I shared some background about my new friends, TJ and Kim. My relationship with them has evolved over the past 6-7 months. While some of this should be in past tense, I write using a current tense as I am sharing it with you for the first time. I think that makes it easier to follow, no? Anyway, I babble too much. . .
I left off stating that Kim began sharing details of her sex life with me. More to the point, the lack of details. Kim rarely has sex with TJ, and it’s been that way throughout their marriage. Yes, they had sex enough to have two kids, so yes, they have sex. But rarely.
As I learned, it was Kim that had a lot of sexual hangups. Hangups she openly admitted.
She grew up being told sex was dirty, naughty, and the only acceptable response to sexual desire was guilt and shame. So, yeah, there’s that.
I mentioned that she knew TJ and his ex-wife, Shelagh, even before they were married as they ran around the same circle of friends. She said she always had a crush on TJ but felt she couldn’t “compete” with Shelagh. She knew Shelagh well and knew Shelagh to be bisexual, open to threesomes, and basically open to anything sexual. She wore her sexuality on her sleeve, which was in contrast to Kim, who locked it away buried deep inside her soul.
Kim had limited sexual experiences before TJ. She had sex “a few times” with a boyfriend that was fairly serious and they dated for almost six months. She admits the break up had to do with her reluctance to have sex. And it wasn’t about “saving herself for marriage.” She made it clear to the then boyfriend that it was what he should expect from her always. She even told him, “Sex is something I don’t enjoy.”
She had a single one-night stand that she “forced herself to do” as she put it. She just wanted to break out of her sexual shell and thought that might do it. It didn’t. It only made her feel worse about herself and about sex in general.
She even “messed around,” as she called it, once with a woman, but stopped it before they went too far. She said it was in reaction to trying to “be like Shelagh.”
She admitted she had this admiration for Shelagh along with a simultaneous feeling of disgust, all wrapped in jealousy as Kim was attracted to TJ. She always thought of TJ as unattainable and that he wouldn’t ever go for someone “like her.” She saw Shelagh’s appeal to TJ as being 100% sexual and always imagined they had incredible, crazy, non-stop sex. Kim said she felt so disconnected because she couldn’t even imagine the word “incredible” and “sex” could go together but just knew that it did for other people.
Kim also doesn’t masturbate and had a traumatic experience as a child when she was caught touching herself. It makes me angry to think about it. She said she was only 8 or 9 and had no clue about what sex was or that it even existed as a thing people did. She simply noticed one day that it felt good to rub down there. She said in her mind it was no different than say, the feeling of a good stretch or a cool washcloth on a warm face. It wasn’t sexual in her innocent mind. It just felt good.
To her parents, you’d think she had just strangled a baby. They were mortified. She says it took her years to even understand all the terrible things they told her as the thoughts her parents projected were so foreign and over her young head. While she didn’t understand the meaning, she did understand they were terrible things. She said her parents said a lot of things, but two words stuck with her. Even though she didn’t understand what that meant at the time, she understood they were terrible things. “Pervert.” “Deviant.”
Who would call a child such a thing? And it wasn’t like they just overreacted and let it drop. For years her parents, especially her mom, would bring up that incident as an example of her abnormal behaviors and thoughts.
FAST FORWARD TO MARRIAGE
Shelagh and TJ got divorced and Shelagh dropped out of their social circle. Kim and TJ always talked here and there, but the talks became more frequent and then turned into actual dates with just the two of them and not their group of friends. Kim said that once it was clear they liked each other and were dating, she knew she would have to force herself to perform all the wild things she had conjured up in her head that TJ and Shelagh must have done.
Kim said that once they had sex it was obvious to TJ that something was up. He could tell she was “uncomfortable yet ambitious.” She vividly remembers those two words because at the time she told herself, “That’s better than pervert and deviant.” They then had a frank conversation about sex. She remembers it as one of the most mortifying discussions she ever had. Here’s this guy she has always had a crush on, who she thinks expects gymnastics in the bedroom. And here she is, worse than a sexual novice, she was a sexual desert, void of any positive feelings about sex.
He told her that the sex was not as important to him as simply being around her. At the time she interpreted as “let’s just be friends” but, to her amazement, quickly realized that no, he still wanted to be dating her. To be clear, he did tell her that he enjoyed the sex they had, and would enjoy more of it, but that he understood if it was something she didn’t want to do very often. She said she didn’t have the courage to tell him, “Very often? How about never?”
They did have sex here and there but said it was always something “she allowed” TJ to do to her. It wasn’t something she did to him or that the did together. How sad.
Clearly, TJ accepted this. They got married and had sex enough times to have two kids within four years. Kim said that at the time, having sex with the prospects of getting pregnant was the first time she had an inkling of enjoyment out of the sex. She looked at as “sex with a purpose” and that purpose didn’t include feeling the pleasure that was “deviant or perverted.”
Oddly, Kim said that her feelings about sex are compartmentalized as to apply only to her. She understands others enjoy it and wants others to enjoy it. She said even thinking of her daughters as sexually active someday doesn’t bother her. She said she knows Hailey masturbates and even offered to buy her a vibrator (which she said Hailey embarrassingly declined and said, “Mom! Are you nuts? I don’t want to talk to you about that.” Kim said she told Hailey there wasn’t any need to talk, but that it was okay and fine if she ever wanted to talk or wanted a vibrator.
To me, it’s incredible to hear that, and other examples she shared of being very sex-positive with her daughter. I often find the “sins of the parents” are often instilled into their kids who can’t help but project the judgment of their own parents onto their kids. And while I know it isn’t always like that, rarely is it the opposite extreme of openly rejecting that judgment. Good for Kim, and if only she could reject that judgment on herself.
TODAY (as in a few months ago)
Kim told me that she and TJ have sex a few times a year. She does oral on his birthday, and beyond that, it’s just penis-in-vagina sex. She does let him finger her, but she rarely touches his penis. She says she thinks she has climaxed a few times but isn’t sure (which to me, means she hasn’t).
She told me she really wishes she could open up sexually, but it just horrifies her. I suggested counseling but she said that horrifies her even more. She said she can barely talk about it with TJ, is totally weirded out by talking to me about it, and can’t imagine talking to a stranger. She said she is only able to overcome her fear and talk to me because I seem so at ease with my sexuality. (Yes, Kim asked me all sorts of details and I shared them as if sharing a favorite recipe).
Then, one day, she told me she had something to ask me. I recognized her expression and awkwardness. I’ve seen it before. It meant that the topic had something to do with sex. My mind raced with what it might be as I had been sensing she was wanting something sexually from me. What she asked me was not the “something” that I was expecting.