Posts tagged ‘trauma’

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When he pulled out, I went fetal, withdrawn, and semi-catatonic, feeling very sad (I later learned this is a very typical trauma reaction).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 He cuddled me, and once I came out of my withdrawn state enough to talk, after several minutes, I told him that I used to allow someone to fuck me a lot before I found my vulvodynia treatment and when it hurt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.

Slight fear of the unknown

I’ve got PT tomorrow.

Last time it seemed to open up some things. Right now I feel calm, like a lot of that has settled down. So I’ve got some apprehension about my next appointment, because who know what it will actually bring up?

L said she’s had people cry and scream and all sorts of things before, which doesn’t surprise me. I wonder what we’ll hit tomorrow.

In the meantime, at least I’ve been more consistent so far this week with my dilator and Therawand, and I’ll do some more myofascial self work tonight.

The beginning

It started with that paper cut sensation. By the time I was diagnosed, I had known that it was vulvar vestibulitis. I had a long distance boyfriend at the time in an open relationship and I remember his being unsurprised by the fact that sex had become painful to me; he’d noticed the difference on the last couple visits we’d had. He was sympathetic. We didn’t see each other often but when we did, had oral sex and did a lot of 69ing with no penetration.

My first penetrative partner after my diagnosis was not long after I’d been diagnosed. I met him at a party. We spent a long time locked in a bathroom together; I think we were mostly just making out. I went to his house about a week later.

I was terrified of how to tell him about my vaginal issues. He and I talked for a while, on his bed with trip-hop playing in background. There might have been candles, was probably some wine. I kept meaning to tell him, and then, he started kissing me, and the clothes started coming off. I wasn’t going to have any penetration, I had already decided.

He started fingering me roughly. I half froze, afraid to say anything, bothered by the beginnings of the burning pain.

Then he was inside me, without a condom. I was half paralyzed with fear: of what he’d say if I told him about my pain, of how to stop this without offending him since I’d already let it go too far, of the possibility of pregnancy and STDs since he hadn’t put a condom on first.

I stayed the night. He fucked me again the next morning; I remember lying half off his bed, face up and largely unmoving. I felt passive. He took me home after.

I felt devastated inside. My vagina burned like mad. I felt both numb and defeated. Not necessarily a believer in reincarnation, I nonetheless considered the idea of slitting my wrists so maybe I could come back as a woman with a healthy vagina. I was in a haze of dark place the entire day. I remember sitting on the couch, doing very little.

I also remember a very clear sense, almost a voice, a glimmer: You will not always have this.

It took another date or two before I finally told him. “You have to tell me these things,” he said. Occasionally when the pain got too bad, I’d apologetically tell him I’d had enough. Mostly, I just endured the burning. I was fairly uncommunicative about it and he didn’t ask.

It ended badly some months later due to agreements he’d made with another partner of his and broken with me, without having told me he’d made them. I spent the duration feeling afraid of the pain, dealing with a lot of jealousy alone, and feeling terribly guilty that I was fucking this guy who didn’t invest much in me or notice how hard or painful it was, while I wasn’t fucking the boyfriend who loved me, and whom I loved.

I didn’t allow or attempt penetration with anyone else until I had started capsaicin, two-and-a-half years later.

The intensity of things I didn’t expect to find.

Having looked into some of the biomechanics and alignment information, I had started to get comfortable with the idea that maybe there wasn’t any real trauma involved in my pelvic floor dysfunction. That maybe I’ve just used my body in unfriendly ways, like we all do in American culture: the wrong shoes, wrong movements, frozen feet used to encapsulation in shoes and a complete lack of surface variation, sitting all day and sitting on my sacrum when I do sit instead of my sitz bones, etc. I felt like I could start to let go of the idea that there had to be trauma connected to all of this.

Two sessions ago, I saw J, the main PT I’ve been seeing. J does primarily intravaginal work on me, relaxing the too-tight muscles. She does some connective tissue work as well, mostly rolling on my abdomen. My last session with her two weeks ago, she did a lot of that; I’d developed quite a few sensitive spots, which ended up sore as she worked on them and after.

The next day, I woke up with abdominal pain and bloating. I wasn’t gassy, and it didn’t really feel like it was necessarily digestion related. I remembered how a week earlier, doing some alignment exercises with a friend, including psoas release, I’d woke up in the middle of the night with similar sensations that I’d assumed were digestive. After this experience, I realized they probably had more to do with the lymphatic tissue.

I saw my specialist the next day. He agreed that I would probably do well with additional myofascial release to get my abdominal area moving, and also suggested lymphatic drainage massage.

The week after, I saw L instead of J at the pelvic PT clinic. L is trained in myofascial release, which is where we focused. I’d seen her once before, when I was having deep pelvic pain after using my dilators and she’d released part of my psoas to resolve it (which worked; still some discomfort while using my dilator, but no real lingering pain afterwards since).

She hit one area on my right side, over my psoas, and I felt instantly teary. I wasn’t able to let go and cry, but the immediacy of the emotion as she hit that spot was striking to me.

I’ve been a mess this week: depressed, overwhelmed. Work and family issues have been at the forefront as well. Today, I’ve cried a bit off and on with my partner. I’ve been thinking about traumas I underwent at age fourteen and in college, how they connect to my family, how all of those things are being triggered now.

And here’s what I think I’m realizing: That this means it’s working. That perhaps L hit something that is releasing now, even if that release wasn’t immediate. Partner wants me to consider antidepressants, but I don’t want to medicate the emotions away. I feel like feeling them and processing through them will lead to more health in the long run, even if it makes it harder now, and I feel like medicating was part of how this happened in the first place.

I’m no longer convinced of the lack of trauma involved in my pelvic pain development, though.