Savage Love Letter of the Day: The Bitter Pill

Comments

1
All of you people saying "ghetto" inherently relates to black people can heck off, you revisionist dickweasels.
2
I have to concur. The pill caused my libido to take a horrendous nosedive. I had a perfectly wonderful time with and found perfectly effective both condoms and the diaphragm (with spermicide) until I got the copper IUD, which I also loved. In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I got pregnant while using the copper IUD, the only non-hormonal one there is. I am (or my male other half is, perhaps?) the exception, however, as the copper IUD is 99.4% effective.
3
Wondering, is the same (loss of libido) true for hormonal IUDs?
4
Contraceptive pills have probably come a long way since I was last using them, but is it still true that they "basically make your body act like it's already pregnant" to stave off a new pregnancy? I remember feeling chubby and moody, to varying degrees, while trying a few different brands over several years, & finally gave up on that.
Fast forward many (pill-free healthy-libido) years, once I got willfully pregnant, my libido was nuts, not in the good way. No desire at the right time with the right person (my husband), strange flushes of hormones at home alone that felt so purely physical I couldn't even find porn or fantasy to accompany it, it was just eyes-closed physical focus.
So if pregnancy is that crazy and the pill mimics it, Dan's advice might be worth trying.Get off it, use other methods, see how you feel.
5
More:
Lots of people don't like porn, that is not being 'broken'. You don't have to view liking porn as a goal.
Consider other libido killers: too much stress, too little sleep or exercise, etc.
Thinking of yourself as broken and trying too hard won't help either.
6
also, not to pile on, but i notice she says she worried the boyfriend might be watching porn she doesn't approve of. this is kind of a problem, too, i'd guess. the separation of fantasy from reality, and the idea that certain fantasies are bad. this may extend to her view of sex being bad in some ways, too. it's certainly a reason the boyfriend would have not share his choices with her. and if she's never come, well, maybe the boyfriend needs to try harder or at least other things. but also she shouldn't get upset at him for eventually giving up -- what's he supposed to do? not come himself? or not stop fucking her until he collapses of heat exhaustion pneumonia?
7
Several studies have suggested that women don't choose the same kind of partner at all depending on whether or not they're on the pill. If they're on the pill, they tend to choose "good guys" who may or may not be that sexually/genetically compatible with them. When they're not, they tend to choose alpha types who may or may not be that compatible with them in other aspects.

I doubt that would be the only factor at play here, but perhaps once she's off the pill, she'll realize that she's simply not all that into him, and that her body simply wants to have sex with someone else.
8
Has the letter writer tried reading erotica? It's much easier to imagine yourself/your partner as being a part of the action and you don't have to worry about the ethics of potential exploitation, misogyny, etc. in the porn industry. Some erotica even has a storyline and is written well enough that it's enjoyable to just read. Maybe the letter writer can check out literotica and see if any of the stories there help to rev her interest.
9
Now isn't that yet another fucked up irony. You get on the pill so you can finally bone and it makes never want to bone.

Makes me wonder why all the right wing moral scolds are so anti-contraception? Since it appears the pill doesn't turn the ladies into mindless sluts. Seems they'd want all those horny lady folk tamed by the pill.
10
@9 I know, right? I still feel like "the pill=sexual freedom" is a total over-simplification. It alleviates certain worries, like you can't get pregnant from rape, yay! But the power dynamic today is a little different from the 70's. Maybe then, being able to "not get pregnant" was enough. Now, I find it absurd when only the pregnatable women are responsible for avoiding pregnancy, that it is not a joint effort with the impregnating- um - able men.
11
Regarding the lack of orgasm: I would also suggest to the LW the book "Come as you are" by Emily Nagoski. It's fantastic, and all about how women are NOT BROKEN for not being however they are sexually... for years I thought there was something wrong with me because I could never orgasm with a partner (but it's easy with myself!). Nope, not broken! Nothing to "fix" just ways to maximize pleasure...
12
@11 That's a great point. I have an extremely hard time getting off with a partner--I can't purely chalk it up to their ability as that's only part of the problem--and this is the only time I feel Dan's failed to mention something. I'm not on the pill and got off of all sorts of birth control to see if that would fix the issue. It never did. I've felt like I was messed up for so many years because my boyfriends would get off but I needed to get myself off. I've been in a relationship with someone for 2.5 years and have only gotten off with him once without any help from me. I kind of understand where the post writer is coming from because she is terribly sexually frustrated and not only is her boyfriend able to get off from sex with her, he's able to get off from watching other women, too. So depressing.
13
@1 "inherently" is doing all the work in your argument, sir. Who cares about "inherently" besides you?

