I used to say that I had a healthy sex life before I got married. But that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. I certainly had a full sex life – an adventurous one – I could even go so far as to call it liberated. But ‘healthy’ probably wouldn’t be the first word that one would assign to the sexual experiences I enjoyed from age 15 – 35.
Now that I am married to a man that I adore – who you know is a recovering sex addict – I have been introduced to the true concept of intimacy. My husband and I have developed an amazingly intimate relationship. Our vulnerability, our honesty, our amazing support of each other as individuals. It’s all been life changing. I have to say that bringing intimacy to our sex life has been the most stubborn part of our relationship.
Neither of us ever learned how to be intimate with a lover. He, being a sex addict, always disassociated from the people he was having sex with. I, a victim of early molestation, tended to capture some control through my hyper-sexualized relationships. Considering our history with infidelity, we know that reverting to our old ways could be triggering for both of us. So we are faced with the task of abandoning our sexual tendencies in search of something more connected, more honest and (I cringe a little here) more intimate.
It’s not going so well.
Both of us are unsure how to play our new sexual role. Honestly, it’s easier to just not have sex. We love each other deeply. We dote and laugh and respect the hell out of each another. Our communication is raw and honest and we can find the humor in our faults. It’s not that we don’t WANT to have sex. We both would very much enjoy having a semi-regular go at it. But as soon as we attempt to have sex he starts to worry about my needs – then I get pre-occupied with his concerns – he gets insecure that his erection on anti-depressants isn’t quite what it used to be so he feels like he is disappointing me – I try to say something hot to turn him on but end up feeling like I am faking it – and on it goes. Not romantic. Not sexy. Not effective.
All that being said, this is probably the first time in our lives that we are truly thinking about the feelings of the person we are sharing our bed with. Perhaps we are actually too concerned with the other’s experience – the key to good sex is likely being a bit more selfish than we are capable of being with one another right now. But to be fair we are still healing from infidelities and betrayals that would have done in a less willing couple. Maybe this is just another step on our roundabout path to getting to our goal of having intimate sex with one another.
We may not be able to have the sex life we want at this point, but being able to express our feelings and have them acknowledged by one another every time we make the attempt is surely getting us one step closer.