Dear Dr. Love:Being deeply into the mind body cleansing process, I continue to run into this same feeling concerning money, basic things to support me, and love given. Especially lately, I AM in a new relationship, a man who is mature and listens very well, expresses when he understands and doesn’t, or wants time to process. That feels healthy to me.My stuff is ‘ there’s never enough’ – sex, love, money, basic things, fullness. Aware of much of my childhood mental and emotional abuse, with an unavailable mother and ‘Daddy’ who taught me everything he believed including sexually abusing me as a young teen. Pertanent to this issue, I did not allow his penis to penetrate me.Now I’m 51years young yet still unable to understand or address this issue with some measure of resolve. ALso aware I cannot feel my partner inside of me during intercourse and my mind seems to be focused upon’making it happen or when is it going to happen’ an orgasm. Ive never atmitted to any one that I do not feel the full orgasm. Thus the sexual love I AM given is never enough, never fully satisfing.
You poor woman. It sounds like you have suffered every type of abuse as a girl. In your letter, it appears, however, that you are lumping two issues together: the emotional emptiness, the feeling that you can never be given enough, seems related to the emotional abandonment you suffered from your mother. This type of emptiness can be healed in a therapeutic relationship.Modern psychoanalysts are trained to help fill the emotional and developmental gaps of young childhood. So, I would suggest finding a good analyst to help with this issue. If you need help finding someone, let me know. Now, your second issue, the sexual numbness and inability to reach orgasm, sounds like a different problem–one which is more related to the sexual abuse you suffered as a child. Let’s delve into this a bit.The numbing that you experience is an unconscious defense– a type of psychological anaesthesia. This anaesthesia probably originates to the time when you were being abused and served as a protection from unbearable feelings. Unfortunately, the numbing remains long after you need it. And, because you are sexually numb, you have slipped into sexual ‘spectactorism’ watching yourself perform sexually. All the time worrying and wondering if you will come–a sure way not to come.So, first thing. When you make love with your partner, you need to stop demanding orgasms of yourself. Instead, try a technique called ‘Sensate Focus. ‘ Have your lover stroke your entire body (excluding your genitals) and your job is to be present (not watch from outside yourself) and simply enjoy the feelings and sensations. This is a first step to help you to reacquire bodily sensations as well as enter the experience rather than watch from the sidelines. Next, if you don’t already know how, I want you to learn to masturbate ( there are many books which explain how, Lonni Barbach has one which is called For Yourself).Keep in mind that, when you masturbate, memories of the childhood abuse will probably come up. This is normal. Now’s our big chance to work with these memories and heal you. When the memories surface, tell yourself: ‘That was then, this is now. And, now I am entitled to have pleasure. ‘ (In the back of every abused woman’s mind lurks a feeling of guilt regarding sexual pleasure. This stems from the fact that many abused females actually experienced sexual pleasure while they were being abused–since our bodies are wired for pleasure, there’s no way around these sensations. Having felt pleasure during sexual abuse leads to all feelings of guilt, shame, self-blame and lowered self-esteem) and leads the abusee to believe that she somehow invited the abuse. (I had some pleasure so I must have wanted it. )So, an abuse survivor often feels guilty about her sexuality and denies herself pleasure, sensations, orgasms, etc. So, I want to remind you that no matter what pleasure you experienced during the abuse, you didn’t invite the abuse and it wasn’t your fault that it happened. And, you also must remind yourself that you are entitled to pleasure now. So, masturbate and allow yourself zillions of orgasms. And, once you overcome this first hump (no pun intended) you should be more able to allow yourself to experience orgasms with your lover.Keep in mind that about 50% of all women never have orgasms in intercourse, and, so, if you find that you only achieve orgasm through clitoral stimulation, remember that this is completely normal. If unpleasant sexual memories come up when you are making love with your partner, get out of bed and discuss them outside the bedroom. Also, when and if these flashbacks occur, try to gently steer your mind to the present and tell yourself: ‘My lover is touching me now. It feels good. I am allowed to have pleasure. My body is wonderful. ‘ I have given you a lot to digest. After you have worked with my suggestions, please promise to let me know how your healing is coming along. All my best to you.