When people call something "ghetto" in actual current reality, it ain't about Jews.
14
I agree with @8. LW, if you're reading the comments, stop doing so and go find some erotica! That might be perfect on a couple different levels. Be patient with yourself and good luck!
15
I also had my problems with hormonal birth control, AND the Copper 7 IUD.

However, the Cervical Cap is a barrier method that I can recommend highly.

Smaller, a tighter fit and easier to insert than a diaphragm, and definitely not a libido killer.
17
@1 word

@13 i believe it's the "revisionist" that's doing all the work, and your post is evidence for that.
18
"Maybe because Ive been diagnosed with depression & anxiety"

Everyone but Dan seems to be ignoring this little tidbit. If the LW has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, these may greatly impact libido and ability to orgasm. Furthermore, if she has a diagnosis, she may be on medication for either or both (she doesn't mention it, but medication is common with diagnosis). Many drugs used to treat depression and/or anxiety can also greatly impact libido and ability to orgasm. It is entirely likely that the depression, anxiety, or drugs to treat either has more to do with her not being able to orgasm than the pill.

I would strongly recommend talking to your doctor about this before cutting off any of the medications. You could stop taking the pill and find that it makes no difference if the libido is being killed by depression or depression meds. A good doctor would probably have a better chance of figuring out which factors are causing the problem than random experimentation.
19
UTAH, GET TO AN OB/GYN and discuss this pronto!! There are lots of different kinds of pills, maybe you just need to experiment with a different brand, or...Pros & Cons of different kinds of birth control...
http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-hea…
And while you're at it...ask her/him to refer you to a good sex-positive counselor/shrink! You need to seriously examine your expectations about sex. (I never come and he’s always coming!) That sucks, and hence the OB/GYN/shrink advice, 'cause it sounds like you're holding that against the boyfriend, who is just doing what most twenty-something men/boys do - namely come at the drop of a hat.

As for the rest... you are 20, and I'd venture to say that there are other young women who who think they can't come out there as well. Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. And here's a little inside information, "A LOT of 20-something boys are fumbling around a pussy like blind mice looking for cheese in a maze. One of the things I have learned in my long and storied life is It takes time and experimentation to figure out what "winds your watch", and most helpful of all is throw off the guilt and repression the church (and maybe your parents) have drilled into your head. Anything in excess is not good, but a little porn is NO BIG DEAL. It makes me sad. I cry every time I think about him getting off...What a crock of shit!! Get over the idea that you can control what your boyfriend thinks (or watches)...YOU CAN'T! You have to accept us as we are - and if you can't do that, you will have a long and miserable life (unless you can find some Walter Mitty type that you can mold into your idea of a perfect man.) If you can't do that, do yourself, and this poor guy, a huge favor and move on.

And, by the way, if your guy was "into rape porn" in an all-consuming kind of way, you'd probably know it - as that sort of mindset usually shows up in a shitty personality.
20
Maybe she's a bit asexual?

She doesn't sound convinced she even wants to have an orgasm.
21
Dan provides great info on the potential side effects of the Pill, and @18 beat me to many of the points I had intended to make. But I'll also add that the entire letter is teeming with sexual hang-ups and anxieties that by themselves have the potential to sabotage sexual enjoyment and performance.
22
Lol at the people pretending this usage of "ghetto" refers to shit that went down in Warsaw.
23
@1: Are you really that dumb?
24
Have hope, UTAH - I didn't experience orgasm until I was 18? 19? and then I had two, maybe three until I was 24-25. The key was finding guys who slowed down and cared about figuring out what made me come (and I was too young and emotionally inexperienced to know that was what I needed). That helped me learn what I liked for masturbation, too. It's gotta be the right pressure, in the right place, for the right amount of time, at the right speed. Plus, I need lots of intimate physical contact that doesn't lead immediately to sex (hugging, cuddling, showering together) to stay sexually awake and oriented toward my partner.

