Editor’s Note: This is part 10 of Marie’s story.
Carl: So, I hear your fantasies center around the idea of pain or violence mingled with sex. Do you also have thoughts or fantasies about sex that involve affectionate and gentle touch?
Me: No – well, not much, anyway.
Carl: When you have had sexual relations – as in, sex involving another person – did you enjoy it?
Me: Not so much. I mean, it wasn’t traumatizing or anything, but it was really more of a chore for me . . . something I had to do in order to catch or keep a man.
However, I did enjoy the attention – I enjoyed having a man totally focused on me for a period of time. But, I didn’t enjoy the sex itself. And, as soon as the sex was over, the man always went back to not paying attention to me.
Having sex with another person is a lot of work. It involves shaving my legs and bikini area, I have to smell good, look good, be skinny, dress up . . .
It has been my experience that sex with another person is not worth the effort. I’d be fine if I never had sex again.
Carl: Ouch! How painful to know that your life experiences have taught you it is preferential to avoid the joys of sexual intimacy with another human being. Ouch!
Is it possible you have never had the opportunity to learn how to enjoy sexual intimacy because you have never been emotionally present during sex?
Me: I believe that is absolutely true.
Carl: Can you tell me what “traditional” sex represents to you? What is your experience of it? What qualities do you attribute to it?
Me: Umm . . . phew . . . I don’t know . . .
I guess . . . well, it is dirty to me . . . not as in messy or germy or gross, but in terms of morality or psychology. It is a secretive and shameful thing. It is unsafe.
I crave the experience of being held and feeling safe without having to give up my body for sex. As soon as sex enters into the equation, the relationship is contaminated and no longer safe. For example, our relationship is safe – and will remain safe – because I know for sure sex will never be a part of it.
I guess . . . to sum it up . . . to have sex means submitting to a state of powerlessness.
Carl: Ouch. Can you feel that? Take a moment to feel it . . . . ouch!
(A moment of quiet . . . )
Carl: What’s happening with you right now?
Me: I heard what you just said . . . but, my mind is back on the dolls and charts. I’m sitting here trying to make sense of it. I believe understanding that behavior is a significant step in my healing journey. But, I don’t understand that behavior. I wish I could make sense of it.
Carl: It makes perfect sense to me.
(As soon as he said that, I was overcome with emotion. He patiently waited until my burst of emotion passed.)
Carl: What just happened?
Me: You just told me my strange childhood behaviors – the root of my brokenness – are rational. I’ve never heard that from anyone before. Maybe it is because I’ve never before spoken to anyone in detail about those childhood fantasies – so no one has ever had a chance to share that conclusion with me before.
I’ve read in books that my past behavior, as well as my present behavior, are rational. But it is a whole other experience to hear it come from the mouth of a psychotherapist who has just heard the details of that behavior.
Carl: Your behavior does make perfect sense. Would you like for me to share with you why it makes sense to me?
Me: Yes, please!
Carl: I have two thoughts I would like to share. First, I think you acted out those stories because it was your way of telling what had happened to you. It was your way of trying to make sense of what happened. I think you were hoping someone would notice your telling and then help you.
When something traumatic happens to a person, and when the trauma is left untreated and unhealed, a tremendous pressure starts building up inside that person. For you, I think you acted out those stories because you were looking for relief from that intense pressure.
I also think you were afraid someone would actually figure it out . . . and you were afraid the result would be you getting blamed and shamed. You couldn’t come right out and tell someone directly. Instead, you had to find a way of telling in a roundabout way that might allow an accidental discovery of the truth for which you hopefully wouldn’t be held responsible.
My second thought is that you found relief through your telling. The need for relief is normal. While your method for relief would be unusual for most children, it was normal for you because of how you were introduced to sex. You were doing what you were taught to do – perhaps what someone did to you.
Me: That makes a lot of sense to me . . . [I am repeatedly surprised at how quickly the healing is occurring now that I’ve found Carl. He is providing that validation I so desperately needed.]
Other posts in Marie’s series:
- Part 1: My Therapist Stinks… I’m Searching for a New One
- Part 2: Choosing A Therapist… and Breathing Again
- Part 3: I Have Always Had to Keep the “Real Me” In Hiding…
- Part 4: My First Therapy Session with Carl
- Part 5: An Email I Sent to Carl After Our First Session
- Part 6: Dad Threatened to Kick Me Out, So I Planned Accordingly…
- Part 7: Do You Feel You Have Intrinsic Value as a Person?
- Part 8: I Am Learning Not to Fight the Tears
- Part 9: It’s About How I Have Violent Fantasies
- Part 10: He Is Providing That Validation That I So Desperately Needed