Posted by: Marie | January 24, 2009

(6) Shameful parts are deeply hidden away

Post #6
[Private journal entry written on Sunday, March 2, 2008]

In our last session, Mark asked me if there were any topics that were “off limits”. He wanted to know this for two reasons: 1) So he would know where to tread lightly, and 2) so we could explore why those areas are off-limits.

I told him there was one such area. I was too ashamed to even tell him the nature of that area.

In the days since, I have decided to “go there” with him . . . of course I have to go there . . . it’s what most needs healing. If this area of “who I am” does not get addressed, I won’t find healing and peace. So, I wrote the following letter to him. I’ll drop it off at his office tomorrow so he can read it before our next session.


Hi, Mark –

Last time we met, I told you that I had one specific area of my life that I was not yet willing to share with you because I was not ready to give it up . . . well, I’m ready to take a tentative step in that direction. It has taken me a long time to write this, but I did . . . and here it is.

– Marie

My Final Holdout
(and other stuff)

Here is what I have been hesitant to share with you:

When I masturbate, the central theme of my fantasies involves my being overpowered and raped.

This theme does not feel healthy to me.  It cultivates my attraction towards and my willingness to engage in debasing relationships and does nothing to stimulate and attract healthy relationships.

Sometimes I supplement my fantasies with stories and videos I find on the Internet.  Afterwards, I feel dirty and disgusting.  This practice goes against my core commitment to continuously center my thoughts on uplifting and healing subject matter.

I believe that shifting this behavior is essential to my well-being on all levels.  Nevertheless, I am significantly invested in preserving this theme as part of my masturbational repertoire.  I don’t want to be, but I am.


A couple of days before our first scheduled appointment, it suddenly dawned on me that this issue would likely come up in our conversations and I got a very sick feeling in my stomach.  I realized talking about it with you could cause me to lose access to something I currently believe I need – not that you would “take it away” from me; rather, that I won’t be able to utilize these fantasies once they see the light of day.  I almost canceled our appointment.

The only time I have ever shared anything about this with anyone is with the intent of attracting a sexual partner by exhibiting my seductive “naughty” side, or to see if my partner would be willing to role-play that scenario (a huge turn-on for me).

I have never shared the non-titillating side with anyone – not even my very best friend, Melodie – and I have never spoken to anyone about it with the intention of shifting my behavior.  It is very scary for me to even begin to consider doing so.

I hold the shameful parts of this deeply hidden away.  It is very scary for me to think of letting someone see that far into my soul – especially a man, especially someone with an educated understanding of the human psyche.  I am afraid the exposure of this information could show us that I really am un-redeemably damaged.

I have tried to figure out how I could avoid this topic without you being aware that I was avoiding the topic . . . well, we both know that’s not going to happen. So I considered acknowledging the existence of the subject but flatly refusing to discuss it or consider shifting it . . . well, that option would bring my progress to a screeching halt.  I know that meeting with you can be successful only if I participate with a willingness to disclose absolutely everything, to examine every part of who I am (even the ugly) and to shift whatever stands in the way of healing.

So, I gave myself permission to delay sharing this as long as I had the willingness to share it at some point in the near future.  So, now I am ready to share it with you in writing (and here it is) – but, right now, the words are too emotionally pregnant for me to speak them out-loud in your presence.

I will be ready to talk to you about to this someday (as opposed to just writing about it).  I want it to be someday soon.  When that time comes, I will need you to guide me through the process of examining this issue – yet, when I think about pulling out my truth and looking at it for the first time, the idea of you being there with me freaks me out.  I will need your vocal guidance but I may need to be turned away from your eyes and free of physical contact with you.

I am afraid of the judgment I might see in your eyes, and I am afraid that my words will stimulate you sexually and will cause you to contaminate the wholesome relationship we currently have – wait – let me clarify – I trust YOU and I believe YOU would not behave that way; but in the context of this particular conversation, I’m not sure I could differentiate between YOU and the men you represent to me while I am deeply experiencing the emotions that will likely arise – I’m already struggling with that lack of distinction while writing this letter.

I also experienced that lack of distinction when you asked me to demonstrate to you how I might move in a “sexy” manner – for a second or two after you said that, I was literally, physically afraid of you.  I thought that, if I called attention to my body, you would grab my breasts or some other part of my body – the idea of being grabbed like that is terrifying for me.

It took me a moment to remember where I was at and whom I was with, and to realize that I was safe.  I was shocked at how quickly and completely I digressed.  I had an idea that physical contact was an issue for me, but I didn’t realize how sensitive I am about it.

When you hugged me a few minutes after that, I almost couldn’t allow you to touch me.  In the past, “innocent” touches from men have often led to boundary violations in supposedly non-sexual relationships – relationships where I was led to believe a man was more interested in what was underneath my breasts (inside of me) rather in my breasts themselves (outside of me).

When I am invested in a non-sexual relationship with a man, physical contact of any kind signals an impending violation to me.  Even when I sense a wholesome intention, the physical clues overwhelm the intuitive clues and I perceive a threat.  As much as I intellectually know I can trust you, I still fear, on a reactionary level, that you will “do what men do”.

I think it is good for you to have this feedback so you can know what I am experiencing – I’m getting triggered when I think about you hugging me or touching me, even just on my arm.  So, I’m requesting that you not touch me in any way for a while.  Down the road, it will probably be good for me to learn to enjoy and value appropriate touch – but I’m not ready this week.

Well, now you know.

Thank you, in advance, for your patience in reading this.  I appreciate your professionalism and the safe environment that you have created for me.

I do wonder if this creates a problem for you – if either the fantasy subject or my sensitivity to touch, coupled with my gender, causes you to feel uncomfortable working with me.  Can you provide some feedback, please?


  1. Very brave of you to share this in therapy.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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