Monday, March 8, 2010

The Naked Cuddle

In our quest to bring some comfortable intimacy back into our relationship, my husband and I have tried many things. When we first started seeing the psychologist we had to go through a sort of trial and error period before we found what really works for us.

We started trying to bring back intimacy by watching erotic videos, doing massages, blindfolding and tickling with a feather, and playing naked Twister. However, we eventually
discovered that we really weren't advanced enough for this stuff. Watching the erotic videos made me so discouraged because even though they did make me a bit aroused physically, I felt nothing emotionally. I found it so hard to explain, but as women, being turned on is not just about the physical, we have to feel it in our heads too. And I just don't feel it.

The massages, feather, and Twister were all kind of similar in that they were sort of fun, but just weren't exactly what we were looking for. Emotions are so hard to explain, but I guess I still felt some sort of resistance (and sometimes dread) with those things.

Even kissing was off the table at one point. Which reminds me, I should tell you that since the beginning of therapy, touching genitals has been off the table as well. I just can't handle it. It's not that it hurts to be touched there, not physically at least. But it just tears me up inside that being touched there does absolutely nothing for me mentally. It just makes me uncomfortable. We're slowly bringing kissing back in, but so far we don't use much tongue. When I write it out here, it almost doesn't seem to make sense. It's like, well, if you're comfortable kissing without tongue, what's the difference if you just add the tongue in? I don't know! I'm just not ready! It's like I'm a teenager experiencing all of this for the first time. It breaks my heart that I cannot give more, but I just can't. When we first started talking about taking away certain activities I would burst into tears. Even though I felt a huge sense of relief when we decided not to touch genitals, and then later not to kiss certain parts, it also hurt me so much that even something as simple as kissing had to be removed because of me, and that taking it away made me feel relieved. I felt like I wasn't even worthy of being a wife if I couldn't even bring myself to kiss my husband.

So on to the naked cuddle. After many months of trying different things, we have landed on the naked cuddle. It is something that we are both comfortable with and it does not give me that feeling of dread or discomfort. Basically it started with just getting naked and laying there cuddling. Over time we are gradually adding in other activities to the naked cuddle. We started with kissing the arms and we've progressed to stomach, back, chest, neck, and ears (this was over many weeks). So that's where we are now.

My husband is so wonderful with all of this. Sex and other sexual activities really are off the table for him. Obviously he wants those things, but he is fully committed to my healing process. He gets excited for the naked cuddle just like he would if it were sex. We are making slow progress and I want it all to just be fixed, but I have to be patient and celebrate the small steps. I have to keep reminding myself to celebrate the small steps.


Flavianda said...

Ah, the naked cuddle. Brilliant. Generally non-threatening and soft and warm. I'm with you on the kissing thing, too. I feel like kisses only lead to more intimate behaviors, so I avoid them altogether, to my husband's dismay. I rarely kiss "with feeling" unless it's in the throes of passion. For me, intimacy has been a serious roadblock. How do I keep my autonomy in a relationship and also allow myself the pleasure of physical and emotional intimacy? Working on it with my therapist, but not really having any revelations. It's a very slow process, but I'm hoping my great frustration with lack of penetration and failing will eventually best the fear of losing myself to sex and I'll then use my dilators in earnest. The naked cuddle is a great way to start Intimacy-Lite. Baby steps.

the girl with pain "down there" said...

It is a very slow process. The mind is so complex. You'd think I could just say to myself, "hey, get horny" and it would happen. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.

Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Make sure you stay positive! Some of your comments of yourself are pretty critical - give yourself some slack! You may not understand it, but it's okay, it's what you want (or don't want) and you have a right to think whatever you want! ;-D

I started looking at your blog from the vaginismus board. Some people on there at different times have recommended sensate focus to build intimacy without sexual tension. I haven't tried it but it sounds good and it might help...?