Many (not all) guys in their teens and 20's don't have the patience or the imagination, or they feel inadequate themselves for not being able to get you off, so they overlook it because it's easier than accepting they might need to learn something. Try telling your guy you'd like a session of just fooling around--nobody comes, you just figure out what kind of pressure and placement you like, and how long it can last before it stops feeling good. It will be weird, and it's often awkwardly clinical to get into "lower, no higher, no more left, lighter, not that light." It can feel weird to combine toys with being with a partner, and to add lube into the mix, so to speak. But if you treat it as an experiment with no stakes, and keep your sense of humor, you may make some nice discoveries. Even if you don't, spending time focusing on you might also help you feel closer and more valued in your relationship.

Your body will change, too, as you age. I couldn't stand having my breasts touched at 20; now it's amazing. In my 40's, I'm much more comfortable with my body, I'm not too shy to grab my partner's hand and say "feel that? It's my cervix, and it hurts when you repeatedly bang into it before I'm warmed up." And I found a terrific husband who is amazing at helping me feel sexy in and out of bed.

Best of luck.
25
Dan: "phase out your hormonal birth control gradually or if you can stop cold turkey."
You don't "phase out" hormonal birth control. You either take a pill every day or you don't take a pill every day. Just a point of clarification.

As for UTAH:
The porn is a red herring. I am highly sexual and I don't like porn either. I find it vulgar and embarrassing. I don't mind if other people look at it, including partners. You need to come to terms with partners looking at porn and it being their damn business what sort of porn. You don't want to share the porn experience with your boyfriend; you want to porn-shame him, so no wonder he won't talk about it with you. Let it go.

The low sex drive is probably linked to the lack of orgasms. I wouldn't be terribly keen to participate on a frequent basis in activities that were only going to leave me frustrated. Many, many women your age find it difficult to orgasm. I didn't learn the joy of masturbation until I was in my mid 20s. Shame and not knowing what I was trying to accomplish contributed to masturbation being a frustrating experience for me. Does your boyfriend go down on you, use his fingers or toys on you, or does he just fuck you? Most women do not come from PIV exclusively.

It's not weird that you've only had one partner at 20.

All I am trying to say is that you sound very normal for someone your age, and I hope you find something that works for you. In the meantime, enjoy the sex you are having, and explore new ways of having it. Good luck.
26
Dr Z @9: Lower libido is not a universal side effect of the pill.
"Researchers looked at 33 years of studies that included more than 8,400 women taking birth control pills. Of those women, 22% reported a rise in their libido, 15% said they felt less desire, and 63% reported no change at all."
http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/f…

Side effects vary. Some women experience negative side effects like weight gain (those who didn't want to gain weight... I'd have loved to experience the increased breast size my friends "complained" about), and some experience positive side effects like shorter and less painful periods. Women's bodies are very different and hormones affect us in myriad ways.

Reverse @18: Yes. I think there's a greater chance that the depression meds are interfering with her libido than the birth control.

Urgutha @20: It sounds to me like she is desperate to have an orgasm. In fact, she may be so desperate that her worry about it is ironically preventing it from happening.
27
I just wanted to add something: sometimes taking the pill can emphasize depression and anxiety, so if you have a tendency to those, you should absolutely stop taking the pill. It's not a really well known aspect of it, and even many doctors don't know about it, because it doesn't work the same way with everybody, but it definitely may trigger a lot of anxiety.
So LW, please stop taking the pill, and stop blaming yourself for your lack of libido, you are only 20, and at your age, I still hadn't found out what turned me on neither how to act on it or what made me come. Just keep experimenting new things, both in bed and out of it. Try reading erotic tales, for instance, it worked for me. And don't think that porn must be the solution, even when you will find out what will work for you, and your libido rises, you might still not be interested in porn. I don't like it, for instance, even if I have nothing against it, I just don't find arousing.
28
I usually try to form my answer before reading Dan's because I don't want to be influenced by him. I did that for this letter. I usually read the other comments before adding my own because I like the conversational feel of the comments section. I didn't this time. I didn't want to be influenced.

