Protection, Rejection, Pain, and Change

{Continued from PART ONE}

I have always been protective of my core.  It is a learned behavior, and a necessary one, because I am ticklish.

I am ticklish, sometimes to the point of pain, and I cannot endure feathery touches.  Even extremely firm touches are sometimes unbearable (I see a massage terrorist once a month for physical therapy; read ‘firm’ as ‘agonizing pummelization’), and I have to fortify myself and force myself to relax in order to tolerate that kind of taction.

In sexual relationships, it takes a significant amount of time and a huge amount of trust for me to allow someone to touch me anywhere below the ears or above the hips, because that whole zone is not only ticklish, but highly erotically responsive.

Correction:  That whole zone, with the exception of my breasts, is both ticklish and erotically responsive.

But I will protect that whole area – including, and especially my breasts – without thinking.  It is a reflex action, and one that does not come without consequences.  Negative ones.  Most notably, this:

I know at times it hurts my husband, terribly.

Because there was a time I would ask him to give my breasts attention.  There was a time when I would take his hand and place it over my breast, or use my own hand to lift one into his mouth to suck.  There was a time I solicited his participation in pleasuring my breasts, and when I welcomed his unsolicited attentions enthusiastically.

But after my miscarriage early in our marriage, all of that changed.  I was dealing with physical and psychological changes that he didn’t – he couldn’t – understand, and along with that, the emotional attachment I’d formed to the concept of breasts as life – and the subsequent loss of that life – set me on a course of Protect At All Costs; my body language changed from Yes, please! and More to Don’t Touch and Keep Away!  And while I know that I’m acting on reflex (and have been, for years now) and I don’t mean to make him feel unwelcome (tch – intentions, inschmensions), I also know that the message he receives when I cover up or curl up into myself is one of rejection.

And at that point, all the reasons why…  They don’t matter.

Because no matter the reasons, I hurt him with my {re}actions.  And it hurts me that I hurt him.  Yet I know why and *I know* he knows why, and there is hurt there too, and it becomes a cycle that is hard to break free from.


And the wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round…

We still have our times.  And there are things that only he knows how to do, ways that only he can bring me pleasure.  He knows the ins and outs of what I like – and don’t like – better than anyone else.


(You knew there was a ‘but’ coming, didn’t you?)

The ‘anyone else’ portion of that last statement is significant.  Because, being non-monogomous, there are others.  Other men to whom – with whom – my responses are (or have been) different.

My husband has sometimes expressed concern over what he perceives as me rejecting his attentions to my breasts.  It is not a matter of insecurity, exactly.  The fact of the matter is, I did a sudden and seemingly inexplicable 180° change, and it impacted our compatibility.  I can only imagine being on the other side of that.  What would it be like if something I’ve come to know and crave and love about our sex life was one day POOF! – gone ?

So I *get* where he’s coming from.

And I want to be reassuring, yet at the same time, I don’t want to be.

Part of me wishes things were different, that we could go back to How It Was Before; another part of me – perhaps the greater part – tires of relentlessly picking at this scab.  I know it’s as frustrating for him as it is for me, but it’s hard for me to know how to respond when he says things like, “I think it’s just me” and “You probably aren’t like this with __________.”

Because he’s wrong.

But he’s also right.

See, the thing about exploring with new partners is that you can lay all your issues out on the table from the get-go.  You can say things like “I don’t respond well to touches on my core” and “My breasts are not particularly responsive” and “Please don’t be offended if I pull away while you’re kissing me, because I get panic attacks and would rather pull away than go into combat mode when I feel like I can’t breathe” (which is another post for another day).  You can say those things, and address each of them as a potential problem before they become one (as opposed to mitigating a sudden and confusing one-sided “problem” after the fact), and figure out your work-arounds and your talk-me-throughs and your will-trys.  Ahead of time.

Which is exactly what I’ve done.

And the resultant conversations have led to some amazing experiences.

One, in particular, set me on a path toward healing.


6 thoughts on “Protection, Rejection, Pain, and Change

  1. Heloise

    Even if there were no history or trauma, I think you would respond differently to each partner depending on what your emotional connection with them is. I respond differently to each of mine, and I find it is something to be celebrated 😊

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      Oh, I agree! 🙂 I think we are different, to varying degrees, with everyone we interact with, and not just sexually speaking. It only makes sense. We find different commonalities, and share different interests, and establish different boundaries, depending on who we are with, and when. What I expect – and allow – from my sister varies greatly compared to the parameters I set with my paramour, my neighbor, my husband, my colleague, my client, etc.

      Hubby and I talk openly about how each of our respective ancillary partnerships develop; not necessarily in minute detail, but we paint pictures, in broad strokes, for one another. Being in an open relationship means we *have to* be open with each other.

      It’s not all sunshine and roses though. We have our sticking points. And this is one of them.

  2. Bill Rice

    If your partner were a painter would you get jealous of the easel? My wife and I have talked about people who cheat. There is great value in openness and honesty. It amazes me the way people who cheat look down on the ones who are open.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      What a unique analogy!

      I’m not a possessive person. I think that’s often where jealousy stems from. And it’s rooted in competition perceived scarcity.

      It’s the “If you have a cookie then *I* want a cookie!” (insert foot stomp, here) model of thinking. Nevermind that you already have ice cream and cake. It’s only “fair” that you have a cookie, right?


      Don’t even get me started on cheaters. Just… Grrr–!



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