I’m reading an awesome book about human sexuality. The link is below: Come As You Are, The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, by Emily Nagoski, PhD.
Without too much spoiler, you will learn about brakes, accelerator, context, and much more. Reading this has solidified some of the self-work I have done on healing my sexual attitudes towards myself.
I loved this quote.
“If a girl has a particularly sensitive brake system, one incident might be enough to create a tangled knot in her arousal process. For many women, though, it takes consistent reinforcement of a negative message in order for it to be embedded in sexual response, and consistent reinforcement takes a sex-negative culture.”
I have a highly sensitive accelerator with dull brakes. I can only speak in generalities, because I forgot the details over the years. Generally, I was raised in an environment where sex should wait until marriage. It was more acceptable if a boy didn’t wait. It was likely a girl’s fault if a young couple was caught. Premarital sex is naughty. Don’t have sex with more than one boy. If you fail, ask for forgiveness and try harder next time. Oh, and don’t talk about your struggles because 1st – you should be ashamed and 2nd – it’s embarrassing to talk about sex.
I felt at least mildly guilty or shameful for YEARS. This book is helping me to finalize my healing process and truly understand.
I am the girl who was afraid to be herself until she was well into her 40s. I am the girl whose feelings get hurt because people try to change her and then disassociate themselves with her when she refuses to change.
Yes, that did hurt my feelings! But I am also the girl who has learned that what hurts me more is trying to be someone I am NOT — just to make others happy!
I’ve changed a LOT since 2012 and I think that it is for the better. I’ve had a lot of personal / emotional growth and I can tell when I read old journal entries. Here’s a few concepts where I have changed my position:
- When my ex and I started admitting that we had a broken relationship I told him that I would “take better care of him.”
I now realize that I was taking too much responsibility for his happiness / unhappiness. I’m not in charge of anyone else’s happiness. I’m in charge of my own happiness. I know that now, but it was a very difficult lesson to learn. I believe it is because I am a “giver.” I felt like if someone was struggling, I needed to give. And if they were still struggling – I needed to give MORE. And if it didn’t work – there must be something wrong with me.
- I had the attitude that ANYthing can be fixed.
Since some people (who suffered similar problems as my ex and I) came through it stronger on the other side, I figured we should be able to do that too. I was not accounting for the vast number of variables that made our situation different from the ones who DID make it through stronger. Add to this, several books and web sites I read basically accused couples of lack of effort if they didn’t make it through with the marriage intact. I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to fix a broken relationship is to simply let go and that there is nothing wrong with that.
- I used to analyze my way out of trusting my instincts.
I have pretty good instincts, actually. I can sense when someone is tense or uncomfortable. I can sense when I’m feeling uncomfortable. I might not figure out what is causing it immediately, but I can reflect for a bit and determine the source of my discomfort. And I can usually tell when something seems “fishy.” But I also suffered from low self confidence, so didn’t trust my instincts. I have learned to key in on my body signals that tell me that something is wrong and act accordingly.
- I used to rely heavily on advice from others, even if it felt wrong to me.
This is very related to trusting my instincts, but with a twist of asking advice from others. People mean well, but if I had listened to friends – I would be missing out on a great relationship with a man I care deeply about. I believe it is because too many people play “games” or manipulate people instead of just being honest about their feelings. My friends were giving advise based on that fact, and hinting that I should just give up on him. I sensed that this man was not playing games with me and I never really gave up on him. Ok, there was that one time that I went for about 3 or 4 weeks dating someone else, all the while thinking of my guy, but we eventually reconnected. I am happy about that.
I have just identified a strange characteristic I have. I think I’ve circled around it before, but now I’m looking at it from a different angle.
I want people to accept differences between me and them. But I sometimes have a hard time accepting when our differences are pointed out. I feel like I’m supposed to change to match the other person. It is illogical for me to think that because I’m almost certain most people don’t think I should change to match them.
I’m not really sure why I feel that way.
I had to hurt someone’s feelings today and I don’t like it one bit. Not ONE bit, I say. I feel like a jackass.
I met a guy online a few days ago and had a good connection with him while texting. We set up a lunch date today and he tried to cancel at the last minute this morning. The way he did it gave me the impression that he is not confident – actually quite the opposite of confident. Other things he’s said in texting for the past few days supported this idea.
We did meet for lunch today. He was a very sweet, kind and seemingly a romantic type of guy, but the lack of confidence came across strongly. He also has a very serious medical condition that has no cure and can only get worse over time. He has Parkinson’s.
His low self confidence is my primary motivator for telling him I didn’t want to see him again. I don’t want to need to be the person to build him up. He needs to do that on his own while the love of his life supports him. She can’t be the foundation though.
I believe this is especially true for a person with a serious medical condition.
This is more of a humanity problem, not specific to Americans. We don’t know how to communicate effectively when negative feelings may be involved. It is a very simple concept, but one that is very difficult to learn to the point of it being the natural communication style we revert to when under stress.
Consider these two conversations.
You Statement – Placing Blame
Why do you always poke around when we’re trying to leave so we can be on time?
I Statement – Sharing My Concern
When you take a long time getting ready I feel stressed out that we’re going to be late then I feel grumpy for awhile after that.
The You statement puts the receiver on the defensive because it sends subliminal messages of blame. The I statement does not blame, but shares how the sender is affected by the situation.