I’m married and I’ve only had sex with my husband. So I don’t understand why I act so strange during sex. I’ll be enjoying it, but then start crying uncontrollably, to where I can’t breathe. It scares me and my husband because he didn’t and doesn’t do anything wrong, on top of that I crave painful things during sex (being choked, bitten). I try not to ask for that because I know our sex life is already odd because of the crying spells and occasionally I’ll go into these odd moments where I scratch myself until I’ll bruise and bleed (although it’s not often it scares me.) I was never raped or sexually abused. I was however verbally abused by my dad, but I don’t understand how that would affect my sex life. Is there something mentally wrong with me? Also I lost my virginity at a normal age (16) and my husband is a very loving man. (age 20, from US)
This is a very interesting question, and I think there could be lots of explanations. The first thing that comes to mind is that maybe you experienced more abuse in childhood than you realize. I have worked with many clients who remembered early abusive experiences much later in life, sometimes after something triggered the memory. Sex is obviously a very intimate act and you may feel vulnerable, even when you are with someone you trust. These feelings may be a gateway to other deep feelings. Perhaps the verbal abuse you do recall damaged you more than you realize.
Self-harm can mean many things also. It can be a way of coping with emotional pain, a method of grounding yourself to the here and now, or inversely, a way of dissociating. Ultimately though, it is self-abuse and you can find many other healthier ways of coping.
Finally, there are many who state that sadomasochistic sexual tendencies are perfectly healthy, however, I have trouble accepting this notion. I would suggest that you consider exploring these issues at a deeper level with a therapist before they get worse or you develop fear or resistance to intimacy.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts