In our case, it has meant no sex for a very long time.
This post has been brewing for a long time. It is one that I have been afraid to post, in part out of a fear that I will be judged, and that recognition that not all is well in “hooville” is damning.
I still remember the time as if it was yesterday. It was at a restaurant in November of 2008. My wife said, “your sexuality disgusts me,” and it was said with a cold determination that I knew meant there was no hope.
We had been living a lie for so long already. I had been going through the motions, spending time being intimate, but I was always elsewhere in my head. Trying to balance my desire to please her, to satisfy her, with my own needs to feel wanted, to be aroused. I was happy to touch her, to be sensuous, but she took it as a personal affront if I was not intensely aroused when I was with her–measured by how hard I was.
We could have sex, yes, but in my mind I was very far away when we did, with someone else, doing something else. That was the only way for me to be able to copulate with her. It was a struggle, being sexually present with someone who judged in this way. I knew that the things I wanted she would never give. I also knew that my sexuality was deeply a part of me.
Having had relationships with partners who were not judgemental in the past, or who even enjoyed playing in the same ways I did, told me that it was possible. But I also knew that society would rule in her favour, that in reality, I was the one on the fringes. So, in the end, I acquiesced, I didn’t make demands. And I shut down.
That particular evening, I had broached the subject of play, sexuality, fun things we could do. To be fair, we had tried, she had tried. She read The Mistress Manual, by Lorelei. I had asked if she would. She didn’t like it, didn’t like the concepts. Was troubled by it. Now I know how misguided that book is–as it is all about male pleasure, not at all about female pleasure, and why a woman would want to be dominant in the first place.
She had also read a book or two on cross-dressing husbands—back in the day when I thought that cross-dressing was what I did, but was struggling to explain why cross-dressing wasn’t a turn on per se. [I wrote about that here].
She had even bought me a few pairs of panties—those kind of plain white every day pairs that she wore. Granny panties! Or boy shorts. I am not sure I loved the message contained in that selection of panties. But she had made an effort, though it appeared to have come at great cost. She couldn’t help but feel alienated by this. She just wanted to connect physically and emotionally, and not have anything else there. I did too, but connecting means being me…and what I learned, what we learned, is that sexual me was “disgusting” to her.
I am reminded of this from time to time as she will use this word in this context even still. If a conversation drifts at all in a sexual direction, if I make a reference to something I find titillating, if I acknowledge that my preferred workout routines are ones with female coaches rather than male ones, she tells me with ice in her voice that she finds it “disgusting.”
I told her that night in 2008, that first time that she used those words with me, that I would never sleep with her again. And I meant it. I keep my word in all ways, good and bad. And so, indeed, we have not had sexual relations of any kind since that time. She knew I meant it when I said it, and she had this terrible, frightened look on her face when I said it. That was that evening when she gave me permission to go outside of our marriage for sexual encounters, for chances to live out my “fetishes” as she described them. And part of me feels that this accommodation was granted out of duress…that she did it because she thought it would bring me back to her. But how can you “come back” to someone who doesn’t respect you, or who negates the very core of your being? Permission to play doesn’t change reality.
The guilt I feel from this is immense. To not provide for my SO in a sexual way is a weight that crushes me. Part of me says I should rise above and selflessly find my way to give to her anyway, but the other part of me says that doing so is to negate me.
I am not asking for a solution. We have settled into a sexless marriage. I love her anyway. She is my best friend, but there are no longer “fringe benefits”. I made my choice. I did have previous girlfriends who were sexually extremely satisfying, but who didn’t last for all the more important reasons. My SO was all the more important reasons a thousand times over, but the sex part was not so great.
For years, it didn’t really matter to me. Indeed, self-pleasure was convenient and easy. It was private, fantasy-filled, and provided a necessary outlet. I know that she knew what I was up to, perhaps not when, but out of sight did not mean gone from my life. You can’t keep diapers in the house or a feminine wardrobe, drawers of lingerie and outfits, without your SO knowing. But she never said anything, so I could operate under the illusion that it was just not there…and that was a kind of uneasy truce.
I did wonder if she was having affairs, and in truth, it would not have surprised me. The idea used to bother me, because it felt like a betrayal. A few years ago, though, it stopped mattering. That was about the same time that I began to feel secure that she would never leave me. We had a number of friends whose husbands strayed, and they got divorced, and we saw how destructive that was for both parties, health-wise and mentally. I have always wanted her to have the financial freedom to walk away, which has always helped me to stay on my best behaviour, for perversely, I have a tendency to dominate. [I wrote about this here]. It drove me nuts that over time, this became less and less so–her dependence on me financially, emotionally, and on many other ways just drove me further away.
Finding my way into D/s with a Mistress who does not judge, and allows for the self-expression of things that have long been sources of shame and pain, both to me and to others, is a big part of what is so liberating about D/s. It also may be why it is so important for me to be “out” as a /s. These are things I am still coming to understand.
So, yes, I can be more and more present for my SO and for my children, as a friend, as a Father, as a partner, but as a lover, I don’t know. I feel so terribly guilty and raw when I think about it. And I don’t really know what to do. Should I do anything at all? I wonder if I even want to go back, to try at this point. But it is hard to love someone knowing that a big part of who you are has to remain hidden because to reveal it provokes self-hate.
Why did I do it? I accepted a narrative that my sexuality was disgusting in the eyes of society. Knowing that shining a bright light on it would always mean that I could only lose credibility, be shamed, and that I would feel it acutely. By choosing a partner that was most certainly in the vanilla world, I cemented this narrative into my life. Somehow, however, I felt I had to do it. It was my only way of embracing vanilla…and in the end, she is what keeps me tethered to the vanilla world. I love the vanilla world and all the things that are in it…but I also feel like a giant fraud, that I am there as an impostor.
My journey as it goes forward has to be one of self-acceptance…and a big part of that is going to be coming clean about what I am really like, who I really am. I don’t know if I can do it any other way. Lord knows I’ve tried long enough. Once the children are grown…Once I have retired…
What would you do?