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Author Topic: starting new relationships and being honest?
georgiexx
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helloo... i used to be on here all the time and left thousands and thousands of messages about my issues with sex and my boyfriend at the time. i never felt any sexual pleasure whatsoever and it never really got solved and then we broke up.
well, iv literally just about got over that break up, even though it happened over a year ago, hardest thing that iv ever been through, he led me on for months after that and was really cruel, we even slept together again back in march because he had me believe we were getting back together.

ANYWAY, hes got a new girlfriend now and hes totally out of my life we have zero contact.
iv had quite a few sexual partners since him. he was the first person i slept with, but i have now slept with 9 people and i havent felt sexual pleasure with any of them. none whatsoever, through any form of sexual contact. i wasnt in a relationship with any of them though.

i basically feel like, im never going to feel anything, as frustrating as it is, and as horny and tense it makes me.

but, iv started dating again. i even went on a date today and i get the impression things might go further, will probably start going out more and 'seeing each other'.

but i dont want to lie, or pretend. i have pretended every single time that i feel something during sex, making all the oohs and ahhhs in all the right places etc...
i dont want to do that anymore, its so depressing.
but i dunno what to do cos at some point that moments gonna come, if i get into a new relationship, sex is gonna be kind of the done thing. and i want to, i really want to... but i just dont want to pretend i feel something that i dont.

just need some help really, what do i say to my next boyfriend? [Frown]

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September
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So, let's start with these other guys you slept with.

Did you feel attracted to them? Did you feel comfortable being around them, and did you feel ready to engage in sexual activity with them? Were you able to communicate to them what you liked and didn't?

Those are some big questions, and the answer to those can help us help you sort out your feelings around sex.

I think it is great that you want to be honest with a new partner. That's really the basis of ay good relationship. But, I think you'll want to go one step further and also try and be more honest and real with yourself. So, I'd say we start by doing away with any ideas that sex is a "done thing" in any relationship (it doesn't have to be), and any fears of disappointing a partner, and try to sort out, first, how YOU feel about sex. All by yourself, without the pressure of wondering about a partner's expectations, how do YOU feel about it? How do you feel about your body? How do you feel about solo sex? What are your desires there?

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Johanna
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georgiexx
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i didnt feel attracted to all of them. some of them i really did. one of them i started to fall for because he was so kind and open and generally lovely. another one i really liked for aaaages and then i slept with him. i dont really communicate what i like or dont like because i dont like or dislike anything. apart from things that hurt obviously, then i would say that it hurt. or things like cuddling, i love cuddling so i usually tell them i love cuddling afterwards.

the one i mentioned at the start of this message, i actually used to love having sex with him because he was so cuddly and loving towards me... but its just the actual sexual pleasure part, the genital part... i had to make noises and do all the deep breathing etc but it was all fake because i dont feel anything down there.

i know sex doesnt have to be the done thing. but i am a highly sexually frustrated person. imagine being constantly horny but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it...

i like my body, and dont have any major major hangups, i can quite happily be naked around a guy.

id love to masturabte, and i try almost every day, im not sure why though because it does nothing...

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September
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I've just refreshed my memory a little and read up on your older posts, so I want to add another question to the list: did you ever follow up on getting some counseling to help you with your self-esteem?

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Johanna
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georgiexx
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i have actually been through all of this, sooo many times with heather, over a year ago, for about a year haha. i know im not going to feel sexual pleasure, the point is, what do i say to furute boyfriends?
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georgiexx
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yeahh i did. its free health service and are obviously very busy etc... they often dont call when they are supposed to, dont get back to voicemails etc... thinking of going private. my confidence about my physical self though, as in my body etc, that is fine
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September
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Okay, so the first thing I am hearing here is some of the issues that we discussed earlier, which is that you are engaging in sex you're not really into. Which is, now as then, not a great idea.

So the first thing that I would actually recommend, again, is taking a step back from any sexual activity you're not really feeling. Going along with something, even faking enjoyment, is not fair on any of the people involved. And it's certainly not going to help you figure out what works for you sexually, as that involves being in touch with your body and listening to it, rather than shutting it down.

This also means that, in my opinion, now is not a very good time to enter into a sexual relationship with anyone.

So, you say you desire sex. Can you maybe try and describe to me what it is that you desire? What is that you feel when you want sex? What do you think it will give you?

Also, you you "try" to masturbate every day. Are you usually aroused when you start? How does that feel to you? What do you expect to get out of masturbation?

