Sex vs. Crohn’s (vs. My mind)

What do sex and Crohn’s have in common? Absolutely nothing. This is a draft that has been clanking around for a long long time. I was hoping to eventually add some advice on how to deal with all of the bonuses of IBD (the pain, bloating, the possibility of crapping and barfing simultaneously all over your love bunny) and how to make extracurriculars a little more bearable. But isn’t sex supposed to be enjoyable, and not just tolerable?

Of all of the things I can write about, this is the one that makes me hesitate. The mention of it makes me uncomfortable. Weird, for someone who attempts to write limericks about sharting.

The truth is, I have a serious aversion to that sort of intimacy. Maybe there are things in my past that I never dealt with properly resulting in zero libido, I’m an android not hardwired to desire sex, or I missed my calling to be a nun. I love hugs, but otherwise I can’t stand being touched. Especially if I’m not warned ahead of time.

Happy or sad, this is the way it is with me. I happen to be married to a guy who is my complete opposite in this sense. Poor guy. As you can imagine, ignoring this absence bothers him quite a bit. It’s an important part of a relationship, and since I’m capable but not willing, the fault falls on me. He doesn’t pressure me, but without subtle reminders that both of us aren’t dead in the pants, it quickly leaves my mind, which is exactly where I want it.

I overthink everything, and this is no exception. Without going into detail, I’ll say he did something that was initially completely benign, but by the time I got done brooding, I was crying. It’s just another thing that makes me feel inadequate and guilty. The biggest obstacle is my mind, and its rigidity against giving in when it comes to this supposedly enjoyable part of life. Is bad sex better than no sex? Am I really doing our relationship any favors by looking at it as a duty or chore? I don’t know.

Most of the time, feeling like there’s something wrong with me because I never get froggy (not to be confused with squirrely – the squirreliness is what causes these personal crises to begin with) is the worst part. And the reaction I get even thinking about it makes me wonder if I’m really as okay as I’ve alluded. I don’t think I’m depressed, my family and husband don’t think I’m depressed (it’s possible I’m just a really good faker, because physical pain and emotional pain? Samesies!), but better than half of my doctors think I am, minus the psychiatrist and several psychiatrists before him. I thought his opinion trumps all others, so maybe I’m dealing with something entirely different.

All people are fucked up in some way. It’s a rite of passage. Life leaves us scarred. Some of those scars we display proudly (I survived childhood being raised by aliens! And then adolescence! And then my 20’s!), and others we hide and try to ignore. Those ones are the sly subconscious fuckers that sneak up on you when you least expect, causing you pee your pants and go into a very uncomfortable and soggy tailspin.

The first part of Fake it ’til you make it might be true, but the rest of it is up for debate.

 

6 thoughts on “Sex vs. Crohn’s (vs. My mind)

  1. Sex drive is an odd thing, isn’t it? Obviously powered by hormones (and evolution) and triggered by pheromones (or whatever), it must be a bitch for men who can’t control it. And for anyone who doesn’t have much of one, we think there’s something wrong. Oh, poppycock. Sex is good and sex can be great, but if you’re not comfortable in your own skin, it’s always stressful (probably for women more so than men).

    Obviously, I’m no sex expert — I haven’t had sex in over 20 years. I guess I’m living proof that it’s possible to live without it. However, I’m very thankful that when I was young, a man taught me how to take care of myself. I wish this knowledge had given me more confidence and freedom in my sex life, but all in all, I can’t complain. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m not sure if it’s a difference between men and women or what, but the sex part of a relationship appears to be a deal breaker with men, while not so much with women. I guess you gotta take the good with the bad in any relationship, but sex is such an intimate part of it all…

    Did you see that movie Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams? Excellent movie. It reminded me of my own marriage and how I knew it was over when I just couldn’t make myself have sex with my ex anymore. How many times had I done the deed just to please him? I dunno, but it surely wasn’t pleasing me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Personally, I find the IBD fatigue associated with existing like I’m carrying around a piano all day (and I can’t even play the thing) to be an effective and total distraction from the feel-good hormones. (Having said that, actually carrying around a piano all day might be more effective to show medical professionals how I feel, rather than relying on clinical opinion from non-psychs about mental health.) It is what it is. But always nice when the IBD meds start working, the sharting stops (great word) and there is space for other adventures.

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  3. Trying to feel sexy, let alone actually feeling sexy when you’re hurting, exhausted, and afraid of letting loose all kinds of organic materials, does not a good recipe for intimacy make.

    If my former husband had been willing to go to marriage counseling BEFORE things became irreparably broken, I wonder whether the outcome might have been different. So many factors go into sexual arousal, desire, enjoyment…one extremely useful technique I learned while being my medical school’s sexual medicine program coordinator (oh brother, that’s a post in itself) was to have the couple resolve to dedicate 45 minutes, three times a week, to non-sexual cuddling, progressing to massaging one another (but no genital touching!), then kissing, then petting….And learning to make preparations, like ostomy patients being sure to empty their bag first, people with digestive disorders following their low residue diets so they would be less worried about farting (or worse!) in their partner’s face, etc. Yes, this does ruin spontaneity, but you gotta do what you gotta do. This “procedure” also helps to heal anxiety that the horny partner will jump the anxious partner’s bones, especially (hand goes up) for women who have experienced sexual trauma, or for anyone who has body image issues that inhibit sexual response.

    There, now did I manage to sound like Dr. Ruth ๐Ÿ˜†??

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  4. Oh, my , before my diagnosis with Crohn’s, as well as during all of the flare-ups, I would just say that I am now asexual. With the control came weight gain, and though I know my husband still finds me attractive, I don’t. I try to pretend I don’t care, that I am confident and all that good stuff, but it’s still hard. My husband would love to have sex every day, I’m sure, but I can easily go months (unless I feel guilty and try to have fun, which is actually what often ends up happening) without anything. Except hugs and kisses of course. Those are needed several times a day.

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