Sunday, August 30, 2009

Freudian slap?

Ok, it didn't really feel like a slap. And maybe it wasn't Freudian. Who knows?

Sue dreamed last night that I was lying on top of her, and that her whole body ached as a result. And when she woke up, her whole body did ache.

Of course, the ache was caused by her migraine, and partly as a side effect of her medication.

She teased me a bit about her dream, and I tried to ask without asking whether there were some deeper meaning to this dream.

Sue is not really a deeper-meanings kind of a girl. She insisted that the whole cause of the dream was her mind trying to explain why she had a sore body.

Fair enough.

But any number of things can cause a person to be sore all over, especially in dream world. Why not a steamroller running her over? Or the after-effects of running a marathon? Or being burried in a pile of books?

Why did her subconscious chose the explanation of me lying on top of her?

I haven't done that for almost a year! :)

Is it about sex? Our relationship? Power?

Sue thought it was just about a headache.

Maybe she's right.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

5 weeks to go!

47 weeks down and five to go. And, truth be told, it's getting harder. I am no longer "standing still in stasis" but am now seeing the end, thinking about what I will say, looking forward to new discussions, and with them, the chance for new emotional and physical intimacy.

And with that anticipation, I have to try all the harder to bite my tongue!

So I am working hard not to think about it.

Things were really good between Susan and me yesterday. The time would have ben so perfect to at least tentatively broach the topic. But then my silly vow reared its ugly head again, and I shut up.


In my minds eye, everything would be "happily ever after" once the year was up.

In reality, I can imagine her saying, "well, yes, I do have some issues there. And I need to work on them. So let's not have sex for a few months while I process the whole thing..."

In the good news department, Sue was being SO positive yesterday, and it was SO nice. And she was pointing out to me the importance of looking on the bright side of life, which was a bit of role reversal for us -- and a welcome one at that!

So perhaps some seeds that I've been planting over the last few years and few months are starting to sprout.

And maybe it will be the same with our sex life: the seed gets planted; tended; watered, and then at long last, a sprout comes up... and then a few years later, some fruit!

Will my year of celibacy be the end of this process -- the pruning just before the picking of the fruit?

Or is it more like merely tilling the soil in preparation for planting the seed?

Realistically, I am sorry to say I suspect it is more the latter rather than the former.

Some not-quite-random thoughts for the day:
You can't change someone else. A person has to want to change themselves.
Change is slow. Change is hard. That's why it's so difficult to lose weight, to take up (and keep up!) exercise, to quit smoking.
But change is possible.

"Neurons that fire together, wire together." -- this is the source of both our problem, and its solution. As a sexual abuse victim, Sue's neurons for sex, pleasure, pain, love, hate, fear and disgust all fired and wired together at a tender age.

"If men want women to want sex as much as they do, they must make sure that women enjoy it as much as they do." -- True, I'm sure, but only part of the problem with me and Sue. I don't think that it's the pleasure that's the problem, but the pain. More pleasure won't mask or erase the pain. Somehow those negative associations need to be erased independently. That is something that I can do little to nothing to influence. It's up to Sue and, if she choses, a good counsellor and/or support group.

I wonder if my silent vow of celibacy will have made it easier or harder for Sue to un-link those neurons that fired and wired together so many years ago. Sure, her life will have been easier, not worrying about me pestering her about sex. But that might have helped to make her mind associate in a different way: Sex/incest/dad/family/pain/bad; Mark/husband/celibate/family/comfort/good.

Of course, I would like her to be able to take sex out of the first paradigm, and put it into the second. But my being celibate with her may make it harder, not easier, for her to associate positive sexual feelings with me.

Perhaps -- and I am only speculating here -- my celibacy is unhelpful to her in the same way that staying away from a horse that you've just fallen off is an unhelpful way of preventing a fear of falling off horses.

On the other hand, perhaps the core issue here isn't sex, but power. And maybe my silent celibacy has helped make Sue feel empowered and confident in herself, and in our relationship.

I wonder if I will ever know the answers to all these questions?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

False dichotomy?

They say that the endorphines and hormones released during sex can create intense feelings of love. Is the reverse also possible? If sex can create love, then can love also create sex?

I took my pledge of sexlessness over ten months ago now, and here I am 10 months in and going strong.

In the first few months, it was all I could do to hold my libido back: to bite my tongue, cross my legs, take cold showers.

But then it got easy, at least most of the time, and life returned to normal. I was happier in a lot of ways, because I wasn't being constantly rejected when making amorous overatures to my wife. (And, yes, of course it was ALWAYS me making the overatures.) Life has improved since the whole complicated "sex thing" has been taken out of the equation.

So, somewhere along the line, after getting over the idea that sex was a normal part of my life, I began to change the focus of this blog, from coping with unrequited lust to trying to improve our relationship.

Deep down, I guess I thought that if we were madly, truly, deeply in love (or as madly, truly, deeply in love as a couple can reasonably be after ten years of smelling each others morning breath, hearing each others bathroom noises, and being witness to other similar sins of familiarity that cohabitation inevitably produces), then the sex would inevitably follow.

Somehow, on some level, my task has shifted from "coping with sexlessness" to "trying to make the relationship thrive again."

A thriving relationship is, of course, good for all kinds of reasons, no t the least of which is to be able to cope with sexlessness.

I think a relationship can be successful without sex in much the same way that a meal can be excellent without any salt or sugar used in the cooking. That is, sure, it can happen; it just takes a damn site more planning and effort. A bit of creativity, determination, and gustatory good humour.

But the best meal in the world without salt and sugar will not, of itself, make the salt (or sugar) spontaneously rematerialize on the table.

And so I am coming to see that creating the best relationship in the world without sex will not, of itself, bring the sex back.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nearing the finish line

Things are getting vaguely interesting again in this whole experiment thingymagig. A couple of months ago, I had gotten used to celibacy and felt like I was just marking time until my magic 12 month deadline rolled by.

Now at a mere seven weeks away, the end is in sight, and I am starting to take myself off auto pilot.

I need to start seriously thinking what I am going to say to Sue, how I am going to say it, and what (not to) expect in response.

Someone emailed me some excellent suggstions along these lines which, if she'll permit, I will share here. (I haven't asked her yet!)

Perhaps she's assuming that my libido has just died a death, in which case when I tell her the truth the might just react with "present face"

Well, I don't really expect that, but after seeing these delightful comedians on Sungold's blog, I couldn't resist the temptation to put in one of their videos.

And perhaps there will be a bit of "present face" after all. Or, at least, a face of awkward uncertainty of someone who doesn't know how to react or quite what to say.

All the more reason I will need to be clear in my own head what I think, feel and want.