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Author Topic: I'm back, with the same problem :(
georgiexx
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So I used to come on here and talk to you a few years ago when I was aged 17-19, and I am now 22. Of course it's highly unlikely that you would remember me from that long ago but I found some links to the threads I posted back then and here are a few to just refresh your mind;

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/27/t/024916.html#000000

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/27/t/025191.html#000000

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/27/t/027916.html#000000

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/27/t/025338.html#000000

I have had a read through some of these and I have definitely evolved as a person since then and I just wasn't as mature as I thought I was at that time! I also apologise because you responded to every one of my endless posts even though it was probably very frustrating for you as I was refusing to accept what you were telling me, judging by my replies.

Basically I have a much bigger sense of identity now, where as back then I was very focused on the idea that my life was pointless if I didn't have my boyfriend (which is really depressing that I used to feel like that) But I definitely know a lot more about myself now, and I have much more of an awareness to what I like, what I dislike and what I will and will not put up with, in regards to not only romantic relationships but all different types of relations and friendships with people. I can stand up for myself a considerable amount more now and will voice what I feel in a relationship (I was terrified to in the past as you can see from my posts) I am basically a COMPLETE different person now in regards to my self worth and level of maturity. I still think I have a way to go but I know that it can all come with age and I'm just glad I'm not that way anymore!

Anyway, after my break up I went through a bit of a roller coaster ride with my emotions and identity, and obviously my self worth. I slept around a lot and developed drug/alcohol problems where I was sniffing drugs through the week and behaving in a way that did not reflect the real me at all. My self esteem was at rock bottom. I slept with a lot of men and put myself in some real dangerous and ridiculous situations looking back on it now. I experienced relations with horrible men which only reinforced my idea that no man would ever accept me as I am and all men were horrid. I felt a lot of rejection and pain but never seemed to accept I might be part of the problem picking the wrong men and behaving in a way that was not only dangerous to my health but also affected how every single one of my relationships developed (and ended). I also didn't seem to realise that it wasn't just my ex boyfriend that was the cause of our break up and that us splitting up, even though it was devastating and painful for a VERY long time, it was also the best thing that could of ever happened because it made me think about all these things and learn about myself and my behaviour and how my part in the relationship was also a factor in the breakdown of it. It also gave me no choice but to be my own person, become more independent and just generally develop as a person. I know I am going on a bit about this but I genuinely am very proud of myself for coming so far and I just wanted to share it with you, because coming on this site helped me massively because you provided me with so much support and a non-judgemental ear [Smile]

Anyway! I also used to make it clear that I held a strong belief that no man would ever want to be in a non-sexual relationship and that sex is what makes a relationship what it is and I also implied that sex is something I 'owed' the person I was with. I was constantly anxious that I wouldn't 'please' the man and that he would be 'upset' with me. I now know this is all completely wrong and I definitely do not hold these views now. I have also met a guy who is perfectly happy just to cuddle, respects me, would never have sex if I didn't feel like it and does not even make it an issue at all. He is a very sweet, gentle and caring guy who shows me a lot of love and I have been with him for 7 months so far [Smile]

The only problem is, after all the positives, I still have the original issue I had that brought me here in the first place. Although I think I can describe my symptoms better now.

I paid for a private therapist and saw him for a good number of months, although there was no improvement to my symptoms it did help me to arrange my thoughts a bit better. He did tell me that he didn't think he could help with my main problem as I didn't seem to be experiencing any improvements so he wrote a letter to my GP trying to refer me to a specialist hospital in London. I went to my GP and she saw the letter and once again made me feel like I was wasting her time like doctors always seem to do with me. She said it had to go through a panel of people who would then decide if I could be seen there. I find it hard to accept that this is the way they go about things, I know it's the NHS but this panel of people do not know me and do not know the extent to my problem or suffering of it at all. Anyhow she told me that someone would contact me but it may take some time. That was back in October 2013 and I have not heard a thing.

Me and my current boyfriend do have a sexual relationship but its not something we participate in often simply because I don't enjoy many aspects of it and I openly tell him this. If we do ever start having sex and its clear I am just not feeling it we stop straight away and we just cuddle naked [Smile]
My boyfriend doesn't have any issues with this but I do. I still find it very depressing that I can't enjoy it and I really would like to.

