Sunday, March 29, 2009
Last night I had a dream that Sue and other women were congregating in a parking garage. Each woman was sitting alone in her car, and the cars were not parked close together. It was like a place these women could go to be alone. A place (and a time) that they all knew.
And (now here's the surreal bit) what were they doing? They had all gone there to use their vibrators.
This may seem like some sort of twisted male fantasy, but in the dream, it wasn't erotic at all. Not even vaguely titlating. Nor did I, in my dream, see anything explicit. Just a bunch of cars in a dimly lit parking garage.
I told Sue about it in the morning, and I jokingly asked her if she had been doing that. We had a little laugh about the absurdidty of the idea. And then I wanted to ask her something a bit more. My heart started beating a little harder. I wanted to ask her if... but then one of the kids started screaming and the moment was lost.
Later in the morning Sue went out to get the groceries, and I had a peek to see if her vibrator had moved. It hadn't. It hasn't moved at all in a week or more. I was beginning to wonder whether I imagined the thing moving in the first place. Maybe it was really just me who was moving it when I dug around trying to find it. Maybe the whole thing was one big misunderstanding. My eyes or my memory were playing tricks on me? Or mabe she just used it very rarely. Perhaps when her period was coming. An ex had told me she used to masturbate to alieviate period pain.
I went to the laundry basket and found the dress she was wearing last night when we went out for the first time in three months. I held it up and smelled it. I could smell her perfume on it. It was nice. I got in bed and held it against myself. I put it over my face, and the smell came through. I moved it and I could smell her underarms, her muskiness, her perfume. I held the dress over my face, so it was totally dark. But I held it against my body, so it would feel like her. I rubbed it against me and imagined that she was on top of me, grinding her hips into mine. But she wasn't there. She was buying bananas at Krogers.
This afternoon, I went out to run some errands, and took one of the kids with me. We went to Building Depot and got some odds and ends. We got back late, after three hours of traipsing about. We were late for dinner, and Sue was unimpressed, but it wasn't a drama.
Later, I noticed something on top of the sweaters under which Sue keeps her vibrator had moved. Not by much, but it had definitely moved. I waited for Sue to be busy with the kids, and then I took my chance and had a look. It was in a completely different place! There could be no mistaking it now, not even a little bit. It had been dug out from the bottom of a big pile; taken out; and put back on its end in a different spot. It was thrown in loosely, and not too hidden, which is very unlike Sue. Had she almost been caught and had to hide it in a hurry? Or was she, perhaps, almost wanting me to find it...
I put everything back how it was and moved away.
I didn't want Susan to catch me there.
My heart was beating a bit, and I had some tingling in my fingers. (I have even more now, writing about it!)
I was upset. I didn't really know what to think. Of course I felt betrayed.
Later I snuck back a second time and picked it up. I smelled it to see if it smelled of her. But all I could smell was the sandalwood of the shelf it was on.
Later again I went for a short run.
I thought she might hide it properly while I was out.
I snuck my fourth peek for the day.
Nope. It hadn't moved.
Is she toying with me? Does she know I look? Is she trying to provoke a reaction, a coment, a confession? Perhaps she feels ashamed, but she wants me to find out... to somehow catch her.
The grand irony that did not strike me til now is that here we have an (ostensibly) loving couple. They (we) have been together for 10 years. They have two children. The have a life together. A home. A business. And yet their sexual life has devolved to the irony of them both masturbating on the same day, in the same room at different times a few hours apart. Each in secret from the other. He was thinking of her. She was thinking of... well, only she can tell you that. He hopes it was him. Do women fantasize when they masturbate, the way men do? No idea. I would presume so, but so much about our sexuality is so different.
The irony of a couple... making love to themselves, but not to each other, a loving couple, but an asexual couple. In the same room. In the same afternoon. In ignorance of each other. Each reaching out for physical, sexual, and emotionally intimate needs. But reaching out only to themselves, not to each other. Each hiding their drives and urges, as well as their acations, from each other. The imagery, when I think about it, is overwhelming. It feels so... je ne sais qua. Pinter-esque? Post modern? It feels like it could be a key scene from a late 20th century avant garde play.
The symbolism didn't even strike me until I began writing this post.
Later this evening, I asked her if we could talk.
It was a huge break through, and a huge chance for us to move forward.
But that, my friends, is another post for another time.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I went to kiss Sue tonight. We went out on a date, at my behest. First time in almost three months. I started kissing her a bit passionately... more than just a quick, close-mouthed peck on the lips.
