"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it" Rumi
My sexual story
I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling like I was sexually broken. I grew up in 1980’s London in a very sexually repressed, Immigrant, African household. I have never once to this day seen my parents being affectionate with each other. Cuddles and kisses? What were they!?
My parents were in London to study and to build a better life for themselves. They both worked two jobs and I learnt that life was about survival.
My father was rarely around and my mother ended up raising us pretty much by herself. My brother had ‘anger’ issues and so home life was always fraught and on a knife edge. I didn’t feel at home at home, or in my body. My only source of bodily pleasure was eating, and so I ate, A LOT!
As a young girl I developed irritable bowel syndrome and had constant anxiety.
Having to manage myself in these circumstances meant I had to learn to numb myself in order to survive. Of course I didn’t know that this is what I was doing then, because it was just behaviour back then. But with that a came cutting off from feelings, and from any kind of delight in the body.
On the flip side, I developed a love of dance because it was the only time I felt free. Plus, it was an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.
Growing up as a teenager I was studious, I went to a girls school and did really well.
Boys to me were some kind of scary, other species that I did my best to avoid. I made myself invisible so I didn’t have to deal with them. I felt ugly and awkward and had extremely low self esteem when it came to what I perceived as my value as a young women.
Jump cut to my relationship with my first boyfriend at 23.
Sex was extremely painful and remained so for many years to come, no matter who I was with or how much I breathed or slowed down during it. I was going through with painful sexual experiences which meant my body automatically associated sex with pain.
Not a great start, eh?
I had decided that if I wasn’t having sex, I would lose my relationship. And the men I was dating pretty much confirmed that this was the case. They confirmed that there was:
a. something wrong with me.
b. That I wasn’t sexually attracted to them and so they took it personally.
Either way was not supportive to a healthy female sexuality and meant that I continued to have sex for them and not for me.
Now I share this with you because:
a. I believe that the more we share our stories, the more perspective we gain. I wish I had an older women friend who could guide me in this area. Instead we are left to try and figure these things out on our own, which is a travesty because collectively we have so much wisdom to share with each other.
b. I share it to show that one doesn’t have to have been involved in what one might consider ‘sexual trauma’ in order to be experiencing trauma in the body.
I had no idea I was holding trauma in my body from my upbringing, from the way my body learnt to ‘be’ at home, around my brother and in front of men. The way my body absorbed dark energies in my childhood home because the relationship between my mother and father was so fucked up. The myriad of ways I learnt to numb and disconnect from my body so I wouldn’t have to feel.
All of these ways of being contributed to my nervous system adopting maladaptive ways of functioning that would of course be impacting on my ability to enjoy healthy sexual energy, both on my own and with a partner.
And what I know now is that each person has their own version of this story.It may look very different to mine, but Im guessing that if you are reading this, you can relate in some way.
So, with me being the studious type, in my early 20's I got to work learning about my body and how to fix myself.
And how did I do this?
Well, I started by devouring books on female sexuality.
Little did I know that I was about to go down an extremely long, narrow, dark and winding rabbit hole.
Ill tell you more about the rabbit hole in my next email.