It's got to the point where I can't even start doing it because as soon as things start getting heated it feels so alien and almost wrong. I feel uncomfortable and we just don't continue.

The only thing I have found that sounds similar to my symptoms is that of sexual Anhedonia, where a person experiences the sexual response and sometime orgasm, but feels absolutely no pleasure alongside it.

I'm not really sure where to go from here. I feel doctors just don't take anything seriously and just want all the patients in and out the room as soon as possible. Do you have any knowledge on Sexual Anhedonia? Or do you have any idea on where I should go from here? This is a subject that still gets to me. I have accepted for the most part that sex just isn't for me at the moment but it's not something I'm content with, because I know I am not asexual.

Sorry for the essay!

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Heather
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Of course I remember you, georgie. [Smile] I'm sorry to hear, however, you've still been struggling so much.

Ultimately, I think one of the troubles here is that it is going to be tough for anyone to work well with you around this if and when you are engaging in any kind of sex you do not want (or in a sexual relationship if and when that is something you do not enjoy). particularly because if and when someone does that, all by itself, that is likely to make pleasure with sex unlikely, so it's going to be impossible to sort out what is going on here.

The therapist you were seeing: were they specifically a sex therapist?

Also, have you, yourself, followed up with the person who was seeking out a referral for you?

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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 to be honest it's not really something we do anymore anyway. We did when we first got together but now we just tend to cuddle a lot, which I love doing.

I don't have to have sex, the only times I do is when I actually want to and I enjoy other aspects of it like the feeling of being close to him but if I just don't want to (which is most of the time) then we don't.

He was a therapist for general stuff but he specialised in sexual therapy. I tried to, I called the doctor but they generally just are not very helpful. I wasn't able to speak to the doctor at that time and was told she would call me on a particular day around a particular time and I 'had' to answer. I couldn't answer because I was at work but she did leave me a voice mail telling me to talk to her secretary who would apparently be able to answer my question. I assume by secretary she meant the receptionist at the practise but she was the person I spoke to originally and was incredibly unhelpful. I think I will just have to book an appointment again.

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Heather
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So, do I have right that, in the relationship you are in, you are both happy only doing the things you actually enjoy?

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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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Yes, well he would never want to do anything if he knew I wasn't enjoying it. And the only time we do anything sexual is because I want to be close to him in that way.

But usually if I know I'm not going to like it at all I will say, this just doesn't feel good. And he will stop immediately.

The problem is, I am not happy because I want to enjoy more stuff. I want to enjoy the stuff that involves genital stimulation because that is what I usually have desire for.

When other people talk about sex or when I watch a programme about it or anything like that the first thought I have is "Why do they do that?"

The process of sex has never come naturally to me. In the past I only ever did what I had learnt to do. Now, I just don't really do anything because there is nothing sexual that naturally feels pleasurable to me and I am not the person that I used to be. I don't just do it anyway and I don't pretend either

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Heather
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Well, in some ways, see, what I say out loud to this is, "What's the problem?"

In other words, if you are both happy the way things are, and you mostly feel like you want to want something that....well, you actually do not, or do not enjoy, then I am not sure what someone else can do to help you, or that they should. In other words, we are all so diverse with this stuff, and there is no one right way to be. because you see some kinds of sex on TV people enjoy, but you do not, does not mean something is wrong with you or in need of fixing. same goes with something friends say they like, but you don't.

We've talked before about how I feel a big part of the problem here is the pressure you are putting on yourself around this stuff versus trying to just find out who you are, what you like -- and don't -- and putting energy into accepting whatever it is your own sexuality is. Which may turn out not to resemble what you see on TV or hear from friends, which isn't all that surprising: again, human sexuality is seriously diverse.

It might also be possible that now that you are finally out of seeing sex as an obligation, you might need some time to figure out what you really like and want, for yourself, and need some time to transition into that.

But if what you are saying is you have strong sexual desires for certain activities, but then when you do them, that desire stops, then for sure, this is therapist work we are talking about here. is that what you are saying happens? You feel this strong, physical and emotional want for something, then start to do it, and that big want goes away?

--------------------
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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Yes that is what I am saying. The only reason it doesn't come naturally to me is because nothing feels pleasurable. So there isn't a 'natural' process for me to go down when it happens.

