You’re at a party with your significant other. You may be married, engaged, or just dating, but you are together at a party having a great time. You’ve danced the night away, laughed, and as the night winds down you spend the remaining time dancing slowly on the dance floor. Your bodies are pressed together, and you feel the warmth of your significant other’s breath on your neck. That feeling surely brings back great memories and you can’t help but notice that internal tingle. You know the one, that tingle that hits you in those special places. As your bodies sway back and forth in perfect rhythm, you can’t help but notice the embrace around you getting tighter. As the embrace gets tighter and now includes a periodic caress, your significant other’s breath on your neck gets heavier. Excited, you take in all the sounds and sensations. Suddenly, through the heavy breathing, your significant other softly whispers in your ear, “let’s get out of here so I can get you home. I can’t wait to take off your clothes, put your TENS machine on you, and rub your joints down with Ben-gay.”
I KNOW, I KNOW, you thought this was going somewhere else! Well, it’s not. This is not that type of blog you Nasty McNastersons! THIS blog is about chronic illness and pain. Now, before you stop reading, let me say there WILL be discussions about sex…just not the HBO version. See, while lots of people battling chronic illness and pain do in fact get down with the get down, even those lucky few still can’t escape their illness and pain. So, talking dirty, foreplay, intimacy, and even sex may be a little different.
A recent situation made me reflect on just how much battling chronic illness and pain has changed my life. It’s funny, and a little sad, but when you battle chronic illness and pain, it changes everything about your life. It changes friendships, conversations, your energy level, where you exert your energy, heck, how you even define energy. Speaking of defining things, it can change how you define things such as sex and intimacy, and even how you perceive things…like dirty talk. It is completely disruptive to ALL aspects of you life…not to mention the actual physical limitations caused by having chronic illness and pain. I’m tired just typing about it.
There was a time that my definition of someone talking dirty to me would’ve been something like “I can’t wait to get you home and watch you undress slowly. As you slowly take off your clothes, I want to watch and enjoy every inch of your body. When you are done, I want to lay you down and have you wrap those long legs around me and …”. Yes friends, that’s getting dirty. I think we all know where it was headed so there was no need to continue. But, today, oh man, my definition of someone talking dirty to me is dramatically different. If my husband said anything similar to what I typed above, it would almost certainly piss me off and lead to an argument. I am almost positive in my mind I would be thinking “ok so eff my pain I guess. I’m supposed to unbutton all these buttons with arthritis and then still be in the mood for other stuff with my inflamed sausage fingers? Then, you want me to stand there just free in the wind shivering because you know I will be freezing…just so you can look at me? Finally, as if I haven’t been tortured enough, you SOMEHOW want these legs wrapped around you? That sounds like a whole lot of freaking work…and not much reciprocity. What exactly will you contribute to this fantasy?”
See here’s the thing about living with chronic illness and pain, the ONLY time you are TRULY relieved of its strong hold is when you are sleep. So, even in fantasy land, you STILL know it’s there. Yes, you read that right. From sun up to sun down, like most people in my same situation, I am constantly reminded of my illness and pain. The ONLY time I can say without hesitation that I do not feel pain or think about my illness, is when I am sleeping. So, any dirty talk to me would have to factor for my various ailments…and my personality. It couldn’t involve me table dancing and twerking in stilettos, sliding down a pole, having multiple costume changes, or anything equally strenuous. But, it could involve me table dancing barefoot, showing up unannounced at your job wearing only a trench coat, or a road side detour during a long drive. All good things, right?
Now, I am willing to admit that I am bit of an odd duck. We have discussed this in a few previous posts. But, I kinda dance to the beat of my own drum…and after 35 years on this Earth I am perfectly fine with that. One odd thing about me, as my friends like to note, is that I lack an imagination. I KNOW, I KNOW, this is so hard to believe but I assure you friends it’s true. My real life is so ridiculous that there is absolutely no need for make believe. So, I am not the person sitting around the camp fire making up fictitious stories. I’m the one asking questions about the made up story and upset at the facts that would never happen in real life. Yeah, I’m the client in therapy interrupting the therapist’s relaxation exercise asking “why does your story have so many doors to open when a lot of your patients have auto-immune disorders like lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, that make using their hands difficult?” Yep, I’m the person that won’t laugh at any joke that starts with “so a priest and rabbi walk into a bar” because I’ve stopped listening after recognizing early on it will NEVER happen.
So, why have you wasted 3 minutes of your life reading this? Well, I am so glad you asked. BECAUSE THERE IS A TAKE AWAY. The take away, always be sensitive to those around you living with chronic illness and pain. While imagination land may be your escape to a place without illness and pain…most people with chronic illness and pain are not so lucky. For most of us, there is no escape. So, to allow us as your partners, friends, and significant other’s to enjoy imagination land with you, create one available for us. Sometimes your created imagination land, if done wrong, is a cold reminder of what can’t happen in reality due to chronic illness and pain.