13: Intimacy Issues
This is a little cringe worthy to write about, but in the interest of writing about our journey, it’s important. It may also allow other parents in a similar situation know they are not alone.
Brad and I actually like one another. Don’t get me wrong, we went through some battles when the kids were very young and we essentially only had one another to lean on. You know, when the house was messy and the washing was piled up. When the fuel was empty and the bin wasn’t put out. When the littlest thing would grate on your nerves because you were sleep deprived and in acute attention deficit from the person that you married. We have ridden the marriage roller coaster the same way that everyone has. But at the end of the day, we like each other and show that to one another in a physical way.
Try being intimate with your partner after your 5 year old daughter has told you that a man “licks her vagina”.
It took us a really long time to engage in any physical intimacy besides holding one another and crying in the dark. Everything about sex felt dirty and wrong.
Fortunately, we were able to talk about how we were feeling and try to contextualise what we were hearing from our kids as being completely unrelated to the love that we felt for one another, but it wasn’t without tears.
I think that it’s important that I put this in here, because this is a real issue for couples in our situation and it’s not something that you can talk about without being embarrassed. I’m confident that my brother would have glossed over this section and hopeful that my parents did too, because at the end of the day, sex is meant to be a private act between two consenting adults who respect one another.
Finding a way to separate the act of abuse from the act of sex, is difficult and can change depending on where you are on the journey of being the parents of child abuse victims.