A few months back, my oncologist asked if I have trouble getting it up.
“Because a lot of women on tamoxifen have trouble with lubrication.”
Tamoxifen is exactly the size, shape and color of the MDMA I remember from college. But instead of making you want to fuck; it makes you crazy and amphetamine-like. It causes women to gain weight and have drastic mood swings as it shuts down female hormones and throws its host into menopause.
I take Tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer, which I spent all of last year battling.
I made a face and shook my head. “Is that gonna happen? Because that’s gross.”
“Yes, unfortunately it will happen as you move through menopause.”
Since I’m in remission from breast cancer, my options, apparently, are give up sex or increase the likelihood of getting cancer? That seems extreme. Then again, it’s been suggested that female castration would solve all of my problems. I kind of agree.
“Plenty of people have sex during and after menopause, they just use lubricants. There’s some really good stuff out there.”
I am repulsed. I’m only thirty-seven. I am about to reach my sexual prime. “So to have sex I’m going to have squirt like a pile of goop in my vagina? That sounds horrible.”
“There are also mists.”
“Mists?” Have any of you ladies heard of this? What the fuck, eh?
“Yeah, they kind of work like the nasal sprays.”
“Oh my God.”
Mist. The cloying evaporation sprayed from bar patios all summer long. In my vagina? And how does that work? “Oh pardon me, shhhhhh shhhhhh. Just one more second, shhhhhhh shhhhhhh.”
“There’s actually quite a few mists out there now. You can find the mists in the same aisle as the tampons and the condoms.”
Men don’t seem bothered by the idea of vaginal mist the way I am. Maybe it’s because I don’t look like one who might need vaginal mist. Or maybe every man I know is desperate. I like to think no, but they always seem much more helpless than women somehow.
I was sitting on my couch with a male friend chatting about the ‘ol in and out when we got around to vaginal mist. Just easing him in, I shared that no man has ever been able to keep up with my sexual energy in part because I’ve never shared a truly intimate relationship with a man. This means, I think, that I can’t hit a certain “holy fuck” unless I find an adult who I can grow with, nurture and love, trust and feel exceptional about, blah, blah. This has never happened. I refuse to wait for the good ones and when they arrive, I won’t let them in.
“But now I understand the worst type of person for me to date is one that I find intriguing because of their social outlier-ness. Shit. What if I waited too long to figure that out?”
“Oh my God.”
“Would it help if I told you about my sexual hang-ups?”
Actually, he didn’t say this. Another friend did. But hearing about one guy’s sexual hang-ups didn’t make me feel better. It made me not want to sleep with him. That’s fucked. I expect vulnerability from someone else and refuse to give it back. Pretty shitty.
“Jesus. I’m going to have to have a new ‘talk’ with every single sexual partner from here on out like I have an STD.”
“You don’t have an STD.”
“Well I better have a lot of sex over these next few years because then that’s it! I mean, I may not have tits, but I can squirt.”
I’m horrified by this frankness now, of course. Was I always so awkward? Have I always been like a stupid ding dongy Jennifer Anniston character wearing long scarves and tripping over nothing? Barf. And also, what the fuck is going on? I love the person who was on my couch listening to my squirt-y language. Truly and deeply. Otherwise, I like to believe that ask wouldn’t have fallen out of my mouth.
“Let’s not talk about th—”
“Yeah maybe we should get some water.”
If I ever decide to get serious about someone, he should have older sisters. Many of them.
But that’s neither here nor there. In this exact moment, I have this giant squirt bottle hanging over my head. I don’t think I’ll have reconstruction. To me, fake tits are man bags and men—we all know I love you—but fuck right off. I’ve already lost my tatas. Come July, I may lose my ovaries, but my organic lube? That sucks.
I am processing so many things right now that misting is really of no concern, but it’s an interesting thought to think. Would you mist? Have you ever misted? How long can that shit last? And is it like teardrops or more like seltzer water?
In the meantime, I’m figuring out the many angles of this pretty funky and not so terrible person I’ve become. The other day after much prodding, my mom said to me, “Ivy, you just wrap yourself up and give yourself away to these guys that are so undeserving and no one can figure out why.”
How can one feel so powerful and yet so meek?
Hello cancer my old friend, you’ve come to fuck with me again.