Friday, 9 November 2012

Auntie Seraphic & Crushed Catholic Girl in NYC

I found this in yesterday's combox. My heart bled a little bit. By the way, I wish Edinburgh eavesdroppers wouldn't read this one. How am I supposed to give women advice with you guys lurking around reading what I have to say about sexuality? It's embarrassing, and there's no point pretending you don't because my electronic spy can see you. Have a heart. If you wouldn't ask me in person, don't read it here. All you boys should read this instead. Meanwhile, it is annoying when you don't talk to me at parties because you feel like you've been talking to me all week. Poor me, sitting like a bump on a log.

Anonymous said...

Any other tips for making the squashed banana Scooters more attractive?

I have two buzzing around me, and they do nothing for me physically or emotionally. But the Scooters are "nice guys", and Catholic, and likely willing to marry me without sleeping with me first. And they are very interested in me.

But I just can't bring myself to envision sleeping with them ever. Or rather, I try to--and end up in tears (self-pity moment here).

But another very hopeful romantic-bubble appears to be popping, I'm in my late 30s, and I wonder if there is anything I can do to open my heart to the men who DO want to be with me? (To give you a fuller picture, I did go on several dates with the Scooters in question, even let them--on separate occasions, natch--kiss me a couple times. It was baaaaad.)

I suspect you would never counsel any one to marry someone whose company they didn't particularly enjoy, but is there ANY way to make the un-attractive more attractive? A version of "fake it till you make it?" I am dead serious.

Thank you, thank you---

Crushed Catholic Girl in NYC

Dear Crushed,

I would never counsel anyone to marry someone she did not want to sleep with, unless it was a Josephite marriage of convenience between two people who would rather just be sexually abstinent. And even then I might ask why in today's society they thought this a good idea, and what would happen if one or the other later changed their minds about sexual abstinence.

If you weep or your flesh creeps at the idea of sleeping with someone, don't marry him. It's not fair to you, and it's not fair to him.

Now, if a woman over 30 weeps or her flesh creeps at the idea of sleeping with any man, that does not suggest she has a vocation to the married life---at least not without a lot of therapy first, if a homosexual orientation is ruled out. However, as you mentioned a crush bubble about to pop, I am guessing here that these are not the issue. The issue is that you are not sexually attracted to either of these two men, and currently they are the only marriage prospects on the horizon.

The first thing I will say is that you don't have to get married to be considered a success as a woman. So if you never meet a man you want to sleep with who wants to marry you, this is not a failure. It is a perhaps unfortunate circumstance, like war or a car accident. It is not your fault. There are social forces afoot that have made the ancient cycles of human life more difficult, and that's not your fault. And there's also God's Plan, about which I am all for asking Him about. I think it perfectly acceptable to say "What are You up to? What's my part of the Plan? Throw me a clue, here, Lord."

The second thing I will say is that the essence of marriage is sex and doing the laundry. You can avoid a lot of scrubbing if you try, and unless you live above a Historical House, you can have a dishwasher, but you can't avoid either sex or laundry, so if you are married, you have to enjoy both or you will be miserable. It is not nice having to sleep with or wash the socks of someone you don't really respect, and what woman really respects a man who makes her think of squashed bananas?

The third thing is that sometimes Scooter does become more attractive the better you get to know him, but sometimes heart and skin just say "Uh-uh." And you must believe them because although your brain will lie to you about sexual attraction, heart and skin will not. (Heart and skin will lie to you about other stuff, however, so keep a balance.)

One of my problems with internet dating is that women often decide on the strength or weakness of a photograph if they are attracted to the man or not. But many very attractive men simply are not photogenic. Some look like pug dogs. They might growl as sexily as Alan Rickman (no looker) does or make us laugh as hysterically as Bill Murray (also not a looker) does, but if we reject on the strength of a photo or even a quick scan of a face, forget meeting a lot of sexy-sounding, funny men. We are not men; we are not so naturally hung up on looks.

My first thought on seeing my now-husband's photo (sent by a kind reader) was "Blah! A beard!" My second thought was "Never judge a man by his photo!" And my first thought on seeing my now-husband in the bus station was "Blah! I am blinded by his tweed jacket! But at least he's not ugly." And then within five days he was The Most Beautiful Man in the World, possibly because he practised his first confession on me. This may have set up feelings of intense intimacy and so--kind of like what happened to yesterday's letter-writer--I got all hooked. Thank heavens B.A. is actually a really great guy like his friends (the kind readers) kept telling me.

Actually getting to know B.A. made me stop saying "Blah!" But getting to know another Catholic guy I am thinking of--quite a nice guy, if you like small, thin blond men with watery blue eyes, blond eyebrows and no eyelashes--did not make me think "Oh yes, he's for me." Quite the opposite. And he goes down in history as the one guy who kissed me with absolutely no regard whatsoever for my will and---ick. Ick, ick, ick. Fortunately he ran away immediately after, just as he did later when I sat down and gave him the Bad News, although I don't think he wept on the first occasion.

