The Quest to Define Sexual Boundaries


I pulled off my shirt, pants and socks, and stood naked in the hotel room while digging through the backpack for my gym clothes. I was hot, tired, and sweaty after a long day of traveling.

I had actually contemplated on just staying naked and doing things I love like writing, writing, and more writing. But I realized I need to keep myself in shape. So, gym it was.

But yet, there was a sense that I had nothing to fear, that I could unleash the child-like innocence and go crazy like McCauley Culkin on Home Alone.

Meanwhile, in Southern California, my wife struggles to cope with living alone. She is very sad at my leaving, and deeply hurt. She would love to hear from me, yet I’m not ready to call her.

Today is the second day of a 17-day therapy exercise where we live far apart and not contact each other. My wife and I agreed to do this to help our relationship.

For the past three years, she and I have traveled across the country running a marketing business. We spent hundreds of nights together in hotels, cabins, and vacation rentals. We’ve been joined at the hip, and our friends can’t imagine us without the other.

The idea for this exercise came from our therapist Emily. She recognized that our fighting has increased largely due to not spending enough time apart. We actually love each other a lot, and when things are going good, it’s really great. But things go bad, they get “really” bad.

So far, the good days had always out numbered the bad, and we’ve been able to tolerate those rare occasions when things go awry. But recently, we’ve become so cautious about setting off each other’s triggers, that we’re on edge most of the time. And being on edge prevents us from being ourselves.

For me, the goal of this exercise is to get back to the heart of who I really am, by doing what I love best, which is traveling and being completely on my own. Her goal is to trust that I will come back, and know that I’ll never abandon her.

But exactly what lies at heart of who I am is largely the subject of my writings here. I’m still puzzled, even after all these years. I don’t even know my sexuality, nor understand my sexual boundaries.

Honestly, I don’t think I have any sexual boundaries. Pretty much anything sounds good to me. In fact, I don’t want the vanilla, I want the multitude of flavors, with a variety of toppings and sprinkles. I think that two scoops is great, but three scoops is better, and four scoops is awesome. I’ll try it in a bowl, in a cone, or even out of the carton. And just when I’ve had my fill, I’ll figure out a way to make it even more kinky.

There are a lot of reasons why people don’t have boundaries. I think a big reason why I don’t is due to my many personalities.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is effectively the modern day terminology for “multiple personalities”. It’s what I go through every day and every second of my life. I don’t actually know what my real personality is. I’m not even aware of what personality I’m in. Often times, one personality is not aware of what the other one did or said. What I know is there’s a 7 year old boy inside me who I can feel very strongly. That little boy is what I was when my parent divorced at age 7. My father went away, and my mother stopped nurturing me. Instead, I was subjected to shame, humiliation, and lots of physical beatings.

When I am alone, the little boy comes out of me. I like to sit on the floor and watch TV. I like to run around naked, and even go streaking outside. I like to lay on the couch with my feet against the wall and my head dangling off the cushion. I leave dirty clothes laying around, I leave food laying around, and I like to touch myself frequently.

Children need parents to establish boundaries, and I actually do have several of them established. But at 7 years old, I don’t recognize sexual boundaries.

I also have two alters, an intellectual that I call Mr. Spock, and a cynic that I call Mr. Green.

Mr. Spock has cut off all connection to his emotions. He remains stoic, and will often sound cold and uncouth when in fact he’s just being factual and logical. Mr. Green doubts everyone. He doesn’t trust, and will often say hurtful things just to get to people to back off. Both Mr. Spock and Mr. Green are defense mechanisms, the former protects the little boy from feeling anxieties, while the latter takes over when a confrontation is at hand.

These two alters can’t seem to integrate. When Mr. Spock is under control, I’m not able to feel love, feel sad, or even offer compassion. When Mr. Green is under control, I’m not able to reason not make use of logic. I say a lot of things that don’t make sense.

When a confrontation finally draws to a conclusion, and the dust settles down, the little boy comes back out again, but feeling every bit sad. He finally breaks down and cries.

Many of these confrontations are with my wife.

She’s dealing with her own psychological issues of bi-polar disorder and the trauma of her abusive childhood. She is highly tuned into her emotions and has a keen ability to diagnose what she is feeling. I’m not sure what her sexual boundaries are, or whether she has any either.

She’s an extrovert where as I’m an introvert.

The two of us spent many years in previous marriages trying to be people that we thought we needed to be, only to end up depriving ourselves of fulfillment. Today, we’re discovering our sexual selves, and are experimenting with an open relationship. Both of us have tried same-sex partners, group sex, polyamory, BDSM, all in a quest to understand where on the spectrum we fall, or if we fall anywhere at all.

Somewhere in there I have to figure out the right balance of interaction that keeps this little boy on the outside and growing into a mature adult capable of integrating his alters and keeping them under control.

This Medium is about my quest to explore sexuality with the complexities of Dissociative Identity Disorder.