Iíve been actively coming to terms with my sexual history for the past three years. To give a Readerís Digest version of my story, I was sexually active with an older male cousin by the age of five. He was taught to be sexual by my fatherís youngest brother, who was confined to a wheelchair. The attention I received from these two somehow filled a void left by my fatherís inattention and both my parentís focus on themselves rather than their children. I have blocked many memories, but that changed a few years ago when I went home for Thanksgiving. My mother threw a big holiday gathering, and invited my father (her ex for over 30 years) and his youngest brother. My reaction was strong and it set me on this path of self-discovery and healing.
So here I am now, 46 years old, single and frustrated. I have been working with a good therapist for the past couple of years. He has helped me pay attention to how my body responds to life.
Last weekend, I had a date with a nice man with whom I have a few things in common. (I have been single for 5 years, and I find it hard to connect intimately) I was excited about the date. About an hour before the date was to begin, I started to get nervous about the possibility of sex with this man. Thirty minutes later, I was ready for the date Ė but my stomach started to roll. I went outside and meditated before my date arrived. I kept telling myself that I was safe and in control, no one was going to hurt me.
The date went well. I learned that we share more in common than I thought and there was a mutual attraction. While all of this was going on, an internal war was raging on two fronts. My g.i. system had me running to the bathroom every hour. The hyperactivity of my colon was only matched by the panic that was rushing through my mind. We came back to my apartment and had sex. As usual, I was not able to ejaculate, but he did and after a few hours it was time for him to go.
To complicate matters, the date ended on an odd note. I said to my date as he was leaving, Ďdonít be a stranger, give me a call.í Either I misunderstood what he said, or he had such a good time that he was comfortable with being sarcasticÖeither way, -my anxiety and hopeless outlook took what he said - Ďoh, you wonít be hearing from me.í Ė and ran with it. I was in a funk for the next two days.
In retrospect, I recognize that I was working in new territory Ė being present while this internal storm was raging rather than running away. But I long for connection and intimacy. Iím frustrated that here I am, 46, and I donít have the skills of a well adjusted man half my age. It hurts to know how far I have left to go on this road to integration.
Do any of you have techniques that help you cope when the past comes rushing back into your present life? Is this anxiety and panic something that youíve been able to put aside? I appreciate any help with this.
I also appreciate this website. My therapist recommended a retreat to me last year, and thatís how I found out about the site. Iím not ready to go to a retreat, but I appreciate knowing this community exists.

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Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger

Only to someone who has the valor and daring to cut pieces of their soul off with a knife then weave them into a blanket to protect you

There are different wells within us, some fill with each good rain

Others are far, far too deep for that