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Author Topic: my partner can't make me orgasm
kamille
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Thank you for the quick reply, Heather.

I feel really overwhelmed and scared. This past month - and specifically two weeks - have been very hard. I feel even worse when I realize that all my strange behaviour may have been self-sabatoge rather than owning up to my fears. After all, the inner voice says it's easier to just not do it rather than do something and fail miserably.

I know that's ridiculous. And it's a terrible way to live. What a limiting way to live! But sometimes I just feel like, Will I ever be the person that I want to be in this wonderful relationship opportunity? Or am I just going to crumble, just like I have recently?

Yes, I agree with you. If I plan to continue this relationship, as an intimate one, or as something long-term, it's essential that I do find the words to tell him. I really wish it was easier, and that ultimately, it would be liberating, but who knows if it will.

I want to feel healthy, happy and safe. I'm really battling with this low self esteem...

The main thing, I think, that's really bothering me, is the sex.

I worry about offloading all of my fears and insecurities on to him and creating a toxic environment. Because ultimately these things are about me...right? And it's a case of going within myself to change?

And as an addition to your note: You're absolutely right. But I don't really feel safe sharing anything with anyone...

[ 10-14-2013, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: kamille ]

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Heather
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Looking at your last sentence, and perhaps starting there -- and I'm so sorry you're feeling like this, it sounds tremendously hard -- what do you think about the possibility that maybe right now, for you, in your life and where you're at, it's just not the right time or space for you to be in an intimate relationship? or one with any kind of sex in it, if that's most or all of what makes you feel so unsafe and insecure?

In other words, to be in those relationships, we have to feel safe to share and be real and honest. That's what intimate relationships are ultimately all about and require.

So, at times we don't feel up to that, or that sounds more awful than comforting and beneficial, being in them won't usually be the right choice.

--------------------
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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kamille
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I think that's something I have to think about! I do feel safer sharing things by typing them out to friends. Saying things out loud is a lot more difficult.
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Heather
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Well, but right now, seems like the choice you need to make isn't about friends, but about this relationship.

So, when you think about sharing something like this, for instance, with *this* person, can you maybe share with me how that makes you feel?

--------------------
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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kamille
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It makes me feel really nervous. I picture myself trying to explain something, maybe fumbling with my words, not expressing myself fully. I see him as listening patiently, feeling sad, asking why, trying to understand but confused. Then obsessively thinking about it. Maybe not okay with it. Deciding that either I'm not or I am worth moving past his uncomfortable feelings.

I don't see him as being physically abusive. He might ask me really difficult questions, but I don't think he would be emotionally abusive.

I'm really scared about revealing things and tacking up my low self worth on display.

But on the other hand, if I never talk about it, how will I be able to move past it?

[ 10-14-2013, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: kamille ]

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Heather
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I really have to tip my hat to you for your honesty, kamille. It's pretty impressive.

So, that's a tough answer, obviously, but it sounds like a real one.

You know, so far, I feel like I have heard you express a lot of concerns about your partner passing judgments rather than accepting your feelings or trying to understand them. I feel like I have heard you express that this has been moving pretty fast for you -- potentially too fast -- in regards to sex and what engaging in sex in healthy ways demands when it comes to things you need to share. It also sounds like your partner moved his own timeline or boundaries for sex up quickly and in unexpected ways, so he, too, doesn't seem, to you, to be prepared to handle some of the things you need to share, and some of the honesty involved, especially when you think it isn't what he'll want to hear.

I feel like I have also heard you express that you have felt kind of pressured, by him, and in your own heart and mind, to try and present how you are feeling, or try and perform sexually, primarily around his wants and comfort.

Does all or any of that sound about right?

--------------------
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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Heather
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Maybe let me also ask this: sex set aside for right this second, do you feel safe with this person? Supported by them? Really happy and excited to spend time with them? Like you can be yourself with them and be accepted? Like they are invested in you, even when how you're feeling, what you want, or what you're thinking isn't what they do, or is a little outside their comfort zone?

--------------------
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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kamille
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Thank you, Heather. I appreciate that.

