NFP Sucks. TTA(obvs)

Okay.

A post about sex.

Okay.

It’s time.

I haven’t done one in a while.

It’s time.

Talk about sex.

Okay. Go.

NFP. TTA. This freaking sucks.

Did you know that in the yoga world the part of the body that is associated with sex is also connected to creativity?

Here I sit, TTA, super fertile, baby fever so bad it almost makes me forget how tired I am of being sick, and my writing is stilted. The flow is off. My husband and I are off kilter, like we always are when we aren’t having sex when our bodies want to, and I am crabby as heck because all day I wanted to do the fertile crazy clean the house dance, and I couldn’t because I had to naptime.(Yes naptime feels like it takes all day. 3 hours is close enough when bedtime takes 3 hours too.)

This is why people make jokes about how someone just needs to get laid.

Seriously.

NFP sucks. It just does. There’s all this glamour talk about how great it is and it makes you and your spouse closer, blah, blah, blah.

It’s a lie.

Seriously, they are lying.

Why? They are trying to make themselves feel better.

Because it sucks…and not in the good way…sorry…had to.

NFP sucks because everything in your mind and body is telling you to do the one thing that your rational mind is telling you you CANNOT do. Technically, that’s why the Church is ok with it, because they want you to feel the pressure of stopping what your body wants to do, because really, the Church at it’s core wants us to live according to what is natural to our bodies and the world.(That’s not the only reason, but it is a big one.) They want you to feel the pressure so that if you are not stopping yourself from having children for a good reason, you feel the pressure to do otherwise.

In this vein, some people in the Church say that if you are having baby fever then maybe that’s God’s way of telling you that you should not be trying to avoid. However, If you are fertile and you are having baby fever, that is just what your body is telling you. Wait until your period to make any decisions, unless your reasons really aren’t that strong, and then do whatever you want. Which is sex. Because biology.

And now for the obvious question of why am I not on birth control?

My reasoning is that birth control is freaking scary. I react really badly to pretty much every real medicine I have ever taken, and I have seen how bad the birth control side effects can get. NFP sucks bad, but it doesn’t suck as bad as having my hormones go absolutely crazy, and risking cancer. Plus, understanding my body’s rhythms has taught me a lot and helped me to see a lot of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

The Church does teach against it, so let’s be honest, of course I would never have gone through with doing it, because when it comes down to it, I do follow the Church rules(when I believe they really are Church rules, but that’s another blog post.) This rule I am grateful for though, because I am seeing how much it has hurt many of my friends, and how much good that NFP can do-even though I hate it and say this super begrudgingly.

So. NFP sucks.

But there are worse things.

So I guess I’ll keep going.

But I’m still gonna whine about it.

❤ ❤ ❤










The Power of Mourning Together: Intimacy after Trauma

Recently, I went through a period where I was thinking about my miscarriages a lot. I had made a short film about Emma, and I was grieving some other people who had died, and I had to work through some leftover anger at God for what happened with her.

It is very hard for my husband when I talk about miscarriages, especially Emma. He copes with things by focusing on the good, and talking about Emma is not a helpful way to do that, because there’s not much good in that situation for us. Unfortunately, I heal and process what happens to me through talking it out, so that sucks for him sometimes.

So of course, when I was suddenly processing all of this stuff about Emma, it was very difficult for him to handle. We had some Grade A, level 5 fights going on. I was bogged down by the problem of evil, and he was just trying to live life.

One day I wrote several pieces about Emma, one after another. I felt like he completely blew me off once I convinced him to read them. We had a history-making fight over that one. It ended in us feeling hopeless about resolving it collapsed on the floor in the bedroom.

I was so angry, but I took a second to tell him that I know how hard it was for him, and that I’m sorry. He came over to the rocking chair I was sitting in and laid his head in my lap. We had a completely honest conversation about how painful losing Emma was, and how hard it was that our marriage started out like that. We talked about how much we had stuck together through, and we cried together about how much it hurt at times.

And then, we had pretty much the best sex that has ever been had, ever.

There has been so much pain from the beginning of our marriage, and dealing with the loss of a child at the most hopeful time in your life is devastating. Our hopes and plans were destroyed and we were flailing trying to find each other and ourselves again after going through a severe trauma, but in a different way. He struggled with religion and wanted nothing to do with it for a while, while I bounced back and forth between clinging to Jesus like a life raft, and raging out about how hateful the Church is and how I wish I had never been a part of it, and raging at God.

We had these amazing ideas for making movies together, and being artistic and talking philosophy, but when the only philosophy you can think about is the philosophy of grief and the problem of evil, eventually survival instinct takes over and forbids you think about it anymore.