She wasn't too keen.
She'd told me before she didn't like kissing.
Tonight she told me why.
Her father used to kiss her that way...
I'm not really sure what more to say.
I wasn't too surprised, in a way. I knew he had abused her, the b@$+@rd.
In a way, it made me feel a bit better.
At least I knew her rejection of my kisses wasn't personal. It had a reason. It was something I could be (and am) compassionate about. Something was beginning to make sense.
It was also a great breakthrough because she was actually talking to me about something other than the weather, the kids, the mortgage, etc.
We were having an actual intimate conversation! Wow!
Did it break my vow to kiss her? I hope not. I think we both knew from the outset that it was not going to go to sex.
I am beginning to think that my blog might be morphing from the story of one man's quest to live for a year in a relationship without sex. The new blog may well be one man's quest to come to terms with the results of his wife's childhood sexual abuse.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Sue has been in quite a good mood for the last few days. Not quite flirtatious, but happy in a low key way. It's nice to see. Though, unforutnately, it whets my appetite for more. Not sex necessarily, but just a bit more... intimacy. Connection. Warmth.
Then I began to suspect... and I checked her calendar. Yup. It's that time of the month again. No not THAT time of month... the other one. The one that, oddly, no one seems to really talk about unless they are trying to get pregnant.
According to her calendar, Sue is likely to be ovulating just now.
Ok, so it's not enough to make her want to make love to me. Or even to give me a back rub... or even an affectionate nuzzle! But... there is a definite lightening of the atmosphere. More smiles, more relaxation, more... cruziness. It's nice. And given how very, very grumpy she gets when it's that OTHER time of the month, I'll most certainly take it. :)
In other news, I checked out a book to see if I could understand what is going on for Sue. It was called "A woman's guide to overcoming sexual fear and pain."
There are all kinds of causes, of course, of low libido, and the book covers them all. Psychological beliefs about sex; anatomical problems; relationship problems; hormonal problems, and so on.
But one stuck out for me more than any other: Being a survivor of sexual abuse.
I had long known that Sue had been "interfered with" (as we used to say) by her father when she was in her early teens. She told me that it was relatively "low level" abuse, though she's never really told me more than that. She doesn't mention it often, though I know she is not the only victim in her family.
Anyway, the book says, "Many incest survivors experience conflict about the meaning of sex. Sex beocmes a duty rather than an expression of love, pleasure or comfort. As intimacy increases, so does the survivor's fear of being dependent, vulnerable, and unable to protect herself. Commitment begins to feel like being trapped in an unsafe situation. The abused woman may begin to view her partner through the same lens with which she views family members... who have hurt her. She may handle all of these conflicts by separating sex from emotional intimacy. Many abuse survivors describe feeling highly sexual when they ave been with new, casual, or inapporpirate partners, but find themselves losing their sexual feelings with a loved partner."
Earlier it says, "Many survivors feel highly sexual with new partners and belive they will continue to relate to their lafe parnter in this way. But sexuality is split off from emotional intimacy and love, so as they become closer and more intimate, th epartner begins to feel more like family and therefore is perceived to be like the dangerous perpetrator or a part of the incest taboo. Consequently, these womenview sex as an avesrive experience and withdraw from it. This is confusing to both partners as they cycle through a pattern fo little or no sex, distance, anger, fear, fights, and hopeful reconciliations.
"The woman may wonder why her parner can't love her for herself and leave sex out of the relationship. Yet few parners are willing to live without a sexual relationship."
All of this feels right... it feels as if it probably applies to Sue. But... I don't know. She doesn't like to talk about ANYTHING intimate, much less this kind of stuff.
She did tell me once about the demise of a previous relationship. I asked her why it ended. She said she didn't know. They just drifted apart and stopped having sex.
One wonders which happened first.
These problems are hard enough even if Sue had every interest in working through them.
As it is, I don't know how we can sort it out.
But I do know that I will commit myself to doing everything I (reasonably) can on my side, so that if things ultimately don't work out (god forbid) then I won't ever be able to say to myself, "I should have done more of this and less of that."
The vow du jour is to take on more work around the house, and to try to address some of those things that Sue is unhappy about (eg, my clutter)....
Watch this space!
Friday, March 20, 2009
I am now about six months in to my challenge. No sex, no attempts at seduction, no complaints, hints, inuendos, yada yada yada. You get the point.
