Because I grew up in an abusive home, I have a difficult history with accepting touch. As I have been writing about sex and was asked what type of sexual pleasure I like to receive, this has been on my mind. The truth is, it took me years to allow myself to be touched sexually let alone to be able to enjoy it. Now I love to be fingered and to have my clit massaged until I come.
This is my favorite sexual touch to receive for two reasons:
- It feels good.
- I can receive this without giving, which means it can be given to me without expectation.
That second item may seem confusing, but if you've been following my sex posts you'll know that my parents raised me to fear and be ashamed of sex and my body. I was taught that my role in sex was to provide it. My parents wanted me married off and doing my duty early on because it would prevent me from "becoming a slut" and "whoring myself" as women, they said, are prone to do. I was also taught marriage would prevent me from being raped because, obviously, the only sex that occurs outside of marriage is forced. Oh, it would also be my fault if I was raped because I was probably loose and advertising that I wanted it. All of this was neatly tied up in a religious bow. Ta da!
So I learned that if I was aroused, it was because I was a sinful creature who was asking for rape. I stuffed all my arousal down and turned my sexuality off to the best of my ability. When I got married, I was still switched off. It took years of therapy for me to accept that sex is a natural act and that I was allowed to enjoy it. Then came the work of learning how.
We tried many approaches to my body before I figured out that I needed to know how to touch myself in order to tell someone else how to touch me. I learned how to masturbate as an adult. I was always embarrassed when I tried, so I did it in secret until it became less difficult and more normalized. Then came the step of orgasm in front of my partner (yep, that had never happened), and then allowing him a role in that orgasm. It was really hard. And no, that is not a sex joke.
It took a lot of practice. More than that, it took patience from my partner. If he hadn't wanted me to enjoy sex so much, I probably would have given up.
We ended up doing a combination of couples counseling and learning about orgasmic meditation. Knowing there is an entire practice centered around touching a woman without sex as a goal was profound for me. I let go a lot of the garbage I was taught and began to enjoy my body in a way I never had before. I even began to dress in a more feminine way because it was no longer scary to be a woman.
With sexual exploration came confidence. The fear that I was a bad person for wanting pleasure slipped away. I began asking for touch. It also became easier to give touch because the imbalance vanished when the artificial sense of obligation did. Sex became give and receive rather than give and endure.