By Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers
I put the paper down. I was 15 papers in with 17 to go – reading the sexual autobiographies I’d assigned my graduate family therapy students. It was the second paper I had read in the last two hours of a young woman who had pelvic pain and vaginismus. My stomach was in knots. How many of these papers have I now read in my career?
This young woman had been married three years and had been unable to have sex – it just hurt too much. She was completely freaked out about sex and hated herself for it. It was like her vagina had a mind of its own and had shut itself closed. She felt like a freak.
By Annie Mesaros
I knew that it was queer to sing in front of someone, but greater than my discomfort was the hope that he might recognize what I thought of as my great talent, the one musical trick I was able to pull off. I started in on an a capella version of the latest Oscar Meyer commercial, hoping he might join in once the spirit moved him. It looked bad, I knew, but in order to sustain the proper mood, I needed to disregard his company and sing the way I did at home alone in my bedroom, my eyes shut tight and my hands dangling like pointless, empty gloves.
A person who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction. Many people often refer to asexuality existing on a spectrum, with sex-repulsion on one end and sexually open on the other end.
By Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD
I grew up in a household where both my parents did anger in big and expressive ways. As luck would have it, I was an introverted, happy-go-lucky, but sensitive kid. This combo meant I learned very quickly to watch and read the emotional climate of my parents – and if the boilers were high, stay out of the way. Unfortunately this also meant I learned it was often unsafe or inconvenient for me to have feelings, or at least to express them. I could not be sure there would be someone to listen or understand. If one of my parents was caught in their whirlwind, my emotion would be dismissed or I would be needed to calm the storm.
Since I was often frightened by the strength of their anger, either at me or each other, I also decided I had better not do anger, for fear my anger might hurt, as theirs did. This led to years and years of stuffing my feelings and focusing almost entirely on the emotional climate of others. This deficit in knowing my own feelings, how to manage and express them, and much about what drew me to others, shaped my choices in partners, friends, even my career. My twenties and thirties were spent in therapy and grad-school unpacking these influences and reclaiming the wisdom of my feelings and the ‘me’ inside them.