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Friday, November 29, 2013

Let's talk about sex...

Sex seems to be the largest issue that non-transitioning spouses have with the idea of Sexual Reassignment.  We did, after all, choose to marry men.  If our true orientation were lesbian, wouldn't we have chosen women?  It's so hard to imagine never getting to have sex with a man again, but I am in love and take my vows what now?

In my case, our sex life was pretty tame.  Okay, it was boring.  I had experimented a lot in my youth and was up for trying just about anything once.  I had been with others before him who wanted sex so much that I got sick of it.  When I got married, I knew that I was choosing a good solid relationship built on love and respect and a boring sex life was just something I decided I would have to live with.  Sure, some times were better than others, but it always seemed like he was trying SO hard to like it that it ended up hurting my feelings.  He liked it when I got pleasure, but usually not from intercourse.  He wouldn't let me do anything to him on some occasions.  I felt really ugly, ashamed, sad, and couldn't understand why he would want to be with me if I didn't even turn him on. There were a few times I just ended up crying and, let me tell you, that does absolutely nothing to help a sexual relationship.  We didn't talk about sex, we didn't have it very often and it caused us both a lot of anxiety.

One huge thing I realized was that I couldn't emotionally connect during sex.  I find it a zesty enterprise. :)  I just thought of it as an animalistic activity that feels good.  I got uncomfortable if it was too serious or I had to look into someone else's eyes.  I just wanted to have fun in the bedroom, and use our bodies in whichever way we felt like.  I didn't want to feel anything emotionally deep at that time.  I had to ask myself why that was. I was emotionally detached from sex, which made it easier to just think of it as a physical act to enjoy.

I started thinking about what is it about what I like that I actually like in the bedroom, what I felt wasn't being fulfilled.  (That's a whole different discussion) What it came down to is realizing that I never let him get close to me emotionally in that part of our relationship.  Over time I ended up blaming him for not being open sexually.  I realize now that was not just his fault.  He needs emotional connection while having intimacy, I have an extreme fear of that.  That is something I am working on for myself.  I think it had to do with a string of bad experiences in the beginning of my sexual exploration.  I think I just cut myself off from feeling anything during those activities early on in life and that just became how it was for me.  I think that's how it is for a lot of women, but it isn't easy to admit that past experiences (even and maybe especially bad ones) formed what we like sexually.  What's worse, the sexual desires probably don't match what we want in a relationship.

I think the realization of the roots of my own sexual desires / fantasies gave me some deeper insight into what my spouse was feeling.  What I desired didn't make sense.  Why would I desire things that made me ashamed when I was younger?  Why would I think that I needed those desires in my relationship when it turned out so poorly before?  It's all so very confusing.  But what I realized is that what both of us were feeling weren't that different.  We were both just scared of what we liked and didn't understand why.  How do you reconcile different sexual desires or drives in a rapidly changing marriage?

How can you make a relationship work if you desire a different gender than what your spouse feels they are?  Is there really a part of you that desires the other gender?  Can open marriages or "swinger" type marriages work?  How can we deny each other sexual pleasure even if we can't give each other that particular pleasure?  I don't know any of the answers to this, I just know that we have started discussing it.

I don't know how people with "open" marriages cope with the jealousy or hurt that seems inevitable to me.  In a perfect world, we could be married to the people we love, get to enjoy their sexuality but also get to fulfill any desire we like on our own (or with them if they are willing) as well.  There is a part of me that thinks it doesn't even seem like a marriage at the point couples are allowing others into the bedroom or somewhere outside of the marriage.  I don't know how else people can reconcile the way they can be completely compatible in a relationship, but not necessarily always in the bedroom.

My initial conclusion, being that we are in the very beginning stages of this process, is that any couple going through this has to be willing to confront the issue of desires towards other people.  As the transitioning person is going through hormonal changes, desires might change.  The spouses' desires might change.  Yes, you have committed to live your life with this person for better or for worse, but should we really deny each other that type of sexual outlet?

There is a part of me that would be extremely turned on by seeing my spouse with another person, just to watch the enjoyment...but I would want to be a part of it.  I would be jealous to see a stronger sexual desire for someone else that I could never get, even it did make more sense.  A part of me would be terrified that they would be a better match than we are and what we had would be over.  I do know people who have made this type of relationship work, but it is based on complete honesty and rules about what can or can't happen.  Is that a more evolved relationship, or just giving up on some part of your relationship?

I think the most important part of any relationship, especially in the sex department, is honesty.  We have to be able to be honest about what we feel so it can at least be discussed.  Obviously, I don't have all the answers, but a ton of questions.  How do people make this work if sex drives or desires are different but you really want to spend your life with the partner you chose?

1 comment:

  1. Hi B. Its Kali,

    Tranisitioning from a monogamous relationship to non monogamous one is as hard as changing genders. Some make it, some don't. Some people are built for honest consensual non-monogamy and others can't imagine it. I believe that non monogamy is for me. Always has been. However it is not that easy. You can't just be non monogamous, a relationship needs to be super solid, communication has to be amazing. It is lots of work. My partner and I have been non-monogamous since we married, with mixed success. I chalk it all up to learning. I believe I have to be super secure before I am able to comfortable with my partner loving another. I like the idea of another women loving her. Making her smile. Making her feel pretty and wanted sexually. I know I need to sleep with men. But again it is not that simple. We have both made bad partner choices. We had relationships when our marriage was on the rocks. But I want to rebuild the foundation diligently, and try again. I don't plan on living celibate. I can't expect her to either. We must change. We must grow.

    Read the book 'Opening Up' it is a good primer that my therapist recommended.