Mom, Don't Read This One: Anxiety and My Sex Life
Warning: Don’t read further unless you want to hear about my sex life.
More serious warning: Possible sexual abuse triggers ahead.
I ended my post titled Sexual Abuse by saying “for the love of god, if a girl says no – whether she be a friend, girlfriend, or wife, it fucking means no and you deserve whatever you get if you don’t stop.” I have good reason to say that. I never would have said I was raped. Not until recently, anyway. A big problem with society these days is they think of rape only as involving a man abducting a woman in an alley, beating her up, and holding a knife to her while penetrating her. That’s not always the case.
If someone says no, it means no. Period, the end, do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not keep pushing.
If someone says no and you beg, plead, and eventually talk them into it, that’s rape. I have quite a lot of experience with this one, unfortunately.
An early long-term relationship is probably the cause for this particular anxiety trigger. As our relationship progressed and he started losing his temper more and more frequently, I became less and less interested in being intimate with him. When I would turn him down, he would verbally push, and then get angry if I didn't give in. It eventually got to where I would concede just to get it over with and avoid a fight.
Because of this, sex became a source of anxiety for me. If it seemed as though he was going to expect sex, I would shut down. I would avoid him completely, make excuses to get out of bed and leave early in the morning, and feign headaches to go to sleep early. Every time it didn’t work and I had to have sex with him, I’d lie there and not move. I didn’t act like I was interested, I just stopped resisting.
These actions were mirrored in a later relationship.
Because of this, I still have that anxiety around sex. If at any point I feel like I’m going to be expected to have sex, my sex drive turns off like a light switch. This is often a problem when my relationships go from being full of NRE (new relationship energy) to the point of being more comfortable with one another. Sure, at first you’re all over one another all the time, but eventually that calms down. If it seems to be calming down for me, but not the other person, the anxiety kicks in. If I’m going to be spending time with that person and I’m pretty sure they’re going to expect sex, I revert to making excuses or trying to focus attention on other things.
I’ve told a few partners about this. One said they understood, but clearly didn’t because they would still verbally push me for sex. Another understood and actually listened, showing it through their actions.
I’m going to make a more concerted effort to tell future partners about this particular hang-up. I’m also going to stop giving in when my heart’s not in it. I think I owe that to myself, after three failed marriages.
From here on out, no most definitely means no.
Next time I'll talk about how anxiety makes me dread holidays. It's a special kind of horrific anxiety around the holidays...