After our talk on Wednesday night, it was all I could do to hold to the progress we’ve already made. I suspected that there might be a rebound effect as I began looking for the sex to happen. (Thanks Emily for suggesting I NOT think about it thus ensuring that I think about it more!;-) But we’ve been so long without it, getting started again would be difficult especially since Arwyn and I had resolved not to have bad sex. To answer one question on FTN’s little meme, I’m at a point where no sex is better than bad sex, but I would qualify that with the idea that if Arwyn is really trying I would really try, too.
So the last few nights have been tense for me, as I held on and tried to respect the boundaries. But I did push them a bit. We’ve spent some time, especially in the mornings holding each other, kissing and generally being affectionate.
This morning we were hugging and kissing when Arwyn said, “I need to use the bathroom.” This usually means that’s it. And sure enough she did turn on the shower, but she also returned for more hugging and kissing. That was new. Then she said she needed to take a shower. I decided to just see where we were.
“Want some company?”
She could have declined and I would have been okay with that. But she shut our door and said “Okay!” So in we went.
This was slightly erotic but it was more intimate than anything. She didn’t venture much below my waist but did allow my hand to go there a bit when I was my turn to soap her up. There’s nothing quite like two soapy bodies in a hot, steamy shower.
I could tell Arwyn was really giving it a go to hold on to herself as my hands traveled around her body. She really did a good job at keeping her own defensiveness in check and I didn’t get overly aggressive with things. It was just a good way for each of us to get re-acquainted with the other’s naked body and it was a significant developmental step.
For my part, I stayed in my “human mind” rather than descending into my reptilian self. What that means in a practical sense was that I didn’t ever get a real erection. I had my own anxieties to manage and that took a lot of mental effort. Arwyn spent zero time stimulating me, so I suppose that made things easier or softer depending on how you look at it. It was just a very nice time washing each other and hugging and kissing and being close to each other while tending to one another. To me, this is a big part of what intimacy really and truly looks like. It is tending to each other with gentleness and generosity while allowing ourselves to be tended to.
A big obstacle to intimacy is shame. It started all the way back in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve discovered they were naked. It was the first manifestation of their sin, which drove them into hiding. We’ve been dealing with shame ever since then and it always looms large casting a long shadow over our attempts to be intimacy. Whether it’s our hearts, spirits or bodies there is something scary about nakedness. This shame has been cultivated and nurtured over the centuries and millennia often by religion in order to better manage the people. Modesty is one thing, but shame is quite another. Marriage is the one place where we can really work on overcoming our shame.
Like most women, Arwyn has body issues. It’s difficult for us to be naked for any length of time without her pointing out her flaws. I don’t say much but just let her talk as I’m unsure whether there is anything I can do or say to reassure her. In the end, it’s up to her to accept her own body.
Still, I think I do need to talk with her to let her know that when I look at her, I am not judging or assessing her at all. I’m appreciating her. I simply don’t see the flaws as flaws. I see her as her; my wife. Her shame keeps her from enjoying her body and keeps her from allowing me to enjoy her. Actually, I’m at a point where I can enjoy her for her and that includes any extra pounds or marks or whatever. I want to embrace whatever she brings with her.