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Johanna
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Okay, so just to be clear and to make sure I am giving you what you are asking for: are you looking for advice on what may potentially be going on when you don't feel the pleasure you are expecting to feel, OR are you, for now, resigned to not feeling pleasure and are looking for ways to tell future partners that you are not currently looking for a sexual relationship?

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Johanna
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georgiexx
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but i really dont think im ever going to feel sexual pleasure. so does that mean i can never be in a relationship? even if i really like someone? even if i feel strong desire for them? seems pretty rubbish and sad to me.

i have taken a step back from it, i went through a phase of sleeping with people then realised how pointless it all was and stopped. its only because iv met someone that im on here now.

i desire sex? i want to be touched, all over, kissed, rubbed, stroked, manual sex, oral sex, intercourse... generally most things sexual is what i want.
when i want it, i feel tense down nelow, like it wants something done to it, i want to touch it, so i do, but it doesnt do anything, it carries on feeling the same. i dont think sex will give me anything because it wont, but what i want it to give me is release! and some satisfaction, some pleasure!

i dunno what you mean by aroused because my feeling of aroused is different to everyone elses iv spoken to because they all feel sexual pleasure and i dont.

when i feel im aroused, im thinking of a sexual situation, fantasising etc... i get wet, and i feel tense, i try touching myself, nothing happens, i then get more tense more frustrated and then just irritable.

and again, i dont really expect anything because nothing ever happens, but i would like to get a pleasurable feeling, some satisfaction etc out of masturbation, exactly the same with sex.

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georgiexx
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i want help in knowing what to say to future boyfriends when i dont sound like im feeling pleasure. i will have sex with them probably, if i like them enough. i know i wont feel a anything though but i find it hard to believe that a guy is going to enjoy having sex with me if i just lie there not really making much of a response. i dont want to upset them etc...
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Heather
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georgie: good to see you again, and I'm glad that you're starting to do better.

So, back when, you and I had many long conversations, and I want to make sure we don't start back at square one.

In those conversations, we talked about you looking into some counseling and therapy: were you ever able to follow through with that?

We also talked a lot about not having sex with anyone because you felt you had to, faking pleasure you weren't feeling, and I think we also talked about avoiding moving into sex with anyone too fast. It doesn't sound like some of these things have changed, even with a different partner. In the past, I know you'd said that with your previous partner, for instance, because of the dynamics of that person and that relationship, you had to feign enjoyment of things you didn't like.

Why do you think, with that person now not part of the picture, you've continued that dynamic with other partners since?

(Also, just for the record, when we say arousal, we mean feelings of sexual excitement, not necessarily what someone experiences after having those feelings or engaging in sex. And for sure, some people, or some people sometimes, find those feelings pleasureable, while other folks, or other folks sometimes, don't find they feel pleasurable to them.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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yeah i did but like i said, its a free service, they are very busy and i imagine thats why my sessions sometimes get forgotten. its meant to be over the phone. they call at the wrong times sometimes, sometimes dont call at all, dont get back to my voicemails etc. im thinking of just paying for private therapy.

it didnt change for a long while. i had sex with people because i wanted to feel loved and i wanted attention. but then i stopped doing that, and i had sex with people i really liked, felt attracted to etc.

i think iv carried it on because... who wants to have sex with someone if they are just lying there like a dead fish? i dont think anyone does.

okay, well when i feel 'aroused', i feel excited at the idea of something, but tense and heavy in my vagina area. and that is shortly followed by frustration because it doesnt go any further than that no matter what i do.

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Heather
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Well, ideally, if you aren't feeling a thing with people in the activities that might lead up to sex, you don't go ahead and have sex, so that's a non-issue.

In other words, let's try this: before whatever you are calling sex is something you choose to do, are you getting pleasure from the things leading up to it? Are they feeling exciting and satisfying? Has it yet been about more than simply wanting attention, or to try and 'earn" or keep love with sex?

As well, are you basically pursing sexual relationships when you still feel like you have a lot to work out with your own sexuality on your own? If so, my best advice would be to table sexual relationships and instead spend time working on your sexuality by yourself and/or with the help of a therapist (ideally not just by phone) first.

[ 09-30-2012, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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yeah it has been more than that. with the guy i used to sleep with, i really liked him, he liked me but didnt want a relationship. that was cool. and, i wanted to have sex with him, because i wanted to. because i was horny.

and no im not, i just met this guy and i like him and we've been texting and talking on the phone for a while, he took me on a date today and it was really nice. i just feel like its really sh*t that i have to stop myself from being with someone just because my vagina doesnt co-operate. so if things do develop with this guy im not going to stop it. i just want to know how its best to explain to him that i dont feel what he probably might expect me to feel, without hurting his feelings.