So we grew apart in some ways for a while, because neither one of us were being ourselves. We stayed close deliberately, but there was this space between us that kept coming up. Over the years, we have had little healing moments like this recent one, and they are getting deeper and deeper. Healing through a tragedy like losing a child, at any age, is incredibly difficult, and it comes out in many ways.

The reason I mention sex is that I think a lot of people may not think about how much unresolved issues can play a part in intimacy. Especially men, I think don’t realize how much of a difference emotional intimacy makes for women.

Women’s bodies physically respond to feeling emotionally heard. My body responded to that, I could feel nerve centers of my body that had been dead sizzling back to life, and I was able to breathe in a way I hadn’t been able to, for as long as I could remember. I was as hungry as a teenage boy. Every touch felt like he was a master of contact, where I had struggled with feeling the awkwardness of sex at times. I wasn’t afraid to tell him where to touch, what to do, but it wasn’t because I was bossing him around but because the heat of the moment swirled around us. It was so natural, and carnal, it was really and profoundly “making love.” We were making love out of trauma, love out of tragedy, and it was incredible.

We connected in a way we hadn’t for a long time that night. I tell you this because my husband and I are very open and emotional people, and we still struggle with this. I can only imagine that people who are not this way would struggle even more, first to find the words to talk about this stuff, but even more to work through it no matter how hard it gets. I believe though, that nights like this are what make marriage work. So, maybe see if your husband will talk about anything you think might be blocking you from enjoying intimacy with him. If you need to, let him read this to understand how much of a difference it makes. We need to be heard, and our body responds to that, and your relationship will respond to that too.

Sex Rebel: Being a Catholic Who Likes Sex

I was once Chastity Team president. I advocated chivalry and gender roles and how God rewards those who follow Him. Then, I took Pre-Cana, and almost left the Church over it. Then, I had a miscarriage. I lost a baby girl right after I got married. I was one of the only people I knew who stayed a virgin until marriage, and that includes some of the most vocal chastity advocates in my life. I never really fit in with the Chastity Team crowd, even when I led it, but now I felt ashamed of my title and any association I had with it. I told my husband that I wished I had never advocated Chastity because I thought it was just until marriage, I didn’t realize sex would be a nightmare for my whole life. Some time has passed, and I have come to terms with the issues I had, but I have had to come to terms with some big truths that I never thought I would learn.

  1. Just because someone is a respected Catholic teacher does not mean that what they teach is official Church teaching.

I will never forget the moment my husband and I read our assigned pages from Christopher West from our marriage counseling. As I read the list of sexual acts that were forbidden in any circumstances, my head swam. I was nauseous. I had always been a very sexual person, and I had been so excited for marriage. I believed I was saving all of my beautiful, spicy, sexy self for one person. Turns out, I was just not supposed to be that person at all. Everything I had imagined had some rule attached to it, and most of them, I had never heard before. My now-husband and I had a huge fight, because he didn’t want to follow the guidelines, and neither did I, but I thought we had no choice. I was so angry. It combined with all of these different beliefs I had never been taught about the Church(and I was not raised liberal Catholic at all) to make me hate the Church and her millions of impossible rules, and ruining sex and anything else good for everyone. Finally, I sat down with actual Church teaching. I had the Catechism, scripture, and all the official doctrine documents I could find. Half of what we were taught in pre-cana was nowhere in those documents. The things I was going to leave the Church over were the exact opposite of what the Church teaches. Now, I rarely trust a Catholic teacher because they are usually wrong.

2. Priests need some sort of counseling in this area in seminary because they don’t know what they are doing.

This is really just a sub-set of #1, because we spent hours talking to our priest about all of this and he did not have a clue how to help us.

3. We have to stop teaching Chastity the way we are right now.

Sex is both not as big of a deal as people are making it, and way bigger. Christians are making such a huge thing about saying no to sex, and how virginity is so important, that we are ignoring that sexuality is a natural and important and wonderful part of life. We are creating this monster of evil, and then turning around and demanding people understand how sacred it is. On top of that, we are not educating people about sexuality because we are so busy teaching them not to have it, which backfires into people hating sex, wishing they weren’t having it, wishing they were having it with someone else, or worse. We act like talking about sex is evil, and that backfires in a whole host of ways.

 

Living with these three truths is incredibly uncomfortable for someone who also wants to be a good Catholic/Christian. Jason Evert primed a whole generation with how wrong it is to even ask “How far can we go?” We all know the analogy of getting as close to the cliff as possible. You know what though, sometimes it is AWESOME to get as close to the edge of a cliff as possible, and it doesn’t mean you want to die. Christians are being primed to live with a terror of the edge, that makes it impossible to live your life. Every single action must be analyzed thoroughly to make sure that it is not putting yourself or anyone else in danger of sin. Guess what? That’s not God. But I thought it was.

