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Yep, that’s a phrase I overheard while giving someone a pedicure today.  It was spoken with sympathy and hopeless for the man the two women were discussing.  At first I laughed (only in my head, I didn’t want to seem like I was eavesdropping on their obviously private conversation) because it’s a funny word picture… but tonight it makes me cry because it pretty much describes me and embodies all my fears of being intimate in a future relationship.

My ex told our youngest daughter that I was “horrible” in bed.  It’s totally true, I will own that statement.  Our sex life was all about feeding his addiction and therefore not at all about meeting my sexual needs, not that I even knew I had sexual needs for the majority of our marriage…  Couple that with my childhood teaching that all sex outside of marriage was bad alongside no teaching whatsoever about what sex within marriage was supposed to consist of and my poor ex husband had 20+ years of me laying there like a log while he got his fix, sometimes multiple times a day.  A few times a year he would insist on bringing me to orgasm and a even fewer of those times it actually worked but it was a mechanical sort of thing on my end and a pride-soothing accomplishment on his.  So I own it, I am Bad In Bed.  But for him to tell our daughter makes him an outright Ass, something he refuses to own, although not what this post is about…

So one of the biggest reasons for staying single for the rest of my life is that I will never be made fun of or described to another person as being Bad In Bed.  I will never again feel that my sexual pleasure is more effort than it’s worth to another human being.  And honestly, my ex – being the one and only man I’ve ever slept with – he never really gave me any true sexual pleasure so if I went the rest of my life without it I wouldn’t really know what I’m missing and therefore be (mostly) ok with it.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

My friends at school looked at me with pity, love and concern when I told them I had 20 years of Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am.  One gal said “Oh honey, somebody’s going to rock your world!” and then they all tried to think of who they knew that I could date… <insert flat stare here>

But if my world is never rocked it will be easier to be alone.  I can stay a sack of potatoes in bed, breathing through my inspiration-for-alien-movies CPAP mask while tossing and turning all night long, so much so that my FitBit said I walked 50 steps last night…  All of this won’t bother anybody if there isn’t anybody to bother.

There isn’t even anybody to ask about having sex, especially again, after divorce.  Nobody in the church will talk about it, I can’t find a counselor who takes appointments in the evenings, when I’m out of school and I’m not comfortable talking to any of my friends about it.  So what do I do?  Watch porn as an instructional aid?  I mean I’ve seen it before, mostly in the earlier years of our marriage with the ex and it just never seemed like it was real, it’s so much of a show and a lot of yelling.  But seriously, I have no clue where to get this information – how am I going to know what guys like?  I’m not even sure what I like, how can I tell a guy what to do for me?  Are there rules about good sexual etiquette anywhere – should I be shaving or waxing or ???

I kind of feel like I need a class, or what would be really helpful is a sex therapist or maybe even a surrogate – someone to practice with that I have no emotional connection to so they could teach me what to do – and what not to do, help me get over my insecurities through practice and encouragement…  But that would probably be the most unacceptable thing of all, at least in the church anyway.  It would come down to paying for sex, soliciting a male prostitute… But I feel like it’s what I need.  Regardless though, I wouldn’t even know where to find one so that’s kind of a moot point.

In the end, I am that sack of potatoes.  I don’t know how to be anything else, I’m not sure I CAN be anything else without help and there’s no help out there.  So, if I ever manage to date someone… and it develops into a real relationship… and I trust him… and he loves me as much or more than my best friends do… then yes, I plan on sleeping with him.  Or should I be completely transparent – I plan on having sex with him.  Because the one thing I refuse to do ever again is to chain myself to another marriage bed occupied by a sex addict.  So if I have sex with this future, possibly non-existent guy AND he doesn’t run away screaming… and I don’t run away screaming… then, maybe, I’ll marry him.  Poor bastard.

So I’m normally a very non-confrontational person but after writing my blog yesterday I was so upset that I confronted him on a few of the topics that bothered me the most.

Number one was me feeling like I did not have the right to say no to his sexual affection and what on earth happened to all the non-sexual affection we agreed on for this two month period that ends in a couple of weeks?

