Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know by Keane.

Many people have special places. These are places that have impacted their lives in important ways. The place you were when you found out you got your first job. Or the place where you first kissed. Places full of magic and joy.

For some reason this song caught my attention. I feel like my husband and I need to travel to that place, to somewhere untouchable, someplace only we know- in order to get ourselves back together. There's been so much stress on our lives, whether it's due to work, family issues, the sex issue, how the sex issue is sapping away all of our money that I just find myself being avoidant. I don't even want to deal with the sex issue anymore. I just want to leave it alone completely.

My husband's more persistent. He wants me to choose some method of pursuit: continuing with sex therapy, pelvic floor therapy, working with dilators- something. He wants me to be actively doing something, not just assuming everything will fix itself. It's really hard to actively do something when you're trying to just push away, deny or avoid the fact that you even have a problem in the first place.

I like to pretend that the pain will just go away on its own. Then I do a bedikah and just the insertion of the finger or the tampon hurts and I remember that the pain isn't imaginary. It's really there. And I get frustrated and angry. I've even become avoidant with bedikahs. I only do the first and seventh days; I don't like having to do the in between days. (I have no one's psak to do this- it's just something that I'm doing because I don't feel like I can deal with things otherwise.)

I just want to run away from myself and from my life. I want to go 'somewhere only we know' with my husband and live in that fantastical in-between teenage/adolescent phase where you have all the sweaty joy of kisses and making out with none of the penetrative pain I know comes after.

I know running away from my problems isn't really a solution. I know being avoidant isn't one, either. But I'm in a dichotomy where what I know in my brain isn't working with how I'm feeling. I feel like if I just avoid the issue, it will go away. Of course it won't and in the meantime my husband (even if, as those of you who are reading have suggested, I pleasure him in other ways) will be really frustrated. Regarding that whole issue of pleasuring my husband in other ways, I feel (unfairly/ wrongly maybe) used when we do that. Like my hand or my body is some sort of object that, if rubbed against, satisfies a need. It leaves me feeling dissatisfied and unclean. I know that none of that is fair and that there's no reason to think that way- and yet that's how I think. This is aside from the fact that at this point I have some sort of aversion to all things sex- the smell, the stickiness of the semen, the rubbing - everything.

Running away is often portrayed as a romantic solution. Go run away with someone you love or elope and that's supposed to be a good thing. In this case, of course, the real issue is to stand and confront the issues, not to run from them. But even though I know that, I have absolutely no desire to do it. I just want to be safely cocooned somewhere in the loving/ warm part of our marriage (the conversations, massages, kisses, touch) and away from everything else I dislike (stickiness, feeling used, pain upon penetration, my body hating me and me hating it back. Like in that Gemara/Talmud where the butcher chops off the hand that accidentally cut him- it's stupid, but it's still what you do when you're mad. You just become self destructive.)

If I had to take my husband 'somewhere only we know' to try to work this out, where would I take him? Where would we both feel safe? I feel like it would have to be someplace in nature. Maybe sitting on the top of a sand dune staring out at the beach. Or watching a sunset from the beach. Or sitting at the top of a snow-covered hill with a sled beside us. I don't know- there's something cozy in my mind about us two together there in the vastness of nowhere- just us, but so much space all around us. Of course, there's only so much that talking can do for us. There comes the point of action and doing and that's where I'm not really motivated. I'm resenting my husband for making me perform these potentially growth-oriented steps even though I know it's for our own good. I guess I'm getting a preview of how kids sometimes feel towards their parents...


regularanon said...

Your husband doesn't need sand dunes or sunsets or snow covered hills. He needs a sexual outlet, something that is as fundamental to a marriage as a house, food and breathing.

Imagine if you didn't like food very much and basically lost your appetite to the point where all food made you nauseous but your husband still liked and needed to eat. Would your solution be to go sit on the beach and think about how sad the situation is?

You could say "Well, he could buy and make his own food". But that wouldn't further your marriage relationship as much as cooking him a delicious meal and serving it with love.

I've said this in previous comments and will say it once more: Providing your husband with a loving sexual outlet has absolutely nothing to do with your vagina. There are plenty of ways to satisfy your husband lovingly that does not involve penetration. If you cannot even bring yourself to do hand/blow jobs, that is a serious, serious problem, more so than the vaginismus itself.

I realize you are very young, and maybe you haven't had so many relationships and this whole marriage thing is new and scary. But you must face this and fully understand the consequences of both of your feelings.

I will add one more point: If you really love your husband as much as you say you do, and after much work and soul searching you just cannot get over your issues with sex, there will come a point where you need to contemplate letting him go so he can live a normal life that includes satisfying sex. It would be cruel not to.

Anonymous said...

I think regularanon above is completely wrong, and cruel to boot. Sex is fundamental, sure, but it ain't everything -- not enough that your husband needs to be freed from you. Sheesh. If I were a lesser person I would resort to name calling.


I think what you need is a honeymoon, a little safe cocoon just for the two of you to remember how well your hearts work together, even if the bodies won't cooperate. And for some reason -- and this may be funnier in my head than in real life -- my first thought was: The Catskills!


understands said...

I think that more people have issues with sex than we realize in our hyper-sexualized culture. I don't think you are alone. I know what you mean about feeling (when you pleasure him in other ways) that you feel like an object. I don't know what the solution is, but I think if your relationship is fulfilling in other ways, this can be enough.

Joseph said...

Dear SJG,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this important issue.
Your post made me think of this video.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most telling point in this post is that you stated sex makes you "feel used."

Anonymous said...

I have known of two couples who have gotten divorced due to emotional and issues of fidelity. Both of whom remarried to each other almost 10 years after the divorce. One divorced again and the other couple is madly in love (with one anotger) and are expecting a late in life baby soon. Your situation is a little different but maybe you need to seperate for a while and sort out the issues.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Completely disagree with the first and last posts. What is marriage if you separate when you're struggling?

Totally understand the feeling used part. Just started sexual abuse therapy so that when I get married I can enjoy sex with my husband without that feeling of disgust and resentment. Pleasuring him just to give him release would be soul-crushing to me, even though it's not a bad thing.

You're working on it, and working through your feelings. Being mighty brave, too.

Anonymous said...

Double UGH.

Anon @ 7:35> She didn't say that SEX made her feel used -- she said that hand jobs made her feel used. And that would be because she sort-of IS being used. Of course it is kind and loving to participate -- but when you've dreamed all your life of having actual intercourse with the love of your life, giving them a hand job is not exactly satisfying, emotionally or physically -- while it is at least physically satisfying to her husband.

Maypaki said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

regularanon was harsh, but he or she is right over the long-term. I truly hope it doesn't come to that for this couple.

People with a healthy perception of sex do not feel used or non-consenting or unloved or in any way diminished when they have sex of any kind with a consenting spouse. If Sad Jewish Girl were to give her husband a blow job and resent him the whole time, then really she'd be using herself: doing what she thinks is right for entirely the wrong reasons. But if she were to give him a blow job because it makes her happy to see him happy, because she understands and truly believes in her heart that sexual intimacy is important for a married couple, then she is generous and loving, not used.

The root problem here is Sad Jewish Girl's shame about sex, so that something loving and generous gets twisted into something degrading. I'm very sorry about your situation, SJG, and I hope you feel better soon. Hopefully your husband's enduring love for you and commitment to you will start to change your perspective, little by little.