Posted by Tamar on April 25, 2005, at 13:18:11
In reply to Re: Sex again. Sigh. » Tamar, posted by Dinah on April 21, 2005, at 20:48:56
So this is my story. I don’t know if it will be helpful to you, but it worked for me.
Here goes (blush blush):
The first thing I had to do was decide that I wanted to enjoy sex with my husband. I had to decide that I wanted it both for me and for him, and for our marriage in general. That was a hard decision because it had consequences.
Then I spent some time thinking about what it would be like if I enjoyed sexual contact. That was weird. I wrote it all down. I wrote how I imagined him touching me, and I wrote how I would feel if I enjoyed it. I had to start small. I had to start by writing about him hugging me and feeling desire for him in response. And I worked up from there to more intimate touch. That was also hard because I felt inclined to write about the reality (discomfort) rather than the fantasy (pleasure). Sometimes I couldn’t face it. It took weeks. But in the end I had a sex fantasy about my husband. I could imagine enjoying intimate contact.
Then I talked to him about how I felt, and that made the next step go fairly quickly, but if you can’t talk to your husband about it at least you can go on thinking about it yourself. And maybe talking with your T?
Then, when we were intimate I tried to understand exactly what I was feeling. I had thought originally that it was all about shame, but I realised there was also embarrassment and disgust and feeling like a child. Again, I had to start cautiously. I had to be sure I could move from feeling the feelings into protective dissociation. I don’t know if that’s a good idea, but it worked for me. At first I could only feel my feelings for a few seconds before everything felt too awful and I had to pretend I was somewhere else, or stop what was happening. And then the next day I’d write down what I’d felt and how awful it was. Eventually I could feel things for longer. I didn’t need to explore the origin of my feelings; I just needed to acknowledge them.
After a while I could identify the different feelings, and then it was possible for me to challenge them. I could think to myself, “I feel embarrassed at being touched. But my body was designed to feel pleasure. Lots of people feel pleasure doing this; there’s no need to feel embarrassed.” If I felt like a child, I could think to myself, “I’m an adult with a sexually mature body fulfilling an adult need.” If I felt sinful I could think, “I’m a married woman in bed with my husband and I’m allowed to enjoy it.” And so on. Basically I had to talk myself through the whole experience.
Eventually (and it took a long time) things got better. It was hard work: at times I felt I just wanted to give up because it was so hard. But it was worth it. There are times now when I don’t have to talk myself through sex at all. There are other occasions when I have to stop several times because it feels horrible, but I can return to the pleasure fairly quickly. It has made an immense difference to my marriage in general; not just to the sex but to everything.
I realise what I’ve written reads a little like a program, but I don’t think it needs to be quite so regimented. I hope at least some of it is useful to you.