Gretchen Molannen suffered in private for 16 years before her life story appeared on the Tampa Bay Times website on Friday, Nov. 30. In the piece, she described the persistent genital arousal disorder that forced her to “masturbate for hours for just a few minutes of relief.” She also told reporter Leonora LaPeter Anton about her condition’s other costs: The judge who denied her disability claims. The doctor who made a joke. The jobs that disintegrated. The boyfriends who left.
Five days later, Molannen appeared in another Tampa Bay Times story: “Woman featured in Times story about sexual disorder commits suicide.”
The suicide drew international attention to Molannen’s story — and to the reporter who told it. “I’m so sorry,” Anton wrote to me when she declined an interview for this piece. “I’ve been just so swamped by all the calls and emails and then I’ve also been reporting.”