triple trigger stacking Sunday sex talk #mentalpod #recovery #mentalillness #shame

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart. The aftermath of a triple trigger stacking Sunday. First, I read Robin Korth’s blog post, “The Naked Truth” about how she handled sexual rejection. I wrote this comment in response:

Thank you for your courage to write this piece. I am a 58 year old woman who struggles with the meaning of sex and what it means to be romantic and sexual in my relationship with my husband. It is a very ‘touchy’ subject.

What I notice about this story is the different meanings of sex between you and Dave. Clearly you did not know that Dave viewed sex as a recreational activity. As a recreational activity he required certain conditions to enjoy himself. My sense of your approach was that you viewed sex as an expression of deepening intimacy, of removing layers of protection to experience bonding with a kindred spirit.

I agree, Dave was honest, and unintentionally cruel. I also agree that his attitude, actions and words were hurtful, as you struggle to set aside a lifetime of enculturation to self-hate your body, and find new meaning for living with the advancing imperfections of age.

What I see revealed through this experience is difference. My questions would be – is it a difference that is worth more in depth discussion, no matter how difficult? Or is it better left alone, no matter how much hurt has been inflicted?

We learn and change by broadening our perspectives and deepening our understanding. This process often entails difficult conversations to put painful feelings into words, words that are carefully chosen to mitigate damage but convey deeply held sentiments.

I would be curious what a fulsome discussion would reveal – how does Dave see his body? His attractiveness at his age? How does he feel about sex? What are his beliefs about the meaning of sex – early in a relationship, over the course of the lifetime of a relationship? How would it feel for you to truly express your hurt and indignation of being turned into a sex toy? How would you describe your own beliefs about the meaning of sex at this stage of your life? What do either of you consider ‘sex’? What do either of you consider intimacy? How do you each feel about becoming more intimate with each other? What fears does deepening intimacy bring up?

Can I have coffee with the two of you and discuss these questions more fully? : ) kidding.

The truth behind this post is that I have not had sex with my husband since before 2010. I can’t remember when we last had sex, I do remember the last time we had sex. It hurt. When he is erect, my husband has a large penis. Since menopause, I have found vaginal intercourse painful. We have never been able to really talk about sex in our relationship. When I try to broach the subject of sex, his pat response is, “Talking about sex this way does not turn me on. Do you have to be so clinical?” And I, who am deeply sex-shamed at my core, just crumple up and withdraw from the attempt. I feel sexually rejected just trying to talk about sex, much less having unsuccessful sexual encounters that just fizzle to nothing. A lot of pain under the surface.

We love each other deeply, and a testament to the depth of our love is that we have managed to adapt to this lack of sexual intensity in our relationship. Our inability to talk about sex and find other ways of experiencing a gratifying sexual relationship with each other continues to be an area of our relationship that we are committed to improving. For the most part, we are both able to put this part of our relationship on the back burner and enjoy the life we are building together. Some days, though, I get triggered and my body shame comes welling up like a tsunami of self-hate. So yes, that was part of my Sunday triple trigger stacking.

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