My take while reading the letter was that it was a fake. I don't often get that vibe. It's just that we had someone describing something absolutely normal-- if a bit old fashioned-- while second guessing Dad by saying that she knew he disapproved of everything she was saying. She's in a monogamous relationship. She's had only one partner at 18. She's picky. She doesn't want to "experience" other people. She enjoys sex but doesn't come. She has no urge to masturbate. She doesn't like porn and doesn't like her boyfriend watching it. Her boyfriend initiates sex; she doesn't. It's like she's baiting Dan to go against his principles. For the first 4 paragraphs, I was convinced an older conservative male was the real writer. Something in the last 2 paragraphs seemed more real to me.

Then I read Dan's answer and liked it.

For UTAH: Hormonal birth control can affect libido. So can a lot of other things (like antidepressant meds). 18 is the right time for you to be figuring out what's normal for you. If you go off the Pill, you're going to need another form of birth control. Condoms are a good possibility. They can also help your boyfriend from coming too quickly for you. Talk to your doctor.

Right now, concentrate on enjoying sex without pressuring yourself to orgasm. That doesn't mean orgasms aren't important, just that the whole experience is important too. It's not a race to a goal.

Picky is good. Keep being picky.

More important than orgasms is treating your depression and anxiety. Look to everything else in your life that makes you feel good about yourself. Look at what you're great at: School? Friends? Talents?

And one more bit of advice: Learn the difference between "your" and "you're". It will help you be taken more seriously in the adult world. I'd say it was even more important than using the word "ghetto" correctly.
29
Dan cited 2010 research by Wallwiener, Wallwiener and Wallwiener*:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20487…
*and other authors with not nearly as funny names

The Wallwiener et al. three-way in 2015 found opposite, women NOT using hormonal contraceptive had lowest sexual functioning:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25905…

"Median FSFI [Female Sexual Function Index] was significantly lower in non-users (24.4) versus users (28.7) of contraception (p < 0.001)." [both studies used German-speaking female med students, hardly representative of a general population, much better educated about bodies and sexual functioning]

So, science says maybe, maybe not.
30
Simplest answer is that this young woman is still sexually maturing. I became sexually active at 17 and did not orgasm until 20, and didn't masturbate until 24, with commensurate slow growth of my libido. Nothing wrong with me, my partners, or my contraception--just adolescence proceeding at its own pace. I grew into a libidinous orgasmic woman with a later sexual peak, which is just fine!
31
Thanks so much, Dan, for calling out the use of "ghetto". Makes my blood boil every time! It's definitely a bigger deal than mixing up your/you're.
32
IUD! IUD! IUD!

Yes, some women have trouble (persistent low level bleeding). But if you don't, it's the best thing that has ever happened. Try the hormonal one. The hormones are way lower than in the pill, and result in a nice long break from both PMS and your period, as well as preventing pregnancy.
33
Dan, if she is on meds for anxiety and depression, those meds can also tank your sex drive. Those are harder to go off than hormonal birth control, but something to talk over with her doctors...
34
The pill stops ovulation and all the hormonal stuff involved in ovulation, which IMO is the big reason women don't feel sexy when they take it. Many women report major libido increases around ovulation time, so no ovulation = no sexy. And if she started taking it at 16, her body has probably never even had the chance to develop fully into its natural hormonal/ovulation cycle since the Pill stopped that from happening. In any case, age 20 is absolute babyhood for female sexuality. (It is for male sexuality too, I think, but that's another topic, except for the annoying, high-pressure "if I just keep pushing this button long enough she will come" mechanical mentality that most young men still haven't figured out is exactly the wrong way to go about it)

