I haven’t posted in over 3 weeks. I am not sure if I’ve just been adrift, avoiding or honestly busy with other things. I believe it’s a mixture. I know I’ve been shying away from a prompt I saved for myself:
“Victims of childhood sexual abuse may anesthetize their sexuality” – The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
When I saw those words on the page I was comforted, enraged, validated, celebratory and numb. No matter how painful, there is something reassuring to see yourself in black and white. I thought I was alone in my condition. I’ve always felt my genital have been preserved in a bath of novocaine.
Up until 4 months ago there was nothing anyone, myself included, could do that would have registered as pleasure. My sexual expression was devoid of physical sensation. I had to be lost in cruel, brutal fantasies to release myself. It was never the result of what I felt or experienced only what I thought. There were mechanics, involved but it was the self hating storm in my head that drove me to release.
A pattern was set very early. Touch was alien to my family. I do recall my Nanna affectionately stroking my back on a few occasions. Growing up, I am sure not feeling like a real boy kept me away from discovering myself. The assault and my relationship with my father taught me to despise my maleness. I wasn’t worthy of being a boy. I drifted further and further from my body.
When I woke up being molested, his wet, sloppy mouth was on my disgusting dick. He was revolting and I was filthy. In the moment between sleep and aware, there wasn’t a nanosecond of pleasure. I raced right into retreat. I’ve often thought a switch went off that night.
(A switch? Fuck, I was ripped from the damn grid.)
(I could rant right here about the selfish pig breaking me.)
I’ve never sought out, nor cared to get oral sex. It was meaningless to me, I was numb to all pleasure, period. I could only release if I retreated from the room, from the person, from the experience. It’s hard to be intimate when you can’t stick around.
(Yep, I’m fucking pissed for what was taken from me.)
The detachment extends beyond sex. My trainer recently wrote “there’s a lot of “feeling” you have yet to uncover in your body”*. A short time ago I told him I never felt a “pump” at the gym. I was convinced I didn’t work hard enough to earn it (i.e. I wasn’t a real boy). Always patient, he helped me identify it. Before a heavy leg session I measured my quads and calves. After the workout I remeasured them. Both were larger. I did it! Now what did it feel like? Spent, but good in a tingly way, flushed, and yes a bit full.
(Was my connection to my body stolen or did I just never find it?)
(Does it even matter at this point?)
(Hey, I’ve been a raging anger-head since I was 14.)
(I know I’m pissed. I also know I am moving on.)
I am slowly activating the circuits that got slammed shut. Working out has helped greatly. I’m loading my arsenal with other techniques. On the playful end, I may try the ballet studio that opened around the corner. My trainer also suggested I play a game; Notice & Name, where I check in with myself and name/describe what I am feeling. He and my therapist are in good company with Dr. van der Kolk. The three suggest developing a yoga practice. I can see how being mindful of my body in a deliberate way can open up pathways. It’s a bit challenging to allow myself to be vulnerable in a room with other people. But I believe it maybe a good skill if I want to learn to remain in the room while being intimate.
* I asked my trainer if there was anything that frustrated him about me, things I should do, things I should let go. His reply was a kind, thoughtful goldmine that will keep me working for months. It will probably stand as a keystone in my journey for years to come. I have volumes to say…