Tackling Sexism with My Husband

Four things from a recent women’s workshop were powerful for me:

1. Being strategic in working on sexism—not waiting for upsets to work on it

2. Showing how sexual exploitation has shaped us—not just telling the stories of what happened

3. Partnering with the imperfect

4. The “big ask” of number three—meaning it’s a big thing to ask the oppressed to partner with the oppressor; we women cannot jump over our feelings, and men have to be able to listen to us.

The workshop gave me firmer footing to take on [do something about] sex with my husband.

A few years ago he and I made a tradition of taking time during the days of awe (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) to reflect on our relationship. Each year we appreciate what has gone well, think about what we want to do differently, and share what we wish for the new year.

This year I talked about wanting to bring our full humanness to our sexual relationship. While I liked our sex life, after twelve years our patterns had been guiding us more than I liked to admit. It could have continued but I knew there was more for us. I had some specific suggestions, including both of us having regular Co-Counseling sessions on our early sexual memories and our current sexual relationship.

After I got home from the workshop, deep discharge erupted in my sessions. I was able to have a truly pitched battle for myself. I could put my mind in the past and decide to work. I understood that it was me, my body, that had gone through hell when I was young.

Showing how sexual exploitation had shaped my sexuality was something I hadn’t wanted to do. So even though I had set the direction for my husband and me to look at sex, it was hard to move on it. Also, sexism and anti-Semitism have made me feel like I’m the problem, like my distress is worse and harder to get through. And in the past my partner’s oppressor numbness has made it hard for him to remember to work on his end of things.

But now we are both dedicating one session a week, with other people, to working on sexism. It is not easy, but the triumph is that we are moving toward being strategic about handling sexism in general, and sex in particular.


(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00