“Breaking Free of Good Girl Prison” — Sexual Success Story #3 — Strengthening Marriage.com
After becoming empty nesters a few years ago, my husband and I decided to take advantage of having the house to ourselves. However, even with the absence of inhibitors to intimacy (kids in an adjoining bedroom, etc.), I started to wonder if I was broken, because I could not figure out how to capture the bliss in sexual intimacy.
For years, I had blamed it on the worry of children being able to hear us, or them wondering why our door was shut when it was usually open when their dad and I were asleep. Because of those concerns, and the feelings of guilt that consumed me after having sex, I would usually rush to get things over, not putting any thought into the “intimacy” part of the act, so I could quickly open the bedroom door again to dispel my concerns of what the kids might be thinking.
After weeks of unmet expectations from our efforts at being romantic, I decided to check out a church bookstore in our town, in hopes of finding that elusive element that I felt I lacked in our intimate relationship. After making sure no one could see what I was doing, I thumbed through the books on marriage. However, I was extremely disappointed when the only advice I could find that had to do with physical intimacy, barely hinted at it being “beautiful and ordained of God,” and not much more.
I was immediately filled with shame and guilt for trying to find anything to do with sex in a church bookstore. I quickly slinked out to my car before the sales clerk could ask if I had found what I was looking for.
Fortunately, I did not have to search much longer, because within a few days, I saw an ad on MeridianMagazine.com for Laura Brotherson’s book, And They Were Not Ashamed – Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment. However, because of the word “sexual” in the title, it was not until three months later that I was able to get up enough courage to buy the book…online so no one would see me buy it. My fear was that someone might see it and think I was reading something that was pornographic. I did not realize how far from the truth that thought was, until I learned what was in it.
As my husband and I listened to the book on CD, I laughed as I commented that the ‘Good Girl Syndrome’ resembled me. However, as amused as I was, I could not help but notice that my husband remained silent. When I later asked him why he did not laugh, he told how he had suffered through the three decades we had been married, with feeling undesirable and rejected, because he could tell I did not like having sex.
That explained the periodic arguments we used to get into when he would accuse me of not wanting to have sex, or would get angry after we had sex. I cried buckets of tears when I realized how badly I had hurt him, especially because my behavior had nothing to do with my feelings for him.
Even though I made superhuman efforts to make up for what I had previously put him through, it was not easy for him to trust that I would not grow tired of sexual intimacy, and lose interest again. Then to complicate matters even more, as determined as I was to learn the Lord’s designs for sex, the Good Girl attitude in me did not go away overnight. It had become so much a part of my core beliefs, that it was hard to sift through and figure out what was okay and what was not, and what was connected with the Good Girl Syndrome.
In the beginning, I made lots of strides, but it did not take much to get me knocked off course, which caused me to seek shelter in the perceived safety of my “Good Girl Prison.” I felt safe in there because I did not have to worry about crossing the line into territories that were potentially dangerous.
It was not long before the darkness once again began to cloud my vision, which caused me to be depressed and frustrated. The only thing that would break the chains of my Good Girl Prison was when I would mentally force myself to ignore the relentless nagging of the negative Good Girl attitudes. I would step out in faith, trusting in the answers I had previously received from the Lord with regards to His designs for sexual intimacy in marriage.
When I did that, joy and peace filled my mind and heart. When I did not, I found myself in the pits of despair safely locked inside the confines of my “Good Girl Prison.”
The chains are now little threads that I continue to whittle away at, one strand at a time. Obtaining my freedom from that prison has been a slow and VERY painful process. However, as I have put my trust in the Lord more and more I have managed to spend longer periods of time outside of my Good Girl Prison until the thought to run back rarely crosses my mind.
The best part of breaking free of the icy clutches of my Good Girl Prison is how drastically my relationship with my husband has improved. He is literally becoming my knight in shining armor! I cannot thank the Lord enough for hearing and answering my many prayers and helping me find Laura Brotherson and her book.
It has been a few years since I originally wrote the above account. When I was asked to share my story on the StrengtheningMarriage.com website it took some effort to find it on my computer because I had hidden it afraid someone would find it and think the worst of me. Rereading my experience has been good for me.
I cannot believe how far I have come since then! I no longer deal with guilt after having sex, and it has been 10 years since my husband and I have argued about my negative programming and faulty attitudes about sex. And the best part is that our sexual intimacy is ALWAYS delightful and very fulfilling now. God bless you Laura for your efforts to bring light to a very darkened world about the divine role of sex in marriage!
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