Archive for January, 2010

The cycle of waves.

My life comes in waves. There are big waves, which move over a year, medium ones, which last a couple of weeks or months, and short ones which are about a day long.

The yearly wave moves from being mostly content and happy in and after the summer holidays, to getting more grumpy towards Christmas, to getting annoyed with school/university in january/february (I then get the feeling I want to learn new things, and want to start a new school-year), to feeling happier again when spring arises and summer (anb therefore a new study-start) comes closer again.

The monthly waves are the most annoying. They come in two kinds. There is a hormone based one, my PMS, which makes me grumpy and extra-emotional every four weeks for a couple of days. Hopefully that wave is smaller or even gone now, because of my Implanon.

But there is also another one, that lasts a bit longer than the hormonal cycle.  At one point I’m being happy and joyful. I like hanging out with people, I see my friends often, but not that much. Then I start to overdo it. I tend to want to meet new people, and overcrowd my calendar with appointments or I spend lots of time on online communities (ones I have been a member of for while, although I might enter new ones too). After that phase, I start to feel left out, for one reason or another. I feel my friends don’t like me, that everything has to come from me, and that no one really likes me. Grumpyness. Then I retreat a bit, sometimes just a few days, sometimes is takes longer. After this phase passed, I start to feel happy again, have faith in me and my friendships, and it all starts over again.

The daily cycle has changed over time. It used to be that I was way more active in the morning, got tired in the afternoon, and was not able to work after 9pm. It is a bit different now, since I still feel active in the morning, but cannot always push myself to do stuff. I still get less active in the afternoon, but in the evening I get another rush of energy, which can be handy, but also makes me  go to bed a bit too late sometimes, which isn’t good for my morning energy.

The social-cycle is the most unhandy one, and the one that influences my life in the most negative way. I know how to handle my PMS. I don’t plan important stuff or intense social activities in those days, and I don’t make important decisions. I don’t know how to go about the social cycle. I am now at the point where I start to feel that I am not liked. I feel jealous at others who seem to get more (online) attention than I do. I don’t always feel like contacting my friends, while I would like to see them “but why do I always have to set the first step”.

It’s a negative spiral, or so it feels. I do know it’s not true, probably my friends like me as much as they always do, but the doubtful feelings are strong, sadly enough. And they might be more destructive than helpful.

I know how the wave works, but is that enough to break out of it?

pictures from here and here

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My two cents in the whole abortion discussion.

This is reaction to the post on abortion of the boyfriend which is a reaction to the post of Britni.

I do have a strong intuitive feeling on abortion: it is the choice of the woman, since it is her body the fetus will be growing in. It is her body that will have to go through all the problems a pregnancy may bring, and last but not least, the birth itself. Only for this reason, setting all the “it’s better for the sake of the child”-arguments aside, the women has the only right to choose what is best for her. If she chooses to take the possible future life of the fetus into account, that is her choice. If she chooses to give the possible father a voice in the matter, that is her choice. Ultimately, it is her body that has to go trough everything, so it’s her choice.

For me, there also is not much of a moral problem. When the pregnancy is under 20 weeks (or was is 24? well, something like that) the fetus can not survive if it would been born*. So, for me, it does not count as a person, since it has no chance on surviving, even with medical care. Abortion is not a problem there, and cannot be called “killing”, because I don’t feel like you can call something “killing” if it can not be alive by itself. After those weeks have passed, however, abortion is not an option any more. Luckily, usually women do realise before that time they might be pregnant (although the stories of exceptions on that, can be quite sad).

So, here is my stance on this. I do hope I never have to make that choice, because even when I am quite clear on where I stand rationally, emotionally it is probably one of the hardest ones someone can ever make. Although that has also to do with “blaming” women for having abortions, and the taboo on talking about being happy that you had one. Getting rid of that line of thought, together with that pregnancy and birth is happy happy joy joy, is very needed.

Image from radical rags

*I do see the problem here that medical discoveries can be made, that would make fetuses be able to stay alive after a shorter gestational period. That would make the time frame in which a women can choose to have an abortion shorter, if you follow my reasoning. At this moment however, this feels like a reasonable boundary for me, both in the time women have to discover they’re pregnant and make the choice for abortion or not, and because this is how the state of medical care, at the moment. I might have to revise my argument, if medical discoveries indeed follow that path, but we are not there yet.

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Seperation anxiety… with my libido

The past couple of days I have been horny as hell.

