The past stays with us

This article started its life on my bookblog but has now been moved here and edited.

In 2012 Broadblogs wrote an article based upon the findings of CM Meston and DM Buss at the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas (Why Humans Have Sex, 2007). I commented on that post and Broadblogs asked if I would like to expound on those comments.

Sex can be a complicated thing when you are autistic/aspergers. From what I have read on other blogs, and from my own experience, some/most of us seem to be extra sensitive to touch. As with most things in life, this goes both ways. I suppose you could say that we are extremely lucky and extremely unlucky in the lottery of sensations.

Hekkveien 7 Jeg var 3 årAs a child I was sexually abused (CSA: child sexual abuse). It went on sporadically over a period of years. My mother felt as though my personality changed (PTSD: post-traumatic stress syndrome). Whether that change was due to the abuse, bullying or the many changes in my life while I was young is difficult to say. Life is a complicated mess and causes can be difficult to pinpoint. However, I do believe that sexual abuse strongly influenced some arenas.

Perhaps most people think of themselves as a template for how other people are. At 7 years old, I most likely thought most people experienced life the way I did. My reactions were varied and most of them I know of because my parents have told me what I was like as a child. Severe nightmares and anger/fear (difficult to tell apart) started at that age. My lying also started around that time. The command not to tell was obviously strong enough to take effect, and I suppose my personality and perhaps aspergers also pushed me in that direction. Most of my memories of that time are locked in a very tight chest inside my head and only the strongest memories (unpleasant/pleasant) have been able to seep through.

I would guess that most people would see me as a boring person with a weird sense of humor. It is that strange sense of humor that has carried me. After the awkward teens and early twenties, I came to realize that life was just one gigantic joke and the only defense was to laugh at it. Laughter has been my friend throughout my life, laughing at myself and the world and it has gotten me through some rough spots (my psyche).

Jonny og Lise Lotte i HekkveienAnyways, I got married and when I met my husband I was a virgin (well except for CSA that is). I’d seen some porn, read books with sexual content but knew that they could have no relation to real life. I also found out that people just don’t talk about sex and death – the two great taboos in life. So I thought that being afraid and hurting while having sex was normal. I wanted it, got horny and all of that, but when it came to actually doing it, well.

Thankfully, my husband is the kindest, gentlest and most patient person on this planet and he worked with me and tried to make things good for me. However, there is only so much you can do on your own, and no matter how optimistic a person is, having trouble with your sex-life hurts both parties.

I tried psycho-therapy. Hah, what a joke. Talking through the effects of PTSD as something that was supposed to help. Sometimes I wondered if I or my therapist was in need of help. Then I found MY psychiatrist. Granted, it took years before I did find her, but this was my miracle person.

Tool one we used helping me was cognitive therapy (more specifically EMDR). Like all cognitive therapy we worked on changing the way I thought about myself and the past. This gave me tools that I can use once my mind goes into its one-track modus of despair. Not until much later did I understand that it was more likely the chemistry between us that worked in my favor.

Our other tool was medication. Medication ALWAYS has side-effects. You should never try out products on your own without being certain that you know what you need about it. And medication that affects your psyche should not be taken on its own. You might need help coping with the side-effects. I use three different drugs and it was a matter of trial and error until we arrived at the combination.

For a long time I had been taking Neurotin to help manage chronic pain problems. My psychiatrist added beta-blockers. My god. The first time I tried them this super-tense feeling in my chest lessened and I fell asleep from sheer relief. The strange thing was that I’d walked around being hyper-alert all of the time and did not realize it until some relieved that tension. My world changed, but tension around sex was still high. No wonder, as this was my major trigger.

Lise Lotte og Jonny i Per-Magnars bryllupThen a miracle happened. And I am serious about this. A major miracle happened. My psychiatrist suggested that I tried something called venlafaxin – an efexor depot medication. Instead of being scared every time I had sex I was loving it. Sure, it had taken years for me to get there and my husband had had to endure my pain for a long time, but I have actually gotten to experience the joys of having sex. How cool is that. And we all know that my husband has been having the time of his life along with me.

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