Home Pop Culture Woman with debilitating sexual arousal disorder commits suicide. But why?

Woman with debilitating sexual arousal disorder commits suicide. But why?

Gretchen Molannen
Gretchen Molannen
Gretchen Molannen
Gretchen Molannen

Thirty nine year old Gretchen Molannen this weekend took her own life after years of battling a debilitating condition that consistently left her experiencing constant, uncontrollable orgasms.

Said to have begun suffering from persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) at the age of 23, Ms Molannen could only find relief after masturbating for hours upon end. As opposed to being psychologically aroused, Ms Molannen’s impulse to relieve herself where alway physically inspired.

Perhaps what is most beguiling about Ms Molannen’s suicide is the fact that the Tampa Bay Times had done a profile on her weeks before her suicide which leads one to wonder did the interview only magnify for her the grief she was experiencing or was it simply coincidence that she killed herself a few short weeks after a feature on her was released?

‘I had such a different life before this thing, this beast, took over,’ 

‘I used to love life. But this has destroyed it. This isn’t living. What’s the point? I think about suicide all the time.’

Continued Ms Molannen in her interview:

‘I was terrified. I couldn’t get unaroused. I didn’t know what to do.’

Her distress over the condition made her attempt suicide three times in the past year, something that may have been preempted by the fact that she was a devout Lutheran and constantly feeling ashamed because of her sexual arousal.

‘I know that God wants more out of my life than having me testing out suicide methods, constantly crying and abusing myself,’ she said.

Forced with having to constantly relieve herself for hours upon end, Mds Molannen stopped working in 1999 and began spending most of her time in her bedroom and her vibrator.

During the interview she went on to mention how a neighbor used to molest her, which caused her to wonder if that was her way of being punished by God for being bad.

‘I used to love life. But this has destroyed it. This isn’t living. What’s the point? I think about suicide all the time.’

Attesting to the deep degree of shame and resignation of her disease the UK’s dailymail note the following:

Describing the first time she felt it, Ms Molannen said she thought it was just a hormonal change women went through that they didn’t talk about, so she suffered in silence for ten years.

‘I noticed something wasn’t right any more but thought maybe I’ll grow out of it. So I waited and waited – its been almost 16 years and I’m still waiting.’

Describing the orgasms she experiences, she said: ‘All the feelings that people have when they are aroused, they’re there. The genital congestion, throbbing pulsating, heart pounding, it’s all there but the difference is tremendous anxiety – anxiety which is devastating and traumatizing.

‘I try to tell myself it’s not real and just ignore it. Sometimes I can resist it and sometimes I just can’t.’

Breaking down in tears she told the Times: ‘I had no idea other people were going through this

‘I wish I could have told my mom, and even my dad about it. I wish I could have told my parents’ friends I wasn’t in my room wasting my life away.’

Her story only came to the attention of the media as a result of an ad she placed on craigslist at the beginning of this year seeking help. At the time she sought a free MRI scan so she could prove she had a disability given she had been denied disability insurance twice and had no way to earn her keep as she was constantly forced to relieve herself. In part Ms Molannen survived as a result of her boyfriend assisting in various expenses.

The disease itself according to the Journal of Sex and Marriage Therapy, can come as a result of any number of events or medications which then trigger the disorder, including going off antidepressants, starting menopause, and even a bad fall.

It isn’t entirely clear how many women suffer from the disease, but experts estimate it to be in the thousands.

Perhaps one of the biggest tragedies of Ms Molannen’s death is the fact after the story was published – and after she had committed suicide – a number of people reached out to the paper to offer their help. Help which unfortunately was way too late in the coming.

At present it is not clear how Gretchen Molannen killed herself.


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