Like, there is one single time I have felt sexual pleasure and that is when I was 16 and it was with a male friend who I didn't even fancy. But, stuff happened, not intercourse but just manual stuff and dry humping and it felt really nice. I naturally started doing stuff because it felt nice and carried on feeling nice but I have never experienced that feeling again.

But now, I do have the desire, I think about sex when I'm not with him to the point where I actually contact him and say I wish we could be together so we could! But then when we are together and things start happening I'm just like nope! And then I feel disappointed and crap.

It's not even like my body doesn't respond because it does, which is why I mention the anhedonia. I will get wet a lot of the time and if we get as far as intercourse it goes in without a problem and I would get that rash on my chest like a flush. My leg sometimes does this weird twitchy thing but it's because he is stimulating a nerve which creates that reaction.

The best way to describe it is as if I did not experience pain. For example, someone punches me in the face while wearing a load of rings. The action creates a response which you can feel and see; a big purple bruise, cuts to the face, blood and open wounds. But there is NO pain. It doesn't appear to make any sense.

It's like that, but with sexual pleasure. I get the stimulant, and there's a bodily reaction, but pleasure, nope!

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Heather
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Can I check in with you about what your framework is for knowing when something is pleasureable to you or not?

In other words, are there other things in life where you experience pleasure, like with favorite foods, things to do, etc?

And then, based on the pleasure you experience with those things, you are comparing and noting that you experience nothing similar with any kind of sexual activity, be that making out, oral sex, intercourse, masturbation, etc?

To be clear, let's say you love, love, love jellybeans, and you relish eating them. So, you know that is pleasurable for you. Then you make out with someone you feel into, and think, "Nope, jellybeans are so totally better than this."

[ 04-13-2014, 07:32 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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I love eating out in restaurants. I get excited about eating because I love food and I would say that eating delicious food is a pleasurable thing.

Being super comfy in bed and falling asleep is pleasurable, even more so when I have my boyfriend there to cuddle me.

oral, intercourse, masturbation do not give me any pleasurable sensations.

The only time I get a somewhat pleasurable feeling during something sexual it is a mental one, not physical. Like the idea of him doing something is a pleasurable thought. Which is all the more frustrating because the actual act does not ever reflect that in regards to the physical feeling.

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Heather
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So -- sorry if I am digging here, just trying to establish where you are at now with this -- these things that do not feel at all good to you, but you say you want them?

What is it you are wanting then: someone else's experience with them, someone who DOES enjoy them?

To be clear, I know I do not like Marmite (you can make a foul noise at me, I know some of you love it like a mother). I know it tastes totally gross to me, so I do not want it. I see my partner enjoy it, I hear other people talking about how great it is, but I still don't want it because I know that, for me, it's not great: it's totally gross.

I guess where I am still feeling confused here, as I did in the past, is what strikes me as a conflict I can't make a lot of sense of. You know there are things you do not like, but say you still strongly want them....but clearly you do not want them as you experience them, since you report not liking them.

So, this sounds like it may still be about kind of trying to meet the expectations of others, or put out there by others, if you follow me. This is also assuming you have tried these things in a variety of different ways with someone like this partner, so it is not a matter of just learning what does feel good to you.

But I may be missing something here in this.

(Can I also check in with you that you've read up some from people who identify as asexual? And that when you have done that, that is not something that resonates with you?)

[ 04-13-2014, 07:40 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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Heather
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Btw, I need to head out for the day, but if you would like, I can likely get you some names of sex therapists in the UK near you (if I can get a better idea of where you are) you may be able to call and see if you can't get in to see.

I will be back tomorrow, for that, or if you want to talk together more to see if that gives you any more leads, but will not have a whole lot of time until mid-week for more in-depth discussions.

--------------------
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 do want them because like I said, I've felt it before and I remember it and it's just a bit rubbish that I never get to have that. It probably wouldn't be so bad if I had never experienced it because then I wouldn't know what I was missing. And also, it makes me frustrated? What do I do when I get horny and have that uncomfortable tension? How do I make it go away?

I am not wanting this because of expectations of others. I want it because I want it.

I went on an asexual community website which you linked me to before. I posted a thread on there and a few people replied. They all said they didn't think I sounded asexual, and to be honest I don't think I am either. Because I definitely do have an interest in sex.

