“It is difficult to describe my brother’s comic riffs without his understated expression, metronome nods, and low, wry voice. That and a bus ticket, he would drawl, will get you to Neutral Bay. Where my laugh is an octave played by Chopin, his was remarkable: from this solid, heavy-jawed man, laughter like a pumping garden hose suddenly freed from the sprinkler – undulating, wildly glittering through the bluest air. My brother’s laugh was unexpected, sheer, and ravishing and in it, he was liberated. Just watch me fly! The properties of his laugh were magical, but also used to disguise truth. My brother used laughter as a kind of insulation or substitute for emotional revelation. Like that last email he sent his friend, it was part of a greater insistence that all was fine when it was not. I pressed him to acknowledge hurts. Sometimes he allowed pain to surface. In razor-grabs, he expressed feelings denied him. The speed and compression of these admissions suggested a fear of judgment.”
This photograph of Gianluca in the old Macquarie Bank headquarters on Bond Street just arrived in my inbox from an old workmate of his. It is the most adorable picture of him ever taken – on the cusp of giggling, the very soul of mischief.
Disgust / arousal triggered by breastfeeding is one of the byproducts of living in a culture in which every part of a woman’s body is sexualised commodified fetishised. The ferocity of Hollie McNish‘s Embarrassed brought me to tears because I experienced all of it when breastfeeding. Heavily pregnant and with a hammering heart, I also remember being catcalled – pornographic terms – by men in a slowing truck on an isolated road. That fear of being raped – the vulnerability – was unlike anything I’d ever known: I was shaking. On my return home, I wept.
“One of the things that made me angry after my brother’s death was the insistent perception of him as ‘mentally ill’ on the basis of his final choice. My brother was philosophically impaired, emotionally paralysed and stubborn, but he was not mentally ill. Mental illness suggests some kind of biological maladjustment such as that caused by injury or drug-induced chemical imbalances, whereas my brother, like many male suicides I have known, reacted normally to an abnormal situation. My brother felt he could not show the suffering that revealed him as sensitive; to do so would have threatened his gender status. It was easier for him to die.”
“Sexual acting out is often used by people who feel shame around having any emotional needs … Because [sexual] acting out to regulate unwanted feelings has become a ‘default setting’, recovering addicts will experience stress when they are expected to be intimate, open and honest.” – *John Beveridge
Fearful avoidance of sex and compulsive sexual acting out are two sides of the same coin: attachment disorder. The only solution is intimacy, however gradual, so choose love.
*John is an attachment based Psychoanalytic psychotherapist working in North and Central London in private practice. Trained at the Bowlby Centre London and in Supervision at SAP (Society of analytical psychology) John has also trained at The Institute for Group Analysis (IGA) He has studied PIT Trauma Reduction and Sex Addiction at the Meadows Arizona, trained in sex addiction with Paula Hall and with Thaddeus Birchard. He teaches therapists in training at and runs groups for sexually compulsive men at The Marylebone Centre. John enjoys spreading understanding about Sex addiction through writing and public speaking. He can be contacted via telephone (+44 (0)7979 862 765) and via email firstname.lastname@example.org
“For most people, when they were abused it wasn’t by somebody who jumped out of the bushes, but by somebody they had a trusting, loving relationship with. A sense of trust got merged with a sense of betrayal when it comes to their sexuality. The closer they get to someone, here comes that trust issue. So they pull back emotionally and sexually.”
“In this climate of profoundly disrupted relationships the child faces a formidable developmental task. She must find a way to form primary attachments to caretakers who are either dangerous or, from her perspective, negligent. She must find a way to develop a sense of basic trust and safety with caretakers who are untrustworthy and unsafe … She must develop the capacity for initiative in an environment which demands that she bring her will into complete conformity with that of her abuser. And ultimately, she must develop a capacity for intimacy out of an environment where all intimate relationships are corrupt, and an identity out of an environment which defines her as a whore and a slave.”
― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror