Today was a good day. A little sad, perhaps, but good. Of course it’s Valentine’s Day, which is difficult for most single or heartbroken people, but it’s also two other things for me:
- It’s Buster’s birthday, and I miss him so much.
- It’s the day my husband proposed 17 years ago in 1999.
After the great strides I took on February 12th (still can see that date without cringing!), I wanted to continue the march forward on this romantic day for myself. I had expected to spend it alone, but a colleague and I spent the morning together at the Van Gogh museum and talked over coffee. It was a nice morning, and I was very grateful to have the company.
I had also planned to see Beethoven’s Ninth today, which would’ve been spectacular in an old church, but the plans didn’t fall into place. I regret not getting that together, but I wouldn’t trade the time I spent with people last night and this morning for a concert alone, even for Beethoven’s Ninth. So instead I took a huge chance and visited the Sex Museum. It was very prominent on my tourist map, so I couldn’t help but notice it. After my co-workers pointed out the risqué “Red Light District” and just being in Amsterdam, where the atmosphere is so nonchalant and open about drugs and sex (very different feel than the repressive US culture around those things), I thought it was time to take a step toward recovering my own sexuality. It seemed like a safe place and appropriate time to do so.
After visiting the Sex Museum’s website, it appeared to focus on fertility-themed art throughout the centuries mixed with more recent expressions of sexuality. Since it was apparently more about the history of sensuality than a collection of pornography, I decided it was a safe step forward in become comfortable with sexuality as a concept again.
Although, if I’m really honest with myself, it’s not just the open nature of Amsterdam that inspired me to take this step. It’s in part because I’ve recently met someone. Not someone with whom I would pursue a romantic relationship for several reasons, but someone to whom I am deeply and inexplicably drawn. His eyes sparkle, and his smile fills my heart with joy. What is important about that is this:
For the first time in 4 years, the thought of male sexuality isn’t utterly repulsive.
For the first time in 4 years, it’s clear I’ll redevelop my own sexuality.
For the first time in 4 years, I’m not afraid of desire, mine or his.
The Sex Museum was rather disappointing, though. Turns out, it was more a collection of pornography than a history of sensuality, so their website is very misleading. There were a few depictions of bestiality, rape, and sexual assault. Sadly, the inclusion of such violent acts of sexual abuse in a supposed ‘history of sensuality’ museum wasn’t surprising.
The pornography wasn’t repulsive (mostly), but it just wasn’t interesting. Some of the fertility statues and carvings were. Some of the science fiction displays were, but mostly it just wasn’t terribly interesting, let alone titillating…and certainly not sensual. It was mostly crude, so I didn’t stay long. While inside, I started to feel unsafe as well, which also isn’t surprising under the circumstances, but the important thing is that I wasn’t repulsed by the idea of sex (even though some of the depictions were quite disgusting). What’s important is that I was only mildly triggered.
That’s huge progress for me.
I ended the day with a walk in the beautiful rain, buying myself some tulips, and a new ear piercing. It’s a tiny diamond stud in my left tragus. As I walked home from that, it occurred to me that I’m changing my body little by little so it will be one The Rapist never touched.
Frankly, I think I’m already there.