Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TMI - but it's on my heart and mind.

A Performing Monkey.

That's what DH says he feels like when we *have* to have intercourse. For him, making love has gone from an enjoyable, fun and spontaneous experience to a physical and psychological chore.

I don't think it wouldn't be so bad except for our history. Over the course of 2-3 years, my sex drive plummeted. I think one of the major causes was my choice of birth-control - the hormones just weren't there. To be clear, I wasn't adverse to DH's advances, I just never initiated.

I have to admit, this was a significant change from when we first started to date - I was all over him. But then, he was my first, so this sex thing was new, different and just had to be explored. Nothing on TV? Let's make love. Weekend without plans? Let's work on making love in all the rooms of the house. But between the newness wearing off, the effects of the birth-control, and other things discussed below, my interest slowly dropped.

Fairly enough, my lack of expressed interest had an affect on DH's sex drive and mental image too. He started to reason that if I didn't find him attractive enough to initiate intercourse, then he would withhold it from me as well. Of course my argument still is that I needed more sex, not less to get things moving again, but DH couldn't get past the part of my never initiating.

We talked about it. I would faithfully promise to try and do better. And fail. We've been married for 6 years and together for 9. Shortly after we met, I started the Depo-Provera shots, and stayed continuously on them for 7ish years. (I may have mentioned this before. I don't suggest doing this. Seriously.) My lack of interest wasn't an immediate drop, but a tapering down that eventually leveled out, and became one of the biggest issues between us. We'd talk, I'd make an effort, DH would feel like it was because I felt guilty which would somewhat kill the mood. And then I would get upset that he didn't appreciate that I was making the effort for whatever reason prompted it, get wrapped up in my head again, forget to make an effort, and then the discussion would be raised again. Ad nauseum.

It's only in the past year since I've come off the birth-control and started on Clomid that I've started to feel like initiating intercourse again. With so many years lost in a prison of non-sexuality (both mental and physical), I'm so out of practice in initiating I end up making DH laugh at my efforts more than turning him on. At least now I'm trying and really interested. But even my best efforts don't help DH when he feels the pressure of having to have sex either based on the timing of my cycle, or to prep for a doctor's visit. And no amount of my clumsy attempts at seduction can get past the level of frustration he feels. It doesn't help that when I ask him what turns him on, he can't tell me. Or won't tell me - I'm supposed to just know.

And I feel the blame for this becoming an issue between us. It's no longer something DH says, it's something that sits between us heavy, black, and ugly. If only I could go back in time and make different decisions, knowing what I do now...I'd pick a different form of birth control or at least be more aware of the effects on my system, I'd be more insistent that we follow my schedule for life (married at 26 - check, try for first child at 28 - missed that one, and so on), I'd be more aware of my body, I'd get treatment for the depression I fell into when we moved away from the town I'd lived in for most of my life. I try to move beyond these factors and treat what we are going through as a new experience, something separate from the past. It doesn't work so well if only one of us is attempting to do that.

Part of me feels that DH is being selfish in holding these past issues between us still. I've apologized and explained as best I can, multiple times. The tentacles of his resentment are so ingrained that I'm not sure he can or wants to let go. It doesn't help that he's got some of his own health issues (some of which affect his psyche more drastically than I ever realized - and after a very negative experience with a psychologist which only left him with more issues, it's going to take a lot for him to even think about talking to someone again) to deal with.

DH recently agreed to go see a doctor who is treating his brother for an immune-attacking condition to see if his issues are tied to the same or a similar condition. This is a step in a good direction. Since my BIL has started to work with this doctor, he's become more like himself in the past six months or so than he had been in years. A tiny part of me hopes that the same will be true for DH as well, but a bigger part of me tries to squish that hope even smaller so that I don't end up disappointed.

What I keep coming back to is the thought that the process of conception isn't supposed to be clinical and regimented, it's supposed to be fun and easy. The problems aren't supposed to start until you actually have kids.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, and I don't expect DH to be perfect either, but how do I help him to understand that this thing is bigger than ourselves? That while it's a part of our lives we don't like or appreciate, it's a means to an end and not the end itself? If we want to have a child, the process is not going to be easy, it's not always going to be fun, and the farther we go and the more we learn it appears more and more that it won't happen without help.

Today we go for our second post-coital and a hopefully frank discussion of what the next step will be in the process. I'm guessing IUI with injectables. I'm not sure we're ready for this. But I can't stop the clock or turn back time, however much I want to be able to do either.

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I have had similar problems in the "lack of desire" department. (Mine, not his!) Some of what you wrote sounds just like us. Some days I look at him and wonder how he can still want to after all these years. Sadly, my intense fear of accidentally becoming pregnant only adds to my lack of desire.