Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Dating a Sex Addict?

Well, I never thought I would write that. Especially about Michael. Sweet, sensitive, caring, loving Michael.

But that is what we have come to understand. And come to grow around. 

First, to be totally clear, neither of us believe that AGP is an addiction. We have simply come to the realization that Michael is addicted to AGP. He litterally trained his brain, over years of practice, to believe that the way that he orgasmed was through AGP fantasy. 

We believe that Michael's sexuality is far more complex, varied and dynamic than that. And, in order to discover and enjoy the range of his sexuality, he needs to break his addiction and I need to support him.

Why do we think Michael is a sex addict?

Michael and I learned that he is addicted with two realizations: the reality that he was lying not only to me, but to himself, about his activities and his intense fear that he would not be able to control his behavior if he promised me to change things - even the lying. 

His lack of control over destructive behavior - especially lying - was a real eye-opener for both of us. We cried.

Our Goals in Breaking the Addiction

It would be easy to assume that our goal of breaking the addiction is to scorn this aspect of Michael and his sexuality. This is not the case. Rather, we want to celebrate and explore the totality of both of our sexualities, which requires two healthy sexual partners.

And Michael is not a healthy sexual partner. Yet.

By head-on breaking the addiction, we are giving ourselves the space and opportunity to develop a strong foundation of mutually-satisfying sexual play. One that we will have confidence in when the time comes to explore more adventurous sides of our sexuality. Some one-sided, some intimidating.

But, we'll be able to explore with the confidence in, support of and love for a core of mutually-satisfying pleasure, making the probability of success and fun much higher!

We needed a plan

To break the addiction successfully, first thing we did was take the idea of making promises off the table. Breaking a promise is kind of like lying and needed to be taken off the table. It was far too scary, it was far too high pressure.

Rather, we decided to setup daily goals that we reviewed at the end of each day. We then determined goals for the next day. I was there for support and structure, not for ideas. The goals were Michael's. He chose them, he owned them.

We started off slow, with only a couple very clear goals: no masturbation, no erotica, to be honest and candid. They grew with Michael's confidence, at his pace and at his request.

Each night before bed, Michael and I review his goals for the day by asking a series of questions. I give him the structure and safe space to talk about his experiences and challenges for the day.

Sometimes, it feels like I am policing him, especially when it is late and we are both tired, or if its been an emotionally draining day already. But its my job and its the least I can do - he's the one putting in 99% of the effort here! In the last few days, he has started asking me questions too, to help me with my emotional regulation, and that has been great, but thats for another post.

In the beginning, everyday was a challenge and he largely replaced his AGP outlets with research of reading transition stories of other transgendered individuals. I pointed out that we were both learning less and less each day, while expending lots of energy. We decided that we both needed to stop researching. We've both read just about everything that the internet offers on the subject and I'm sure we'll come back to it, but for now we both need the emotional break.

Some of Our Questions

For others in similar positions, our daily goals might be helpful. I want to remind everyone that these were Michael's goals, not mine and we chose goals for the next day each night. If one seemed too hard to be successful the next day, we took a day off. At this point, our questions have evolved quite a bit and we no longer require daily consideration of our goals for the next day, but here are questions throughout our experience:

...since our last questions have you...
  • masturbated?
  • looked at erotica or porn?
  • been present durring sex?
  • crossed dressed?
  • been honest and candid with me?
  • done and research or reading about TG issues?
  • How has AGP affected your life today?
  • What went well today?
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell me?

Michael's Take on his Addiction

Wish us luck!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The long story, not so short.

How to even start?

Well, lets start with Michael & my journey. We'll get into my issues later.

The Path to Love

We met last May (its almost our anniversary!) and slowly developed a great relationship. I remember realizing that I loved him in the fall. He is a wonderful man. Thoughtful, considerate, compassionate, intelligent. We balance each other very well. I have the 30,000 foot view and a real taste for adventure. He makes sure we have the best checking account in town and that our puppy is fed. My emotions are strong (I mostly bring the happiness) and he is an emotional rock -- a tether for my volatility. I love him. We're far from perfect, but we're really good.

Sexual Fantasies & My Panic

I've had the pleasure of indulging several exes sexual fantasies (including some pretty kinky ones) and wanted to be generous and playful with Michael. So, in November, I asked him about his sexual fantasies. He was reluctant. No, he was more than reluctant, he clearly did not want to share. But, I pressured him to the point that he broke down and told me.

Its hard for me to remember exactly what he said. But, I know that he told me that he was interested in cross-dressing and that he would be interested in me dressing like a man and fucking him with a dildo. I know I listened carefully for an hour or two, asking lots of questions. And then, I panicked. I balled, walking around my neighborhood at 3am for an hour, if not more.

The next weeks were intense, it seemed that every waking moment was consumed with trying to understand the information that had been given to me, trying to fit it into my understanding. We had huge amounts of very good sex. We even tried having him wear women's panties while we were having sex and it affected me much less than I anticipated.

It came out that he was turning me down for sex in order to masturbate, so he promised me that he would stop masturbating (even though I did not ask for this).

After a few intense weeks -- where we weren't sure if we were going to make it or not -- things settled themselves down and we continued on with our pretty much normal life. We were having sex more frequently and Michael was turning me down less frequently, which I appreciated. We continued having him dress durring sex 1-2 times per month, with increasing intensity, but, it was far from the best sex we had, from either of our perspectives.

We felt our emotional bond grow quickly and our feelings for each other increased greatly in intensity. We decided to move in together.

The Second Unraveling

Things had been moving along quite nicely. We love living together and have created a life and schedule that we both cherish. I love coming home to him and he looks forward to my return each evening. And then I did something stupid. I was working on his computer, doing my taxes, and I looked at his bookmarks...

Cue Rebecca melt-down.

I felt like my entire world had been melted down again. We had conflict for two and a half weeks, again, trying to get to the bottom of what all of these things meant.

The first tipping point was when I found out that he was in another world fantasizing the vast majority of the time that we had sex. I had suspected such many times, but chose to believe that he was simply reveling in the pleasure. So, I had sex with him while I was off fantasizing in another world. Of course, I came more quickly and he said that I moved and acted very differently. He did not like it.

From that night on, we agreed to only participate in present sex.

In the next week or so, we discovered the idea of AGP and many of the AGP resources out there. It gave us a vocabulary to speak about Michael's desires. It was also at exactly that same time that the massive lies that were underpinning our relationship came out.

Michael looked me in the eyes, told me the honest truth. Cried.

And then, two days later, it came out that he was lying, again. While he looked me in the eyes. While he promised me that it was the honest truth. PAIN. ANGER. RAGE. PAIN. HURT. FEAR. RAGE.

I think that's where I need to leave it for today. Even a few weeks later, thinking about those days bring tears to my eyes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Path Ahead

Before we look back, I want to look ahead.

I've had a lot of dreams, fantasies and assumptions about my life shattered in the last six months. A lot of pain, anger, tears, rage, fear, frustration, anxiety, confusion, and more fear.

I've been lied to. And I have screamed mean things. Its not been pretty.

I also love more intensely than I ever have. And more intensely than I would have if none of this had happened.

The path ahead of us doesn't exist. At least not in our current world views. We are having to make up every single step... and, let me tell you, that has been exhausting. But, I really do believe that we can make new dreams together. I have to believe that.

This blog is going to be about exploring how we got here and, far more importantly, mapping where we are going.

I love you Michael.