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georgiexx
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I live in Essex, if that helps with the therapists.
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Heather
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Okay, just wanted to check and see.

It really does sound to me, as it has before, like what you need to sort this out and get to the bottom of it is a sex therapist.

I'll ask around for you with a few colleagues tomorrow, and post back. But to cover your own bases, I'd also try and get back in touch with the last person or clinic who had said they were trying to find a referral for you.

Just FYI, for most people, sexual desires come and go pretty freely. So, we can have a desire for sex, but then not have the opportunity to engage in it or masturbate and those feelings subside on their own.

But that does not mean you don't get to want what you do -- none of this does. Of course you do. I think the thing now is to get some good help so you can figure out what, if any, work you need to do to get there, or what you need to feel at peace with however it is your sexuality works.

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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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Okay, thank you. I will email the therapist I saw but not really sure what to say. Do I just tell him I haven't heard anything?
I agree, what I really want is some therapy with a sexuality expert. It's just the system in my area is a load of crap, they don't like spending money it seems. So often problems like this are dismissed by the GP. So frustrating.

Thanks for your replies ☺️

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Heather
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So, what my colleagues across the pond suggested was one or both of the following:
- That you go to your local GUM clinic and ask about this, particularly since some have counselors in house, and/or
- That you go to a local Brook clinic and seek out counseling there. They apparently often offer a few limited free sessions.

And then either way, you also have one or two new recourses to help you find extended help should you need it.

--------------------
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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Okay. Well I know that my GUM clinic does not have any counselling services unfortunately.
I'll have a look into the Brook Clinic, the nearest one I think is about an hour away.

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Redskies
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(There's likely to be more than one GUM or Sexual Health clinic somewhere vaguely near you, and perhaps one of the others has counselling services? Try this link: http://www.nhs.uk/service-search to find services around you. If you put sex in the "Find" box, you get a dropdown menu of all the different options. "Sexual health information and support" is perhaps most likely to be relevant. You can also ask a clinic that does not have counselling services if they know which others in the area do.)

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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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georgiexx
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I'm honestly finding it very difficult to find one near me. This is the whole reason why I am having problems. There are loads of places near me that offer sexual health services but sex therapy does not appear to be one of them. I have already been to the main GUM clinic and that is where they gave me a list of therapists in the area, most were general therapists and not sexual. The one that was I did go and see for months and paid for but it never really improved anything, hence why he tried to get me referred to London. Under the NHS, my options in my area are extremely limited. But I just can't afford the private therapists, fortunately the one I did see was kind enough to lower the price for me just because I couldn't afford his normal pricing.

The only place I have found that is vaguely in my area that has a psycho-sexual counselling service is only open on a Friday for two hours.

It is very hard to be positive about seeing someone that can help me if I'm honest, because it really is difficult to get the services here. I reckon I'm just going to have to do some really hard work in accepting that my body just will not respond in the way I want it to. Maybe avoiding romantic relationships too, as rubbish as that is.

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Heather
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How about first just calling into the Brook that is closest to you and asking them about options?

You know, in the meantime, I wonder if it might not help you out to see what you can do to do more things that are about experiencing pleasure in your body in general? For instance, is there a kind of movement or exercise that gives you a lot of pleasure, and really helps you get in touch with your body more, so when you are doing it, you feel both good and very connected to your body?

--------------------
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 can't really just 'call in' to the nearest one because its an hour long train journey to London and I would need to fit it all in with their opening times plus when I have a day off. But obviously I will look into it.

I have no idea what you are talking about there haha, I apologise. What do you mean by doing a movement that gives me pleasure?

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Heather
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Why can't you call in and ask them about potential locations or resources closer to you? You do not need to then go in, I am suggesting you just ring first and see what they have to say.

What I am talking about there is doing things that connect you to your body, where you experience pleasure in it. For example, people who like to dance often find that very sensual and very pleasurable. It is one way some people deeply connect to their bodies and experience pleasure in them physically and emotionally.

