Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex (Part One)

I was awakened last night with a kind of scary epiphany. I think I have become a-sexual. As in, I have an utter lack of concern with sex. I could care less. I don't want it, I am doing fine without it, and I cannot imagine a situation in which it would be desirable. That is really scary. Prior to marriage I was very comfortable with my sexuality. I enjoyed sex, a LOT. I pursued, I enjoyed being pursued. There were the occasional one-night stands, testing of the waters. I didn't have sex for the first time until I was 19 and a freshman in college. I was going to save myself for "the one" and guys that age seemed to run pretty fast when they realized they were not getting the goods, so "the one" was impossible to find.

Enter my first real boyfriend. We started as friends. Over time I noticed that I was attracted to him though he wasn't the norm for me. He was a large, dreadlocked black man which was a huge no-no in my part of Texas. But we shrugged off the cold stares and hateful comments. He was a sophomore, older and wiser. Once he admitted that he had a thing for me, we carefully began feeling our way around a relationship. I was absolutely terrified because I knew that he had had sex before. I had to take Valerian root - a natural sedative - just to spend time with him. I was nauseated any time I was with him alone because I didn't know what was coming.

One night, while we were feeling each other out, quite literally, I felt something in no-man's land. I immediately jerked to attention and told him that nothing could happen and he told me to relax, it was only his thumb. Maybe a minute or two of cringing discomfort later he said, "I guess I should carve my name in your heart".

"What?" I asked.

"We just made love," he replied ever so sweetly.

That was it. That was my first time. I didn't even know that it happened. Now, because I felt that I had to stay with him because he was now "the one", after about a month of making him keep his distance I decided to let him be my teacher. He took that on with great joy. For the next four years, on and off, he taught me everything I know about sex. He was a wonderful, spiritual teacher and I was an eager student.

From that introduction came what was very nearly an addiction to sex. I cheated on every boyfriend I had because if an opportunity came along, I was not about to turn it down. I relished each guy as an important life experience. They made my life richer or taught me that looks didn't equal capability in bed. And from 19-25, sensuality was a defining aspect of my persona. I exuded it, as I was told by so many.

Fast forward to now...

I haven't had sex in probably a year or so, and a year and a half before that, but I don't miss it. I'm no longer sensual in any way. I let myself go, gained weight, lost my self-confidence. And now I have an actual physical reaction to the thought of having sex with my husband. I literally shudder. I don't think that it has anything to do with Patrick. He is a kind man and we are getting along spectacularly. I know that I am doing a grave disservice to our marriage by not having sex with him. There are so many possibilities for why I don't. We have spent our entire marriage trying to figure out why one or the other didn't want to have sex. In the beginning, say...the first five years, I wanted it and he didn't. And now, he wants it and I don't.

Now I have to figure out why. Just the intro to this topic has gotten rather long, so I will continue later with some of my rationalizations. In the meantime, have any of you ever gone for long periods without desire? Did you have a valid reason or was it a social drought? How do you feel about sexuality as a defining feature of yourself?


  1. Oh, Erin, it makes me so sad how, in many ways, I can relate to your pain. To keep it simple, though, I'll just answer your questions as best I can. Apologize in advance if this is TMI : )

    Yes, I've gone for long periods of time without desire. I've had several bad things happen to me that connect to sex in certain ways and forms. I'm still traumatized, to a degree, but I used to be REALLY screwed up about it. I went asexual for awhile, then I went promiscuous for awhile, then things were normal for awhile once I met my husband and in the early years of our marriage, but now ... well, he's going through some personal stuff, so we don't really have sex anymore.

    Do I view sexuality as a defining feature of myself? Absolutely. Pleasure and the levels you can reach, the way things are different for everyone ... it seems like they pretty much are defining features of you, in a way.

    I have been where it sounds like you are, and I hope you're able to come to a place that works best for you and your family. I'm really proud of you for writing this post : )!

  2. Ok so this isn't at all the same of what you're talking about, but it's a point (I think) worth mentioning.

    It hasn't happened with Ceelo yet, but usually, every boyfriend or so, after the first month of having sex just about every day, I go through week-long droughts where I'll want to have nothing even remotely close to sex. I used to think it was because sometimes i just wanted "quickies" and that was impossible with certain people, so then I became lazy with it.

    With Ceelo? It can be anything I need it to be.

    And it's always *ALWAYS* nothing short of amazing.

  3. I have struggled with this a lot, my dear. In relationships and outside of them. I wish I had advice for you, but all I can say is that you are not alone. I'm guessing there are a lot of books out there on this topic if seeing a therapist is outside of your price range or your comfort zone. I might look up a few myself...