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Heather
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So, I hear you saying there was someone you wanted to have sex with, because you felt sexual hunger or desire.

But I also hear you saying that "sex" -- maybe you can tell me what that means to you? Anything sexual, or something specific? -- thus far, even with yourself, has not been satisfying. So, assuming you didn't want an unsatisfying experience, can you maybe try and say what it was you DID want in feeling that desire?

What do you mean if things develop with this guy you're not going to "stop it?" What's "it?"

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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September
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Also, and hopefully you don't feel like we're dog-piling on you, I'd also want to add that sex really isn't all about the vagina. So, you say that you haven't experienced pleasure from activities that involve your vagina, yes? Well, what about activities that involve other body parts? Have you done any exploring, alone or with a partner, to see in which parts of your body you DO experience pleasurable feelings?

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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georgiexx
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yeah thats correct.

sex to me means stuff like fingering and oral and intercourse.

basically i would feel horny, have that desire and have sex in the hope that maybe i would feel pleasure. i always have hope i guess that maybe, just maybe it will work. i think if i feel this much desire surely it will be pleasurable this time? i thought that every time.

and with him, i didnt really mind that much because it was good in other ways, he was very affectionate and cuddly. it was just the actual faking i didnt like.

and i mean if things develop as in, we become exclusive, together, in a relationship

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georgiexx
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i dont really feel anything sexxual from any other part of my body. i like affection, cuddling, but only because it brings feeling of comfort and love and romance. its not particuarly sexual.
like, alot of people have sensitive nipples or other sensitive areas. i dont. although when someone kisses me on the neck it tickles in a kind of nice way, which i like but its not nice enough to be satisfying

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Heather
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So, sex, when you say that, you mean something involving anyone's genitals? or just your vagina? Or...?

Whether or not a given kind of sex feels good to us isn't just about our desire for it. By all means, having a desire for it is almost always part of something feeling good. But only one part.

So, let's make your language about any of this active, not passive, okay? I think that will help here a lot. So, if you and he choose, together, to become involved in an exclusive relationship of some kind, you will not "stop that," you will agree to that. And that would involve, in your mind, agreeing to what?

Can I also ask why it sounds like you feel that even though, from the sounds of things, touching yourself sexually genitally hasn't been pleasurable for you so far, you think it will be with someone else?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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i mean their genitals too, not just mine!
i guess, agreeing to being with him and only him and vice versa... im not going to refuse someone sex when they are a sexual person, and they like it and if im their girlfriend it seems a bit selfish and unfair to just deprive them of that.
but when i say that i dont mean it as bad as it sounds.
i mean i would compromise. if i dont want to have sex im not going to but im not going to completely deprive them of it... if i wanna do it for them, i will.

and i dont expect that. i dont expect to feel anything at all, hence why i am asking in advance for advice about how to explain that to a boyfriend when i have one.

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Heather
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So, just to check in: so far when your genitals OR theirs are engaged, you're not experiencing any feelings, emotional or physical, of pleasure or enjoyment?

So, when you say agreeing to be with him and only him, you mean sexually? can I ask why, with where things still are, you'd choose to even enter into a sexual relationship with him or anyone else right now?

It also sounds like you're still, as you were in the past, thinking of sex as something someone owes someone in certain contexts, because a person wants sex, whether or not the other person wants or enjoys it. Do I have that right?

It also still sounds like you're thinking that the "right answer" to that is to enter into relationships where that is expected of you but might not be right for you, rather than opting out of those until it DOES feel more right and allowing that person to instead pursue sexual relationships with someone from whom it DOES feel right and is enjoyable. Do I have that right, too?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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i dont want to be single for the rest of my life. i am a normal person, i want to have a loving exclusive relationship at some point like most people do..?

all im saying is, i think its highly unlikely im ever going to get what i want out of sex, or feel sexual pleasure.

but i do want a relationship at some point. i dont think sex is owed, not at all. no one should ever have sex or do sexual things if they dont want to.
but if i want to do it for someone i love sometimes, then i dont think theres anything wrong with that, so long as im getting respect back. and if i dont do it, then i cant be in an exclusive relationship with them, because its not fair on them if they are a sexual person. which is a sad and depressing thought.

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georgiexx
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and thats correct, when genitals are involved there is no enjoyment, but theres no hate for it either... i just dont feel anything. but frustration because my vagina is tense!
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Heather
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Let's be careful here about the word normal in this respect. There are people who opt out of having certain kinds of sex, for various reasons, who are just as "normal" as those who opt-in. And loving relationships, caring relationships, romantic relationships, even sexual relationships: they don't all look the same. People can be in a loving, caring sexual and romantic relationship that doesn't involve genital sex at all or some kinds of genital sex.

