Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Let Me Feel My Feelings

Sometimes I want to scream: "Please just let me feel my feelings!"

It is not helpful that every time I say or write something that is socially not the correct or appropriate response or not what you would expect (such as, for example, I feel violated when my husband approaches me and wants to have sex with me) so many commentators jump on me and tell me that either a) I should get a divorce or b) I have serious psychological issues.

It is entirely logical that someone whose experience with sex is that it is ALWAYS PAINFUL but who simultaneously craves and yearns for a loving intimate relationship that is sexual in a positive way feels miserable that the only way her husband can get release sometimes is via non-vaginal penetration. Every time my husband wants to get release in a sexual way, that reminds me of what I consider to be my failure as a woman and as a wife. Since I am currently being avoidant, I try to avoid feeling like a failure (that might also be a kind of coping mechanism). This leads me to not want to engage in sexual activities that are non-vaginal. I also feel used when my husband cums outside of me because it makes me think of myself as part of an I-it relationship (namely, as an object that excites pleasure) rather than an I-thou relationship (the two of us together engage in some sort of sexually blissful experience). Granted, my husband doesn't intend to treat me like an object and he does love me, but that doesn't change how I feel.

It seems sometimes like people who comment here are more uncomfortable with this whole situation than I or my husband am. I think you're uncomfortable with all the concepts involved- a non-traditional marriage/ relationship where sex is not playing the major role, the fact that sexual dysfunction exists in the first place, the fact that sometimes I feel violated even though my husband has good intentions etc. To this I say: Too bad that you feel uncomfortable, that this wouldn't be the relationship that you would want to be in and that for you this would end in divorce. My story doesn't have to end that way. Just because our life is somewhat tragic right now doesn't mean we have to exaggerate the tragedy by ending the marriage completely. 

Let me feel my feelings. Even if my feelings scare or bother you, even if they include wishing I was single or dreaming about other imaginary sexual partners. If my own husband isn't scared by my feelings, non-traditional or out-of-the-box as they might be, why do you need to be? Why do you need to judge? Everyone has ups and downs. I have good days where I love my husband and want to express that love sexually and I have other days where I am in the dumps and dreaming about never having sex again. People have to learn to let things be, to let people grow at their own pace, to let them feel their feelings. Obviously, you don't have to agree with all my decisions or points of view, but to be such Debbie Downers and spend your time informing me of the mental issues you think I have or deciding I ought to get a divorce- well, you should be ashamed of yourselves. What you should be doing is rooting for me and my husband to move on, get through this and become an even better and more loving couple together. We want to beat the odds and end up together. You should be praying that that happens for us too.

I was thinking how so many of you, if your kid said they were gay would be all like "Oh Lady Gaga Born This Way, Rah Rah Rah, Gay Pride Parade, Hurray' and you would let your kid feel his feelings, no matter what they were. Why are you kinder to someone who has discovered he's attracted to members of the same gender than you are to someone who is trying to figure out how to cope with something which is basically chronic pain in the sexual department? Would you tell a woman who was incontinent and peed herself when she laughed or had sex that it doesn't matter and she should just sleep with her husband anyway, even if she's really embarrassed because she might urinate? Wouldn't you comfort her and say you understand how ashamed she feels and how hard things must be for her? A lot of you are not getting this point: Just because there's something that to you seems to be the logical solution doesn't make it the right thing to say or the thing that the person on the other end of the conversation needs to hear. 

I want to get to the same place that you guys want me to get to, where I have sex with my husband and he's happy and it's not horribly painful for me. At the least, I want to be able to get him off without feeling upset or miserable. Telling me that I'm a bad wife, have psychological problems or should get a divorce isn't the way to get me to that goal.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that a marriage where "sex is not playing the major role" is now considered non-traditional. If that's the case, I can see why people immediately advocate divorce when there's a sexual hiccup.

Sounds like a lot of people think marriage means "I'm committed to you until there's a problem, then we part ways." I would hate to be married and think that my ability to provide my spouse with a certain sexual sensation was the only reason he would be willing to spend the rest of his life with me.

Anonymous said...


You have every right to feel the way you feel and it doesn't mean that you need a divorce or have a major psychological disorder. It seems like you are seeking and getting plenty of help already and deciding for yourself what works and what doesn't. The thing is, when you "vent" to people (which, I'm assuming, is partially what this blog is for, but I'm talking "in person" as well), there are some who realize you just want a listening ear and sympathy. There are others, on the other hand, who feel they need to "fix" the situation and give unsolicited, and often totally unhelpful, advice. When you are venting to a friend, you can choose who that friend is based on past experiences. When you vent on a blog, you have no clue who is reading, and it could be that they are the "Advice" type in whom you really wouldn't normally confide! If the comments are making you feel worse, divorce or medication is definitely not the answer. However, you may want to evaluate whether the blog itself is helpful to you, or not.


