Warning: Sexually Explicit Post Again
Everyone who has ever spoken with me knows--I'm crazy about Darrin. There are many reasons for this, but it takes someone extremely special to want to marry a person like me. Being attracted to one's own gender is a challenge. Couple that with sexual abuse and the odds are against any marriage relationship being viable for me. However, I've never allowed the odds to dictate the outcomes in my life.
When I decided to get married, I was determined to make that marriage real in every sense of the word. This was not a lifelong roommate relationship. I planned and prepared for a sexual relationship with Darrin as well as I could prior to marriage, and continued to work on it afterward. That's not to say we were completely successful from the get-go. I got a physical exam about two months prior to my wedding, at which time the doctor suggested I have a hymenectomy. I had not, of course, disclosed any of my past to him, and he had done a very brief physical, suggesting the procedure because of my intense discomfort when the speculum was used. I agreed to allow this minor medical procedure.
I told Darrin about it, also letting him know how petrified I was of any medical probing in that area of my body. There was too much to process--knowing the necessity of examinations--fighting the uncontrollable fear--not being able to reconcile any of the emotions. Darrin just hugged me and said he would come with me. I scheduled the appointment.
Darrin and I went to the office, and sat in the waiting room. He knew I was nervous and ill. He didn't know I'd been throwing up the entire night before and that I hadn't slept. He said, "I brought something along for you to look at. You might find it a little distracting." Then he gave me my engagement ring. Not the most romantic of times, but certainly unusual. It was a beautiful ring.
I went into the room where the procedure would be done. My doctor explained that they would numb the area and then, "Clip the hymen." It would take about 10 minutes. Ten minutes later he said it might take longer than expected. Twenty minutes later I was becoming agitated. Thirty minutes later my entire body was shaking. Forty minutes later I sat up and said, "Aren't we finished yet?" And the nurse next to me said, "Doctor, I think she's had all she can take." The doctor put in some sutures and asked me to dress and come see him in his office.
I was seated in front of his desk. He asked me if I there had been any "trauma" to my genital area. I said no. He said that there was a lot of scar tissue, as if there had been tearing or injury. I said no, again. He sighed and handed me a paper with instructions. He said, "I removed as much of the scar tissue as was visible. I'm hoping it will help. In a perfect world, your sexual relations with your husband should not be painful, they should be delightful. From what I saw, you will probably have some sensitivity, and also pain." I took the instructions and left the office. I felt very ill and tired. I didn't tell Darrin.
The doctor was right. Initially, sexual intimacy was shockingly painful--emotionally and physically. There were times when I wondered if this was what sex would always be like, and nearly five years passed before I stopped experiencing at least some degree of physical discomfort in intimacy. Even now it's important that we be very careful or I can still be hurt. Add to that the fact that Darrin knows I have less than average sexual attraction for him, and that I'm mentally working through the separation of the violent act of rape and the loving act of sexual intimacy and our physical relationship becomes enormously complicated.
In spite of all this, Darrin seems to feel that it's worth it to stay with me. And he continues to desire a physical relationship with me. I'm always amazed at his gentle kindness, and his ability to communicate and listen as we work together to find success in sexual intimacy. I worry that his needs aren't met--he assures me they are--but I still worry. I worry that it's more of a chore than a "delight", as my doctor termed it, but Darrin says that our physical relationship is joyful to him. And sometimes, in the aftermath, I've heard him laugh almost exultantly as he realizes that we've triumphed over some pretty daunting odds. Weird, to think of conquering something that for others, is natural and easy.
I've been criticized in the past for discussing my intimacy with Darrin on a public blog. I don't feel apologetic about it. This is a part of my life that I've worked on for a very long time, and one which is absolutely essential to mention as I work through the issues in my life. There have been times when we've been less successful than others. There have been times of abstinence for various reasons. There have been frustrations and sometimes, from me, tears. I'm certain that it's been confusing and stressful at times for Darrin. I love him for not giving up and for working with me to create the relationship we now have where we can celebrate our love for each other with fewer complications than we've had in the past. I've come to realize, though, that it is in our physical relationship that Darrin and I absolutely belong to one another. In all other aspects of our marriage we are very independent and love our individuality. In our intimacy we acknowledge that we can only be one if we concentrate on a common goal with the well-being and needs of the other person in mind. There is tremendous joy in that--especially for me.
When I think of my spouse I realize that there are few people who would grant me the measure of love and dignity that Darrin does. And his patience is remarkable. He will probably never speak openly of this, as I do. Personal expression about intimacy is not something with which he's comfortable. However, he's not alone in his amazing ability to love a spouse with SSA. Another Other's wife, Leslie, has begun a blog in which to express her own views as the straight spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage. It's brand new, with only two posts as of today, but definitely worth reading and visiting often.
I've tried to be expressive without being immodestly explicit about a part of my life that is extremely important--both to my marriage as a whole, and to me, personally, as I try to make sense of all that is happening in my life. I'll probably revisit the subject again before I'm finished with my journey. I am, after all, a sexual being just like everyone else, in spite of past experiences. Cautionary notifications will accompany all posts. Consider yourself warned. :)