Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tisha B'Av

I don't really relate to tragedy on a national scale. It's too hard for me to wrap my mind around; too great for me to fathom. So while many thoughts flitted through my mind this evening - including the sweet dead baby from the Fogel family- what I found myself most relating to was my own issue of sexual dysfunction.

The entirety of Chapter 3 of Eicha brought it home to me. I really connected to those words. They resonated with me.

"He has worn away my flesh and skin; He has broken my bones. He has besieged me and encircled me with bitterness and travail. He has placed me in darkness like the eternally dead. He has walled me in so I cannot escape; He has weighted down my chain. Though I would cry out and plead, He shut out my prayer. He has walled up my roads with hewn stones; He distorted my paths."

"My soul despaired of peace; I have forgotten goodness."

"It is good to hope silently for Hashem's salvation. It is good for a man that he bear a yoke in his youth."

"For the Lord does not reject forever; He first afflicts, then pities according to His abundant kindness. For he does not torment capriciously, nor afflict man."

I feel guilty for relating Eicha to this situation of mine when it was created to talk of much worse situations. I understand that Bnei Yisrael were literally kicked out of their land. Their Temple was destroyed; compassionate women boiled their own children or took food and refused to give it to their children- instead, eating it themselves. I know that Eicha is about national destruction, national turmoil and true exile, but I have to say that when I was in shul hearing those words, they spoke to me on a personal level, not on a national level.

I know the pain I feel is small and like nothing in comparison to what everyone else has suffered and is suffering, but there it is. It's how I feel. I feel like God has given me this test for reasons I don't understand and I'm not sure yet how long I will be living with it. I feel walled in, besieged and encircled. I hope God will help me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


So I read in The New York Times (article link here) that Female Sexual Dysfunction is being added to the DSM-V, the psychiatric manual.

The weird part is, they seem to be defining female sexual dysfunction as having a low libido or lack of desire or not being able to reach orgasm. First off, I'm a bit confused as to why that's a psychiatric disorder. Much of the time, there are actual reasons for why people feel that way (ranging from anxiety/ abuse to hormone issues and so on). Although I guess you could argue that depression is also at times just a chemical issue. But what I don't get is- what about the female sexual dysfunction that people like me are experiencing where we actually have physical reasons for what is going on with us? True, taking a pill won't fix us, but it would be helpful for it to be considered a real thing that insurance would cover therapy for, even if it's just talk therapy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Toll It Takes

So my husband and I have done a pretty good job of selling you the idea that though we have our ups and downs, in the end of the day we're committed and we're sticking together, no matter what. And while this is the ideal, I just wanted to speak to the toll that all of this has been taking on our marriage.

When my husband and I got married, we were very much in love. All you have to do is look at our wedding video (or have attended the wedding) to see proof of that. We're beaming, totally joyous and radiant. We just look super happy on every level.

As I mentioned when I started the blog, the wedding night itself was fine because we didn't even try to have sex- my husband could see that I was scared and so we refrained. But every night after that meant that we were suddenly part of a highly stressful, highly disturbing and unpleasant situation. We said things to each other that we shouldn't have said. We fought and we blamed each other.

Eventually, we achieved some sort of measure of treatment through the Center for Female Sexuality and the dilation kit. But while that helped me to consummate my marriage, that didn't take the pain away. We got to the point where I was totally avoidant when it came to intimacy and sexuality. I would avoid my husband physically and more importantly, emotionally. I emotionally shut down.

And the thing with this emotional shutdown is that it's not easy to see. Anyone who would be invited to our Shabbat table would see a glowing couple happily setting out cholent, kishke, kugel and the likes. It's not that we are trying to give a credible impression of happiness; it's that doing those non-threatening things, we actually ARE happy. But when it comes to any deep emotional intimacy between the two of us, we've each retreated to our trenches. We've pulled away and it's gotten to the point where we need to actually invest a lot of work into fixing it.

I've chosen to get therapy to work on these issues. I really feel like my husband and I have been living in a war zone. It's just that instead of being under fire from bullets, we and my body have turned into the enemies and aggressors. And it got to a point where it was just easier to retreat from one another than to try to turn this situation around.

I am still hopeful and I think that if our marriage is meant to be and meant to last, we will be able to see it through. But I just wanted to be straight with you about the costs of being in this relationship. It's not easy is the understatement of the century.

It's dark in my corner of the woods but I have hope that there's a lantern on somewhere.