Sexuality and the New Me
When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), sex was not something that even crossed my mind for at least the first couple of days. Life was upturned and my body was alien to me. I had been too engrossed in the whole experience of physical pain, along with anxiety and depression, to be in the mood. Sex was not on my mind.
My first symptoms were peripheral neuropathy and the dreaded MS hug. I was not capable of feeling anything below my shoulders on either side of my body. I also had the feeling of an incredibly tight corset around my rib cage. Breathing was difficult — scary even — and my skin felt like either incredibly painful pins and needles or alien skin, with no sensation of touch at all.
I was apoplectic about my diagnosis; I needed some sense of comfort. Life as I know it was gone and I needed to feel again.
You see, MS has its own brand of torture that it mixes up for each of us. We all have our own paths, phobias, weaknesses and stubbornness that MS is deeply proficient in tuning into and creating our own, one of a kind, brand of this disease.
After my initial shock and grief, I began looking for my most deep sense of comfort. I needed to make love to my husband. I wanted to be close. I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to recharge and to find my solace, my home, in my husband’s arms.
For those of you out there that share this disease, if you have experienced my symptoms, then you will know what happened. I made love to my husband and I felt nothing. I knew it was going to be this way — after all, I hadn’t felt myself pee in days. It was the reality of it all that hit home when I actually tried having sex that settled in and tore out my heart.
Who Am I?
It is a seemingly fortunate thing, being a woman. Men have to deal with all of the same symptoms as us, and additionally, their equipment can run amuck. Sorry, I know, I am not being very graceful in my description. I am trying for some brevity.
In the end though, we all struggle sexually. It isn’t easy finding solace inside a body that disobeys us.
Making love to my husband that first time after my symptoms began was heartbreaking. I will admit it, I cried. Right there, in the middle of everything, I started bawling. I was so close I could kiss him, I could taste his lips, but there was just a vast emptiness everywhere else.
My place of respite and solace had been stolen from me.
I was terrified, I felt so alone. I thought that the world had just ripped away the very last shred of beauty that I had once carried. How cruel the world can be, to give us such beauty, such pleasure, only to strip it away arbitrarily.
What kind of woman was I now? How can I live like this? Is this going to last forever?
I get it, this article is sounding really depressing. I really am not one who enjoys wallowing in the depths, so let’s just say MS sucks and sex does not suck, somehow those two points need to reconcile harmoniously or my life will get dragged down into the suck along with it all, and I am not going to let that happen.
I am still here. I am still me. I will still make love to my husband. I will find my way through. I will enjoy it.