{Content Warning: mental health, trauma recovery, sexual anxiety}

I really struggle to be present. I’m always in my head, scrolling through my imagination, or wandering away on a new idea. Sometimes I miss out on the things right in front of me because I can’t let go of something else from the past, or more often, I’m worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. It’s been 2 years since my (previous) therapist explained that being caught up in the past and worried about the future has me ping-pong-ing between two times that simply don’t exist, and I’m missing my life. Those are big words, I know, but I needed to hear them. I still need to hear them, in fact, I try my best to think of them numerous times a day.

When my therapist said that to me, I fell apart, because finally I started to make sense to myself. He explained that the ping-pong from Past to Future and back again is a coping mechanism, part of the hyper-vigilance of trauma recovery and is a result of the mind and body doing what is seemingly needs to do to survive. But surviving is not living.

I’m learning that sex is a stumbling block for me on the path towards being more present and really living in a whole and meaningful way. Mindfulness techniques are helpful to keep me “in my body” because if I don’t focus, I drift. I close my eyes a lot during sex. It’s not to avoid intimacy, it’s to stay present. I need to focus on the sounds and sensations or my mind will take me away and leave my body behind. Having understanding long-term lovers helps; I don’t have to explain or apologize, but new experiences with new folks are always nerve wracking because I so deeply fear that my “coping”, which has nothing to do with my partner or the intimacy we are sharing, will be misunderstood, or rejected, or that I will fail to explain it adequately. See? Already I’m thinking about what “might be” and how I might fuck it up.

My go-to strategy is to breathe. Sounds simple and maybe a bit reductive but it’s a powerful thing if you can remember to do it. Mindfulness helps. Having a strategy helps. Having go-to exercises or affirmations and ways to combat the tsunami of memory and worry, helps.

Writing about it helps. Thank you for reading.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Take It Personally If I Close My Eyes When We Fuck”

  1. I don’t have exactly what you’re struggling with but I can relate to being afraid of messing up a relationship whether romantic, sexual or platonic because I am slightly different from the norm because of my mental health issues and I can’t stop worrying about it. I’m glad you are managing it in your own way and I’m glad that writing helps!

  2. I am glad you have found/are finding ways to manage your past experiences and enjoy your present ones… Keep doing the work and thank you for your openness and vulnerability with your writing.

  3. My mind perked up a bit reading this. Some of it resonated with me as someone with past trauma as well. It can be difficult to be present and connect for many reasons, and I like your strategy about breathing/mindfulness. Thank you for sharing yourself here

  4. Thank you for writing so openly, Violet, and giving us a bit of insight in your difficulties and how you cope. It’s good that it helps to write, and I hope it brings you further on the path of healing.

    Rebel xox

  5. Focusing on the breath is one of my main go-to strategies, as well. And I almost always close my eyes during sex. For the same reason…it keeps me there.

    I also have a similar weakness in focusing on the past or the future rather than the present. I’m always planning the next thing…moving on before I’ve even experienced the thing I’ve planned for now.

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