Many, many women say "I don't get it. What's the big deal?" until well into their 20s, esp. re: intercourse. Ages 35+, 40s -- let's just say "orgasms so intense they cause loss of consciousness." I know a few men in their 40s who began relationships with women their own ages after divorce etc., and they reported absolute swinging-from-the-chandeliers sex, the most intense they'd ever had, because of how insanely their partners were into it. Whether that is because of women increasingly not giving a shit about all the social bullshit they are exposed to the older they get (notice how letter writer spends a ton of time comparing herself to what she thinks she's "supposed" to be doing -- something many women past 35 no longer care much about, resulting in a vastly freer sense of themselves), because of just having more practice, or because of things like your clitoris actually apparently getting larger as you age, I don't know -- probably a combo.
35
If the letter writer has depression and she's on antidepressants, it's very likely that the antidepressants have completely killed her sex drive and made it impossible for her to orgasm. That's a very common side effect of almost all antidepressants.
36
I'm going to add on to what many of the prior commenters have mentioned. I tried many, many different formulas of birth control. Some would make me moody as hell, others would make my breasts hurt all the time, and some would almost immediately take away my sex drive and my ability to orgasm (and I'm a normally high sex-drive, easy orgasm person). I got the copper IUD. It was amazing. It took my body a few months to adjust, but I loved it and when I was ready to get pregnant it happened within just a few weeks of getting it out. The Depo shot also completely destroyed my libido and ability to climax. Antidepressants can also have a big effect on that as well. Talk to your OB and/or psychiatrist and work on changing things up.
37
Two time Obama voter here, Clinton supporter, Sanders sympathizer. I'm saying that to make you understand this isn't coming from some Fox News scumbag: Dan, take your language policing and go fuck yourself. I'm going to keep "ghetto" and "retarded" and even, as a gay man, "faggot" in my vocabulary if I choose. Your having a problem with that doesn't give you any authority over my speech anymore than it does my thoughts. You are free to listen or not listen or like or hate or have any reaction you wish or even no reaction at all, to what other people. That's it. But for thinking that you have the right or moral authority or power to do more, you can go fuck yourself.

If I must choose between being able to exercise my freedom of speech as I see fit or conforming everything I say to win approval from a segment of the political spectrum that's decided censorship is good as long as they get to do the censoring......well, put it this way: I have much more use for my self-respect than I do for the likes of you, Dan.
38
Nothing like getting pregnant when you don't want to be for killing the libido. Be diligent about the contraception if you don't want to find yourself "accidentally" pregnant. And who knows, it might be that you naturally don't have a strong libido. As for porn, maybe stories would be more to your liking than pictures.
39
@26,

I dunno... I didn't get that 'desperate to orgasm' vibe from her. I mean, some of the stuff she wrote:
"I have never really been that sexual."
"I rarely start the fooling around."
"I also don’t masturbate. I never have the urge to."

She talks about how maybe it's because of the pill, or maybe it's because of porn, but maybe... just maybe... she's just not into sex as much as she thinks she should be or thinks she is supposed to be? Instead of trying to force herself to want sex or to want to like porn, perhaps she can just try to accept that she doesn't and be ok with it?
40
Is this how 20-year-olds write now? Because it's a meandering pile of brain barf riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Got about a third of the way through before I quit out of boredom. Take it away, Steve Martin:

"And by the way, you know, when you're telling these little stories? Here's a good idea - have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JLbAePw…
41
@28: She may be painting a prettier picture of her situation as well.

Maybe not "fake" so much as she didn't know what's going on.

@39: Not quite word salad but she could certainly work on her thesis statement.
42
Most (yes, most) antidepressants, in addition to birth control pills, cause sexual dysfunction (lack of libido in women).

Pot is excellent for stimulating desire (everyone should try it—the planet as a whole would benefit).

Porn can easily become an addition (read: bad), especially in the internet age.
43
Lovemaking is not something that comes naturally. It is a set of learned skills, and requires accurate information.

I recommend Sheri Winston 's book Women's Anatomy of Arousal for both info and skills, for UTAH and her boyfriend.

Libido doesn't always come naturally in this crazy sex-negative world where developing teens are being pumped with pharmaceuticals and hormones, and denied important life information about sex.

UTAH needs to get with a doctor and counselor who are both a woman friendly and sex positive, and adjust her birth control and treatment for depression.

