This is one of the most difficult posts I've ever written. And the one I wish I had had the possibility to read 15 years ago.
Let's speak about sex.
I, Anna, am writing in first person here, as everything that follows reflects my experience and my perspective.
Sex, making love, is such an important part of a relation. And the one which made me suffer for way too many years, just because there is no open discussion about it.
For all my life I had tough emotional and physical problems with sex. It was painful, I wasn't much interested to try, I wasn't able to even start a conversation with my partner about it, let alone take specific steps to solve the situation. And you know what was the hardest part? I thought I'm the only one. That I'm not normal. I'm worse. And my problem is the big shame and nobody to speak with about it. So big, that I was grateful to my partner that he didn't just leave me. He let me solve my problems myself, patiently waiting. And I was sure that he was the only guy in the world who would ever accept me.
And then, years later, I met Andrea. The first guy I trusted enough to open up about my sex problems (or rather to write an email, I was not ready yet to say it loud). I sent the email sure he would cut and run, never answer or stutter something like “ok, cool... good talking to you...bye”. But he didn't. He accepted me as I was and he did one unbelievable thing which changed the whole perspective – he said it's our problem. And we would solve it together. Our problem. It's not mine, not me, I'm not alone. Even now, ten years later, I still have tears in my eyes thinking about it.
It took us many years to solve that problem. A problem of physical, unbearable pain with every penetration, a problem of emotional rejection of sex, a vicious circle in which I don't want sex but I do it because I feel I should and then I feel guilty that I forced myself and fake it.
The first sex I could say I enjoyed was after more than half a year of relation. During a meeting I approached repeating to myself “if we don't find a way out of this situation, I quit, I cannot have sex against my will”. That night I got a little drunk and it was finally good. Which is funny, because till today alcohol usually doesn't help much, but maybe that night it was needed to lose a bit control. Because I think there is a lot going on with fear of losing control.
That night, the first sex which I would say “good”, didn't magically change things. In the years to come we had many ups and downs – occasionally quite good sex, more often fights and disappointment as I was still not much interested. And a lot of talking, talking, talking. Or rather Andrea trying talking to me, as I was rejecting open discussion, ashamed to speak. And very unaware of my own body and my own needs. no point mentioning all the nights I spent crying, all the doctors I visited without results, all the times I lost hope and wanted to quit, resigning from having any relationship any time in my life. What is worth mentioning is that it could have been way easier with more open conversations. Good sexual education. Somebody telling me You are not the only one. And You are normal.
Over the last few years our sex has become good enough to switch the focus from problem solving to developing (and this paradigm shift really means a lot). We've been slowly growing, discovering the world of pleasure and crossing different barriers. My need for control diminished, although didn't disappear for good. And then pandemic came. We had time and conditions for more sex than usually as well as space and will to dig deeper into the topic. I joined Karo Akrobal's Sex and Love school, following her videos, doing exercises, participating in women circles and speaking about sex with others. I discovered sex from the points of view of my mind, my body, my emotions and my soul. I discussed every lesson with Andrea, we did quite a few exercises together. Sometimes I was amazed by the discoveries, sometimes terrified, sometimes I just couldn't speak about sex anymore. But then that night came. The night when I felt I broke through some invisible barriers, reaching next level which I never believed I could ever reach. I guess it all originated from two main points: understanding better my body and what it likes (magic of clitoris!) and letting myself go, giving up control. Much can be said about that work, but this post is already fairly long. If you wish me to continue the topic, I'm more than happy to do so, as now, after freeing my mind from taboos, sex is something I keep trying to discuss everywhere I can. Because I know it can save suffering of many people around. But not many are prepared to talk, and this is just fine – I wasn't able to do it myself for so many years.
If you feel your sex could be better, or, even more, that something is wrong with you, there are a few things I'd recommend you to start with:
Join a course about sex and love relations – the Sex and Love School I took it's an online course, you can join any moment anonymously and it is based on Gift Economy (you decide how much you pay), but it's in Polish. I'm sure you can find a good one in English or in your own language, too. It could be a good idea to seek the support of a professional, if you prefer/need a more personal approach.
Read „Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life” by Emily Nagoski. It's the best book about sex I ever read in my life. And it also helped me a lot to understand that there is nothing wrong with me and my body. I just have a different way of reacting, getting excited, etc, and the task I need to do is to understand my body, not to change it.
And the third thing... if you want to speak about sex, I'm here. More than happy to discuss, answer your message, accompany you in the journey. Many things had to happen before I was ready to write these words. But I want you to hear them. Sex is much more complex than how we depict it. Even if recently we are more and more able to speak about it, the level of discussion focuses too much on great sex. Sex is not always great. It can be, finally even I know. But it can also be a bad, traumatising experience (even if not forced, or at least not forced by somebody else than yourself - rape is a totally different topic). People have bad sex too, maybe even more often than good one. And that's ok. Good sex requires a lot of work on every level – our convictions and assumptions, our emotional reactions and ability to express them, the connection with our own body, its acceptance, openness for pleasure. But above all it requires a good relationship and aware partners who are able to say “let's face it together”. It's not about one partner's reactions which are wrong or inadequate. It's about discovering together what each of us needs and how we can get there without consciously or unconsciously violating the needs of the other person. It's not easy. But definitely worth it.