Gretchen Molannen, a 39-year-old woman who lived with a rare sexual disorder in Florida reportedly committed suicide after a story ran about her condition in her local newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times.
The Tampa Bay Times reported she was found dead of apparent suicide Saturday in her Spring Hill, Fla., home after the story was published online Friday, a day before her death. The newspaper defended the story, though, saying Molannen had helped edit it herself and thanked the publication prior to the suicide.
Molannen was the subject of a profile in the newspaper about her condition called genital arousal disorder. The condition makes a person have continuous sexual arousal around the clock, believed to be caused by a nerve malfunction. Molannen, and other sufferers of the disease, said they are constantly sexually aroused physically, but not mentally and have no other choice but to masturbate for relief.
Molannen said the condition from which she suffered for more than 16 years caused many difficulties in her life. For 10 years, she had no idea what she was suffering from until a woman appeared on "20/20" with the same ailment. She said the genital arousal disorder inhibited her job performances, causing her to be unable to keep a steady job for more than a decade.
She also admitted to having attempted suicide three times in the past year.
“This isn’t living. I think about suicide all the time. It doesn’t mean I want to do it,” Molannen told the Tampa Bay Times in the initial profile. “I don’t want to do that. I want to enjoy life. I used to love life.”
"I know that God wants more out of my life than having me testing out suicide methods, constantly crying and abusing myself," she said.
The newspaper, though, defended its profile on Molannen, saying she had agreed to tell the story back in July. The Tampa Bay Times also wrote Molannen edited the story herself after it was "read to her word for word" and even requested to remove some small details.
The story was published Friday, and the newspaper said Molannen did not respond over the weekend after an inquiry. On Monday, it learned of her death from Molannen's boyfriend, who said she had committed suicide and "the story won't help her now."
The Tampa Bay Times reported that after the article was released, many organizations, legal and medical professionals, responded, offering help to Molannen. Previously, she admitted in the profile that she had been rejected of medical and insurance benefits in the past. The newspaper also said that Molannen thanked the writer last Wednesday for doing the story.
"Thank YOU for taking an interest in doing a story for me!" she wrote, according to the paper. "I am flattered that you cared so much to want to help. I just hope this will educate people that this is serious and really exists and that other women who are suffering in silence will now have the courage to talk to a doctor about it. If men have suffered with the shame of impotence or even priapism, now it's time for women to get help as well. Thank you for your patience with me and for devoting so much time to this. I'm sure your editor is very proud of your work, and I'm excited to see my own story online."