Well, that might have been a bit of an exaggeration, but at least I have been hornier than I was in the months and months before. Then suddenly it hit me: I had stopped taking my contraceptives pills, because I kept forgetting them, and I would be getting a new contraceptive soon (Implanon). The pill is known for lowering libido, and apparently this effect had been greater than I thought. (I had quit contraceptives before, for a few months, but that was just after the rape, so the higher libido was overshadowed by the negative effects of that event).

I got my implanon yesterday. And now I’m afraid my libido will be gone again. I just started to feel like myself again!

*puh*

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Together with the jump, come big steps.

Maybe it’s time for big steps this week. On Friday I called an organization and asked them if they could put me through thorough psychological diagnostic testing.

It’s not that I am not functioning. I am, and I am doing quite well even, especially because I’m on the happy-end of a moodswing at the moment. Because I do “suffer” from moodswings, that can be relatively intense. Although I can be really focused, I’m also distracted and bored easily. I’m prone to small periods of depressed feelings, which have been re-occurring for years. I’m not able to deal with stress well, which resulted in a burn-out. I have been bullied in primary school, had a abusive relationship (asshole ex), got raped by a boyfriend (Viking), saw my sister get hit by a car, had lots of issues with my step-dad, had bad self-esteem, have a lack of money. And of course, there are my sexual problems. It is difficult to describe, because I feel good now, and the bad stuff feels only theoretical, but I know it’s there, and I know the pendulum will swing to a more moody me sooner or later.

They called me back today, and after a short talk it was decided I should find my help elsewhere, since I cannot and want not be put under one single diagnosis. First extensive intake, than maybe a diagnosis, if any. So I searched on, and found a practice in my own town, with a very holistic approach. They are a bit fuzzy (doing reiki and such as well, next to psychotherapy and methods that have more scientific evidence on their side), but their way of working appeals to me, with lots of reflection, an equal relationship between client and therapist, and the extensive intake I ask for. I hope this will work out.

Also, another big step will take place next Saturday, the day after my birthday. My hair, which is now quite long, will be cut. Into a short pixie-haircut of some kind. I am really excited (and somewhat scared) about it!

And apparently, this is my 100th post! So, big step number three! That deserves cake:

Picture cake from one ordinary day (with recipe)

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Yay sex!

Today I had a lazy day. I started of by reading the blogs I follow, and came across this post. There were two remarkable things about it: I read it completely, and it turned me on. Lately I had not been reading sex-posts, since they made me feel uncomfortable, but this somehow hit the right spot. Maybe the funny part about the toybag eased me into it*. Also, heterosexual sex, especially penetration is something that invokes anxious feelings. This time it didn’t: a happy surprise! I was a tiny bit aroused for most of the day, but did not do anything with it. Before dinner I searched for some porn (which is also something I rarely do, but I felt like it), where also penetration and penises were involved, and it made me come in no time (which some aid of my fingers). I had a little post-orgasmic blues, but that dissolved within 15 minutes, and I wanted again… Only my internet-connection, which had been buggy all day, had given up the ghost, sadly enough.

Now I’ll first have dinner, hoping that the internet will be back soon (so I can also post this as well: go meta-messages), and than the evening will be spend enjoying multiple orgasms, while watching porn in which people actually fuck. Yay me! And yay sex!

*I could relate to it too, since I once brought a flogger with me from a holiday in my handluggage. You could see it on the Xray-screen! And I had to open my bag… to throw away my deoderant, which had too much liquid.

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The Masters and Johnson Sex Therapy Plan

This was supposed to go in my last post, but that one turned out long enough as it is, so here is a full post dedicated to the method of getting sexuality back in couples life, in a positive way, by Masters and Johnson. The following post is a translation/adaptation of the information I got from  my sexologist.

It is a phase program with 7 different phases. Each phase takes the exercises a bit further. Usually it is advised to create one free spot every week, for about an hour, for this, but of course this is not possible in my situation. In every phase, except the last two,a clear division of roles is advised: one partner gives and the other receives. Of course, the partners should switch roles after a while. And talking and reflecting about it with each other is advised, also, for example, in he shape of a diary.

Phase 1: No sex. To get rid of pressure, for one or both of the partners, to let sexual tension build up again, and/or to work on other aspects on the relationship that need to be addressed before sex can come into the picture.

Phase 2: non-erotic sensations. This is about touch, about stroking the other, or being stroked by the other. Erogenous zones should be avoided in this exercise. The giving partner should do what feels good to him or her, and the receiving partner should give feedback, which can also be done without talking, by guiding the other partners hand, for example. The goal is to (re)learn what feels nice, to enjoy, to build up sexual tension, while there is no pressure. This exercise should be done multiple times, first without, and maybe later with massaging oil. When this all feels nice and comfortable, a couple can go on to the next phase.

