Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why are you so happy? Oh, it's THAT time of month!

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! 

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