Many Americans lost a lot of things in the the wake of the election: faith in the American dream, a sense of personal safety among a rise of election-related hate crimes, their trust in the electoral college. But perhaps most tragically, many lost their ability to come.
Engaging in sexual activity—to indulge one's basest instincts—has become, to some, an idea too perverse to practice in Trump's America. After all, Trump got elected by pursuing his own basest instincts: allegedly assaulting women, hurling insults, and generally acting like a boor. It's hard for many to yield to those same instincts when they know they're what elevated a man who threatens the rights of minorities, women, and LGBTQ Americans to the White House.
Even before the election, there were signs that Trump could be damaging the American libido. "I Haven't Had Sex In Weeks. I Blame Donald Trump" read a Cosmopolitan headline; "Donald Trump is Ruining America's Sex Life" read another in Slate. In October, Kindara, a fertility app, surveyed 928 of its female users; nineteen percent of Democrats and nine percent of Republicans reported that the election had negatively impacted their sex lives. And this was all before a semi-sentient spray tan replaced one of history's most fuckable presidents as our nation's leader.
Post-election, I noticed a rash of people lamenting their waning libidos on social media, so I put out a call to anyone who wanted to share a story; I received an immediate and overwhelming response. All sorts of people—men and women, black and white, straight and gay, all united by their newfound incapability to maintain arousal—wrote me en masse.
"Since the election, my Give a Fuck has completely broken," wrote Doug, 28. "Nothing seems sexy. I no longer give a fuck if my mustache curves disgustingly over my lip and gets food all over it. Getting laid has lost a lot of its luster. This was not a side effect I anticipated at all. I figured, if anything, this would be a good time to fuck a lot—but, much like Trump's 'swamp,' his being elected has drained the sexy out of everything."
Trump is an unapologetic "pussy grabber" and alleged serial sexual assaulter of women; to see him become the leader of the free world is a trigger for victims of sexual violence and a decided turn off for their allies. "Since the election, I have had absolutely no libido," wrote Angela, 31. "Part of it is a familiar sickness, the same one I experienced in the months after I was sexually assaulted, that has revisited me alongside the knowledge that a substantial portion of the country truly does believe 'I deserve it.'"
And while it comes as no surprise that women who have experienced sexual assault are triggered by Trump, it doesn't fully explain why many haven't been able to get it on since Trump took power.
Dr. Stephanie Hunter Jones, a clinical sexologist practicing in Los Angeles, was "shocked" by the number of her clients, both male and female, who "were traumatized and expressed a lack of desire for sex and intimacy" in the aftermath of the election. "No matter the concern of the client," she said, "the first worry expressed was the election results. At least half of every session was devoted to processing the outcome of the election."
Indeed, processing this election is the only thing that some have on their minds these days. Just take a cursory glance at social media—the feeds of many have become a stream of indignant articles, conspiracy-riddled comment threads and protest photos. Only a sociopath, it seems, would be able to maintain a hard on as the world burns around them.
Hunter Jones believes the "shock and fear" of our uncertain future is to blame for America's current inability to get it up. Many of her clients are "deeply frightened of a Trump presidency" and "terrified for their safety, citing his lack of experience and poor judgement."
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Some of those who are able to have sex have reported an underlying sense of fear in the act. "I've been acting out sexually and otherwise because of the election and my lack of coping skills," wrote Wendy, 24. "I haven't been eating or sleeping well. I'm so frightened, more than I have ever been, to be a woman of color; the future seems uncertain and grim. So coming has been really hard, by myself and with partners.
"It's really hard for me to be present in my everyday life and at work, let alone in my bedroom," she continued. "I worry that my rights will be taken away. I worry that my friends and family will be deported. I worry that I will be the victim of a hate crime, or that the people I love will be. I prefer to fuck and love men of color, and I worry about them when they leave my house at 5 AM."
That kind of fear has become a stark, harrowing reality for many Americans, and fear and sex do not make for good bedfellows. Following the election, many women have rushed to get IUDs, fearing the Trump administration could overturn expanded access to the contraceptive granted by Obamacare, and limit abortion access overall. They're ensuring that they'll be able to have sex without fear no matter what happens in our courts, yes, but there's nothing less arousing than the threat of one's right to choose being stolen from you.
Men, of course, don't need IUDs. It doesn't make them any less terrified, though. "Males, just as females," said Hunter Jones, "feel the same fears of the uncertainty that we are facing ahead, thus stealing their sexual desire."
What can be done about all this? Will we ever fuck again? How will we ever fuck again? "The shock aspect [of the election] will take time to heal," said Hunter Jones. "However, fear must be addressed and dealt with immediately. I recommend being very sympathetic to yourself. Reassure yourself that you are safe and no harm will come to you. This is an immense part of loving yourself."
Trump would hate the idea of us loving ourselves. So I, too, suggest we do so, if only as a form of protest.
"If Trump takes everything else away," wrote Heather, 27, "he will never take my female orgasms. I fought too hard for them—I fought shame, trauma, and a society that told me that women don't masturbate. So I masturbate for the resistance."
Note: Names and ages of respondents have been changed to protect their anonymity.
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