Skin Hunger

Disclaimer: Mike was my husband, partner, best friend, soulmate… and lover. Tonight it’s the lover I miss and want to write about. If you’re not comfortable reading about that (hi Mom!), you might want to skip this post.

“When was the last time you had sex?” I was asked at a recent ob/gyn appointment. For the first time in over six years, I couldn’t answer that question with any certainty. It was probably the weekend before Mike’s suicide; I know he was too depressed to want sex for at least a couple of nights before. It breaks my heart that I can’t remember the last time we made love. If I’d known it was going to be the last time, I would have etched every detail – every touch, every kiss, every moan – into my memory forever. But, of course, I didn’t know. And after six years together, still making love five to eight times a week on average, only particularly spectacular sex made it into the pages of my journal or stood out in my memory later.

Something that did make it into my journal: About a month before he died, after morning sex: Zipping up his jeans, Mike looks across the bed at me and smiles. “You know I’m not a Foreigner fan,” he says, “but that song is true. Every single time with you feels like the first time.”

I hear a lot about couples getting into a sexual rut, about how the excitement fizzles out over time. That never happened to us. On our second date, we stood on a corner of Sunset Boulevard kissing deeply and groping each other like horny teenagers. Six years later, with infinitely more intimate knowledge of each other’s bodies, we were still surprising ourselves and each other with the depth of our passion.

I got so used to him always being there… falling asleep spooned together, waking up to his warm naked body beside me. All I had to do was reach out and he was there, ready to hold me, ready to love me. Now I fall asleep clutching a pillow and wake up alone, day after day after interminable day.

It’s been over six months since I felt my lover’s touch. Sometimes it feels like years. Sometimes I feel like my sexual self died when Mike did, like I’ll never be able to respond to someone sexually again.

But I’m still alive. I’m still young. I’m still sexual. I wonder, though, how long I’ll have to wait to feel alive in that way again. It seems like these days most of the men who know me, who know my story, don’t even see me as a woman anymore, but as some kind of fragile china doll. And while I know it’s out of respect for my loss and I very much appreciate the TLC, it’s starting to get a little frustrating. And the thought of meeting someone new and having to tell him my story, watching his interest turn to pity… Yeah, no thanks.

A friend of mine calls this “skin hunger,” and I can’t think of a more apt description. I’m starving for touch, for that skin on skin contact… and I’m not talking about platonic hugs and pecks on the cheek. The sexual me, frozen from the shock of my husband’s death, is waking up again. I start to worry that it’s too soon, that it’s inappropriate or disrespectful of his memory… and I can almost see Mike rolling his eyes, hear his laughter. He didn’t give a damn about what was appropriate, and I know he wouldn’t expect me to live out my remaining days in chastity, hiding under a black veil like some little Italian grandmother. He appreciated my sexuality, my passion more than anyone else ever has.

Still, I don’t know what to do… how to get back to the sexually alive woman I was just six months ago…


~ by hourbeforedawn on September 7, 2010.

5 Responses to “Skin Hunger”

  1. I would be perfectly happy with some pity sex right now.

    This is such a difficult subject. There is all the messages that people give us, and that we give ourselves, about what is appropriate, and what is not. Before Michael got sick with his brain tumor we had a fantastic sex life. He was the first person that I could be completely open with, and know that he was completely open with me. As the saying goes, yes, we fucked like bunnies. After he got sick all that changed a bit, but we adjusted. Sex was still very important, and if we weren’t doing it, we were at least talking about it.

    I don’t feel guilty at all about wanting sex. I also don’t feel any guilt about trying to make it happen. I have found that through this first year that my sex drive can sometimes completely disappear, and then it can sometimes be the main driving force. It often feels like what a junkie must go through. I don’t always understand why it comes and goes like this, and I have stopped trying to figure it out. What I do know is that I need to feel that connection some how. While I know that I will enjoy the act with the person of the moment, it will also feel like a connection to Michael. When I do express myself sexually, I always think of him and how he would be happy that I am allowing this important part of me to be expressed.

    Good for you for writing this, and good for you for recognizing this important part of you.

  2. “Skin Hunger” seems so apt.

    I think you’re right, Mike wouldn’t want you to never have sex again. It’s part of our physical existence, sex is needed. I’m glad you’re not beating yourself up over wanting it.

    I guess just take it day by day. Or date by date. Whomever you will meet (and eventually sex up) won’t get all of your history the first day. The right guy will just want to love you all the more and make you happy.

    Until then? May I suggest rechargeable batteries?? *snicker*

    Love ya!

  3. Yes – yes – and amen! I was always amazed and impressed by the sexual woman you allowed yourself to be with Mike as a partner. I hear you giving yourself permission again to explore and be that person again. I agree with everything Patty Jean said, up to and including the batteries (just visited the new womens’ sex toy shop here in town and boy howdy, vibrators have come a long way in the last few years – just hand over that credit card…).

  4. Skin Hunger, what a great way to put it. Yes I too feel it. Part of me wants it, but part of me feels so guilty that I do want it and that its not appropriate yet. I have a friend who keeps telling me its too soon, I just tell her to walk in my shoes and see if she would feel the same way. You are stronger that you think.. This blog is letting me know I am not alone. Thank You!

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