I do not have the same luck as other people. Back in the mists of time I had a chance to mix more exclusively with women whilst clubbing. At the time I was dressed and it seemed to go well., I remember it well because, at the time, I was newly in the world of work and had a decreasing social circle that would eventually culminate in seeing people about once a year. The conversation I had that night was actually an eye-opener and left me wondering about whether I was better hanging out with men or women.
Today we had a lovely family day out and I was the only father present. It was an interesting mental exercise then to compare this with previous experiences of being the only male in the place, so to speak. Like much of the time since having children in this situation the women banded together into a group and used me to make sure the children were fine - my role was essentially guide and teacher with the females being used as ultimate authority figures who sat at the periphery of events. I did not get much conversation, obviously the children preferred one another's company and the women did too. A couple of brief conversations were snatched but I found I did not really know what to say and, with no guidance forthcoming from the other participants (positive or negative) I tended to flounder into silence and then wander off as I do.
What conclusion do we draw from this? I'm pretty crap at small-talk.
That's not my point.
It's an angry TMI post. Look away now.
That whole thing with the answer to the therapist, I missed the point I was trying to make. I realise that other people can change, but my experiences thus far tell me that politically, religiously and sexually people are not likely to make nay moves as change is seen as threatening. I am not likely to back down in political discussion, these days I get angry and start getting statistics and references on my side to obliterate opposition - I no longer care if they change their mind to my way of thinking but they can be fucked sideways by my understanding until they at least accept that I'm not automatically wrong. In religious discussion I have also grown tired of people trying to use shit teenage pootlings to undermine faith. I won't defend twats in the fundamentalist mega-churches but nor will I give way to idiots who think that science and religion are enemies - twats - or use modern myths rather than actual history to support claims. In short, there's no martyr complex there any more (and there used to be, before 2004ish).
No, when it comes to sexual activity and having some, I had the answer I did because one cannot beat (figuratively or otherwise) others into accepting your own kinks and sexual appetites. Nor can one convince others if they refuse to engage in discussion. In that sense, then, my answer not only makes sense but is, in fact, the only way to move forward. It only takes one person in a relationship to create a sexless marriage and if that is based on behaviours or appetites of the other one then the only option is to change oneself.
Even as things stand, with a partial thaw allowing the equivalent of once a month, there is no chance at all of my own desires being realised at any point. Nor can we discuss them in an actual discussion - I can raise and talk about things if I wish but I should not expect more than nodding or smiling. I can expect to be heard but I am not allowed to question Tilly's thoughts and reactions, I am not allowed to do anything that might cause her to introspect or analyse her own behaviours - that has been laid down and thus far followed. My initial reaction, therefore, to the therapist's question was the correct one if for the incorrect reasons at the time because it was monumental egoism and martyr complex fuelled.
It takes just one in a relationship to make it sexless. It takes just one to decide that any movement in one particular direction is off the cards (or, rather, to state it may be possible and then make no further moves at all). Therefore change can only be made by one person in the relationship making the first move. If a compromise is to be reached both must move, but victories in this are different than in the other two categories. Or, rather, they are for me (and plenty of others, but I am egotistical, so mine is the only one I can truly care about, I may empathise with others but I'm a selfish fuck). In this instance victory can be won simply by refusing to move. As I want there to be change and actual physical intimacy, as I can't seem to live healthily without it, then it is I who must change.
No ego-maniacal self-loathing nor British desire not to make a fuss. I'll accept that both play a role in my life, even that I have full-blown martyr complex (the evidence lies before you, dear reader, in virtually every post on this blog), but none of these aspects has any bearing on the decision that, when it comes to sex, it is I who must change.
There will be no mutual compromise because of the lines being drawn where they are drawn. What seems like a massive concession to Tilly (being on top, say) is, in actuality, barely a shuffle from the existing position (ha). In return, the movement toward compromise required of me is objectively and materially larger. However, given the perception leap required by Tilly the move is seen as being similar and no amount of knowledge, statistics, passion or reasoned argument will change that.
Slow burn, I'm all about it.