I don’t think I’d ever cried while having sex, until last night.
Granted, big changes always unsettle me. When I first moved into the place I just left last year, I felt disoriented and weepy for the first week, questioning my decision to move and convinced I would never feel at home there. Of course I got over the disorientation and weepiness after a bit (though I never did feel quite at home there, with a roommate who was lovely but who really had made it her home). I didn’t think it would happen this time, given that on the surface there didn’t seem to be anything remotely disorienting about this move: same neighbors, same building, mirror-image floor plan of the old place. And moving in with my lover, ferchrissakes. What’s disorienting about that?
Well, I’m not quite sure what’s disorienting, but I think I do feel vaguely disoriented and weepy this time around too. The move in with her feels completely natural, and in fact it doesn’t seem like much has changed in terms of our patterns except that we no longer have the stress of trying to balance quality Us Time with roommates being around. The shift into not working also seems entirely natural — I get up early, when she does, and the past few mornings I’ve been popping muffins in the oven (batter whipped up the night before) so that by the time she leaves for work, she can take some fresh out of the oven with her to work. And then I spend my days doing (for now) house stuff — massive grocery trips, unpacking, setting up internet, cleaning, organizing… But I guess there’s a period of adjustment just the same. Stuff still spilling out of boxes, things every which way in the house, closets utterly overflowing (damn San Francisco and its tiny closets!). It’s just not settled yet. And when things in my environment are unsettled, I think I’m more prone to being emotionally unsettled, too.
So maybe that’s part of why I cried last night when she was fucking me. But somehow I think there’s more to it than that.
It’s not like she was doing anything new. She was fucking me with her right hand, which I love because she can fuck so hard and so fast that way. But lately, I’ve developed a kind of mental block about being fucked this way. It started back in November, when I noticed one time after sex that I was bleeding. Then I kept noticing it — almost every time, I bleed. And despite the fact that I brushed it away, “don’t worry, I’m fine, no it doesn’t hurt, it felt really good, don’t worry!” sure that it was just some very minor tearing, it did bug me. I did go to my gynecologist, and she didn’t find anything wrong, so that was comforting as well. So I just shrugged it off. What’s a little blood here and there?
I thought I’d shrugged it off, anyway. Except for this afore-mentioned growing mental block around penetration. There’s a tiny rise of panic when she first goes in me, which she can read and so she always checks in with me. “No, no, do it, I’m fine.” But for some reason, that tactic wasn’t working last night, and as she was fucking me, my panic was stealthily rising. Panic isn’t exactly the right word. Not anxiety either, really. It’s more like this little voice of fear in the back of my head that kept getting louder, only since I was keeping the voice kept in a glass box, it was getting louder and having to pound at the walls of the box in mounting force and anxious energy because I was trying to ignore it. (How’s that for an extended analogy?) And so suddenly, I found myself crying.
My poor lady, she was so concerned, and was probably perplexed, too. I was telling her to stop and go and “it feels good” and “something doesn’t feel right” all at once. All of that was true. It did feel good, I really, really wanted her to fuck me. But at the same time, something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t anything about our connection, or about the way she was fucking me, or anything specific like that. It was so frustrating not to be able to put my finger on it. So instead I cried.
It’s funny. I’ve often wondered about triggers, since I’ve rarely been “triggered” while having sex. I’ve heard that many women who’ve been raped have a lot of trouble with sex and have a lot of trouble with physically-triggered flashbacks. I’ve only had that once, I think. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that my memories of being raped are dissociated. I don’t have physically-triggered flashbacks because my mind separated from my body completely. But I wonder whether what’s coming up for me now, what came up for me last night, is some kind of trigger. I was dissociated from my body during the actual trauma, but came slamming back into it right after and for the aftermath — immediate and long-term — I was definitely experiencing my body. I have very acute physical memories from that time. But even those are rarely triggered, and even when they are, it’s not always easy to identify what it is that’s going on. I’m not even sure whether it’s worth trying.
Last night, though. I think that was a trigger. I think the slow build-up of anxiety over the past few months about this bleeding thing, I think that’s a trigger. It’s a trigger of physical damage, lasting physical pain, blood, and above all not knowing — not knowing and trying to repress, make it go away, ignore it, not let anyone know.
Jesus. I don’t know. I guess talking about it is a good thing. I’m not sure what to do about it though. Therapy, yeah, I know, right. I’ve cut therapy out, though, for now, for budgetary reasons since leaving my job with cushy health insurance. I just wish I knew how to help soothe that panicky, isolated voice in my brain that thinks it’s invisible and inaudible and that’s afraid of — what, pain? I guess — I hope — noticing it is the first step. Hearing it, voicing it, hugging it, letting it know I hear it. Does it sound like I’m schizophrenic? I think I feel kind of schizophrenic about this. Is that what dissociating does? It’s confusing. I don’t want that flattened 15-year-old creeping back. No.
Or, maybe I do. Maybe it’s the right time to go back and visit her and tell her everything is going to be okay.
Fuck this is ridiculous. I cried during sex last night, and look what I’ve made out of it! Anyway, here’s the moral of the story: I’m working on sorting shit out. And luckily, I have the most amazing lady to support me in all of it. After the tears last night, and after a little bit of trying to articulate what was going on, she asked me if I wanted to stop.
“No,” I said. “I want you to fuck me.” And so I patted that anxious voice on the head, and listened instead to how good it feels when she’s filling me up. Mmmmm.