When it comes to sex, I told my therapist, I feel tied up, shut down, closed off.
For a while there, after the miscarriage, I’d been unable to enjoy sex at all. I would tell myself to do it, tell myself I was going to enjoy it, tell myself it was going to make me feel closer to Doug, tell myself the only way to get back on the horse is to get back on the horse… And then we would try, and he would be kissing me, and I would feel nothing. I would feel more connected to him while we were holding hands than I did while we were holding genitals. What was once arousing now felt more like tickling, or painful rubbing. I even stopped him during foreplay once, maybe more than once, to tell him, “I’m bored; can you just stick it in and get it over with?”
Things have gotten a little better since then. I think, like my therapist says, the trauma and its effects have begun to thaw. But things are still nowhere near where they once were, nowhere near where I’d like them to be as I approach my supposed sexual peak.
“It scares me,” I confessed. “I worry that it might be a sign that my relationship is ending and I don’t even know it. Because I don’t want to have sex with Doug. But then, I don’t want to have sex with anyone else, either, so I figure the problem must just be me.”
“I think you’re right about Doug not being the problem,” my therapist said gently. “You have to give your body time. Your body – not just you, but your body – suffered a huge loss. And then there was an intrusion, with the D&C, which is traumatic in itself.”
I held up two fingers. “Two intrusions. I also got my IUD.”
“Two intrusions! The body remembers all these things, all this trauma, and its natural reaction to an intrusion is to contract around it, to protect itself from any further traumas or intrusions… What?”
I was looking at her impatiently, but kind of half-smiling, too. “I’m hearing you describe all that,” I said, “and all I can think is, ‘Jesus, I wasn’t raped!”
“Meaning what?” she asked, thinking, I’m sure, that I was about to belittle myself and my experience, having judged rape to be a far more serious trauma.
“Meaning, this is frustrating. Because I wasn’t raped. But I’m acting, and my body is reacting, as though I was.”
“Yes!” she said. “Exactly!”
“But that’s stupid! I want to have sex with the man I love; I have no reason not to trust him; I wasn’t raped. And the D&C – I was under general anesthesia; that was like the easiest part of my whole experience.”
“The thing with anesthesia is that you don’t feel the pain -thank God – and you aren’t aware of what’s happening, but your body still remembers the intrusion. Things get blocked in the body, and it sounds like you, right now, and rightfully so, have a block or series of blocks in your whole pelvic area.”
I brightened. “But this is something we can fix,” I said. “Right? It sounds like something less impossible than just ‘make this all go away,’ and you sound like you might have a plan to fix it.”
“Oh. Yes, we can definitely use bioenergetics to work on loosening those blocks,” she said, grinning. I’m beginning to think my ‘fix it, fix it’ attitude really entertains her. “But it might not go as quickly as you’d like.”
“Well, my experience with you is that, when it comes to bodywork, you’re up for anything, but then once we actually try an exercise, you back off. Which is fine. Some people just need to take it more slowly.”
“Well, because we try the exercise, and then it hurts my legs, and then it doesn’t fix anything, so I end up thinking, ‘That hurt and it didn’t work, so why do it again?'”
She laughed. I sighed. I know I have to trust her and her process on this bioenergetic stuff; I have to stop letting my brain get in the way.
And slow is better than no. And I’m desperate.