Posted by: Marie | October 24, 2009

(171) At my own pace

Post #171
[Private journal entry written on Friday, July 3, 2009]

Well, I have another vacation-generated epiphany to share . . .

For all of my life (at least since adolescence), the fantasies I use to help myself fall asleep have been about some gentle man holding me affectionately as I fall asleep. I always imagine some scenario where “it can’t be helped” that I end up in the arms of the man – maybe he rescues me from danger and he has to keep an eye on me all night for my protection – maybe we get caught in a storm and the only hotel room we can find has one bed, the electricity goes out and we have no heat, we have to cuddle for warmth . . . . but, in all cases, he never asks for sexual contact, he only wants affectionate contact, he only wants to take care of me.

The Mountain View by Martin Chen

The Mountain View by Martin Chen

For the most part, these fantasies have been the tool I have used to sooth myself to sleep. I have used these fantasies even when I have a real, live man in my bed – because a man’s presence in my bed has never been a soothing experience for me – it actually increases my anxiety.

I have never been able to relax fully into these fantasies – there has always been a hiccup that keeps them from being fully soothing for me.

In order for the fantasy to be soothing, the man has to find me desirable – he has to want to make love to me – but he is choosing to refrain from sexual contact because I am not ready. He is refraining because he really cares about me and is respectful of my needs.

The hiccup is that I don’t believe a man would behave that way. I don’t believe a man would put my needs ahead of his sexual desires. If he is not attempting to initiate sex, it is only because he doesn’t find me attractive. (I know logically that there are men who would behave this way, but I have not experienced their presence in my life. So, maybe it is more accurate to say I currently believe such a man will never be available to me.)

I don’t know why the men in my fantasies can’t be men who aren’t interested in me sexually (like happily married men or gay men). It just doesn’t sooth me enough to fall asleep.

My fantasies would be way more soothing if they were believable to me – if I could believe a man would really behave that way. Instead, I have had to settle for somewhat soothing fantasies. Even in my fantasies, I halfway expect the man to demand sex.

So, lately, I have been trying out a new fantasy.

In my new fantasies, I start dating someone who is aware of my history and issues . . . who is educated in such matters and understands why I struggle with all of this stuff . . . who is able to respond to my fearful moments in a supportive and healing manner . . . who falls in love with me and is willing to refrain from sexual contact for as long as I need . . . because he feels I am worth the wait.

In my new fantasies, he lays down one ground rule – any physical contact that occurs, whether affectionate or sexual, has to be initiated by me – and only when I am truly comfortable with engaging in that level of contact. The responsibility to set the pace lies entirely with me. (It seems it would be good for the ground rule to be created by me rather than him, but, hey . . . one step at a time . . . LOL.)

I imagine what it would be like to finally crawl into his arms and lay my head on his chest for the first time. I create all kinds of scenarios under which that might happen – all of them involve me being fully in control, fully prepared, fully ready for that kind of touch, that kind of contact. I can rest in the knowledge that he will not attempt to take it beyond the level to which I initiate. I am safe because I know he won’t ask for any more than that.

I am delighted to report that those fantasies are very soothing for me . . . fully soothing. For the first time in my life, I have found a fully soothing fantasy. While swimming in these fantasies, I am fully present in my body. I am finding it much easier to go to sleep wrapped in these fantasies.

Sometimes I am surprised that my “affectionate” fantasies take on a bit of a sexual context – as in, loving, gentle lovemaking. That is a whole new experience for me. I even masturbated to one of those fantasies recently.

I am not sure why a fantasy that involves me being the initiating party (rather than the passive, dominated, emotionally and psychologically absent party) is now soothing to me – or why this scenario feels believable to me. I’m guessing it has something to do with my progress in healing. It feels like a solid step forward – a big step.

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  1. This is a tear jerker. I hope someday, your fantasy stops being a fantasy and becomes real. I hope you let us all know when it happens.

    • Hey, Ivory –

      Thank you so much for the warm wishes . . . and, yes, I’ll for sure let everyone know when it becomes reality!!

      I wish the same for you . . .

      – Marie

  2. I think that’s a really meaningful step in the right direction … especially since we do create our own reality by what we believe in, look for, and dream about.

    • Hi, David –

      Oh, I so agree with you that we create our own reality by how we expend our energy! To me, this step felt both small and big at the same time . . . small step that started turning a big ship, I guess.

      Thanks for the pat on the back!

      – Marie

  3. Makes perfect sense to me. I’m so glad that now you can begin to imagine such a relationship for yourself.

    • Hi, AO –

      Thank you for those kind words! I wish that for all of us!

      – Marie

  4. Hi Marie,

    I think it is a huge step – and guess that by now – nearly four months later, you have a good idea why it is so soothing.

    It’s a delight to follow your story, thankyou.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Being able to shift my fantasies has been a huge step . . . and, yes, as more time has passed, I am starting to put more pieces of the puzzle together and my thinking and feeling and wanting has continued to shift.

      Thanks for being interested in following my story! Having an attentive audience makes the telling all the more fun!

      – Marie

  5. From what I’ve read, this is a huge shift. It’s encouraging to me to read about your progress in your healing journey.

    • Hi, lostinamaze –

      Yes, you are right . . . this is a huge shift for me. Thank you for your kind words!

      – Marie

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