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Re: Well, apparently I have poor tolerance » Dinah

Posted by Tamar on October 21, 2005, at 20:58:14

In reply to Re: Well, apparently I have poor tolerance, posted by Dinah on October 21, 2005, at 19:31:23

> And I don't really get that. It seems like I tolerate pain all the time, or at least enough of it that I shouldn't be accused of that so much.

That’s a good point. I suppose a question should be: how much pain are you tolerating? And how much should you be able to tolerate? (Compared with what/whom?) Have you ever attempted to assess how much pain you’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis, for a week or so? I’m guessing if T1 is mostly CBT he’ll have tried that sort of thing with you already…

> Like, part of it was in terms of sexuality. It's true that I don't like to have more sex than I need to because it hurts on many levels. But it's also true that I have as much sex as I need to, so that my husband isn't really aware of the extent of the problem. So is the problem that I need to tolerate pain in sex, or anxiety in sex, or whatever she thinks it is?

Interesting example. It seems to me that many people are willing to say that we need to be able to handle grief and anger and disappointment, but that we shouldn’t have to engage in sexual practices that distress us. Is sex very different? I feel inclined to say that it is different… At least… I know that sex can be painful because of particular medical conditions. But if it’s painful in the absence of conditions that are known to cause painful sex, that seems different. And I know that some people like to engage in sexual practices that involve fear and pain and testing trust to its limits… but is that the same thing as feeling anxious during sex that isn’t about BDSM? I still think it’s different.

I think the difference is: if a person engages in sexual activity knowing that she wants and likes sex, and expecting some arousal or satisfaction from it, then it may be possible to tolerate pain and anxiety. But if a person engages in sexual activity knowing that it will not arouse or satisfy her, and hoping mainly that it will be over as quickly as possible, then the pain and anxiety become intolerable. People seem to be able to take a lot of pain during sex if they’re also aroused. Without arousal, pain is only painful.

> Sigh. I thought so too. I seem to remember some textbook or something that had the types of coping mechanisms and their maturity level. I thought distraction was thought of as in the more mature level along with humor and whatever else.

Maturity level? Gosh… I bet mine are all deeply immature! I use humour, but particularly childish kinds of humour…

> And... I'm not altogether sure I do use distraction to avoid issues. I think I tend to use it to reduce my arousal level to where I *can* go back and look at what upset me in a more productive way.
> And I'm not sure why that would be wrong?

I’m with you. It makes perfect sense to me!

It sounds like an area where you could find yourself trying to answer some really difficult and soul-searching questions…





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