Dear Dr. Love:I have been divorced for three years. Last December I met a man who has been divorced for seven years. I had been physically attracted to him from the beginning. The more we have been together the more we have enjoyed each others company. He is very caring, willing to give of himself in a relationship, patient, sensitive, funny, fun to be with, and above all is a wonderful communicator- we can talk openly and honestly about anything.My problem is that during his last seven years he has taken the attitude that life is too short and has experimented and experienced anything and everything that has to do with sex. Although he has been very considerate of my feelings and inhibitions, he wants me to share in his uninhibited joy of all kinds of sexual experiences. I have always been raised to be a ‘good girl’ and guilt and fear often take over for me causing some anger and withdrawal from me. This in turn causes setbacks in our wonderful relationship. How can you help us compromise and resolve some of these conflicts???Signed,’Angel’
You asked me to help you resolve your sexual conflicts by helping you to strike a compromise. I want you to know that compromise, in such a case, is a last resort. This is because compromise in matters of sexual tastes results in neither person receiving what he or she truly wishes. In the end, neither person is truly happy, and resentments can smolder beneath the surface.So, before we consider compromise, let’s see if we can help you soften your views about sex. Let’s talk first about the ‘good girl’ syndrome. When you say that you were raised to be a good girl, I think you mean that someone gave you the message that good girls aren’t wild in bed It might be helpful for you to know that many women need to view themselves as ‘good girls’ or ‘angels’ in an unconscious effort to ward off their truly wild desires.Because you were raised with a ‘good girl’ philosophy, your natural and normal sexual desires were forced to go underground. And, to insure that these desires stay buried, the mind uses a defense called’reaction formation’ in which it puts out the opposite message. In the case of the good girl syndrome, the mind insists that no wild sexual desires exist, and keeps repeating: I am a good girl.If you are like other ‘good girls’, beneath that good girl exterior is a wild woman. Yes, you, like every woman on this planet, is a free sexual being who desires to explore all types of pleasure. I think the essence of your being knows that I am correct. In fact, I believe it is that essence which drew you to such a sexually free man. It is said that we are drawn to people who will help us open up to and experience the deepest core of our selves. I think this is why you were drawn to your lover.So, if you are willing to contemplate the fact that your good girl image is a cover for your natural and normal sexual desires, then the next step is to soften the defense against being the real you.To do this, you will need to separate your values from your parent’s values and create your own, freer way of looking at sex. In order to accomplish this, first, identify who transmitted this bad girl philosophy to you. Was it your mom or your dad? Figure out how the message was conveyed to you (in words or through non-verbal means such as frowns, etc.).Next, ask yourself why your parent(s) sent you such inhibiting messages. Were they raised by parents who taught them to be inhibited about sex? Were their words designed to protect you from acquiring a STD (sexually transmitted disease) or from becoming pregnant before marriage?Once you figure out why your parent(s) sent out these messages, now it’s up to you to reevaluate their views, and see if you still want to hold onto these views. If you decide to expand your sexual horizons, you could repeat to yourself: ‘Good girls can be wild in bed and still be good girls.’ Or you could say to yourself, ‘As long as my boyfriend and I love each other, there is no sex act that is wrong or dirty (provided that the acts are not intended to degrade or humiliate).’I hope that I have helped you to feel more entitled to own your deepest desires and that you will feel less compelled to live under the constrictions of this good girl image.If you find that you are unable to move past your parents’ views, and cannot shake your own blocks, then you are left with no choice but to compromise. But, as I said, compromise will not leave either of you truly happy. Eventually, I’m afraid, your sexually uninhibited partner will resent you for cramping his style, and if you force yourself to compromise and engage in acts that you don’t want to perform, you will resent him.So, the only answer here is for you to work on becoming a freer sexual being, and once you are freer, you can willingly choose to engage in more varied sexual activity, rather than force yourself to compromise and perform acts against your will.If you find that you can’t alter your sexual tastes, then you may have to face the fact that you and your friend are sexually incompatible, and you may need to move on.Let me know how this process of self-discovery and expansion evolves.