Shadow Work Session 55: Page Of Cups Reversed

I am going to start today’s post off with a TRIGGER WARNING because I am going to be focusing on my sexual repression and where that may stem from. I don’t know what is going to come up, but I think that giving the trigger warning up front is probably smart. Also, I am putting a lot of personal sensitive stuff out there in this post, so I’m going to turn off comments. I have the instinct to make this post private, but I don’t think that anyone should be ashamed of their sexual expression or trauma as long as that expression does not hurt anyone else, so I am going to push through it. This is an exercise for me in being vulnerable and authentic, so keep that in mind.

Before I get started, I wanted to mention that I have been working hard to rebel against my avoidant tendencies and give him more love and attention. I don’t know what I thought this change would be like for us, but I know I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. He is still struggling with his addiction and caught up in himself. I have been trying to let my guard down and be more affectionate and supportive, actually verbalizing that I am here for him rather than expecting him to know that because I am physically still here. However, his behavior hasn’t changed at all even though he does seem to appreciate the change in my communication. When I put myself out there like that and still end up disappointed, all I seem to want to do is to close off again. I know I can’t do that. I have to allow myself to be hurt. Only by loving to the best of my ability will I be able to know if my actions could have changed things. As long as I am holding back, I won’t be able to know when I have had enough because I will know deep down that I have more to give.

Moving on to todays work, sexual disfunction and repression. As much as I may hate this, I really think that being abandoned and rejected by my father put me in the mindset of striving to seek approval and attention from men. I grew up in a house full of women, so I didn’t really know anything at all about men. The absence of male energy from my life only made me more attracted to it. From what I saw on tv, it seemed like some kind of prize to find a man that would love you. Naturally, growing up in a house with all women being abandoned by my father, all I wanted was to find a man to love me. It’s pathetic and I hate talking about it in that way, but this is the effect that that abandonment had on me. I was kind of obsessed with love as a kid. It was all I thought about. I remember being boy crazy as young as 5 years old! Even before I knew the mechanics of sex, my little brain would try to fit the pieces together, imagining myself being with boys from school or my favorite male celebrities.

However, sex always gave me a sick feeling too for some reason…it still sometimes does. I don’t know how to explain it. When I was in third grade, my mother told about puberty and the birds and the bees. I remember being so grossed out after that conversation that I firmly resolved to never have kids. I wanted to avoid becoming a woman, which may explain why I cried so much when I got my first period even though I knew what it was. It also could explain why I took to taping down my breast when I was in 5th grade. Before I was sexually active and a guy would try to touch me in an intimate way, I would always feel a bit sick and squeamish. I don’t really know where that reaction came from, because at that time I really didn’t have a reason for it to make me feel guarded and sick.

Because I had only learned the mechanics of sex and none of the extras, I somehow got the impression that sex was for the man’s enjoyment rathe than the woman’s. It always seemed to be the boys chasing it and the girls who were flattered to receive it. I didn’t even know what the female orgasm was or that woman could be sexually powerful and expressive. I didn’t even know about the different types of sex or that some people were attracted to other genders. To be honest, I suspect that this was part of the reason why I was so susceptible to Lee’s and his nonsense after we had had sex.

As I have already mentioned, my first introduction to anything sexual was with Lee. Obviously, those experiences weren’t good. I had kissed a boy before, but nothing else. As I look back on it now, I consider many of my sexual experiences with him to be rape because he pressured me into giving consent and continued even though I was clearly emotional and unhappy about it. I didn’t even know what a lot of the things we did were before we did them. I had to ask as we went along. I would always cry and gag after sexual activity with him and I didn’t understand why. He seemed to take it as a positive emotional response that meant that I loved him. Because of my religious conditioning, I was trained to believe that my virginity was my most valuable asset. I experienced a lot of shame during this time because I felt like I had to stay with Lee because I was too used up for anyone else. It certainly didn’t help that he sexually shamed me by coaxing me into having sex with him while his friends were in the room and telling everyone what my vagina looked like. I feel like this really messed me up. It led me to this place where I was physically grossed out and ashamed by my own sexual expression. I guess that I kind of developed a complex. I felt like if I actually enjoyed the sex then I was a whore, but if I didn’t enjoy it that would mean that I would have to confront and acknowledge the abuse I was experiencing. Today, I have somewhat of a rape/degradation kink that I keep in my mind because of these experiences. I have never acted out, because the complex is still there. I feel like I’m a whore to enjoy sex. I don’t know if the kink is something that I would actually enjoy doing in real life, or if it is just my mind trying to tell me that sex shouldn’t be enjoyed. I don’t know. I wish I did because I still shame myself a lot for having these thoughts. I have read that it is normal for survivors of sexual assault to develop this type of sexual kink, but in my own life it still feels wrong to me some how. I wonder if I should try to engage the kink so I can experience it and decide how how I like it. If I actually liked it, maybe I should then try to embrace it as a way to take power back over the sexual trauma I have experienced. I also feel like I have a lot of issues remaining around my instinct to seek male approval. Rather than seeking my own sexual pleasure and gratification, I often find myself most engaged in sex when my partner gives clear physical signs that they are really enjoying being with me, not just enjoying the sex, but enjoying that it is sex with me if that makes sense.

