the fact that this subject matter can be sensitive and so many new folks are coming at it, I (self-appointed “sex and depression lady”) have put together this handy list of 5 tips to keep in mind when writing about sexy time and mental health- because, it’s a whole other animal from what many of us are used to. Enjoy!

Read these Tips @ The Redhead Bedhead

Condoms, Cancer & Scare Tactics – How One Company Is Using Fear to Sell

Hey folks, what would you think if I suddenly announced that a study (that I funded) had found that all sex blogs apart from mine cause computer viruses and I, being the crusader for good that  I am, have committed myself to ridding the sex blogging world of viruses (which btw, are in all the other blogs, but not mine!) and I now challenge the other blogs to stop being so virus-causing, you know, if they care at all.

What would you think? Would you think:

A.”OMG! I should stop reading all of these virus-y blogs and read only JoEllen from here on out!”

B.”This is my first time at this site and now other sites are scary- no more sex blogs for me!”

C. “JoEllen has lost it and is clearly trying to scare us into reading only her site,”

I’m really hoping you chose C, that everyone sees that as the logical way to respond to such a scenario because while I would never actually do something this absurd, as we speak a new condom company is using the exact strategy I just described. Yes, seriously.

Read More @ The Redhead Bedhead