I lived that way for years, and I lost so much of myself. Now, I work hard to know what is ACTUAL Church teaching, not trending doctrine, I very sparingly trust priestly advice on anything they don’t know about, and I recoil against the way Christian’s currently teach sexuality(so I made a sex group to teach it better ;-)) It is terrifying because people often include me, condescendingly, in the catch-all term of “cafeteria catholic,” or “liberal Catholic,” and I thought they were right for a while there, but they aren’t, or maybe they are, but differently than they think. We all have to be “cafeteria Catholics” if it means discerning which teachers are right and which are wrong.

Fiction: Prologue

You guys, I just wrote this, and I am so proud of it. I’m going to be working it into a book, and I am really really excited for it.

A few months after my first miscarriage, I started having a burning desire to have a threesome. My husband and I were struggling with intimacy because sexuality represented unanswered prayers. It represented the little person who was missing from our lives. It represented the loss of all our hopes and dreams of what our family was going to be. It represented unity, but in despair.

For months and months I struggled with this, I prayed about it over and over and over. Finally, in prayer I believed I felt God telling me, “This is a decision you need to make. If it is a mistake, you need to make it.” I’m a huge perfectionist, and I have struggled with scrupulously my entire life, and I have had the joy of many things destroyed because of how religion was taught to me. This time, I believed God was telling me it was ok to be human for a second.

We had a friend of mine over. She was beautiful and free. She represented everything we weren’t. But we loved her. She had been our best friend forever, and she had ended up closed out of the friendship because of our marriage. I think a part of me thought this was how it always supposed to be. We had done a trial run of just me and her and it had been exhilarating and free, but I had felt sad afterwards, because my husband was not there. When it was her and the two of us, it was the whole world in one room. We were hot and heavy and compassionate and sensitive, we were caring and loving and sexy and passionate. We were tangled together and gazing at each other. We were everything.

We did it again and again and again.

I would like to say that we were evil for doing it, that it was misguided and a mistake, and that it was sinful. It would be so much easier. It may have been sinful, but even now writing it, my entire body feels full and alive. My blood runs warmer through my veins. I think of unity with all of mankind and what that would feel like. I think of the promise of community in heaven, and I long for a unity that feels that profound. I long for complete union and passion with every single human being in existence.

I used to joke in college about how I believed that heaven could be an even deeper unity with all of mankind, like sex, but even deeper. What I didn’t say was that I meant it. I believe that Communion is like sex. I believe that the Eucharist is actually God, and because I believe that I believe that He wanted to be literally a part of us. He wanted to LITERALLY be inside of us. Every Sunday, I go to communion and I believe in Him as my bridegroom. I have fights with Him throughout the week about how He handled things, I complain to Him when my feelings are hurt, I ask Him to hold me at night when I’m sad, and when I am at Church on Sundays, I believe that He is creating complete intimacy with me.

Someone said once that sex is the closest we can get to heavenly ecstasy in this life. Insofar as sex is the same kind of unity as Communion, I believe that. I believe that when we truly love someone there is a moment when we cannot get close enough to them, when we cannot get them close enough in to us. I believe that union is the answer.

I should clarify before I am denounced as a monstrous heretic and declared a false prophet that I am not advocating polygamy on earth. Personally, I believe that on earth there are far too many risks and complications to that kind of relationship. However, I have a very secret fantasy that in heaven there will be some sort of heavenly unity or act, either sex or something like it, that will bring about a kind of ecstasy like nothing we have ever known. I have been so carried away in sex before that I begged my husband to stop, so I wouldn’t die from the heart-pounding, breathless exhilaration. I like to think that heaven will be that, but without the fear.

What Sex and the City got Right

Sex and the City was the first mainstream television show to feature women talking about sex. Now, to be fair, a lot of the conversations are awkward and inauthentic, but whatever they were, they set an example for women. Women can “locker room talk” too! This is important, not so that women can be just like men, but because women need to know about sex from someone other than just their husbands. Husbands are not women, and therefore do not know what works for women unless we tell them, but moreso women do not know what works for them if they do not know how to find out.

I came into marriage with an excruciatingly small amount of knowledge about sex. I was lucky to be marrying a kind, patient non-virgin, who knew what other women needed and liked, enough that he was able to teach me how to enjoy sex, and even how to safely engage in sex without injuring my body in any way. However, if I had not been so lucky, he could have taken advantage of me in any number of ways, and I may have just believed that is how things were. I am also grateful that he knew how important it is to listen to the woman during sex. Many men do not realize that the woman is not as easy to please as they are. We need foreplay, we need to be in the mood, we need to be seduced. A woman can not educate her man about these things, unless she has others to educate her.

