A sexual trauma

Four years ago:

We’d been in some sort of nebulous sexual relationship for a few months, with a prior six-week period before that. The sex was good; we had chemistry. He was not amazing at checking in or adjusting when I had muscular issues, and had always been a little pushy sexually.

I was at his place for the weekend. We were having sex; he was on top/behind me, I was on my belly. Things were going well until he was close to coming, at which point, he pushed in, all the way, hard. It HURT (and continued to do so for at least twenty minutes as my muscles seized up). I said, “Ow, ow, ow, please pull out now.” And he waited a minute before he did.

When he pulled out, I went fetal, withdrawn, and semi-catatonic, feeling very sad (I later learned this is a very typical trauma reaction). He was a bit concerned, and said, “Hey, I don’t like you like this.” He cuddled me, and once I came out of my withdrawn state enough to talk, after several minutes, I told him that I used to allow someone to fuck me a lot before I found my vulvodynia treatment and when it hurt every time; and that that wasn’t something I would allow, ever again. That when sex hurt and I said I needed him to pull out, he needed to pull out. He didn’t really respond to any of that, and I think I went out to the couch shortly after.

He never did apologize.

I was reading this and thinking about how tight my pelvic floor muscles are. Katy says, “The action of the pelvic floor muscle, like every muscle, is position and load-dependent. If this muscle group was “designed to be in constant contraction” then when we laid down it would be generating the same force with a smaller load, which should not be happening in muscle.” Mine are as tight lying down as they are when I stand, I think. Their default position is contraction.

I’ve been getting better at being mindful of this lately. I think of it many times a day, and I’m getting better at keeping them relaxed for longer periods of time when I do think of it. It used to last about ten second before I paid the slightest bit of attention to anything else, and then they’d default to their “tight and lifted” state.

So I’m improving that end of it quite a lot. I still need to do more reading on how to engage and strengthen my glutes appropriately so they provide the proper counter-balance to my pelvic floor. Once I get the sitting worked out a little, that will probably be my next focus. More squatting, it appears.

A nightmare of bad sitting

I’ve been realizing how often I sit on my sacrum, and how much that must be contributing to my pelvic floor issues.

It’s hard to correct. All my “curled up in bed/on the couch” positions involve rounding my sacrum such that it’s bearing weight, and almost certainly stressing all the pelvic floor muscles that attach to my coccyx. I rarely sit on my sitz bones like I should be. I’m trying; it’s hard to remember, and I must be overcompensating because it often makes my lower back hurt. It’s especially hard in the car where, even with the towel I now have in the driver’s seat to compensate, I’m still fighting the backwards tilt of the bucket seat.

So, I’m trying to figure out how to sit well, and going to try a head pillow to see if that makes it come more easily for me.

Helpful things I’ve found so far:

The Basics of Sitting, Part One (other parts linked at the bottom)

Ramblings from my pelvis

I’m going to try to sit a lot less, but since I only have so much control over that right now (and especially in the car), I’m also going to be working on sitting better.

I awoke to abdominal discomfort in the night. I’m not sure what sparked this, since I haven’t had any bodywork since last week’s PT appointment. I’d run out of an herbal formula that may have been supporting me and didn’t know whether I still needed it, but that’s all I can think of. Perhaps I’m getting a period (I have a hormonal IUD, so I often go for many months at a stretch without a period at all, so I never know when they’re actually coming).

My belly feels full and uncomfortable and distended. This is one of my least favorite sensations.

I’m back on the herbs as of this morning, hopefully that will help.

Improvement and relief

I have real improvement.

There’s been improvement along the way: no longer having intensely sharp cramping, seizing pelvic floor muscles when I have to poop; the easing of residual muscle tension post-dilator; the easing of post-sex soreness. Today I discovered that the psoas-related deep pelvic pain has lessened immensely.

At the risk of being too graphic, I haven’t been able to take a full-on, no-holding-back pounding for years, a lot of them, without at least some muscular discomfort. And today I did. There are several things that I did today that would have caused me discomfort before and didn’t today.

It’s not totally better, of course. I still have some of the deep pelvic pain. But this is the first real improved comfort during sex that I’ve seen. I love it. I love it so much.

And labial pulling is totally helping the fascia over my urethra, which didn’t get irritated with either partner today.

I’m so relieved. So, so relieved. I cannot wait to keep getting even better, and having better, more worry-free sex, and feeling healthier, and sharing more things with my fantastic partners without the preoccupation with how my muscles will respond.

ETA: And the dilator, it slipped all the way in, without a single bit of discomfort or resistance or pain, for the first time ever. Ever. So much relief and gratitude.

I woke up at 3am with a lot of abdominal discomfort. This definitely seems to be a common post-myofascial experience for me.

Once I was awake enough to realize that maybe there was something I could do aside from lie in bed and hurt, I did some self massage, tried to release the thoracic inlet like my DO friend showed me some weeks ago when I was hurting (to help free up the lymphatic flow), and used my Therawand. I got myself more comfortable and eventually got back to at least dozing. I woke up again before my alarm and used the essential oil blend I’d made for this purpose, did some more self-massage, and hit my thoracic inlet again.

I’m way better today; a bit uncomfortable, but not super crampy feeling like I tend to be when that happens. I think I’ve found a good way to deal with it, which makes me happy.

I do wonder whether lymphatic drainage might not be a good idea. I haven’t done it yet because I’m already draining my savings with the PT, and also because I’m assuming that the myofascial release work will also allow my lymph to flow more freely if the fascia is less restricted. L agreed with that assessment, and I seem to be handling it better on my own as well, so I think I’ll hold off on employing another expensive modality right now.

I have new homework! Yay?

I’ve had a bundle of sensitive tissue at 12 o’clock, right under my urethra, at the vaginal opening. This is one of the newer developments over the years. It’s pressure sensitive instead of being raw like the other pain where I use the capsaicin.

L said there’s fascia there. I’ve been assigned the homework of labial stretching, which is exactly what it sounds like: I take hold of my labia on either side and pull gently to stretch them, and the fascia underneath. Five minute hold on a couple spots, on both the inner and outer labia, for another twenty minutes of homework.

On the plus side, after she did this and then went to work on it internally, I couldn’t feel it. So it may have released so well when she did that that it became non problematic. I’m hoping so. I’d asked her because J had released it with gentle direct pressure before, and I’m only occasionally successful in doing so myself. So perhaps this is a missing piece to that.

We did more abdominal myofascial work today, and didn’t hit any directly emotional spots. Last time, I felt fine when I left and then cried off and on for the next several days, so we’ll see what happens this time.

I asked L how to handle not being able to fit all the things in every day, and she said just to rotate them each day if I can’t do them all. I’d mostly been doing that, with a concentration on the dilator, so I’m glad I know how to proceed with that.

She didn’t feel my muscular tightness much at the opening when she went in, which was super encouraging.

So. Good progress, and labial pulling.