I didn’t have an orgasm until I was 18 years old. I didn’t even know what it was. When I was with guys they would always ask, “Did you go?” I would always just say that I did because I had no idea what they were talking about. I think that I eventually asked one partner what it was and after he explained it to me I continued to lie and say that I had because I didn’t want to make him feel like he had done a bad job. Even though men would ask if I came when the deed was done, they never tried to make sure I was enjoying the process during. I remember I dated one guy named Bret for a short time who was into lingerie and toys. He used to ask me what kind of things I liked and I had no idea how to respond. Just normal sex I guess. At the time I didn’t realize that it was okay for me to have preferences and to seek my own pleasure. Ross has been the first and only guy to give me a real organism. I think it is just because our…equipment…just fits well together. Also, I think that having a baby somehow made me more aware of my body. Obviously, having a baby changes a lot of things down there. Maybe this has something to do with me finally having an orgasm after the fact. It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I experimented with masturbation. I had always thought that women who did that were gross. In my mind, women weren’t supposed to enjoy sex, let alone enjoy it alone with themselves. Mind you that I didn’t think any of this consciously. I am only now making sense of repressed thoughts that at the time caused a feeling of sickness and wrongness. Ultimately, I didn’t really see women as having healthy sexual expression or desire. I saw men as being pleasure seeking and women as being attention seeking. When I was with Lee, he used to accidentally cause pain through manual stimulation. Ever since I have had an aversion to receiving oral sex or manual stimulation.

I think that I may still have these issues regarding my own relationship to sex, though I am much more supportive and understanding of my the right to sexual expression of other women.

I also wanted to mention that the first time I had ever heard of people being gay was when I was in middle school. I went to school with this guy whos last name was actually Strange. The kids had a field day with that, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the guy was clearly homosexual. He pretended to like girls, but it was obvious that he didn’t. I felt bad for him because he was made fun of so bad. Seeing how an actual gay person was treated combined with my religious conditioning made me feel like being gay was wrong. Well, actually, I always felt that gay people should be treated fairly and should have the right to love who they love, I just didn’t want to that to ever be me. I didn’t have any attraction to females until I was in middle school. I remember that I would goof around with my friends a lot “pretending” to be gay by talking in a deep voice and chasing them for a fake kiss. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I think that I was really curious. I did a lot of joking and pretending, but if one of them would have actually reciprocated then who knows what would have happened.

I had this best friend names Salem who I had known since the 4th grade. We used to send every weekend together and told each other everything. I was so close to her. I miss that friendship even today. On the down side, I was jealous of all of her boyfriends and the fact that she had other friends. I didn’t vocalize this of course but I felt it. I remember feeling so close to her and would often feel the urge to kiss her. I tried as a “joke” but she just laughed it off. I can’t really make sense of my feelings for her back then. I loved her, but I don’t know if I was in love with her. Because I had a thing with male attention, I thought about boys all the time. I felt like I was in love with Ross, and would only acknowledge Salem as a best friend. However, I can’t deny that I felt the urge to have her all to myself and to get physically close to her when we were together. I don’t know if maybe I was bi-curious but didn’t know how to deal with that along with my sexual trauma caused by Lee and my boy obsession caused by my father abandoning me.

During this time, being bisexual at my high school was becoming a trend. I had few of my other female friends who asked to date me, but it was really more like fake dating because we never did anything. One of these fake relationships was with a girl names Nichole. She kissed me once and I was really grossed out. I had a similar experience with a girl named Megan. I thought that after all of this, there was no way that I was bisexual.

I’m running out of time, so I am going to resume this tomorrow.

These shadow work/self development posts are truly intended for my own self discovery and growth, but I think those of you who took the time to read this. I will continue working with my shadow aspects and self development topics relating to the Page of Cups reversed until I feel that it is time for me to move onto something new.

Love Always, AnxiouslyM