I’m addicted to Tramadol and it is fucking up my sex life.
It was first prescribed for a minor back injury and later for osteoarthritis in my thumb, a common malady with Tramadol its common pharmaceutical treatment. As an active guy in my 50s, I’ve got plenty of OA all over the place: thumbs, feet, knees, hips… and OTC meds like ibuprofen help a lot but my gut can’t take them in the amounts my pain dictates so I got into combining NSAIDs with Tramadol and got everything down to a pretty manageable level of hurt.
But then came the side effects and the withdrawal symptoms. and the reason I’m writing about it in my sex blog instead of just bitching to my echo chamber on Facebook.
It turns out that one reason Tramadol is prescribed, something I wasn’t aware of when I started taking it, is the treatment of premature ejaculation. Yes, it slows down the race to the finish line.
PE has never been an issue for me because as I occasionally like to demonstrate, I’m a skilled edger and have been able to control my orgasm to the second, lasting as short or as long as I like, for most of my adult life. I did not need anything to slow me down because cum control is my MO.
But a couple of years ago, after being a regular Tramadol user for some time, I started to experience more frequent bouts of unintentionally cumless sex. More and more frequently, I just wasn’t getting to 10 no matter how long I bumped up against 9.9. I sometimes went days unable to cum, and again, this was not something I was choosing to do but something it seemed my body was doing against my will.
This has become more commonplace lately, with every kind of sexual encounter a candidate for orgasmless conclusions, or I’d just focus on my partner’s pleasure and satisfy myself with his orgasm—which I do love—but damn it, I want orgasms too. I love sperming my penis and I love sharing that moment with playmates who want that cum.
It’s only over the last month that I’ve begun to address the elephant in the room and weigh my options: I can explore other drugs that might alleviate my sexual side effects, or I can just accept and deal with reality: I’m an addict and the drug that’s helped me live with pain has chopped too much joy out of my sex life.
And I know myself well enough to admit that sex makes me happy. Not just having sex and orgasms, but wanting it, thinking about it, smiling at the sexjoy that waves through my whole body when I simply remember I have a penis, when I anticipate putting it inside a hungry bottom, a skilled mouth or a warm, lubricated hand. Sex doesn’t just feel good to me, it is my connecting force, the instinct that draws me to others and joins us. This really makes me happy.
I’m getting older. My body is doing what all bodies do with time and I’m okay with that. Some degree of sexual slow-down is normal and I’m completely okay with that too.
But this fuzzy-headed numbness is a barrier to my joy. It’s like wearing a thick condom all the time and this sexual dampening is not normal.
I still love my penis frequently and I do orgasm, just not as often. It’s a great time to have masturbatory expertise because it helps me work through the fog… but that fog needs to go. It’s not just about orgasms. It’s about welcoming the full presence of sexual joy.
So ultimately, it won’t be the fear of withdrawal, the brain shivers and tinnitus and brain fog that make me stop taking Tramadol, it will be the love of my penis and the greater sexual vitality of my life it expresses that push me to finally break the habit.
Today is my first day ramping-down from 150 mg to zero. Understanding how long it takes the brain to adjust, I’m hoping I can pull it off in just three months but I may not get fully off the shit until Labor Day.
I write this as my declaration of intent. Starting now, I end my relationship with Tramadol and fully restore my relationship with Penis.
Writer, singer, baker, Mac geek, production artist, “daddy” and the founder/manager of Rain City Jacks, a non-profit J/O club in Seattle, Washington.