Then she and her boyfriend, or a new boyfriend can start practicing skills. Women and men have entirely different patterns of arousal and pleasure, and if they are both expecting hers to be like his, she'll not get what she needs and wants.
44
Please, please, please Dan, please tell every women who emails or calls you to tell you she thinks she is broken, that 85% of women DO NOT orgasm from PIV alone! Also, make sure all these women tell their 20 year old, porn watching, boyfriends!! I am pro-porn, but it makes PIV orgasms look like the "norm". It is NOT! Most women, especially early on, with one single partner, will need clitoral stimulation. PLEASE, I know it sounds repetitive, and I know it seems like everyone should know this, but they don't. Women need to know and love their clitoris.
45
Demisexuality is a controversial phenomenon, but the letter writer just basically ticked every single point on the list of qualifiers. It's basically an orientation akin to asexuality, but closer to what a lot of people see as "typical" sexuality (especially for women): demisexuals aren't interested in sex without affection. Hence the controversy ... a lot of people seem to wind up getting huffy about what that implies about people who are down to knock boots on the basis of a more casual liking, OR they get dismissive because that sounds just like what all "good girls" are supposed to be like. If UTAH can wade through all the critical backseat driving, it might be helpful to have a community of people who feel a lot like she does, regardless of whether she decides she identifies that way or not.
46
@37

How is "Please don't describe porn or anything else as "ghetto."" censorship? It is a request and an attempt to educate the LW on not only why some find the term offensive, but also about how they may be unwittingly presenting themselves to others. Censorship would be not allowing her to use the word, not even publishing her letter for using it. Not only did he post her letter, he also included the word without editing (aka CENSORSHIP).

I am a part black, but "passable" white person, with ancestors who were slaves and live (d) in the ghetto. I also have family members and loved ones with developmental disabilities.

I won't comment on the word "faggot" as you have more claim over that word than I, but I want to let you know what it communicates to me when I hear pejoratives against black people and the disabled. Just like body language and tone communicate more than your words on face value, so does the use of certain language. It tells me that a person may not be safe for my loved ones. They may discriminate against them, harm them, think them lesser humans, or not even human.

You are free to use whatever language you choose, and I will fight for your right to say it, no matter how distasteful I find it. However, some people appreciate a heads up when their language communicates something they don't intend. Dan just gave the LW a polite and measured heads up.

As an aside- I wonder where your line is? Do you have any words you choose not to use in public? Do you openly use the n-word for black people or the k-word for Jewish people too?
47
One other thing she should look into is that maybe she has an undiscovered fetish, one that she has a very hard time coming without. Could be that once she finds that tiny, critical, mental trigger, she gets all the horny happy she could want.
48
venomlash @1, I know, right? Some people just don't get that it's an Italian thing.
49
My daughter found that the hormonal IUD, Mirena, did not reduce sex drive the way the pill did--the levels are much lower. It also has the advantage of reducing periods to almost nothing. However, she had a tough month when she first went off the pill and her body had to get used to lower hormone levels.
50
You know what kills libido? Depression and anxiety. And also the meds that treat them - big time! And bad sex doesn't exactly motivate you, and honey, you're having bad sex with a selfish guy.

Retry masturbation, please! It can take a while for women to orgasm, even when flying solo, and especially when inexperienced. But it'll teach you about your own body and your desires, and it feels damn good, so it might make you more interested in sex.

Also, masturbating during penetration is divine. I find missionary to be the best position for it let him fuck you while you touch yourself. A+ orgasms!
51
I second @19 the idea of talking to an OB/GYN about the pill, and the alternate options available. Even trying a different brand of pills can make a big difference. I remember once taking a certain brand for a long period of time, still felt plenty normal with a healthy sex life, then my insurance changed and wouldn't cover that particular one so they tried giving me a different one that was covered. I turned into a sexy-less robot, beep boop. Cried my eyes out many times trying to figure out why I physically couldn't even get turned on enough to orgasm at all (I had timed myself going solo at about 30 seconds to a minute before, so I certainly knew how to do it), let alone be able to have sex with my fiance that didn't feel like some sort of uncomfortable ordeal.