I think that I'm generally worried about people being judgemental of me. My parents have been judgemental, or at least very strict about their opinions and passing them on to me. If I ever do something slightly different or off beat, it's seen as strange. It makes me a very worried and cautious individual. They still love and support me very much, and I love and support them very much. But growing up under quite an overbearing and overprotective roof has been, at times, difficult. In addition to that, throughout my childhood there were a lot of judgements from people who thought that I was a little weird, or different, when I was just being playful and uninhibited. Overall, though, I had many friends and I make friends easily. Anyway, to get to the point, my boyfriend is a very understanding person. He sees things from multiple angles. I just worry that on account of the way that he was brought up (in a Christian household), and with his values, he might pass judgement. As for moving fast...I think that maybe I feel this way because I understand that I haven't come to terms yet with the unhealthy sex I've had. And because he decided to have sex so quickly with me, without really talking about all that stuff, it made me confused (?!?!?!)

I don't feel pressured to perform sexually. But I have felt pressured to express how I feel, or other things. This is mainly through my own heart and mind, though. I think that I verbally pressure him more to say what he thinks.

Which is another annoying thing I've been doing as of lately. Asking him constantly what he's thinking how he's feeling, blah blah blah. It's all another part of this insecurity.

I don't know how to answer your other questions right now, seeing as these past few weeks have been a real emotional whirlwind.

He also hasn't been as affectionate as usual this past week. I've been very clingy, emotional, and I think it's smothering him.

[ 10-14-2013, 02:11 PM: Message edited by: kamille ]

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Heather
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That certainly sounds like a lot of pressure to grow up under, and I certainly can understand how that would have presented you with some extra challenges in terms of feeling safe voicing potentially unpopular feelings or opinions, or feelings or opinions someone else might not like or want or find to be ideal.

What do you feel like you want to do at this point? maybe ask for some time away from this relationship to figure out how you feel about it and if you want to keep pursuing it, including sharing these new realizations and the feelings you have been keeping to yourself? Taking sex off the table, and maybe seeing how that goes? Getting feedback from friends first when you share these feelings? Stepping all the way back, or leaving this relationship, and giving yourself some real time and space to figure out what you need, either on your own or with the help of a counselor....?

--------------------
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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kamille
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I'm not sure. I'd like to see this relationship work. I think that I've been really worried about him keeping things from me, when in reality, it's me who has been witholding information.
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Heather
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I feel like wanting a relationship to work is a bit separate from HOW it can work, what "working" even means to you (and the other person), and from if it's a relationship -- or timing of one -- where you really have what you need for it TO work. Do you know what I mean?

In other words, while wanting it to work isn't irrelevant, that's a very different thing from feeling able, or wanting, to both do the things involved to have it be one that works and is a good one, and one that's right for everyone.

--------------------
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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kamille
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Hi Heather,

I talked to my boyfriend a little. It went well. He didn't even ask any questions about previous sexual history. I think he is mulling over what I said, and will probably ask me questions later. I feel antsy. What I want is to be able to feel comfortable believing in myself and believing in him and knowing that we care about each other and sex doesn't equal intimacy, or what I mean is that it's not the only way to show you're close to someone. Maybe you could help me with that. I'm not really sure what else to say at the moment.

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kamille
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We talked a little more. He asked me about a specific person. I gave him all the information I could think of. I'm not sure what he'll say when we talk about more things. I worry that he will see me differently. But I am not that person. And yet I am. Those things happened. And it makes me feel as though I am less valuable as a person. Worthless.
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Heather
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I was out of town working so missed this first post, Kamille. Sorry about that.

Perhaps you can tell me more about what you're wanting to say and share with him?

Per feeling worthless or less valuable, can you tell me more about where you think those feelings are coming from?

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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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kamille
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He wants to know why I had sex without being in committed relationships in the past. He wants to know what's changed. He asked me if I was a different person before. I don't want him to be freaked out. I think that I am still the person that I always was. I think the biggest problem for me is telling him about scenarios or situations where I have been inebriated or haven't made a conscious choice to have sex with someone. I'm having a lot of trouble with a couple of scenarios because I don't know what to call them.

When I say that I think that I'm the person that I always was, well, even though that might be inherently true, I feel bad about myself because I didn't adhere to my own values. Even though some scenarios felt out of my control. I have made choices to have casual sex, but they were never a YES.