MiriamR said...

You and I are on the same page. I, a fellow Orthodox Jewish vaginismus sufferer. The feelings of shame and avoidance happen to me too. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this is happening.
I'm sorry some commenters do more hurt than harm.

Keep hanging on. I truly believe you'll get through this to a place beyond your dreams.


a guest said...

B"h I do not suffer from sexual pain. But my husband and I (married a little over a year) have had some difficulty getting to a place where both of us are satisfied with our sex life, and some of our worst, most painful fights have been about that. The two most important things that I have learned so far are: 1. My needs and feelings are legitimate, even when we compromise. 2. Keep the lines of communication open.
I'm really sorry you're going through this and that you feel so alone.

AriSparkles said...

That guy who said to get a divorce was very much in the wrong. I am rooting for you.

Dreamer said...

You go girl!

You remind me of this video.

Anonymous said...

Along the lines of what C.G. said, I was thinking maybe you need to turn off comments altogether (is that possible?). But I know that would then keep away the helpful suggestions and encouragement. --YCF

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and I truly wish you and your husband get to a good point.

However, the line that he was referring to, and seeing it kind of struck me also was when you wrote "I just don't like feeling like it's my responsibility to give him some sort of sexual release."

Well, whose is it? You are is wife. According to societal convention and halacha, that is exactly part of your responsibility, to give him sexual release. He has the same obligation to you, it is part of the marriage contract. No one says that with your issues, you need to get him inside you, but if you don't even feel responsible to help him sexually, then what exactly is your role as wife? To cook? clean? help pay the rent? Is it his own responsibility to get himself off? Is it some other lady's?

Your role is to be intimate with him on all sorts of levels. Emotionally and physically. If you can't put him inside of you then, you can't. But to not feel responsible to give him sexual release outside of you is something completely different. That is troubling.

Anonymous said...

Well, in all fairness, she said that she doesn't like feeling responsible for it, not that she isn't responsible for it or doesn't feel responsible. Isn't that the point of her post? That she needs space to feel what she feels while she works on getting to a better place?

Anonymous said...

Hey there.... Hope u r feeling better now ... Please do not take these comments to ur heart... They don't know what u r going through and the judgements r based on ur blog. They don't realise these r some of the passing moments.... Sorry if I hurt you by giving my experience and advice. I know that you both love each other.... Have been in ur shoes earlier . You will overcome the difficulty sooner or later... Trust me its a wonderful journey you r taking now...... You both r building a very strong foundation for ur relationship...that's more important buddy ...remember u in prayers .. please let me know if its ok to mail you. Take care ...K

wounded butterfly said...

Hi there,

I have been following your blog for a few months now, although I have never left any comments. I have to say I am impressed by your honesty and even though my situation is different from yours, I so often relate to what you are feeling.

Feeling used by your husband even though he is so patient and is only asking for a handjob from time to time probably would have seemed to me like a deep psychological problem... before it happened to me.

Ignorance of your situation is what motivates most of those comments which are so hurtful to you.

You are absolutely right when you say that it is logical that someone who has only experienced painful sex wants to drop sex altogether. I will even push this further: my experience with sex has not ALWAYS been painful, and yet after only a few months of painful sex (and surely not as painful as for you), I sometimes (more and more often now) have the same feeling when I give oral sex or a handjob to my boyfriend, even though he usually doesn't even ask for it.

I wonder if this is not just a mechanism of my body, saying "well, last time you were aroused, you ended up with a pack of ice on your vagina, so now I will disgust you of sex so it won't happen again." Wouldn't that seem logical?

Hang in there, just because a lot of people leave hurtful and non-understanding comments doesn't mean that there are not others who relate to your posts, whether we comment on them or not.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there SJW. This is YOUR blog and your feelings should not be censored under any circumstance. If people find your posts confronting that is not your problem.

This is part of your journey and should serve as a much needed avenue of release for you and others like myself.

Getting back in the routine of regular dilation is the way to go and you know inside that you are better off trying than not at all.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

I wholly understand where you're coming from. Stay strong and you'll get through this.

ח"י said...

And you are 100% right. You go girl, for not taking their comments to heart, and for telling those i***ts off!

Yocheved said...

YES! Everything you just said, 100%.

It's human nature to avoid doing things that cause us pain, and to avoid feeling like a failure. Totally and completely normal response, IMHO.

That doesn't mean that we have to settle for that, or use it as an excuse, or stop trying to get better - and that's not what we're doing.

We ARE trying, G-d knows how hard we're trying. Don't let anyone tell you "oh, your poor DH is suffering more than you are", because that is pure BS and you know it. Not having relations never killed anybody!

Hang in there, and thank you for all the wonderful writing you do. I'm davening that we all should have a refuah sheleimah SOON!