And the interesting thing is that, on the whole, my libido has dropped. It's nice in a way. A bit refreshing. I'm no longer caught in the whole cat and mouse thing. The whole demeaning cycle of having to make overatures and be rebuffed and be, at times, the bad guy for having suggested that sex once every two weeks is not too much.
It was a bit like pulling teeth. And the hurt on being rejected was hard. The hardest bit was when it was still up in the air. If Sue had said, "no way, nuh-uh, just not happening until X," then it would have been a bit easier. We would both know where we stood. But that wasn't her approach. I don't know whether she was feeling a bit ambivalent, or whether she was trying to not say no. But the pattern was often one of overatures that didn't get rebuffed until well after I had thought we were making some progress.
The hardest times were the times I thought something would happen. Like Christmas. Or my birthday. I guess I just felt that Sue would want to do something special for me... for us... on those occassions. No such luck. Again, if I had known in advance, then that would have been easier. I wouldn't have gotten my hopes up. I am reminded -- if this analogy is not too absurd -- of what John McCain said about the prisoners of war who didn't make the difference. Who were they? The optimists! They were sure they were going to get out by Christmas. Then they were sure they were going to get out by Easter, and so on. Eventually the continued disappointment broke them, and broke them badly.
Ok, so being asexual with your wife is hardly being a POW, but there is a lesson to draw, perhaps: that optimism can lead to, ironically enough, a more negative experience.
Resignation isn't the best idea either, I think. That sounds a bit too close to giving up on life. I guess that's why it's important to me to have this be for a definite time frame. It means that this is still a situation in which I am making choices. It reminds me that I have choices open to me. Choosing not to ask Sue for sex, or even to ask her to see a doctor or a psychologist, is something that comes from me. It's not something she's imposed upon me or forced me to do. I feel very much in control of that decision.
I could, I suppose, easily enough revert to our previous pattern of nagging/asking/begging/waiting/hoping for sex, and getting it every two or three weeks. Part of that pattern was asking her to see a doctor or psychologist or for us to go together to a sex therapist. But that was hardly a fulfilling sexual relationship. And Sue said she would go to the psychologist, but she never did.
So I chose to try another tactic. I chose to give her space. I chose to let her come to me if she chose to. I wanted to short circuit our patterns. And I wanted to give her some air, as it were, and let her feel free of the pressure.
But now, six months in, I am beginning to worry. She has shown no interest in either sex, or in figuring out why she has (as she says) no libido. That's fine, but then what happens at the end of a year? We only begin talking about it then? And then maybe she has some deep seated childhood issue to resolve which may take some years? So things are then... what? Drifting? In limbo? Dragging on for EVER?
Subconsciously I somehow imagined that after a year we would be having sex again. Normal sex. Not nagging/begging/pleading/asking sex. Mutual sex where we both find it an empowering, satisfying experience that we look forward to on a periodic basis.
Six months in, and I am suddenly realising that that half-formed thought in the back of my head is utterly unrealistic. It just ain't gonna happen.
So now what?
Another option is that at the end of the year it could become clear to me that we will never have a "normal" relationship. Our physical and emotional intimacy will just not be there in the same way that other couples have it.
Maybe that could be viable. It's certainly not a miserable existence. We don't fight much. We mostly get on. We love the kids and want the best for them. We love each other -- in a very non-intimate way! -- and want the best for each other, too. We have a nice house, and a reasonably comfortable middle class life.
Who wants to be single again?!?
"Hey baby, come here often?"
And as I get older, I suppose I will want sex less and less. (I've wanted sex less and less ever since I was 13!)
But still... recomitting to a relationship where: 1) she doesn't want sex at all, ever; and 2) she has very little interest in emotional intimacy; and 3) she has no real interest in addressing my concerns about 1 and 2 by seeing a counsellor or talking to me about it...
Well... every relationship is imperfect. At least she doesn't drink; doesn't gamble; doesn't spend lots of money; doesn't lie to me (as far as I know!); doesn't manipulate; isn't lazy; doesn't cheat on me (as far as I know).
In fact... as the old joke goes, except for her shortcomings, she's perfect!
What is a deal breaker for me?
A lack of sex certainly wouldn't be a deal breaker if she were ill...
Hmmm. So much to think about. So much to talk about.
If only she would talk to me about it! And if only I hadn't taken this dumb vow, so that I could bring it up with her!
I think I might have to re-examine that part of the vow. I want some resolution at the end of the year. I want some clarity on where and how we're going forward.