I think you've had quite a lot of experience of being in the position where you engage in sex that isn't what you want or like, and that you know that there IS something wrong with that and that that doesn't work for you (or most people) at all. Or, have you since come to different conclusions?

I want to be very clear: you can have the kind of relationship you want without having to have sex that you don't or that isn't working for you. Not only are there people you could date who, like you, for now, aren't really feeling genital sex (though you didn't answer my first question up there, so I'm not sure if that's the case for you or not), you also have the option of working on and through some of this BEFORE pursuing a potentially sexual relationship again so that you possibly CAN get to a place where these kinds of sex, some or all of them, ARE perhaps things you enjoy and experience pleasure from.

And I feel pretty confident, personally, that if you don't take some real time to work some of this out for yourself, without being involved with people sexually for a while -- and by a while, I mean probably more than months, you're just going to keep repeating this pattern over and over.

It sounds like you feel -- as you have in the past -- pretty scared of a life without a romantic or sexual partner in it: without a boyfriend. Do I have that right? If so, how about at least spending some time first, without dating, to work on unpacking that so at the very least, you can come to all of this from a place that isn't about feeling afraid: afraid of being single, being alone, not having sex, etc?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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i didnt say im a normal person that wants sex. i said im a normal person, that at some point wants an exclusive relationship. most people want that at some point in their lives.

i know there are lots of different kinds of loving relationships.

but how do i go about bringing it up? if i meet someone, like i have already, and i want to tell them that genital sex/any sex doesnt really do it for me and how do they feel about that, how do i say it? sorry if i havent been clear but thats kind of what iv been asking all along. i just wanna know how to talk about it with them.

i know i could work on it, and i have been trying. like i said im planning on paying for private therapy. but i know my body pretty well to be honest, and i really really really dont think its ever going to change.

well no, since my ex i havent wanted a boyfriend at all, no way was i going to rush into being with someone when i wasnt even over him.

i slept with people yeah, but i didnt want to be WITH them. apart from like one, very recently and hes out of the picture now and then theres the guy i saw today.

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Heather
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An exclusive sexual relationship, yes? If so, what I'm questioning here is what that means, and making clear that what that means can vary a whole lot, and can include a sexual life without some of the kinds of sex -- or all -- you've talked about not enjoying here. Make sense?

How you talk about what you want with someone is going to be fairly individual based on how you talk, period, and how the two of you talk. But I think finding some basic way that feels authentic to you to say, "For now, the kind of relationship I want isn't one that includes genital sex." You can certainly talk about why that is, depending on how much you feel comfortable saying.

The thing is, all of this stuff? It's not just about our bodies. In fact, a lot of what you've talked about over the time we've talked with you probably has very little to do with your body, and a whole lot more to do with your mind, your emotions, your social and sexual upbringing, and the bigger context of your life. And any of us having a huge ton of insight into all of that very early in life without any kind of help or coaching? Not likely. heck, a lot of people don't have a ton of insight into all of that in their 40s and 50s still.

Again, I think that your best bet is not to move forward into dating right now, but I've said that, and I can let it go, especially since obviously, these are your choices, and you've every right to disagree and make your own decisions. I just feel like if what you want is to break these patterns -- and that's what I hear you saying, and what you have expressed in the past -- that potentially moving into a sexual or romantic relationship anytime soon probably is the way to make sure you DON'T.

I think the lone exception there would be if the relationship you started exploring was one where sex was just off the table, period, the other person wanted the same thing, and you could let go of some fear and attachment around the perceived need to be in a sexual or romantic relationship, and the fear of not having one.

So, with all of that AND clear, honest limits set? Maybe you can start to break this pattern, but at the very least, if you say clearly, from the onset, "I don't want to engage in the kinds of sex I know are unlikely to be pleasurable for me right now and they are these <whichever kinds>, so if that doesn't work for you, that's cool, but we probably shouldn't date then," and then hold yourself to that, there's not going to be any room FOR some parts of that pattern to continue.

(That last paragraph came pout a bit murkier than I intended it, so holler if that didn't make sense, and I'll try and reword it.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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Btw, georgie, while you and I may be in disagreement about the wisdom of dating for you right now, it is GREAT to hear you asking about how to start something being honest about where you're at with all of this. That's no minor step from where things were the last time we talked, and I know how scary that kind of honesty has been to you before. [Smile]

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georgiexx
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all of this has suddenly become very over whelming in my head.
i feel like if i tell a guy that, im going to be rejected straight away.
i feel like i just shouldnt bother. and i feel really sad.

