Inching Forward

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.







12 Responses to Inching Forward

  1. Rosie says:

    Arwyn needs to make peace with her body image. But it is doubtful she can do that alone. Some of us have managed to do so and for me it was the realization that others found me sexy and attractive. Now comes the important part: If is would not be overload with all the rest of the thinking and feelings that are going on try to graciously/sincerely compliment aspects of her that are non-threathening. Such as pretty eyes, nice hair, small feet, graceful hands, good posture, attractive outfit. Gradually work up to the threatening areas – nice ass, breast, etc.

    None of us are perfect and you might think that when a woman cries, “I hate my tummy” that there is the moment to say “No, it’s fine.” Liar. We can see ourselves in the mirror. I’m saying use the diversion attention method. So then she is thinking of the good parts and the others are just – well not emphasized.

  2. Trueself says:

    This sounds very promising. You are making baby steps, but sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to make things better. Big leaps are hard to adjust to, but baby steps aren’t so hard. I think it’s great you guys showered together. That is a wonderfully intimate experience, with or without sex.

  3. C-Marie says:

    Truly a very sexy post. See? Even *you* guys can shower together… I can’t recall anymore when JM and I did that last. It’s been a couple of years, no doubt.
    And just as Trueself said it best: Baby steps.
    Hooray for you!

  4. Desmond Jones says:

    Very nice, Digger. Yes, I agree – baby steps. . . Don’t want to push the envelope too hard, when intimacy is the goal, much more than sex. And showering together is certainly intimate.

    Molly and I enjoy showering in ‘water-saving mode’, probably once or twice a week. And you know, it rarely involves sex, either in the shower, or immediately afterwards. It IS nice to just share some naked time together.

    And I really resonate with what you said about appreciating her body because it’s her. Molly knows all the ‘flaws’ of her over-50, bore-and-nursed-eight-kids body. But she also knows (dimly, perhaps, without quite fully understanding it) that she is absolutely beautiful in my eyes. And I’m a little bit hard-pressed to explain it exactly (perhaps it’s just as simple as ‘grace from God’), but virtually every day, I find myself looking at my dear wife, physical ‘flaws’ and all, and just remarking to myself (and to her, when the moment is right) how really beautiful she is (and not in some phony ‘inner beauty’ way), and how really blessed I am that she’s my wife. . .

  5. aphron says:

    Wow. The log jam might clearing. Hopefully, hanging in there, when most of us thought it hopeless, will pay off. It will be work for BOTH of you.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

  6. Satan says:

    Yesss! I’m going to have my popcorn ready because I foresee lots of long, positive, illuminating posts ahead.

  7. Dave says:

    As said, baby steps, but that’s how we all learned to walk in the first place; and the intimacy of showering together sounds absolutely heavenly, whether it leads to sex or not.

    Good for you, both of you!

  8. Cat says:

    Good for you indeed. I think you are on the right track Digger. And if baby steps gets you to a healthy intimate marriage it is certainly worth the effort.

  9. Digger Jones says:

    See, that’s just it, Rosie. To me, her tummy *does* look fine! I’m not lying! But in her mind, I might be just condescending (since that’s my m.o.) or lying which makes anything I say suspect. I see what you’re saying, start with things she thinks are true to build credibility. At the same time, this business of worrying what other people think is kind of dysfunctional all its own. Not that I’d ever say that.

    It was an intimate experience I think because there were sexual expectations to it. It’s made more progress easier.

    If I can do it (and it has been *years* for us) you might could to, C-Marie. If that’s what you’d like.

    Desmond, you do set a very high bar to aspire to. While sex would be nice, I’m learning to get more mileage from other nonsexual forms of intimacy. That’s a big step for me.

    Aphron, I think a lot of it was both of us being ready at the same time. We could not have gotten to this point if we had not hung tough. Many times in this blog, you could see my resolve buckling but I’m stubborn that way. Who knows what the future brings? which is why I need to enjoy what it is I’ve got now. I’ll take more given the opportunity, but if not I need to learn to live and deal with that.

    I would not be looking for *long* posts, Satan. Illuminating? I hope so. You seem to have traveled a road like this yourself. You should have your popcorn taken away for not blogging it! Instead, I’ll just drench it in some artery-clogging butter while you watch from FTN’s basement.

    Thanks for the encouragement Dave, Cat and the rest of you! I take it that there is a general concensus that baby steps are the way to go.


  10. Square1 says:

    This is an encouraging follow up to your conversation. Very lovely indeed. Digger, I have a suggestion for you. When Arwyn begins pointing out her perceived flaws, she is prodding you, whether conciously or subconciously, to find out if you perceive them as flaws also.

    Next time she starts talking about them, it’s fine to let her talk, but simply reassuring her that you love her 100% as she is might be the first steps for her in healing her self image. Also simply stating, “Well I don’t know who you’re trying to kid here. I know for a fact you’re absolutely gorgeous,” works too. If possible, try to make sure there’s no innuendo attached. I know that can seem difficult. She’s your wife, and you want her, but she might see it as you trying to rack up brownie points if she thinks there’s an expectation attached. Continuously proffering these kinds of compliments will communicate your sincerity.

    My armchair psychobabble, worth what you paid for it.

  11. DragonFly says:

    Your last paragraph was incredibly touching. TELL her THAT.

  12. […] the Shower Scene, there has not been a repeat of that. However, I have spent time in the bathroom while she showers […]

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