I’ve been thinking more about my situation: slap bang in the middle of a gender transition, with strong dysphoria now regarding my man-parts, and working with PTSD caused (partly) by sexual abuse as a child – and wondering how to respond to the consequences of this.
The consequences are a white-water turbulence of conflicting desires: wanting love, wanting intimacy, wanting touch, wanting sensuality, wanting sex – but fearing sex (both because of abuse-fallout PTSD, and because of my current dysphoria), and also having a strong desire for contentment, to be content with myself instead of looking beyond me for what I want.
I notice that the temptation is to think (and therefore say) that I’m “confused”. But I’m not, am I – it’s pretty clear that what I want, or at least what I need at the moment, is everything about a relationship that isn’t the sex.
So I’m gradually shifting my perspective. I used to feel that I had no choice but to be sexual. Lately, I’ve been feeling that I have no choice but to be asexual, since all being sexual does is to cause me and others suffering. Either way, it didn’t feel like a choice, but like a dysfunction instead. I’m starting to see why I was so drawn, years ago, to a book whose title was Sexual Anorexia. The premise of this book was that for people with addictive sexual behaviour, it can seem as though “abstinence” is actually cure – but that it’s very often just a non-choice that traps people within the cycle of binge-starve, just like in eating disorders. It’s that awful binary crap, the delusion that says saved-damned, I’m either perfect or I’m rubbish. (I didn’t get on with that book in the end, as it morphed quickly into a 12-step model I’m very uncomfortable with.)
What I’m dealing with, then, is a current dissonance between my mind and my feelings. My mind is able to see into the possible future, and imagine a time when I can make a real choice between being sexual and not sexual, and will know that this is a separate thing from love. I know it in my mind, but I don’t have experience of it, and so all I have to go on is my habit, which tells me the opposite – that if I want love, I have to be sexually available, and it’s going to hurt everyone and ruin everything etc. etc.
But I have enough faith in making changes and this leading to new, broader horizons, to know that it’s only a matter of time and love that will make the difference. For now, I’m choosing (as much as it’s actually possible for me to choose) to be asexual.
I’ve mentioned this before: there’s not much difference between a castle and a prison, if you can’t remember where you left the keys. I’ve been trapped in my prison of I-must-be-sexual, and it would be just as easy to become trapped in the castle of I-can’t-be-sexual. Instead, I’m going to build some kind of temple. It’s not a place for worship, just contemplation. I can sit in it and be at peace, and I can welcome people into it – and I can step out of it too.
If at some point, I feel able to be sexual by choice, we can meet in the gatehouse – but please pay attention to the signposts :).
[I realise now that this blog-thing is a variation on the theme of one I posted a few days earlier. Which tells me this is very up-front in my mind at the moment. A slow evolution in my reflecting on choice saves this from being just a carbon copy, I hope…]