I'm a psychiatrist's daughter. Have I mentioned this before? Are you surprised? Not that I have a great trust of psychiatry or therapy. I may write about it a lot at the moment but, believe me, it has taken a crisis to get me to go back there.
Analysis: the talking cure. I have a deep belief in all the old truisms about talking things over: that 'it's good to talk' and 'a problem shared is a problem halved', that if we talk enough and listen enough we will be able to put our disagreements behind us (joy!) or discover it was all just a misunderstanding. For me, discussing things usually does help. The old truisms are often right - but not always.
Talking about sex can be such fun. I used to love talking about it when I was younger. Sitting around with mates swapping ribald stories and tips was one of my favourite things. I have always been puzzled by people who don't want to talk about it and, actually, I'll stand by this. Sex - good, bad, ridiculous, weird, in all its rightness and wrongness - is great subject matter. It's the stuff of life. It's just that telling Virgil about the various ways in which I am dissatisfied with our sex life together really hasn't helped.
Seriously... after three or four days of discussions, and repeating myself and trying to explain, I threw my arms in the air one night and asked: Has anything I've said to you actually made one whit of difference to what you think? Has it changed your mind in any way? Do you even begin to see my point of view? And Virgil said: No. I have listened to you but I just feel criticised.
At this point it was 1am and I was standing at the end of our bed, glaring. Virgil gave me a hurt look, rolled over and pretended to sleep. I curled up on the sofa, trying to calm down and make sense of it all. I felt baffled. What do you do when you simply disagree with each other and that isn't going to change? I love Virgil. I respect him. Sometimes I disagree with him. We are very different from each other. This whole open relationship thing has taught me that.
I remembered a post from the Purpose Fairy that I read recently, about why letting go of the need to be right is one of the best and most important things a person can do. I thought: it's better to be kind than right. The anger went out of me. I went back to bed and put my arms around Virgil, who cuddled me back hard from his sleep.
The trouble with talking is that it can create a situation where you are both just trying to convince the other of the rightness of your arguments. It becomes a contest about who is right and who is wrong. In situations where both people are right this is pointless. It doesn't mean that I am suddenly satisfied with our sex life: I'm not. But for now we have stopped talking about sex and Harlot Towers has been a much calmer, happier, more loving place. We have, importantly, agreed to experiment and put energy into making our sex life more interesting for both of us.
Additionally, I have resolved to go and have more sex with other people. If I'm going to wait for Virgil to throw me onto the bed and fuck me senseless for hours at a time, to tie me up in intricate knots and administer a truly expert beating, I'll be waiting a long time. There's no point getting cross about it. Virgil's still the best at the things he does best and he's still my favourite person ever, to have sex or even just hang out with.