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Every single relationship I ever had, for years, was with girls who were virgins – I have no idea why that was, or why I gravitated towards girls and women who were 'pure', or whether or not it was just coincidence. Whatever the case, when I found my current partner, I learned or was exposed, at least, to the reality of the fact that she was 'experienced.', and experienced in ways that were quite intimidating to me. Experienced in the sense that she'd had multiple partners prior to being with me; the same number as me, I might add, and yet for her – and I imagine most people – the concern over how many people I'd slept with didn't occur to her.
On our first night together, we had a frank discussion over how many people both of us had slept with and also when it came to sex, what we were both 'interested' in, in terms of – not fetishes but preferences, and a lot of the preferences we both shared, she'd explored before with previous partners.
The process I personally went through for years with previous partners was in performing the role of 'teacher'; the girls and women I'd had experiences with required a great deal of patience because on one hand, a girl would be quite willing to experience new things but on the other it felt as though we were never making love, in the classical sense. I was teaching and she would be learning.
The girl, as well, in my mind, would be 'pure'; clean or untainted and yet when I find myself with my current partner, attempting to make love, I will often find myself dissociating because subconsciously it's almost as though my mind is telling me, “you are not the first here; there is nothing exploratory about this – to your eyes – new land you have set foot on”, or “others have mined gold here before.”
I explained to my partner – bearing in mind the difficulty in being so honest about it – that it felt, in my mind, as though any time we were together, when we sleep in the same room, when we sit in same room, there is a 'presence'; there is something – not visibly nor hallucinatory – crawling on her, festering, like a disease almost. She is 'unclean' in my mind. If we make love (and we don't, often, now) there will be a point where I'm staring at her, and dissociating because I find myself staring at her naked flesh as though she is covered in scars from some horrible scalding she'd been given by another person; something she was conscious of, a white elephant we both never spoke of, but one that I couldn't ignore and would remain deeply conscious of the entire time we shared a moment of intimacy.
The degree to which this 'presence' has affected our lives has caused us to move house, at a relatively substantial cost, because when I moved from my previous residence to be with her, I found that she'd previously lived there with another partner - reminders would be found in the attic when I would go up there, letters that weren't re-directed to his new address, clothes, CD's, DVD's in the cupboards, cosmetics that obviously belonged to him, ticket stubs for concerts they'd been to, but worst of all, 'sexual aids' they'd previously used together, and photographs of the two of them together that my partner, for whatever reason, didn't dispose of.
When it came to moments of intimacy, I would, in my mind, replay events that may or may not have occurred or intrusive thoughts would develop; questions – does she enjoy this, is she, in that moment, comparing me to another person, what, if anything, can I do differently, what other lands can I explore (comparing it to the previous metaphor) that others haven't set foot on yet, when she closes her eyes, what is she thinking about, my partner being relatively vocal, I ask whether she has said similar things to others – and the entire time, I feel myself regressing. Then I see those scars that she can happily ignore (I hope) but that I cannot. 'I'm sorry but you are unclean', I say to myself in my head.
What I've found doesn't help matters currently is the absolute lack of any sexual fulfilment in either of our lives, and in my head it makes the scars that cover her more visible. It's as though through the lack of intimacy, I question whether or not it existed in her previous relationships too, or whether or not others had more of a chance to explore, on a more consistent and fulfilling basis, her and the great white open land that I've found myself standing on when I look at her. Then I find myself asking myself the fundamental question, which is, “are you becoming overly concerned about something that you shouldn't be concerned about?” followed by, "how would she react if I asked these questions to her directly?"
I've spoken, to some degree, with my therapist (through CBT) about these anxieties but I was just wondering if anybody here could provide more insightful answers to, I suppose, some of the questions I'm asking; ways to alleviate these intrusive thoughts and so on, or to even explain why I have them.
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