At the same time I was a part of this culture where, as a girl, beauty (and sexual appeal) was rewarded with attention, favors, and success. Barbie was the ideal woman. She had Ken and that Barbie dream house after all. My Barbie needed the finest in order to adorn her perfect female form. I longed for designer clothes for my Barbie dolls and made those I couldn’t afford. Each year I watched the Miss America pageant knowing I would never measure up to that ideal. With my friends, I poured through magazines seeking advice on how to present ourselves in the most appealing ways. Without any kind of awareness of it at that time, I can now see that I was a victim as well as a willing participant in our culture of sexualization and objectification.
The transcendence of any of our deeply acculturated belief systems requires us to challenge the unexamined conclusions from our past. This can be hard to do because they feel like the load-bearing walls inside the structure of our "me-ness." Our love, connection, and interest in another can work like a carrot to a horse leading us to look at assumptions that were put in place so long ago that they are now almost imperceptibly running the show. For me to be able to stay present and participate in the deepening of my connection with George and his world of sex and addiction, I had to challenge some unseen rules.
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The avoidant discomfort that came up around the very mention of his avocation was like a bell, ringing "investigation required here." I have learned that staying with the uncomfortable feeling is a link to my connection with humanity. After all, any discomfort or fear I may have is certainly being felt by many others. In this way, discomfort does not need to be avoided, but can be embraced in a compassionate way for myself—and for all of us. The discomfort I may experience about discussing sexuality can be met in a way that opens the doorway to a deeper exploration.
If your sex life is unsatisfying or uncomfortable, it’s time to speak about it. If you suspect that your partner may have an issue with sex addiction, you can voice your concerns. To talk about sex, first many of us have to get over the hump of the prohibition we have about the subject. To do that it can help to acknowledge and put aside prejudices, fears, and preconceived notions.
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When the investigation is about sex and sexuality, many of us can feel the inhibitions of embarrassment, shame, and just plain shyness. Like everything else, if we can begin see the internal machinery that is telling us what is right, good, proper, allowable (or not allowable), we then have a chance to confront the assumptions running the show and even in the discomfort of the assumption, make a choice to challenge the old story. Despite our busied lives, careers, children, and even sexual difficulties, it really is possible to open a conversation and create a closer relationship with your spouse.