I find it somewhat unexpected to return to the topic of sexuality, sexual identity and MRKH. But I want to pick up, oddly, near where I left off last fall in “Sex and the MRKH Girl…” A lot has happened since then, and I write today from a very different perspective. With a new understanding of myself.
MRKH is a pretty interesting condition because it “strikes” (i.e., we find out about it) just at the exact moment that our peers are developing their adolescent sexual identities into adulthood. They are learning to flirt, to kiss, to talk about sex and to experiment with it. To understand it, use it, enjoy it, control it – or be controlled by it. To play with it and to embrace it.
For many of us with MRKH – or at least for me – a diagnosis of MRKH meant much more than “you can’t have kids” (which is all I was ever told). It also meant freezing that development of an adolescent sexual identity. It meant shying away from flirting, talking about sex, kissing, making out….from playing and exploring and learning about a whole new side of my self as a young adult.
Now I am sure there are plenty of MRKH girls out there who don’t let their diagnosis stop them. Who go ahead on their sexual explorations anyway. And I am also sure that there are plenty of other ways in which adolescent girls’ sexual development can be stalled out or frozen or derailed. Everyone has issues – mine (besides MRKH) include: Catholic upbringing, a family life in which sex or sexual contact was not ever talked about, witnessing friends recovering from “bad” experiences (including date rape), working at a women’s shelter and witnessing other sorts of horror and sexual abuse.
So my hurdles include a mixture of those that affect many women and those that affect just us MRKH girls.
And in fact, I was actually still pretty reckless and bold – with my first sexual partner when I was just 15, only months after I found out about MRKH. And I met my life partner when I was just 17 – we’ve been together for 22 years. But the problem is, that I stopped pushing after that. I stopped exploring, testing boundaries, learning about what an adult sexual identity might look like. It became too terrifying to push – what if I wasn’t “right”? What if my body betrayed my deepest darkest abnormalities? What if my body was not capable of doing “it” right? What could I trust? And the more that I let my sexuality languish, the more desperate I became to hold onto my partner – because who else would ever want me?
So what it comes to at this point in my life is this: my next leap forward in my own personal development is to move beyond a frozen adolescent view of sex and sexuality and to come into womanhood as a full adult sexual being. I’m not sure how to go about doing this. But I plan to share some of my thoughts here.
I want to stress the importance of making this part of the journey to adulthood – of integrating the sexual side of one’s self. I think there are many reasons that women don’t make this journey. I encourage you not to let MRKH be one of them.
Finally, in case I have any teen readers (which I hope I do!) or their parents – please know that I don’t intend this to be an “erotic” blog. I don’t intend to be explicit, but I do intend to be direct. Remember, I also write from the perspective of the parent of a beautiful daughter. And that is a big part of why I am doing this: I know that unless I make this journey on my own, I will never be able to guide her through it in the future.
I also hope that others with MRKH are able to travel this path much earlier in their lives than I am. And I know that the fact that I am only now finally able to begin doing that may strike some as odd….but that’s ok. We all do this at different times in life. And my time is now.