Phase 3:  + erogenous zones. This exercise is similar to the one in phase 2, with the inclusion of erogenous zones, like breast, nipples, the vagina and the penis. The stroking should happen in a way that is pleasurable to the receiving partner. The couple can progress to the next phase, when they feel comfortable with this.

Phase 4: + aimed at excitement. Here is becomes more sexual. The exercise is the same as in phase 3, but the goals here is to play with the arousal level of the receiving partner. The receiving partner should say when she or he gets aroused, and the giving partner should then let the arousal drop a bit by stroking less erogenous zones, before letting the arousal rise again. Also mouth and tongue can be used in this exercise.

Phase 5: + orgasm. This exercise starts with the exercise of phase 4. The difference is that the arousal level should be kept high, so the receiving partner can experience the “plateau-phase” (the phase where the arousal stops rising, but stays at the same high level for a while, before orgasm). To reach orgasm, the receiving partner should be able to focus on him or herself a while, and this exercise should create the space for that, without the orgasm becoming a goal in itself. If a partner doesn’t want an orgasm, that is completely fine. If a partner prefers to give him- or herself an orgasm, that is fine too.

Phase 6:  intercourse without movement. This exercise should start with extensive foreplay. When both partners are aroused, the women should guide the penis inside her vagina. The couple can stay in this position for as long as they like. Than the man should pull back, and the couple can, if they want to, pleasure each other in other ways.

Phase 7:  intercourse with movement. This exercise is the same as in phase 6, only now movement is “allowed”. Keep in mind that foreplay is very important, the orgasm should not be the ultimate goal, afterplay is important too, you let your partner know what is nice and less nice.

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Planning for sex

I think I have to take the step: the boyfriend and I should start planning sexual encounters with each other. Because just going with the flow, even with pointers from my sexologist, is not helping. At least, not enough. It has been a year since we had intercourse, and in the past year there have only been three or four instances where we were really sexual with each other with genitals involved. There has been some bdsm-play, but even that was relatively limited, to about once every two months, maybe a tiny bit more. So a new step should be taken, and planning to make time for sexual contact is a part of that.

For me this feels as something very large and difficult. Until two years ago, I had always had a lot of sex. It came easy to me, and it came usually easy for my partners. Everything always just happened, also in longer relationships. I never had to explicitly make time for sex Then of I had to intense experiences: my burn-out and the rape. The first already lowered my sexual feelings, and the second completely killed them. There were a few short spikes (like in the beginning in the relationship with the boyfriend) that seemed to show that my sexual self was returning, but apparently it didn’t. And it probably will not, without intense help.

What probably influenced this lack of automatism in having sex, is that the boyfriend and I don’t see each other very often. Usually there are two weekends between our visits, after which we spend a long weekend (about 4 days) together. My experience is that when you can see you partner every weekend, of even every other weekend, you can plan your whole other life outside of those weekends, which means your time together is only for you two together. With us, that can never be the case, since 4 days is too long to shut the rest of life out. Where in weekend-relationships you can solely focus on each other when you are together, we also have to focus on the outside world, which makes it more likely to be an atmosphere which is less sexual. And especially when there already is a situation with sexual problems, that is very likely to decrease the chances on being physically intimate.

Not seeing each other very often is both a cause for not having sex without much extra effort and a barrier for getting rid of this problem. For sex I need a feeling of closeness, I need to feel safe. This is not only in my head, it is almost a physical thing. That feeling is not there the moment me and the boyfriend are together: it has to grow. And since we don’t see each other daily, or even weekly, after it has been growing in the time we are together, it will be shrunken back again the next time we see each other. That was very clear when we were together for two weeks around Christmas: in the last week I had no problems sleeping without a shirt, and him touching my breasts wasn’t something scary any more, but something nice. Next time it’ll probably be uncomfortable again the first day or two. There is progress over longer amounts of time, obviously, but it is all extremely slow. This also makes that I don’t completely trust in a perfect outcome of a more planned and guided approach, since that won’t solve the lapses of building (physical) trust  in between our visits.

And of course: sex scares the  hell out of me. It is sometimes nice in fantasies, but when I think about how it would be in real life, I feel mostly fear. Even when I remind myself that I used to love sex, even when I remind myself that the boyfriend won’t do anything I don’t want (outside of bdsm consensual non consent of course, which is not entering the sexual domain for us any time soon).

So I think I should just take the jump, and hope the landing will be gentle.

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