Out of frustration (and fear there was something wrong with me) I switched back to my old brand even though it was like $40/month compared to the $5 copay from the covered one, and BAM (so to speak).
52
Gay @37: Irony alert! Reader objects to Dan's freedom of speech in objecting to the word "ghetto."
53
There are so many interrelated issues in this letter that determining causation is going to be difficult. UTAH seems to be suffering from general sexual shame/hangups (evident from her feeling like she has to justify her sexual history, the unprompted insistence that she's not judging her boyfriend for his, her normative - and likely unrealistic - expectations around how long it takes her boyfriend to come from PIV sex), pressure to be sexual when she doesn't necessarily feel that way and may be more toward the asexual side of the a/sexual spectrum (she wants to like porn but doesn't, she's tried to masturbate without a real urge to do so; alternatively, she may be sexual but have a more responsive desire pattern), particular hangups around pornography (not in terms of not liking it, but crying when she thinks about her boyfriend watching porn is a pretty extreme reaction), a fairly conservative subculture (at the very least, it's normalized casually racist and classist pejoratives and has conflicting values around sexuality), anxiety and/or depression, and possible complications from medications (hormonal birth control, anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants). Those issues may be largely separate, or causally linked in any number of ways, including feedback loops.

I would recommend starting with trying to sort out exactly why UTAH is feeling so pressured to be or be into things she isn't; is she's seeing a therapist for the depression/anxiety, ze should be able to help with that. Once she can separate what she's trying to do for her own sake versus for the sake of conforming to external expectations/pressures, she can discard the stuff that's not really coming from her and strategize about addressing the stuff that is (unpacking socialized hangups, trying to adjust medications/dosages in consultation with a physician/psychiatrist).
54
The advice in this comment section is good. The only thing I'd add is to focus a lot more on masturbation, with and without a vibrator. A lot of young women don't know how they get off. And of course, a young partner isn't going to be all that much help if you can't get yourself off. Being alone helps remove a lot of the pressure too. Have a glass of wine or smoke a little (pick your poison) and when you are very relaxed, play around with yourself. No pressure- just do what feels good. Get to know your own body really well. Then, show him. You can get orgasm muscle memory- once you start getting off more, it's easier and easier to keep doing it.

This doesn't work for everyone, but I think it's something worth trying. It's a lot of pressure to cum in front of a partner using his body parts when you aren't really even used to doing it by yourself. I second the book rec above.

Hormonal bc never worked for me either. Some of it made me very horny though, so I think it can go in the opposite direction as well. My problem was that it generally made me want to blow my brains out.
55
Also, "ghetto" doesn't have to mean black. But it's always derogatory and is used to describe low income neighborhoods with a lot of crime and other negative connotations about quality as Dan mentioned. In Europe, ghetto very frequently means Muslim neighborhoods (and not always black Muslim) or from the subcontinent (especially in the UK). In Texas, it just as frequently means the lower income Hispanic neighborhoods.

So even though it doesn't always mean black, it always refers to nonwhite poor people. So yea, racist, even though young kids these days don't always intend to use that word that way. It's slang for "dumb, low quality" but it's important to know what your slang comes from.
56
Most depression/anxiety medications make you asexual and make orgasm impossible.

But there are some that are less bad than others, so I would talk to the shrink first.
57
Advice from a medical student who also struggled with the pill and low libido:

I was on the pill from the time I was 16-24 because of severe PMDD. I didn't have much of a libido before that, so it didn't worry me until I was in my early 20s. I react really poorly to most exogenous hormones, so it took three tries to find a pill that didn't make me more of a basketcase than my cycle already was. I came off of it when I was 24 because I wanted more of a libido, and I needed to know whether it was a problem caused by the pill. In my case, it definitely was. Fortunately, my PMDD also resolved by that age.

I had to take Plan B a few months after that when a condom broke, and the nervous breakdown those hormones caused in me (just as I was taking my exams, which was great) was terrifying. Exogenous hormones. Total bummer.

