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Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. » Dinah

Posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 14:54:44

In reply to Re: Well... (unpleasantly graphic and overdisclosing) » leeran, posted by Dinah on April 26, 2003, at 11:37:03

"I wish they would give warnings for that"

Yes, ratings such as:

M - Mature Content
V - Violence (darn, the "V" word is taken)
S - Sexual Content
E - Excessive Emesis

Would save me a lot of time, adrenaline and angst.

On a completely different note . . . (from how my post started out) -

My husband's favorite line about shopping is "I don't like it - I don't hate it."

Your therapist's suggestion about learning to enjoy sex reminded me of this oft quoted line in our household (besides, considering your comments on auto-eroticism it seems obvious that you DO enjoy sex).

I'm seeing the topic of sexual aversion/pleasure as a big pond that you are somewhat curious about, and you'll stick your big toe in now and then to test the waters - but you don't want to be pushed into anything.

I absolutely abhor being pushed into a pool or a lake (in the literal sense) because if violates my sense of timing, my need to evaluate everything first, and my option of "opting out" if I need to. Plus, I can't blow water out of my nose. Of course, more than anything, it violates my sense of trust in another person (I was a real wet blanket as a kid, I didn't like cartoons, comic books or being pushed into pools :-)

I guess will jump in, finally, and copy and paste what I've been mulling/journaling over for the last few days, regarding my own sexual aversion.

I've gone through periods like you've described but it's often been based on what I'm feeling about the other person. Meaning, I'm turned off by their behavior, or some component of their behavior, and sharing any intimacy seems absurd.

The more depressed I become, the less I like anyone in my space. That's probably not an intimacy issue as much as it is a "fly in the face" annoyance. One of the by-products of depression and ADD with a little menopause thrown in? Who knows.

The rest of this response is entangled in what I will call my "Jungian Belief System" a.k.a. “there are no coincidences in this haphazard collection of events known as my life.” There’s also a lot of restless fear that accompanies almost everything I do, including pushing the “confirm” button every time I post on this board. The black cloud of fear that stations itself in various positions over my head like the moon (full cloud, half cloud) definitely played a part in most sexual experiences over the years.

I don't think I experienced intimacy, which is what has allowed me to push some of that fear away, until I finally found the one person I trust more than any other (my husband). I wish I could say that I trust myself but there’s a lot of uncertainty that gets in the way. My internal, non-stop static makes it difficult for me to believe that I am worth loving, so I am constantly in awe of the fact that my husband seems to actually love me unconditionally. It truly is a unique concept in my life and one that I never thought possible.

As you know from my posts (even more so after yesterday) my issues go way back and the biggest issue of all is trust. It's so simple yet so complex: I grew up not trusting my own mother (and my father, although he was almost excused from that category because he was at work and despite everything else, he passed along these occasional crumbs of wisdom that could be quite profound).

It really does hurt to type those words about my mother because I know it would hurt her, but it is the plain and simple truth, and it is my truth. Along the way, I grew to understand her - and I have always loved her, but I will never trust her.

That lack of trust has always spilled over into every aspect of my life, including marriage and/or any relationship with the opposite sex.

The one "thing" I yearned for, for as long as I can remember, was one person I could REALLY trust (I longed for this from a very young age). That’s why I identified with the first post of yours that I read here (and responded to, regarding a mother figure as I recall?).

I'm sure I sabotaged my previous relationships with my distrust. Additionally, I made poor choices based on my lack of self-esteem, preferring to be "with someone" versus being alone.

My reasons for marrying were definitely based, in large part, on my co-dependence and fear of being alone. Of course, I ended up feeling even MORE alone in my two failed marriages. Call that irony and/or stupidity (times two).

The agony of those two marriages was compounded by the fact that I was horrified to admit that I had erred not once, but twice. I berated myself (and still do, daily, sometimes hourly) for not learning from one failed marriage, but alas, I’m one of those people who always needs to read the instructions a few times before I “get it.”

I think I mentioned in another post that my first husband compared me to a refrigerator. In many ways, he was right, because after three years of marriage (we were married thirteen) he was unfaithful and my heart never thawed out. If he forgot to take out the garbage I would think “you forgot trash night, AND you were once unfaithful to me.” That betrayal made intimacy impossible. He was even able to walk away from counseling feeling the victor, and his party line became “I did it because of you. Dr. _________ says infidelity is an action against a bigger problem, and you had gained weight and I didn’t find you attractive anymore.” Oh yeah, the other gift of counseling was that I didn’t keep up with the laundry, despite the fact that I made more money (something he loved and hated), did all the other housework and had a fledgling career driven by monthly deadlines (as an aside, he had a stay at home mom so it created a lot of conflict in what my role should be, he definitely WANTED me to work, but he wanted everything else, too - and I'm sure this is a unique situation).

Back to the "post affair" a.k.a. the next ten years.

My “static” always welcomes new voices of criticism. I wasn’t thin enough? Fine, I’ll lose weight. I don’t do the laundry right? Fine, I’ll become compulsive about keeping the laundry done.

