Let’s talk about sex, baby…talk about it in counseling.
I hate sex. I hate it a little less than I used to, but I hate sex, and I have a history of hating it. No, I’m not the victim of trauma. No, it’s not because I’m gender confused or with the wrong person.
I’m incredibly attracted to my husband. I love to make out and cuddle with him. He’s hot!! No, I’m pretty sure I’d hate sex with anyone. But I’m working on it, and the gains are measurable.
Sex and the Sadness
For the first two years of my marriage, I cried every time I had sex with my husband. Not wanting to upset him, I waited until afterwards and cried in the bathroom. It didn’t hurt, and I didn’t hate him. I just didn’t enjoy sex, and I felt robbed of my 22 years of waiting. That’s bound to elicit a wide range of responses, but the bottom line is, I should have known then that I had a problem.
By the time I admitted that I needed help, I was a hot mess. I resented my husband for needing sex, I resented what I felt to be an obligation to perform, and I resented the fact that he seemed to always reap the benefits whether I did or not. And we had an active sex life!!
Long ago, I swallowed the lie that sex served men only, and my jaded mindset confirmed it even though our culture told me I should love it. I felt crushed by the weight of my despair because I knew that at some point, my poor mindset would negatively impact our marriage. I’m in this relationship for the long haul, dangit, so I needed it to get better.
One night, through tears, I told my husband I planned to seek counseling for my issues with sex. Knowing it was long overdue, I couldn’t deny my need for help anymore. Goodness, my husband is a saint, because he just held me while I cried and told me he’d do whatever he needed to do to help me. Never once did he make me feel bad about my situation, though it deeply impacted him.
Finally, some relief.
My first session in counseling involved a LOT of tears. I hate crying, but I cried and cried and told her how I hated sex, how I resented my husband for needing it, and how I really, really wanted this part of my life to get better. Good counselors, and there are some not so good ones, are a gift directly from the Lord. She helped me develop an idea of where I wanted healing and then gave me some tools to help myself.
Our sessions involved questions and listening. She recommended a couple of good books, and she gave me homework! Some of the homework involved my own self-speak and self-discovery, but some of the assignments required my husband’s participation. (He didn’t hate it, if you catch my drift.)
I discovered a number of things about myself in the process of counseling, some of which I’m sure I will be working through for the rest of my life. But the gains in this area have been measureable. I hate sex less, and I look forward to it sometimes (which is better than never). I’m not finished with the work in this area, but I’m feeling optimistic.
The only take-away.
Here’s my one and only piece of advice for you if you are in a similar state: don’t wait until the wheels come off to get help. There is no shame in going to counseling. There is no shame in feeling like sex is a chore rather than a cherished moment.
In my experience, it only gets harder as a mother, so don’t wait. We often don’t talk about sex in healthy ways in our society, so I don’t recommend talking about it with just anyone. Ask for counseling recommendations from trusted friends or advisers- you don’t have to tell them why. You don’t even have to tell them it’s for you! But whatever you do, don’t wallow in the pain.
Sex is such an intimate, connective gift to share with someone. Don’t miss out because you are afraid to ask for help. It’s worth it.