I decided to get an IUD so that I wouldn't ever have to take either the pill or Plan B again. You may think, oh, she must have gotten the copper one. NOPE! I had two different doctors and my own research convince me to go for the hormonal IUD, and I'm very happy I did.

Brief biology lesson:
Estrogen and Progesterone are produced by your ovaries. The systemic effects of those hormones (moodiness, irritability, and horniness, for instance) are caused by them getting into your blood stream and up to your brain. This is a problem when you take the pill because the way it gets to your uterus its by getting absorbed into your blood stream from your GI tract. Some of it travels to your uterus, but it kind of goes everywhere. Therefore, you have to take a relatively large dose to get enough to your reproductive organs- a lot ends up all other places, like your brain.

The hormonal IUD, by contrast, is inserted into your uterus where it acts LOCALLY to convince your uterus not to make a good environment for a fetus. It is a very low dose, and only a teeny tiny amount gets out to your bloodstream. The doctors I talked to, both very open youngish women, assured me neither of them had ever had a patient who complained of emotional or libido side effects of the hormonal IUD. They had both, however, had patients who got the copper IUD ask to have them out because the cramping and heavy bleeding were intolerable- something to consider.

Another piece of advice: If you are taking an anti-depression or anxiety medication, please discuss with your doctor how important to you your libido is. There are other meds, besides the traditionally prescribed SSRIs, that can be prescribed for your diagnosis. Bupropion, for instance, has a much lower incidence of sexual dysfunction than other medications. If you are not on a med for your diagnoses, maybe your low libido is caused by the depression/anxiety. You may find your libido rising by going on even an SSRI.

Lastly, you're 20 years old! Give yourself a few years! The media tells you that by 18 you are in your sexual prime, but it's totally inaccurate. My orgasms are so much better and easier than they were a year ago, and certainly than a year before that.

And honestly, as great as orgasms are, there is much more to sex than orgasm. I've personally only orgasmed once during penetration and it required a vibrator to help- too much work for my taste. I'd rather focus on enjoying what's going on. Find what you DO like and stick with that. That being said, if you are not getting wet (or not getting turned on at all), consider talking to your doctor about whether there could be a biological cause for your problems. Wouldn't you regret it if there was a simple solution and you never knew because you didn't bring it up to your OB/GYN? And if sex just isn't your thing, that's ok, too. :)
58
@57 Thank you, that is what I was going to say regarding the hormonal IUD. I have pcos and it has been such a godsend that I am currently on my 3rd one, even though I also have Essure. Since no one else has mentioned it, I would like to bring up the fact that not only can antidepressants and anxiolytics interfere with libido, as can the conditions themselves, these meds can also react with birth control pills, causing them to be less effective and possibly more side effects. So definitely something to discuss with a doctor. Emma Liz, how can you say that ghetto always refers to non-white, and that we should know where slang comes from, when several others have commented noting its early usage referring to the Jews and Italians? As someone who has lived in the ghetto and IS white, I agree with the rest of your assessment that it always refers to areas that are seen as poor and lower class. I will keep the word in my lexicon, because who aspires to be ghetto? As a general note, not directed at anyone, I am so over people being offended and thinking words are pejorative when they are used in their literal context. Words like retarded, which means a process is slowed down. When I make yeast rolls, the dough is retarded in the refrigerator overnight. I would be okay with someone saying my younger brothers are mentally retarded; they do, in fact learn more slowly. Obviously, even in its literal context, it is a broad term that is not as precise as stating that someone has Down syndrome, or a language processing disorder, or is on the autism spectrum, but it is not inherently pejorative unless someone uses it that way. When someone is mocking you (general) or purposely being offensive, it is obvious and doesn't matter what term they use. Regarding certain words as off limits because some people are offended by them or use them in a pejorative way is, to use a cliché, like putting a band aid on a stab wound. How about improving our (collective) communication skills instead?
59
I'm with @7. The pill didn't knock down my libido, but I got knocked up when I was 19 and didn't have an orgasm until 23 or 24. And that didn't happen until I started masturbating (finally getting over my catholic upbringing) and figured out how I worked. It takes time though, so she should also quit judging herself! She's so so judgey!