Tears of Anguish and of Joy

I suppose sex is always a work in progress.

And my progress is just slower than others’. Which is not surprising. I don’t think anyone out there has done a study on cerebral palsy and sex. CP in adulthood is rarely a focus, because everyone is concentrating on early interventions. And they should. But all those kids with CP, we grow up. Has anyone ever even tested vaginal muscle tone in able-bodied people? Meaning, if I were to ask my doctor if my vaginal muscles exhibited spasticity, would she even know? Someone (able-bodied and married for years) recently admitted in a vlog I watched that sex was uncomfortable for her until she had a baby. I suspect it’s a pretty common thing, and it’s just not openly discussed, because sex is supposed to be great after the first time. Or if you’re sore, it’s because the act was enthusiastic.

And so, here I am still, a year on from my first practice run. I checked out The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability from the library. I’ve only read a bit, and I like the authors’ approach. But I recognized a quote from it that’s in The Guide to Getting it On, and it made me very sad. The info from The Guide’s chapter on disability came in part from this book. We have such limited resources. He didn’t find new people to ask about their experiences, but only borrowed. But I should stop complaining and make use of what’s available to me. I also watched a short documentary about sex and disability, The Last Taboo (available on You.Tube). Documentaries like this also make me a bit sad. My disability is so mild in comparison to the people in the film, that I almost can’t relate to them. Of course, I’m grateful my CP is mild, so glad I don’t have to ask an aide to lube up my toy for me, for example. But we all want to see representations of ourselves, and so far I haven’t.

I’ve tried, only a few more times, to work on stretching the muscles myself with my larger (close to B-sized) toy. (Since I’m not going to give birth to fix the issue!) But again, I’m terrible at self-discipline, at any sort of chore, especially those resembling physical therapy. Even for something as important and wanted as great sex. Then on Friday the 13th (coincidence), I tried my original slender model toy again. And it was quite easy–proof to me that there’s been real improvement. The orgasm was a good one, and when it was over, I cried. I cried because it’s easy to give myself one, and such a challenge to share one with B. I know that solo orgasms are often different from partnered ones, and I’m okay with not having one during intercourse;I just feel like we seem to have gone backward instead of forward. (The last time we’d had sex, I’d tried having an orgasm first, and then it hurt when he thrust, like he was hitting my cervix, even though he wasn’t all the way in.)

Saturday morning we were making out in bed. It wasn’t going super well, honestly. We had sex in mind, but continually needed to change position, we weren’t hitting our stride, I wasn’t feeling aroused. B kissed me and I said, “ah, too much,” and moved off of him. Sometimes the way he kisses me is just too much tongue, too much scratchy stubble, and it becomes sensory overload rather than super sexy. He probably intends it as super sexy and feels hurt by my unintended rejection. He said, “Are we going to have sex?” And I said, “Yes!” I still wanted to–just needed a breather and a different approach.

He said something like, “But you only want it your way.” Yes, that’s true. If it’s not working for me, then I want it to work for me. Why couldn’t we find a way that worked for both of us? And I started to cry. I’ve gotten choked up with B before, maybe a tear or two has fallen. But this was different. I was nearly sobbing and choked out words like, “You keep trying and I don’t know how to tell you what I need.” He tried to soothe me and stroked my hair and whispered, “It’s okay” over and over. “No it’s not; we can’t figure it out. What do we do?” And finally, I voiced my fear aloud: “Sometimes I think, what if we’re just not what each other needs?” I wasn’t looking at him when I said this. What I meant was, what if we’re just not sexually compatible?

Some people think that even if you love someone, and you discover that you’re not sexually compatible, then you’re meant to be just friends–it’s not truly a romantic love. But I think it must be possible that two people can be romantically in love and adapt their sexual preferences to fit each other’s likes and dislikes, and discover new sexual horizons with each other. And isn’t there the most hope of that for someone like me, who’s still discovering her likes and dislikes?

We let the conversation go then, without talking about sexual compatibility. We reiterated that we just needed to keep trying new things. That night we tried a position we hadn’t used in a while, and it was good. (I was on all fours, and I just don’t like this way as much because I want to put my arms around him and hold him tight.)

As far as orgasm and intercourse, we’ve tried me touching myself during, me touching myself before, getting almost there and then continuing during, and me getting myself all the way to orgasm before and then continuing to touch myself during. And also having an orgasm after intercourse. This has all been an experiment to see if any of these makes arousal better, makes intercourse better, or makes the soreness afterward better. The only time I’d had an orgasm during intercourse was when I’d gotten almost there before (alone), and then continued during. And try that method as I might, it hasn’t worked since that first time six months ago. I recently discovered that I’m able to have several orgasms in a short period of time. I’d never really attempted it before, maybe once many years ago and it hadn’t worked. But I was stretching with my toy and decided after I’d had one, well, why don’t I start up again and see what happens? And it worked, twice. So, now I know I can have three orgasms with only a short rest in between. This should be exciting and empowering, dammit. Not frustrating.

The following weekend, on the 21st, I’d just gotten out of the shower, and it was B’s turn. This you’ll know, if you’ve been following me a while, is my happiest scenario. Fresh out of the shower, in the middle of a Saturday. (We’re both clean and awake–those are pretty reasonable needs! Though it is unreasonable, I admit, for “awake” to be before 9pm for me, which it has been lately.) I climbed into bed, and listened to the shower run, waiting for B. And with my newfound knowledge of the possibility of more than one orgasm, I baked my Alaska (originally making Baked Ala.ska).

We had sex, and here’s what happened. Often, if I get all the way there with B before (with me doing the work), or almost there, and then try to continue during intercourse, and I realize it isn’t going to happen, I just let it go, wrap my arms around him, and enjoy giving him pleasure. This time, I kept at it, even though I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. I kept at it the whole time, and I felt it building finally, just as B was reaching his climax. Emotion and tears welled up in me as I realized it was really going to happen and that it was going to happen at the same time (nearly) as B’s. When we’d finished, he asked if I was laughing or crying and I said, “Both,” truly laughing and crying uncontrollably, something I’d never experienced before.

I’ve told B that I think sexy thoughts while I wait for him to emerge from the shower, but I didn’t know how he would feel to know that I went all the way to orgasm without him there. I told him anyway, and he said, “You had an orgasm while I was in the shower?” Yes. I think he was fine with it–if he was disappointed to not be part of the action he kept it to himself. Perhaps he was even intrigued by the possibility of having two so close together.

I know that this is not the magic equation, that it won’t work this way every time. But hope, once again, blooms.