Number two was that if he wasn’t getting advice from anyone on how to treat me right why the <bad, bad words> did he wait until I said I was leaving his bed to pull out the manual on “How to be a Good Husband”, dust it off and put it into practice?  That, I think, is what upsets me the most – the fact that as far as I can tell he didn’t think that I was worth being nice to until I tried to move out of the bedroom.  And I never said divorce, I didn’t even say that he had to move out or leave the house, I just said I was going to move into the guest room and he was going to have to work on his sexual addiction and prove to me there was major progress in his life before I would sleep with him again.  But apparently that’s all it took for Prince Charming to come out of wherever he had buried him for the last 20 years – the thought that he would be cut off from his daily dose of sex.  Ugh.

Number three was the way he kept phrasing that whole “I’m letting you have more control in our relationship right now but…”

My husband has a silver tongue and while answering my questions last night he was very convincing that he was trying hard to change his ways and we’re both still getting used to the big, new changes in our relationship, and he didn’t mean the “control” statement the way I took it… blah, blah, blah…

I still don’t see that his heart has really changed – but to be fair he is putting quite a bit of effort into changing his words and actions towards me so Kudos to him for that.  His efforts do touch my heart but in more of a sad way because I know the outward changes will never last without inward changes and he has to want his heart to change regardless of whether our relationship survives this year or not.  I’d like him a whole lot more if he was pursuing living a holy lifestyle for his own sake instead of pursuing me for a sex “fix” (and so that he doesn’t have to be the first person in his family to get a divorce, now there’s a stigma that his immediate family would never let him live down.)

I left him tonight.  That feels really good to say, actually, but it’s not a permanent thing and yes, I did get his permission.  I am spending the night at a friend’s house tonight (Saturday) and am not going to church with my family tomorrow (Sunday).  He wants me back home at noon… why you ask?  Because I did, I asked why.  Especially since he and the girls won’t be home from church until closer to 1 pm.  Do you sense an ulterior motive here?  I did because yes indeedy, the reason he wants me home at noon is so I can have lunch ready for them when they walk in the door from church.  I feel like he’s trying to punish me for not going to church with him or maybe it’s that he couldn’t contain the control freak any longer – or possibly it’s a bit of both…  So yes Master, I will do my best to have lunch on the table when you get home tomorrow.

I’d like to buy a bucket of KFC and just leave it on the counter for when they get home and be out shopping myself because I really don’t want to be there spending time with him.  Why else do you think I asked for a schedule at work that keeps me out of the house until almost 7 pm Tues – Friday?  That particular schedule means that I don’t have to be home with my disapproving husband and ungrateful children for any longer than necessary before bedtime.

Me, me, me, me.  I realize that everything I write makes him look like a terrible, horrible guy and I’m the total victim with no faults of my own and that’s not entirely accurate.  (I know, shocking, isn’t it!)  I have areas where I’m not a great wife/mother/friend/person either.  Yes, sad but true.  And to be completely fair you’re only getting one side of the story so it obviously can’t be 100% his fault.  (But honestly, you keep choosing to come back and read about my life – so maybe you or someone you know deals with this stuff too???)

I’ve felt like a victim my entire life and now that I’m finally acknowledging and dealing with that particular issue – and trying to STOP being a victim – I’m realizing that I married a male version of my paranoid, control-freak mother.  I’m now terrified that my girls will marry a man like their father and then I’ll get to watch them re-live my lonely, heart-breaking life, and I’ll watch their children re-live it… it’s the saddest story ever told and it’s played out in thousands of people’s lives in America every day… but the thought of my girls, My Girls, living through what I’ve survived, well, that just destroys me.  Even though my girls are ungrateful as all get-out and extremely self-centered I don’t want them to have to live through a marriage like mine.  I don’t even want you – whoever you are – to have to live through a marriage like mine.  It’s not worth it.

And that is why my constant prayer is “Save me, save me, save me…”  Because in saving me I know God will save my daughters as well.

WARNING – VERY CANDID MARRIAGE POST…

So over the last week or so my husband has said to me several times:  “I know I’m the head of the household but I’ve let you be more in charge (of our sex life) for this period of time (the 2 months I gave him to deal with his pornography addiction and to stop being controlling and selfish – I want to see that he’s put serious effort into changing his ways)”.  That statement he has made several times makes me think that he feels like he’s “giving” me control that is rightfully his and aint he such a grand guy for doing so…  And then just the other day he said it again but added this little gem to the end “but the day after this is over we’re going to have sex 8 times.”

I wanted to throw up.

