I was barely out of high school when I met my husband, Phillip. He was the rebound off of my first serious relationship. Only he didn't want to be a rebound. I was a mess, but he didn't care. He picked me up, dusted me off, and four years later in the front of a church filled with friends and family, he made me his wife.
We had two amazing children, photo albums full of memories, and a long history of trust and friendship. We were happy.
Or so I thought.
In the months leading up to our tenth anniversary, I knew something was wrong. Phillip was growing quiet and withdrawn. I persisted and when the truth came out, I was forced to face what had been missing in our marriage from day one.
Sex. He wanted it. I didn't. I don't want to say we were in a sexless marriage, but I'd be lying if I said we weren't pretty darn close. I 'put out' what I thought was enough to keep him happy, but to me it was a chore, something to get through. I did it for him -- it wasn't something I particularly enjoyed. And he knew that.
I don't know why I was that way. Maybe it was my overzealous religious upbringing that had me believe I should only have sex with the man I marry (and husband was sexual partner #3 for me). Or maybe it was because I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I don't know. All I do know is that I had built up thick walls around any sexual part of me.
Phillip tried to break them down. Over and over he tried. He encouraged me to share my fantasies. He tried toys and games. He listened for hours, constantly reassuring me, as I cried over my childhood incidents. But those walls refused to budge, and after a decade of ramming into them, he was tired. I was losing him.
I remember how frozen I was as I watched him pack for a 'weekend to get away and think'. I didn't know what to do or say. I didn't know how to break those walls for him. At the last minute, he asked me to join him and something inside of me wanted to fight for this -- for us.
In a hotel room in one of our favorite places on earth, I first let my submissive side out to play. I gave him some of his fantasies and for the first time, really enjoyed doing it. It was an amazing weekend and things did get better when we came home.
During this time, I began to pursue a lifelong dream of mine to be an author. I wrote a book. I revised and revised and revised that book. I reached out and joined writer's groups, made writing friends, formed critique partner relationships. I started a blog, entered contests, attended a writer's conference. I queried agents, celebrated some success, dealt with a lot of rejection. Phillip was there, every step of the way. He read several drafts, helped me query, made dinner, took the kids to their activities so I could write. He was perfect. And we were happy.
Or so I thought.
It took a long time for me to find the courage to finally admit to those I'm close to that writing a book was a dream of mine. Even longer for me to begin to reach out and pursue it. And finding the courage to share my writing -- that was nearly impossible. I took so much courage, that I think somewhere during the process, some of the walls of insecurity and doubt I had built over my life began to tumble down.
One hot summer night, while Phillip was working and the kids were sleeping, those walls I built to suppress my sexual self came tumbling down. Behind them were all the fantasies I hid -- the ones I'd had since childhood. Ones about force, about pain, about being controlled. They turned me on, intrigued me, and scared me. They went against everything I'd ever been taught to believe. For far too long they made me feel twisted and dirty.
That's why I hid them away. But not that night. The walls were down, the dam was broken. They overwhelmed me and I wrote several of them down in an e-mail.
I addressed it to Phillip. And I hit send.