It's a YES when I have sex with my boyfriend. I want to have sex with him, to share this intimate experience with him. To be close to him -- yet now, I think I'm realizing that I can't be fully close to him through sex because I've always worried that there would come a time when I have to reveal uncomfortable scenarios I've been in. That makes me feel even more terrible, because I've knowingly been keeping this information for fear that he would not be able to handle it. I feel guilty for not talking about this sooner (we've been dating for about half a year). I feel uncomfortable because I'm the first person he's slept with, and I wanted our first time to be really good and then when it wasn't I felt bad, and guilty. I was confused, too, like I mentioned before, because he's grown up in a religious household and I thought that his rush ("I want to blank you so badly") was a little strange and made me think of other men who had just seen me as a body. I know that he is not like them. I know that he loves and cares for me and wants to share this experience with me who he sees as a long term partner with even longer term potential. But because I never addressed those things, I feel bad. These thoughts just might be my own projections. I don't like what happened, so in effect, I reject myself and feel worthless because I know that if I could go and change the past, I would.

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Heather
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Well, we are, at our core, always who we are, but as we go through life we will tend to grow and change, and will also tend to try things, seeing what works for us and what doesn't. That's just life, whether we're talking about sexuality or anything else.

It sounds to me like a big part of your stress here is making some of this information a big secret, and not sharing it. What do you think about just taking a risk here, and going ahead and being very open about some of your past? How do you think you might feel, regardless of the outcome, if this big unknown wasn't hanging on you anymore and was just known?

I also think it's okay not to have language for certain experiences or scenarios. We can't always name things clearly. That's usually okay, because we often don't have to: describing them and using what words we do have often suffices.

--------------------
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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kamille
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I think that it would probably be healthy for me to talk about it. Regardless of outcome, I still worry that I may feel ashamed and unloveable. But, as it stands right now, I think I already do feel ashamed, and as for unloveable, I know that there are plenty of people in my life who do love me, very much, but they would be surprised to hear about certain scenarios.
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Heather
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I think one of the tricky things about a situation like this is that if we hide part of ourselves or our lives, love from anyone is going to feel conditional, because we're not sharing all of ourselves FOR them to love. Do you know what I mean?

A big part of intimacy involves sharing parts of ourselves we don't share with everyone, or parts of our lives, certainly including any parts we don't feel so good about, or may even feel awful about. Doing that, and then having someone still accept us for all of that, still love us with those things, is part of how we experience and feel love and acceptance.

And for sure, not everyone is going to accept us or all of our lives, and some people may feel differently about us when they know more or all of who we are or have been. Obviously, if and when that happens, it can hurt and really stink, but it's also part of how we find out what relationships are really good/big/loving ones and which ones aren't or aren't likely to be.

If you'd like to talk with me, btw, with the aim of trying to unpack some of that shame, I'm happy to do that with you. I'm willing to bet you don't actually have anything to be ashamed of here -- that you haven't intentionally hurt anyone, for instance -- but obviously sometimes we may feel that way even when we haven't done anything terrible.

--------------------
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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kamille
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I understand now what you mean about conditional love. I thought, Having sex with this person is wonderful. But if he knew about so-and-so, things would be different. Which brought me down because then I felt not-enough. Even though this was (and still somewhat is) just a projection of my own thoughts and feelings about what happened, and whatever else.

But yesterday I shared something with him and though it was hard, and we were both upset, instead of feeling rejected I felt protected.

I told him about a night where I thought I hadn't had a lot to drink. When I got to the bar with my friends I felt a little tipsy, but I still knew what was going on. Then someone got me a drink. And I blacked out. In the morning I woke up in a stranger's bed. He was a friend of a friend. I told my boyfriend this story, and he was upset. Club culture upsets him. But I glazed over an important part of what makes me particularly upset about this story, and that's that I contacted the guy after the event and asked him to meet up with me. Not to talk about the assault. But to go on a date. And we went on a couple more afterward. I realize that I just referred to all of that as "the story," or "The event" but then I ended with "the assault." I'm not sure if that's what I should call what happened. I don't know. And that's one of the many things that makes it difficult to talk about.

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Molias
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I'm glad to hear that even though sharing some of this with your boyfriend was stressful and upsetting, you didn't feel rejected afterwards. I think that with a supportive friend or partner, these sorts of hard conversations can get a little easier to initiate over time. =)

I think you're allowed to call that event whatever you want; if "assault" sounds like a good descriptor of the situation, you have every right to use that. Certainly I would classify someone doing anything sexual with someone who's blacked out and unable to consent as raping or assaulting them.