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Heather
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Well, chances are some guys WILL decline because of that, just like some guys might decline to continue to date you for any number of things they find out about you. But just like there are chances some guys would take a pass because of that, there are chances some guys won't, especially guys looking for the kinds of things you are, who are probably the best guys for you to date anyway. None of us tend to form very good relationships with each other when we want very different things or are in very different places with core stuff.

In other words, someone taking a pass on dating us or pursuing a relationship is always possible no matter what we do or don't want or like. Even if you walked into every possible dating relationships saying "Whatever it is you want and like sexually, I want and like that," someone could STILL say no or take a pass for other reasons (or maybe even for that one!).

I'm sure you can put the shoe on the other foot here and realize that there are things you might find out or learn about someone where you'd take a pass on dating them further too, right?

So, we have to be open to that -- rejection, if you call it that, I don't always see it that way, myself, but I hear you -- if we're going to be dating, just like we have to be open to that if, say, we're looking for jobs or applying to university. And if we don't feel up to handling that, then that's usually a strong clue that it's probably not the best idea for us to be dating at that time, until we DO feel able to deal with that.

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well i have to tell the current guy i went on a date with today. but he just seems so happy and really likes me and is all excited and stuff... and now i just feel like im gonna let him down.
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Heather
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Well, who knows, maybe you will? But, once more with feeling, that needs to be okay to be something that can happen when we're dating. And in any interaction or relationship that's ongoing? We ARE going to let people down sometimes, and they us: it happens, and we need to be okay with that. If all we're after is pleasing someone all the time and aren't okay with not being the pleaser? We are going to have some serious problems in relationships (including the one we have with ourselves).

Think of dating as being an awful lot like say, shopping for a dress for a special occasion. We're going to find some things that fit, but are the wrong color. Or that are the right color, but don't fit. Or costs too much. Or that we feel super-excited about, and think is awesome, but are totally wrong for the event and ALSO don't fit AND are too expensive.

Someone just liking us and being excited about us on one date or a few email exchanges? We shouldn't ever figure that's anything more than just that, and need to be ready for PLENTY of exchanges like that not to wind up being relationships we or the other person choose to pursue.

Personally, I strongly suspect you probably still aren't in the headspace to be able to handle some of that, unless you've very radically changed from when we last talked. This is some of what I mean about taking some more time for yourself and with yourself, and letting go of some things. And from the sounds of your last two posts, you really aren't ready for all the ups and downs and a whole lotta maybe-but-not-quites that dating simply tends to offer for anyone, not just you.

So, I'd really do some serious thinking about that, and be very ear with yourself around it. because maybe what you actually need to tell this guy is simply that for right now, when you're still only half a year out of something very long-term, serious and very broken, and still very much at ground zero with not only your own sexuality, but with figuring out how to be okay NOT being in a relationship, that as cool as he is and as much as you like him, the timing is simply off because this just isn't a time that's right for you yet for dating, period.

[ 09-30-2012, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Btw, I'm heading out for the night. I'll be back in the morning, though, and some volunteers may be around later, too, if you feel like you want to keep talking.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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when i was 16, long before i had full intercourse, i got drunk and had one of my first sexual encounters with a guy, and he bit me down there, really hard, so hard it was really painful and it swelled up to like 5 times the size. just out of curiosity, could this be something to do with my lack of sensation...
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Heather
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I doubt what's been going on with you is about anything physical, but let's just check in.

Five times the size of your vulva would make us be talking about your vulva becoming the size of your torso: I assume that wasn't the case? I also assume you didn't have any kind of serious lacerations: big bleeding, scarring, an open wound? If any of that really was the case (again, this seems...well, highly unlikely), then I imagine you got medical care?

Are you earnestly having issues with sensation in general? In other words, when, say, you're wiping after using the toilet, can you not feel your vulva is being touched?

Too, since you have been sexually active in the past, have you started getting any kind of sexual healthcare, like a bimanual exam, pap smears, and STI tests? If so, have you discussed any of this with any of those healthcare providers, and did they find anything that seemed amiss to them when it came to nerve ending issues?

[ 10-01-2012, 02:48 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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georgiexx
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well i was exaggerating.
one side of my vulva swelled up a hell of a lot, i even showed my best friend straight afterwards cos i was in pain and shock. that was because someone actually bit me. it looked like i had grown a testicle aha.

and not really, iv had chlamydia tests but i do the swabs myself, i havent had any other sti tests.

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