I can keep it in my pants for a year, but I need that year to end with a bang, not a whimper.
Any thoughts out there in the blogosphere? I would be interested to hear your ideas and reactions. :)
Monday, March 9, 2009
Awhile ago I found something. Sue's vibrator. She'd bought it years ago when she was single. No big deal. And ages ago she told me how when she was looking for batteries one day, she suddenly remembered the vibrator, and took them from there. It's all good.
But then for some reason one day I was inspired to go have a look. The vibrator was gone. How odd, I thought. I later found it hidden under a stack of clothes. The box she kept it in was nearby. That was very unlike Sue. She ALWAYS puts things back in their boxes. She's really big about putting things away properly. So it was a bit weird that the vibrator was out of its box, as were a couple of it's attachments.
Maybe she was moving it and someone came in -- she was embarassed to be seen with it, so she stashed it.
But then I checked the batteries. They were back in it.
I turned it on, and it purred softly.
I felt like I had just caught her cheating on me.
Our sex life had been going downhill for years. She'd been to the doctor to have her hormones checked. We'd been to counselling with a special sex therapist. She said she was at her wit's end -- she just didn't know why her libido was so low.
And then this.
Her libido, it seems, wasn't so low at all.
It was just her libido for me that was low.
She was quite happy to f*ck a piece of plastic. She just didn't want me touching her.
The worst thing is, she had been promising and promising and promising to go to the doctor again for more tests, and to see a psychologist to try to get to the bottom of it.
The last time I asked her, she blew up at me.
That's when I decided to back off. I took my (private) vow of abstinence, and started this blog.
I never told her of my vow, and we never talked about it. She never said, "thanks for not pestering me for sex anymore," or in any way acknowledged that anything had changed. Excpet once, when she said she was feeling unwell, and I teased that perhaps she was pregnant. She replied that that wasn't possible since we weren't having sex. That was the only time there was any acknowledgment between us that things had changed.
We went from making love once ever two or so weeks to not at all in five months.
So... now I find out that she's making love to herself. To a piece of plastic. However you want to describe the situation.
What is a boy to think? Sue and I have been together for nine years, and for most of that time, she's had low libido. And the libido has gotten lower and lower and lower as time went on.
At least, the libido for me -- as I now discover.
Aside from the vibrator, there are no signs of a libido. She doesn't make salacious comments about men she sees on tv. She doesn't act in a way to make me jeallous. She doesn't flirt with men in public. So I could be forgiven for thinking that it's plain and simple low libido.
But then there's the vibrator.
Of course, I am nothing if not open minded and understanding. Maybe it was a one off. Or maybe the batteries were there because she felt a compulsive need to put them back as part of her whole tidying routine.
So then I did something that debases both her and me. I started watching the vibrator. I looked to see if she moved it. And sure enough, she did. In fact, it seemed to move regularly.
I checked again, though, and realized that when I moved the clothes, I was often moving the vibrator, too. Was it possible that it was just me moving it the whole time?
I checked in other ways. I moved the switch on it. I placed it against her clothes in a certain way. I felt like a private eye spying in someone else's house -- even though I was in my own bedroom.
It became thrilling in a way. Exciting. Finding it moved was somehow... I don't know. Titilating, in a way. But not so much that. It was more the excitement of cat and mouse. Of realising that she was up to something. And that I knew. And that I had caught her, but that she didn't know that I had. And then I realised that perhaps she did know. Perhaps she'd noticed her stuff had been moved around. Perhaps she was even leaving things in a certain way to see if I moved them. The possibility was remote... but it was possible. Perhaps she even thought that I was playing with her sex toy! Who knows?!
It was kind of exciting to think that she did have a libido -- that she was playing with herself at times.
Or was it just herself? We had played with her toy together once or twice. I found it very sexy.
Was she doing that now? Playing with this toy with someone else?
It seemed unlikely. She didn't have a lot of time unaccounted for. But then, it doesn't take much time. Once you have a f*ck buddy, you only need a few minutes for the deed itself. Something you could even do on the way to or from other errands. A quick screw on the fly. Something to squeeze in between groceries and a haircut.
Is that what Sue was doing?
If she really did have a libido, then I suppose anything was possible... Is possible.
Thinking these thoughts -- writing these words -- gets my adrenaline flowing. I don't feel angry. But, the juices are going. My hands are tingling. My heart... there are butterflies in my stomach. It's like...
gotta go. Sue's home