On a very basic level, talking about sex with other women, especially in a similar state in life, normalizes the awkward, weirdness of sex. It takes away the magical fairy tale expectations a person may have if sex when their best friend says to them, “and then we had to get an extra blanket so we wouldn’t get the bed wet.” This allows women to learn what real sex is like rather than building their expectations on television and male fantasies. On another, more difficult, level however, many women struggle to enjoy sex for one reason or another, and it is only in sharing their knowledge with each other that they can teach each other how to truly enjoy intimacy.

As a child, I heard a multitude of complaints and horror about Sex and the City, and it’s unabashed sexual discussions, but I must admit I am grateful for the example set by the show for women who would otherwise be unsure how to talk about such a sensitive subject. Even I grew as a person watching the show, and learned how to open up about my desires and learning how to fulfill them.

Ecstasy

Have you ever felt so much pleasure that you thought your entire body might explode?

Have you ever stopped being intimate because you were afraid you might not be able to handle what was coming?

Have you ever submitted completely only to be racked by a painful pleasure that just won’t stop?

If you haven’t, you haven’t experienced all that the orgasm has to offer.

If you haven’t, you can’t understand Teresa’s expression in the statue called Ecstasy.

If you haven’t, then you haven’t yet had the best sex of your life.

I know, because I told an older married woman that I didn’t like sex, and I didn’t believe her when she told me:

“It gets better.”

Losing My Virginity

Losing my Virginity

“About an hour after the first time I had sex, I woke up in a cold sweat. I was so nauseous I thought I was going to be sick, and I couldn’t breathe. I laid in a dark hotel room thinking I was going to die.

I remember first walking into the hotel room and consciously keeping my smile on because the hotel was not what I had imagined. It was the kind of hotel teenagers sneak to to have sex on prom night, dirt in the corners, everything a little bit rundown. He kept talking about how amazing it was, and I kept smiling. Now, he wasn’t awake, and I was, and all I could do was exist in my fear and this crappy hotel room.

I woke Patrick up, and told him I didn’t know what was going on. He was such a sweetheart and turned over to hold me, but it got worse. I left and went to the bathroom. I took labored deep breaths in one of the tiniest wooden bathrooms I have ever been in, second only to my childhood friends’ RV that didn’t even leave room to turn around. When I looked up out the door there was the glass shower door where we had tried to have shower sex, and my stomach clenched. I felt faint.

I think I need to eat something.” I said when I came out of the bathroom.

My husband got out of bed, in the middle of the night, on his honeymoon, to go to McDonalds. I needed comfort food, and he would go with me. By the time we got to the drive thru, I was shaking, and my stomach had butterflies in it the size of Mars. They were beating their wings against the side of my stomach and I was starving but felt like vomiting at the same time. I kept trying to breathe, trying to calm down, but I just ended up telling my new husband, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

He said I needed protein and water, so he got me a burger and a couple of waters. He listened to me panic and ask him to turn different ways ten times on the way home until I asked him to stop the car at a park. I stared at the grass from inside the car, curling into myself. I shook so bad I could barely open my water. Most of the conversation is a blur, but the first thing I do remember is the moment when he told me, “A lot of women have a hard time the first time they have sex. They have been told no for so long, that they feel guilty when the answer is finally yes, even though it is technically ok.”

The amount of relief I felt when he said this, changed me as a person forever. For the first time, I realized that the way we, as a society, as a religion, as a planet, as families, address chastity is not only wrong, but dangerous. I had read theology of the body, and learned the beauty of Christian Marriage, I thought, but it didn’t prepare me for the insignificance of sex, the banal nothingness of it, and the soul shifting guilt and confusion of enjoying the “wrong” parts of it. Sex was everything and nothing I had expected, and I couldn’t handle the mind shift that was happening. I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, or even the drive home, but I do remember the moment we got back to the hotel. I sat on the hard 70s pull out sofa and breathed. I realized I had leftovers in the fridge that I could’ve eaten, and was paralyzed by guilt about it for a few minutes. We talked about guilt some more, and about how all that was wrong with me was the terror that I was going to Hell now, and I needed to just breathe and be patient with myself. Shortly afterward, my husband pulled me into the bed with him, and with him spooning me and breathing deeply, I was finally able to fall asleep.”

A Blog About Sex

So the other day,

A friend asked on a Facebook group,

Some questions about sex.

I was SO excited.

I love sex.

I am good at sex.

It’s cool.

I had answers for questions,

I had all kinds of things to say,

And then I said,

Haha maybe I should start a blog about sex for Catholics.

And then I meant it.

But like really?

Little miss goody two shoes?

Talking on the web about sex?

Teaching women how to commit to their orgasm?

Me?

That does not make any sense.

But you know what?

It makes me crazy excited.

Like bouncing up and down,

Laugh,

Feel joy,

Excited.

About writing about sex.

Yep.

Yep, that’s a thing.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