Anyway, on paper I should have snapped up Mr Lashless Weeper because he was one of the few actually devout, church-going Catholic men I knew who was interested in the same kind of artistic pursuits and Goth clubs as me. But I did not, and I am pretty sure I would not have succumbed any more in my late 30s than I did in my early 20s, even if he was still magically 24 or whatever he was. I am just too respectful of my own personal eroticism... Listen, am I the only Catholic woman who writes online about this stuff?

The answer to "Can I force myself to become attracted to my suitors, if I have forced myself to kiss them and the thought of going all the way with one or the other makes me cry?" is no. Once upon a time nobody cared if women enjoyed sex, and many people thought we shouldn't, or thought we would just get used to it, but the fact is there is nothing that makes you hate a man you used to like more effectively than having to have sex with him when your body/psyche doesn't like sex with him.

And I'm sorry about that because I know there are women who would gladly forgo sexual enjoyment and just lie back and think of England just so long as they could stop being lonely and maybe have a baby, but that just won't work. (Believe me on this. Sometimes it literally doesn't work, if you develop this syndrome, for example) And the contemporary man doesn't just want sex, he wants to be praised for it, too.

Hang in there, kid. A little bird told me that super-trad Catholic websites have more eligible men between the ages of 35 and 50 than they have women, so there are other single men out there. And whether you eventually marry or not, it is not the end of the world if you kiss both Scooters good-bye.

I hope this is helpful.

Grace and peace,


Quiet bystander said...

Hear, hear.

I don't feel that I have anything more to add, so I shall instead quote Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who said, 'Nothing but the very deepest love will induce me to matrimony.'

A Mending Heart said...

"Once upon a time nobody cared if women enjoyed sex, and many people thought we shouldn't, or thought we would just get used to it, but the fact is there is nothing that makes you hate a man you used to like more effectively than having to have sex with him when your body/psyche doesn't like sex with him...

...(Believe me on this. Sometimes it literally doesn't work, if you develop this syndrome, for example) And the contemporary man doesn't just want sex, he wants to be praised for it, too."

Yes, YES, a HUNDRED times yes!

Auntie Seraphic, it makes me want to cry with joy to have read this coming from you. Having made that very mistake, and consequently having developed that very syndrome, amidst other very serious medical/psychological conditions, I can only tell you how much I wish this post had been written several years earlier. The end results for me have been devastating in many, many ways, although the one beacon of hope is that I have grounds for an annulment. It, however, does not magically undo years of pain and trauma.

Don't settle girls, whatever you do. I cannot say this often or loudly enough.

Christine P. said...

On the "you may develop this syndrome" topic, I just want to encourage any women who *have* done so that it can be overcome.

I developed vaginismus about a month after my wedding -- which was emotionally very difficult as I felt I was a bad wife etc. etc. (My husband is amazing and could not have been more supportive, so the "bad wife" thing was, I assure you, entirely in my own head). I saw my doctor and got diagnosed, but she didn't have any advice other than "give it some time and try again" -- which is NOT effective as vaginismus is a reflexive syndrome, and you don't magically un-develop reflexes by waiting them out.

Instead I found this site and with some trepidation I ordered their kit. It was honestly the best $100 I've ever spent, and after diligent work we were able to get things working normally again. If you have vaginismus (whether married or not -- if you've never been able to use a tampon this is something to look into!) please, please don't lose hope. This is a treatable and fixable thing.

Sorry for the topic hijack, Auntie S, but I just wanted to get this out there. I had never heard of vaginismus before it happened to be and it was incredibly discouraging and bewildering; I thought there was something terribly wrong with me. But there wasn't. I just needed a little help.

Seraphic said...

A Mending Heart, sometimes I wonder why I blog like this and if I have to be quite so frank all the time, and then I get a comment like yours and I think, "Right! This is why I blog." I'm very sorry you went through all that, and no: years of pain and trauma cannot magically disappear, short of a miracle. Through the grace of God they can be gradually healed and, I firmly believe, even the worst scars will disappear in the next world, if not this one. God bless you.

Christine P, I'm sorry that happened to you. Amazing how in our oversexed world, nobody ever--EVER--seems to mention this little condition. It's not something I would want unmarried readers to worry about unduly--for obvious reasons--but definitely, definitely married readers should know this exists.

MaryJane said...

I'm glad you blog like this. It's real. (And, just so you know you are not *completely* alone in the Catholic women's blogosphere... Simcha blogs (or blogged) a lot about sex for married women.)

Urszula said...

Nothing to add except a double thank you - for encouraging us to never settle, and... for the swashbuckling protector of today!

Seraphic said...

@ MaryJane Ah, the incomparable Simcha! Who is her agent, that's what I want to know.

Urszula, I'm glad you like the swashbuckling protector. Isn't he fierce? I'm sort of glad it was really the Aussies, not a Canadian, who killed him. In a way, it's a mercy he was killed because one shudders to think of his subsequent career.

Seraphic said...

That is, what it might have been.

MaryJane said...

I think she is her own agent :) [But you could just email her - I don't know her personally, but I do know some of her family, and they are all very nice.]

Confused Australian said...

Hi Aunty, in fact there is a whole blog purely devoted to sexuality from a Catholic perspective:

Not to say you should stop tho, I always enjoy your blog :-)