Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sexless in Seattle; or "No Sex For You"

Warning: Frank discussion about sex life ahead. Feel free to bail if you wish. No body parts mentioned, one act referenced. Would be considered PG at worst, I imagine. ~~GHC

Sexless in Seattle, or “No Sex for You”

I don’t say this is universal truth, just that this is truth in my own life. Desire for sex is closely tied to desire to prepare food. When the type of food I prepare is ridiculed or insulted, I feel much less like having sex. When the food I prepare is disparaged as in “I only eat because I don’t have enough sex” then I am even more unwilling to prepare food. When my worth as a human being and especially as a wife and partner is equated with whether I rise and prepare a hot meal for breakfast and stop what else I’m doing to prepare a hot meal for dinner, I feel much less like giving of myself in either area – food preparation OR sex.

I used to revel in food preparation. I wanted to find new and exciting ways to prepare food, new foods to experiment with. I wanted to share these experiences with him. I wanted to sample new tastes and textures. What I got in return was disgust, rejection, that’s-not-how-mom-makes-it. “I’ve never seen it done THAT way before.” This made me feel shame and embarrassment.

“You’re so nasty.” Hard as I tried to wrap my head around how those words were a good thing, I did try to wrap my head around it somehow even though it went against everything I’d ever thought about myself. That I think was the beginning of the disconnect I came to feel about sex. I didn’t want to feel nasty. I didn’t want to be a bad girl. I didn’t want to be punished. No, thank you, spanking is not sexy to me. I was beaten and abused and horribly punished throughout my life. I don’t equate those experiences to healthy, happy sexuality. I see sex as a positive thing.

I began to see sex as dirty, to see him viewing sex as dirty which made me feel dirty because I didn’t see sex as dirty. Which after a long, full, rich sex life started seeming dirty. Which in turn was confusing.

Sex is a gift. Sex is a trust experience. Sex is me being open and giving and trusting and free and happy. Foreplay is the entire day preceding sex. Hearing how useless what I’m interested in doesn’t make me feel open or giving or trusting or free or happy. Devaluing my experiences doesn’t turn me on. Having my requests ignored – nay, spit on – doesn’t prepare me to have sex. “Please don’t block my side of the couch with objects.” I come home, my side of the couch is blocked with objects. Daily. I come downstairs in the morning after he’s been there. My side of the couch is blocked with objects. I literally have two, possibly three requests I make of him. This is one: Please don’t block my side of the couch with objects. It’s just disrespectful. It is.

Conversely, he has innumerable requests of me. Concerning spaghetti, for instance: Don’t use the whole wheat noodles. Don’t get the meat kind of sauce. Get the garden vegetable sauce. Don’t get Prego, get Ragu even though you prefer Prego. Cook ground beef to include in it even though you don’t eat ground beef in yours. I like it when you add in mushrooms, lots of mushrooms. Make sure you cook the noodles long enough that they are mushy. Be sure to add parmesan cheese. I refuse to eat leftover spaghetti. These, you see, are requests just about spaghetti. I just want to be able to sit down in my place in the living room without having to move six things.

Why does he think it’s a power issue? I don’t want/need/even feel like I hold ultimate power over sex. I am however one of two people necessary to create this sexual being called us. I should have at least equal say in the experience. If I don’t want to participate, then I won’t.

Today I blurted out to him that the reason *I* get to say when we have sex is the same reason why if I want him to eat and try to force-feed him food, that he has a say-so and the right to decline it. It doesn’t matter how much I want him to taste it, or that I made it for him. What I didn’t say is that if I really want him to eat it, maybe I should try to entice him by describing the ingredients or how good it will taste or how much I love him or why it would be good for him, or I dunno, maybe in lieu of manipulation just say that I have something good to eat and see if he’s interested. I imagine if he’s hungry, he’ll come to the table.

What I want is to share my very being, my essence with him. I want to be heard. I want to be felt. I want to -- well -- share. I want to pour out my spirit to the human being I have chosen and who has chosen me to spend our mortal existence with. And when I feel cut off from doing that, when I feel unwelcome and unwanted and unappreciated, when I feel my entire value is how often I spread my legs or give head or cook food, I want nothing less than to spread my legs or give head or cook food.

When instead of asking what’s wrong or listening to what’s wrong or even appearing to CARE what’s wrong, he makes shitty comments like “it’s hard to care when we have sex every ten months” – see, that just reinforces to me that my feelings don’t matter and not only that, the fact we had sex a few weeks back doesn’t matter either because as long as it’s not the way HE wants it to be, it will never be RIGHT so it doesn’t matter. I don’t withhold sex because I can. I withhold sex because I am no longer willing to participate in a one-sided unrewarding activity I am totally disinterested in (and the funny part is that the only sentence in this entire essay that will be understood, retained, and repeated endlessly in the future will be this last one). It won’t matter that I am hurt and feel abandoned and devalued. It won’t matter that I want more than he does to feel passion and love and romance, that I crave acknowledgment, that I beg for attention on a real and deep level. It won’t matter that he could have a raging sexual maniac for a wife if he would only treat me as an equal human being with feelings as valid as his and at least as deep as his.

It won’t matter that he could be experiencing the best sex he’s ever known on a frequent basis, so much sex that’s so good his head would spin from it, if he’d just stop worrying about his damned self all the time and his own needs and feeling so neglected. He is spoiled. And like all spoiled people, he’s lost connection with anyone but himself. I’ve created a monster by not holding him accountable. And for that, I am accountable. And for that, I suffer. Terribly. And for that, I have no answer, no way back from as far as I can see because he refuses to listen to my side of it, to hear how I feel or to look at himself.

So here we sit. Sexless in Seattle, except we aren’t in Seattle. But we are sexless.~~GHC

I apologize for the personal nature as well as the ranting nature of this post. I'm sure you cannot think of a word to say in response to it, and that's okay. I considered not posting it at all, like ten thousand other things I've written, but I decided that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE might benefit from reading it and, for me, that would be enough.


Jeff Faria said...

I'm surprised to see no comments here, since it gets so many reads. It's a good piece because it's unadorned and honest. I'm sorry you had such a abd relationship. I imagine that, in hindsight, you must ask yourself why you let it go on for so long, and that must be painful as well.

Ginger said...

Thank you for reading and having the courage to comment. I have done little else since nearly a year ago than to dissect and examine this relationship, why I allowed it to suffer so long before putting it out of its misery. I am working on those answers, on how to frame that information for a public forum.

When I had no one to talk to, I poured my heart out on this blog, starting at Christmas 2011 I think it was, going forward, and I processed -- mostly openly, sometimes privately -- in journal entries that do not appear here yet.

I think sometimes our need to believe is such that we are willing to deceive ourselves in ways that, in hindsight, seem impossible to accept. And yet, history and literature are full of men behind curtains, emperors' invisible clothing, and so many blinder-based societal issues that the path I took was painted with a broad brush. And I believe the continued popularity of this post as well as the whispered private admissions of solidarity indicates there are more people suffering in silence than I could have imagined.

And that, my friend, is also painful. ~~Ginger