Dating Magazine

Sobering up to Shame Around Sex

By Polysingleish @PolySingleish

I find my mind oscillating about what approach would be healthiest right now when it comes to Sex.

On the one hand, I need more sex. I want to experience what it is like to have goodsatisfying, passionate sex with people consistently and over a long period of time.

On the other hand, I’ve been processing the very deep level of wounding I feel in the aftermath of my marriage. The scars run deep, the shame I internalized from years of being told by my husband that who I was, was fundamentally wrong- that’s something I’ve only become aware of recently. And, whilst I’m working through this emotional baggage (and doing a damn good job of it I have to say), perhaps it’s best to safeguard my vulnerable feeling self?

Sobering up to Shame around SexIt’s curious that all this is only coming up two years after separating from Finn. I wonder if it has anything to do with my continued, relative sobriety: from 2009 on, following my miscarriages, I drank and partied a lot. I don’t think it ever developed into a serious drinking problem, but it was enough to drown out the negative thoughts and feelings. I’m a happy drunk, I don’t think I ever got depressed while I was drunk. But, I didn’t like the lack of control, and the lack of memory. For almost a year now, I have hardly drunk at all.

I was inspired when I was dating Noel last fall to really pay more attention to my alcohol consumption. He shared so much wisdom with me, wisdom that came from a place of triumph over his addictions. Having been surrounded by people with addictions for many years, it was refreshing to have conversations with people where they could remember the details the next morning.

I mean, I still have had the occasional drink here and there- more for social acceptance than anything else. I’ve gotten tipsy with Loki a couple of times, and once with Miranda, but really, that’s been it. A handful of occasions, one on one. No crazy drunken parties. And I love the consequence this has had: the haze giving way to renewed mental clarity and awareness of the fragility lurking just under my tough, calm, zen exterior shell.

I feel my emotions in extremes, and sometimes I need to muster up a lot of strength to face some situations. My greatest fear is that I will be judged- silently or otherwise- for being who I am, and that inevitably leads to comparing myself to others.

And so, we come to the subject of Sex.

Right now, I’m surrounded by smitten kittens- Miranda’s been seeing a plethora of new people and as one of her best friends, I get to hear some of the highlights as she gushes and glows. Orion is all a flutter over a new budding relationship. And, it is Summer, after all. Romance and infatuation are everywhere. Except here, in me. And, I feel left out.

Is it all in my head? These hangups about sex? Probably. Does that mean I should ignore them and push through? Probably not. They’ve got to be processed before they can be let go.

Sobering up to Shame around SexFinn used to get mad at me for ‘not doing anything’ during sex. I would lie back and go into a trance like state. Partly, that seemed to be where I naturally went the closer to orgasm I got. As our relationship wore on, it became a place to escape to from the physical intimacy that no longer inspired me. I thought there must be something wrong with me. I felt ashamed that I would go to where I did when we would have sex. It is only recently that I’ve started to realize that what I was doing, quite naturally, was very easily and naturally going into something known in the kink world as ‘subspace.’

What is subspace? Well, to borrow from Wikipedia’s article on it:

Subspace is a term used to describe the state that the bottom’s (or submissive’s) mind and body is in …. Deep subspace is often characterized as a state of deep recession and incoherence… intense experiences of both pain and pleasure trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, which causes a release of … natural chemicals … the increase of hormones and chemicals produces a sort of trance-like state, the submissive starts to feel out-of-body, detached from reality, and as the high comes down, and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, a deep exhaustion, as well as incoherence.

If you want to read more about subspace, check out this article.

A couple of months back, when I was visiting ElkFeather, we were watching a movie. He gently stroked my arm, an innocent enough gesture of affection. But, that was all it took- my mind phased out, I was gone, and I felt my underpants getting moist between my legs. I’m realizing now, not everyone would have this same response.

I go into subspace so easily, and that incoherence, that inability to respond or reply, that means I need to exercise a little caution about who I get intimate with and how, because I literally loose the ability to say No. I don’t need pain or torture on anything like that to get there. The emotional pain I’ve carried with me, and the physical pain I occasionally find myself in with my back problems, seem to be enough to set the scene. It is then the contrast between the pain that’s already inside me, and the affection coming from outside, from someone I trust.

And when that happens- when I get into subspace- now that I can give myself permission to go there, I find the shame slowly squirming its way out.

I will sometimes sob during sex. I have been known to cry uncontrollably when masturbating. The tears are both sad and joyful. It is the strangest sensation to feel such opposite emotions all at once. I’m still shy about sharing this side of me with new partners. A wall will come up if I feel they might judge me for it. Not everyone knows what to do with the emotions that surface during intimacy. Not everyone can hold the space for someone to just let all the bottled up shame they’ve been carrying surge forth and leave them.

Where is this all going? I have no idea. Healing old wounds, unpacking new understandings about myself, it is all going to take some time to process. And a fascinating process it is. One thing is for sure: it is helping me to refine the ways I choose who to get intimate with, and I’m curious to see how this will evolve.

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