And then he tried to say it was a joke – because he’s not a young man any more and the best he can manage is twice.

I just may take up drinking…

The next night I asked him for clarification on that statement and he came up with some gibberish about “now that I like it more” he expected we would be having sex more often than once a week (as per our current agreement) but less than we were before the two months (which was at least daily, sometimes twice).  I don’t like sex any more or less than I did before I confronted him on his addiction, which is to say I could take it or leave it and be perfectly happy either way for the rest of my life.

His heart is not changing, he’s become a wolf in sheep’s clothing to make me think that what I want is important to him too and that his addiction is not in control of him anymore.  My heart is changing.  I want this marriage to work less and less with each passing day.

The “official” Two Months ends April 6th, a mere 15 days away and the whole Prince Charming Act stopped approximately a week ago, which means he “changed” for about 5 weeks, breaking his previous record of being super nice for 3 weeks.  It was amazing while it lasted but the “I Love You’s” have almost dried completely, he rarely says it in person but he will still say it at the end of phone calls although it’s more of an afterthought now because he says “Goodbye. <pause>  I-love-you-goodbye.”

The non-sexual touching requirement started as long nightly back rubs (which were really nice) where he carefully avoided my girly areas and have now become much shorter back rubs followed by longer periods of sexual touching and then he says “We don’t have to unless you want to”.  Really?  You mean I actually have a choice after all of that?  He’s started coming into the shower with me, uninvited, so we can “soap each other up” and “spend time together”.  This morning I said no to a joint shower and he said “Well can we have sex then?”  He is still sooooooo addicted and has been trying very hard to fill that void with just seeing and touching me but it’s not working, I know where this is going – we’re headed right back to me being his blow-up doll and after that stops being enough he’ll be getting his jollies on the computer again.

He is still going to his addiction counselor but says it’s “not very helpful” and encourages me to stop going to my counselor since I’m not coming home with glowing reports of major change in my life after my sessions with her.  When I mentioned that after our 6 free sessions through the EAP were over that we should go marriage counseling together he was completely shocked and made it clear that he feels that we shouldn’t need counseling past our 6 free sessions, in fact, he isn’t sure he wants to complete the 6 free ones…

My counselor gave me a book about boundaries, it was from the 80’s and a quick easy read.  I read it and then gave it to him and he read it and said “This is anti-men and pro-feminist, why don’t you find a Christian book about this topic?”  So I went to the Christian bookstore and found “Boundaries in Marriage” by two Christian doctors – Dr Townsend(?) and Dr Cloud(?), and I read it on the bus commuting to work and it was excellent, very much based in scriptures and balanced in dealing with both men and women’s boundary issues.  After reading BIM I can totally see how I’ve never really had my own identity (they call it “boundaries” in the book) and it provides an amazing, Biblical explanation for the “Two shall become one” scripture.  The BIM book says that each person has to be a whole person in themselves, so we need “two-ness” before they can ever successfully “become one”.  I don’t think I’m putting it exactly right so please to read the book yourself but I tried to explain it to my husband this way “Because of the ‘two shall become one’ scripture I gave up being myself to be you when we got married because you are the head of the household and I thought that was what I was supposed to do.”  His response?  “No, you gave up yourself to become ‘us’, just as I gave up myself to become ‘us’.”  I was flabbergasted.  What on earth did he give up about being himself when we got married?

Now I’m just getting mad.

I gave him the BIM book to read so he reads the opening statement and then asks me in an angry sort of way “Are you having me read this because I need fixing or is this because we both need fixing?”  Wow.  The book helped me see how my upbringing has created me to be a person with very few, if any, boundaries – essentially I’ve been a giant doormat my whole life.  I told him this and that the book is helping me deal with me but I want him to read it for himself AND for us.  He says “OK, I guess I’m just a little paranoid, sorry.”  So he has the book but I never see him reading it…

Oh – to top everything off my eyelids have started twitching.  For about a month my left upper eyelid would contract randomly and just feel weird and just yesterday my right upper eyelid started doing the same thing.  I looked it up online and stress is listed as a possible cause of eyelid tics/twitches.  Wonderful.

Anyway, a miracle is still possible, I totally believe that because anything is possible with God, but if He’s going to do a miracle to fix my husband He’s also going to have to do a miracle to change my heart as well because I want less and less to be a part of this marriage as time goes by.  This isn’t worth it.