I smell sex and boundaries, yeah.

For reasons I don’t understand I was never really willing to get into my sexual hangups with my previous shrink. I saw her for five years, through my marriage, when I’ve had what I would consider a moderately high number of sexual hangups and problems and I just… wasn’t real willing to talk to her about it.

I’m not sure how willing I am to talk to the current person about it but I need to at least talk to myself.

I pay good money to have people help me with my behavior in the larger world. I figure out sex as best I can on my own since Traci. I miss Traci. I could talk to her about wanting to say no and not being able to say no. Traci is my shrink who OD’ed on heroin. I get most attached to other folks who have big problems.

But back to my sex life.

I feel like being 18 years out frames all of it so differently. I’ve now had 11 years of marriage. The framework around sex feels different now. I’ve now had 11 years of legal, state sanctioned, appropriate sex. Holy crap.

But during my childhood sex was a constant topic. My family didn’t uhhh do sex education the way I do sex education (with books, lectures, and youtube videos about consent!) instead I was just told all the things I’d have to do. Consent was… not a word anyone in my family cared about. You have holes, that’s all the consent anyone needs.

My mother told me when I was a child that marriage meant being someone’s permanent whore and you don’t get to say no ever again so pick carefully.

And people question why I won’t let my mother speak to my children.

I still, to this day, struggle with figuring out when I want to have sex. I have a lot of compulsions around sex. I have had a lot of sex I felt like I must have but I’m not sure how often that was the same thing as wanting it. I know I wanted some of it but I honestly don’t know how to tease the strands apart.

What does it mean to “want” something you aren’t allowed to turn down?

I pulled a bait and switch with Noah. I thought I could keep that up my whole life and I promised him I would and I can’t. Not and be nice to him. I can’t spend the rest of my life with my god damn cunt hurting because free access to fucking a cunt whenever he wants to is what he bought with his marriage contract… and be nice. There’s a line in there somewhere and I don’t even know where it is. I’m trying to figure this out but it’s hard.

I feel like a contemptuous loser because I should god damn just be able to say yes and no to sex when my body wants to and it is ridiculously hard for me because when I try to check in with my body like that… often I just don’t know what I feel. Not really. Not till I try and realize it’s failing and then I don’t ever feel like saying “stop” is ok.

Then I’m that horrible cunt who gave someone blue balls. I don’t get to do that.

My current shrink was talking a lot about how boundaries are what allow for connection because if you aren’t in a safe zone for both peoples boundaries… you can’t ever really connect people folks aren’t safe enough to really connect.

I feel like that’s a lot of what happened to sex over the past few years. It stopped being about connection for me because it was a harmful mechanical process I just had to get over with.

I have to be fair… since I cheated things have improved. Noah isn’t assuming anymore. We are having sex way less often and it’s better than it’s been in I couldn’t tell you how long.

I feel guilty that I had to blow up the boat and do a lot to wreck my marriage in order to finally get Noah to hear the boundary “I need our sex to change.” I feel like I tried to communicate it in less dramatic ways and I failed. I was unable to properly speak my needs. I couldn’t figure out how to properly and effectively say, “I can’t be a voiceless whore anymore.”

But good golly saying, “Fine if sex with you isn’t going to be fun I need it to be fun with someone” that sure got things to change.

And things have been way more fun since.

But I’m scared. How do we continue this trend? How do I get better at advocating for myself in one of the most intimate areas of my whole life? I can state my needs so clearly I make doctors sneer at me for “being so good at advocating for myself” when they don’t want to hear it but figuring out how to get what I want from sex…

I thought I had it figured out but I had a performance figured out. I knew what acts to do and I knew how to manage my anxiety and discomfort so I didn’t flip out at people as I submitted to things I didn’t necessarily want.

I need to change this.

Noah is absolutely right that he tried to put measures in place that would require my consent/willing participation. But I just learned to put them into my mechanical process of “Fine this is part of what I have to do before I submit.”

I’m seriously not blaming Noah for me having these troubles. These problems predated him and they would exist if he wasn’t in the picture. He’s the rock I’m throwing myself against but it isn’t his fault I’m ground down. That’s me. If I wanted to share some responsibility… it comes from my parents. But the thing is, I’m a 36 year old woman. It comes from me.

Noah and I have talked a lot about the cheating. It hurt him really badly and processing it makes a lot of sense. Something he keeps coming back to is he feels I picked people who were “so much like him”. But to me they didn’t feel like him in some very important ways. I don’t have a legal contract with any of them that my mother brought me up to believe is a permanent contract where I don’t get to have sexual autonomy. That makes any and everyone different. Because I don’t have the same internal belief about what I am absolutely obligated to provide. If any of those people do something that I don’t like… I can get up and get dressed and leave and never see them again if I choose.

That makes it entirely different in my mind.

It’s not about the acts, per se, it’s about my degree of autonomy within the acts. My yes or my no decide everything.

At home I rarely bother to say yes or no because I act like it doesn’t matter anyway.

And I’m not saying that is a healthy justification for poly or an open relationship. A healthy justification for poly or an open relationship is that folks negotiated for it and both are ok with it. I do “understand” that. But my ability to make the healthiest choice available varies.

I’m truly not blaming Noah for this. He’s been trying to navigate these treacherous waters for a long time now. He’s tried a lot of ways of asking. A lot of ways of approaching. A lot of ways of indicating that I really don’t have to. My sense of compulsion doesn’t really come from him.

But I feel guilty that I pulled a bait and switch. I told him he could have a whore he could fuck every day without caring if I wanted it or not. Now I really can’t live up to that. I feel ashamed.