--------------------
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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Or, you can just call into their helpline: https://www.askbrook.org.uk/

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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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Okay well I just tried to call but they are closed at the moment so will have to try again when they are open.
Oh I see, I don't do dancing or anything like that. I was interested in doing some kind of dance/fitness class but I'm really not great at that kind of stuff

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georgiexx
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I just got through to the helpline and they then told me to go to the GUM clinic that I have already been to but also gave me a number of another national sex health service so I called that but they are closed now. So I will give them a call again when they are open.
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Heather
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Well, you don't have to be great at it to do/try it anyway! I am the world's worst bowler, as an example, but I still find it a lot of fun.

The point of doing something like this isn't about being "good" at it or not: it's about exploring ways to connect with and experience physical pleasure. That's especially important if all of this is not just about sex, which it may not be: it may also, or even entirely, be about just not really connecting with pleasure in your own body in a physical way. So, something like this can help you to explore and learn that.

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georgiexx
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When you say about connecting with pleasure in my own body not just sexually, what do you mean by that? What other physical pleasurable sensations are there? The ones that don't involve sex. Just asking so I can check I actually get those
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Heather
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I am not sure how to answer that, because it strikes me as one of those things that is so basic, I feel a bit lost per the question.

We can potentially experience physical pleasure in the whole of our bodies without it being sexual. Or with it being sensual. Or with it being sexual, but maybe also other things, too.

For instance, we can take a long walk and enjoy the feeling of strength and movement in our legs. We can take a bath and enjoy the tactile sensation of hot water on our skin. We can spin in circles and experience pleasure in that dizziness, or jump around a bunch and experience pleasure in that feeling of energy and movement.

Even with something like sex, a person can, as an example, have genital pleasure from sex in a certain position, but also be experiencing pleasure from the movement of their arms or legs, or from the feeling of strength in pushing themselves around, etc.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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georgiexx
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Okay. Well maybe I just have a problem experiencing pleasure full stop then.

I have always associated physical pleasure with an actual sensation like pain. Like you can FEEL physical pain. There is throbbing pain, stinging pain, sore pain, ache pain, sharp pain etc...

I don't really feel like I get an equivalent with pleasure. Like you said hot water in the bath. That is nice, but because its nice and hot. And being warm is a nicer feeling than being cold. Is that what you mean? Wah [Frown]

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Heather
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I believe we have talked about this in the past as a more general issue (and my feeling this may not necessarily really be about sex), which is one of the reasons I am suggesting this.

So, if you have already explored many avenues of physical pleasure that are not sexual and found that no matter what you try, just nothing feels good in your body or does not feel like anything, that is something to talk to both a therapist and a GP about. What they'll want to do is evaluate you, then, for things like depression or neurological issues, things that can create a situation where a person is hampered from feeling tactile or physical pleasure or sensation.

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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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I just never really think about other areas I guess but when you say it like that I do sometimes feel like I'm a little bit lost when it comes down to the word 'pleasure' in general.

I believe I have suffered from depression in the past and have been on anti-depressants but I don't believe that I have depression now. I admit I feel pretty low today but that is because I am talking about this issue but I don't think I am depressed.

I have seen my GP so many times and they really do not take me seriously. I have seen more than one. I would change my doctors surgery but they don't accept you if you don't live in the catchment area. It's not that I don't FEEL things against my body. Like obviously I have nerve endings that feel stuff. But none of that is pleasurable so I wasn't sure if that would come under something neurological or not. I think I am just going to have to literally beg my GP to do something because this is driving me absolutely insane.

Thanks for your help. And sorry if I seem to be going over old stuff.

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Heather
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Have you brought this up to them as a general issue, not just as something pertaining to sex?

If not, I'd say it is very important you do. They might not only be better equipped to help you with it if you do, they also can likely do some diagnostics they would not do otherwise if this was only a sexual issue.

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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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Well I guess I could try. I just feel like I'm always at the doctors and whenenever I leave I feel more pissed off than when I went in! But I will try and explain it in another way to them.
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Heather
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It can help to write down what you want to share with them in advance, and write out a history of what you are seeking help with.

It can be so easy to kind of get tangled up, IME, in the ways doctors communicate (read: often poorly) with you as a patient. Coming in with everything clearly written down, in bullet points, is often handy and helpful.

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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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Heather
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Also, on that list, adding what things you have and have not tried around this can also be helpful. That way, if they suggest something you already tried, you can go right back to that list.

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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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