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kamille
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So, I think I'm struggling to understand why I asked the person who ? me on a date. It's not just that -- we went on several. That night was never brought up. Did I do this to lighten the load on my heart? So that I could block out the severity of what happened? Just so I didn't have to face it?

I told my boyfriend about this incident, but there are more. There is one other person who repeatedly took advantage of me. A friend. I don't understand how or why I allowed these things to happen.

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Robin Lee
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Hi Kamille,

It sounds like it's important to you to figure all this out. I think that one thing people really miss when they talk about sexual abuse or assault is the impact that it has on the person who experienced it. That impact, quite often, includes shock and disbelief. This is especially true since we have a culture that promotes that disbelief. It's not unusual for the gravity of a situation to not sink in, and people who have been abused or assaulted don't always get themselves out of the abusive situation. It's not unusual to keep things the same, rather than making a change.


With regards to the friend who took advantage of you, I don't think that that's something you "allowed" to happen. After all, these things were something a person did *to* you, not *with* you. Does that sound like an accurate way to describe the situation?

It sounds like you're wanting to take responsibility for these things that happened, and I'm wondering how that feels for you?

I can't tell you why you asked the other person out on a date. Why do you think you did? Is it important to you to know why? What do you think you need to be able to accept that you did, and that accepting that doesn't invalidate the seriousness of anything that person did to you?

--------------------
Robin

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Heather
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Kamille: I just saw your updates here, and I just wanted to pop in to say I am so, so happy about you taking a positive risk to have that difficult conversation, and about it going so well and giving you some measure of relief.

I'd also add in that while Stockholm Syndrome, as a big thing, is usually more complex than this, it happening in smaller ways -- someone basically winding up empathizing and connecting with an abuser, or kind of getting on board with their idea of you and staying in, or even continuing to pursue, on your own steam, something unhealthy and unsafe with them is something we know happens.

If it's something that has been a pattern for you in your life, I'd say that's certainly something to consider bringing to a counselor or therapist. Most likely, there are some things in your early life that may have set you up for that, but regardless of the cause, it's obviously a pattern you'll want help figuring out so you can be sure not to repeat it, since, as you know, it's not safe nor sound.

--------------------
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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kamille
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Hey Robin and Heather,

Shock and disbelief, yes. I would agree -- this friend of a friend and that friend -- they did things to me, not with me. It was very scary.

There are times when I want to take responsibility for the things that happened. Just like when I (in an out-of-body experience) decided that I would go out on some dates with the friend of a friend. I guess I felt that if I took responsibility, I don't know. Something about being able to control the situation, rather than the person having control over me. I feel guilty. Sometimes I think that my brain wants to punish me somehow. My current boyfriend is so lovely. But I get defensive and moody sometimes, and I think it's because I feel like I'm hiding part of myself, but exposing all parts of myself is scary and makes me feel like self-punishment is the answer.

I would like to start going to counselling or therapy but it's very expensive. I've been trying to find places that are free or sliding-scale but it doesn't look like there are any. Not sure where else I can go to talk.

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Heather
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Would you like us to take a look around for you and see if there's anything we can find locally? We might not have more luck than you have, but we might.

You know, I'm a big fan of taking personal responsibility for things we are earnestly responsible for. I do think it is a big part of our growth as people, and also how we learn to better live and make lives that work for us and are what we want.

But the key words there are "that we are earnestly responsible for." So, I'd just say that if this is something you're doing for yourself, and think might help, to do your level best to, by all means, take responsibility for things you are responsible for (and then do something with that that's positive, rather than having it be ammo you use against yourself to put yourself down with), but also to, at the same time, be sure you're letting go of any you perhaps have been assigning to you that really isn't yours, or just isn't all on you.

--------------------
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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kamille
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Hi Heather,

I think it would be helpful for me if you could do a little bit of an investigation into counselling or therapy. I'm not sure where I should go (because, as I said, I can't really afford $150 sessions...) Not sure if I should go to a specific counselling clinic, either (as in, do I go to a victims of sexual abuse place?) ...

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Redskies
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Hi kamille, just wanted to let you know that someone's seen this. Heather's away today, and I'm not North America-based, so I personally am not in the best position to suggest resources for you. We'll make sure that someone suitable helps you with this as soon as they're available.

[ 10-28-2013, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Molias
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Kamille,

If you want to give us your post code or town (or email it to us using the contact link below), we can look for options in your area. =)

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