Meanwhile, the only intimacy I experienced was trying to lick my own wounds in between “self-berating” sessions. I couldn't erase the description of that hotel room where it happened with a woman whose last name he didn't even know from my memory.

Eventually, as I lost weight and felt better about myself I finally said "I am not the refrigerator he makes me out to be." A little voice said: "Yes you are." So, the fixer in me came to the rescue, and brought a v*brator to the self-help session.

Then, the perfectionist in me jumps in and says "so, you had one org*sm, why can't you have another?"

The little voice says, "yes, but I always feel bad after I have an org*sm, like I've done something wrong" and the loudmouth in me (the part that used to love to argue once I was free of my parents home, but ha since run out of cortisol) says “Hey, I'm in control of this machine and this situation”

And that's kind of how I learned to like myself sexually.

Very weird, eh? Sounds like a sex therapy session with Dr. Ruth and Sybil but working through that gave me a lot of confidence. I started to like my body, not based on how it looked but how it could make me feel. There's a lot to be said for endorphins.

I also realized that at LEAST I could be intimate with myself - which made me a little less lonely and helped me feel independent enough to start to not care what he said (or thought) about me. After all, he said I was a refrigerator, yet I could have ten org*sms in a row! Little did he know that I had finally learned to like myself more than I did him (something he didn't bargain on when I stayed with him ten years after the indiscretion).

I see my sexuality as my own, and I guess (in a grudging way) I have him to thank (in part) for that. After all, any criticism sent me scurrying to change and in the end, it was that change that enabled me to finally end the relationship.

So, now I'm a pretty good laundress, pretty handy with a power tool and the weight, well, that's a constant struggle.

Although the intimacy might have moved up a notch in the second very short-lived marriage, the trust was still absent. I had just exchanged one set of problems for an even worse set of problems.

If I learned to come in the first marriage, I learned to go in the second - and fast. It didn't take me long to see that I was in way over my head. A friend of mine once told me that he compared marrying me to "hitting the lottery." He would have broke me financially had I stayed with him and given in to his many whims.

One day, after taking a wonderful trip with my son (minus the second husband) I came to the conclusion that intimacy/marriage was not in the cards for me.

It was just the biggest "oh, well.” Like air sputtering out of an overfilled balloon. It was actually a relief to abandon this quest that, along with a lot of other issues, had tormented me for years.

I also realized that since I was never going to have the type of marriage I had envisioned, I might as well take another look at myself as an option for adult companionship. I was 38 years old and gainfully employed, and although I had gained some weight, I still did a mean load of laundry. As long as I could keep myself in batteries and my son in the same parochial school (not in that order) I figured we would get by.

So, how the heck did all that help with my aversion to intimacy? I guess because I just ceased to care about the “I” (intimacy) word. I had already conquered the sexual part mechanically, so I started looking at myself like a Swiss Army knife. Self-contained and (somewhat) practical.

When I met my third husband (another wince-worthy statement, because the words “third husband” are a constant reminder of “two failures”) it was totally unexpected, I wasn’t trying to meet anyone, I had no intentions of ever marrying again and he lived in California and I lived in the Midwest so I felt totally safe corresponding with him and being myself. I never thought I would meet him in person, or get romantically involved, so for once I didn’t lead with my fear.

Every really great thing that’s happened in my life has been the result of me not being in control. I got pregnant after seven years of marriage with an IUD in place, I met my husband purely by chance the first time I ever went in a chat room, and I found my dog by the side of the road (which is why I've adopted a "there are no coincidences" philosophy).

For me, intimacy/trust are all wrapped up together (someone else mentioned this a few days ago).

I never felt comfortable offering up my most “neurotic self” to another human being for fear of being hurt or made fun of or ignored. My husband is the only person with whom I truly feel safe. Although that has a ring of co-dependency to it, there is also this complete freedom in knowing that this one person will like me no matter what. Intimacy used to be out of the question because of my blanket belief that “people aren’t really there for you when you need them, so why should I give them that little part of me that’s still all my own?” My husband laughs off co-dependency and says "love is, by nature co-dependent." He is a walking/talking self-help book with a beard like Freud.

There are still those days when I feel like I don't want to be touched by anyone. Typically, it’s because I’m distracted by what’s spinning around behind my forehead. I guess that’s having a “touch” of sexual aversion now and then, whereas it used to be chronic.

It’s like this board. We (human beings who wander around the world and the internet) need to feel like we’re understood before we “let it all hang out.” On a message board, in bed, during a sign of peace during a church service, wherever physical or mental boundaries exist.

Plus, I need to make sure that I don’t end up feeling or looking stupid. I don’t want to allow myself to be vulnerable on a mattress when three hours later the same person is going to shut me out in other ways. In my other two marriages, it just wasn’t worth the emotional investment. Sex is great, but those little emotional rejections aren't always worth the price. After two divorces I decided to weigh the rejections versus the endorphins a little more carefully.

So, that's my sexual aversion story - in a nutshell.

Soon, there won't be anything else to tell

When I start describing the contents of my closet and the way my shoes are arranged, please tell me to go away for my own good ;-)




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