Thursday, March 27, 2008

Talking Openly About Sex

How about you, have you ever talked about sex with a member of the opposite sex who you were not emotionally or sexually involved with? It is not exactly most people's choice of a dinner table conversation.

Bob was a pro. He could talk about sex as if it was the weather. At 17, I found that fascinating and tantalizing and freeing. He awed me talking about a topic that my parents could not even admit existed. Yet, he too bent the topic and made it unhealthy.

I have now, in my marriage, an open and vulnerable and safe relationship and sex has never been better. Being so completely open and vulnerable with one you love and trust is a heady sensation - knowing your imperfections are accepted as you accept his. Safe and secure and sex all go together so nicely! And fun too. I am learning that sometimes sex is just for fun.

I needed to take the topic out and discuss it and perhaps undo some of what Bob did. So, I did just that in another safe and secure environment. This week with my therapist, Dan, I talked. And, he talked. It was a really neat conversation. Personal but with healthy boundaries. Sex was not shameful and neither of us felt shame. We talked about our very human thoughts and lusts. I talked openly. More openly than I think I ever have. It was so freeing and safe. I celebrated my own boundaries and the healthy way I handle myself now.

So, I talked about sex with a man 15 years younger and felt sexual and knew he surely did too. Neither of us needed to use the other. We both had boundaries and we both cared for one another.

I wouldn't recommend this with someone that isn't a professional, but with a professional, it was freeing and what a long way from the sex conversations with Bob!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


After a fight with the flu, that I am not sure I have won , I decided I was past due for a post. Flu and strep are going around voraciously at school and church and I was running a touch of fever again this afternoon.

Mostly I have just been tired - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I spent my therapy session with Dan discussing a need to just rest for awhile. My heart is just not into giving my all. Then, upon arriving home I discovered an email from the regional minister asking me if I had the updated suggestions ready to be handed to the task force. So much for an emotional rest but his taking the initiative to prod me on was very encouraging. He could have just moved on and not mentioned me when they first meet next week. Instead he chose to find out where I was in the process.

So, I spent two hours Tuesday evening finishing the letter and list of suggestions that I had begun to write prior to my episode with the flu. I sent it on its way and then heard back from Reg tonight. His reply is hopeful:

"Diane, I did get it and wanted to say to you that I appreciated the way you worded your letter and the spirit which came through. It really is a submission with suggestions based upon a desire to move things ahead. Thank you very much. I will send this off to the sub committee and let them be aware of it as they start."

As for my typed suggestions - they were worded as carefully and gently as I could but I did not soften my desires. Here they are:

1. Include in the policy "a copy of the misconduct policy will be delivered, faxed, emailed, or mailed to the victim on the day a report is initiated."
2. Specify the number (or range) of individuals to be appointed to each section of the response team and what if any overlap of members with the ministry commission or regional office will be allowed.
3. Clarification of the meaning of “discipline committee”. What are its procedures? Who composes it?
4. The addition to the policy that the victim and the accused will have the opportunity to speak directly to the discipline committee if they so choose.
5. Clarify whether the accused will have access to the victim’s statement and vice versa.
6. Implementation of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and loss of standing within the region upon a finding of guilt.
7. Require psychological testing of all ministers accused of misconduct.
8. The requirement that the boards of all prior regions and churches will be notified when guilt is established – especially when a question of predation exists.
9. Assure that the policy adequately covers situations when:
a. the victim is an adult
b. the victim is a child
c. when reporting is occurring years following the abuse
10. Include in the policy the way a victim will be offered an official apology on behalf of the church.

Though it would be nice to simply blast ahead, my hope is to gain the trust of those I am sharing with. I have no desire to hurt anyone and only hope to see positive come from all this. I think the relief I have heard from the regional minister in the last two emails has expressed his relief that I am not seeking to expose my predator. Though I would disagree with this need were he not retired, I have no desire to embarrass or damage my perpetrators daughter or son-in-law's ministry. He struck me as a good and honest man and his words gained my respect. I see no need to hurt anyone as long as Bob stays away from the ministry and my voice is received.

My letter, that accompanied the list of submissions explained my connections to the church and requested an opportunity to sit down with the task force personally to share my suggestions. Hopefully sometime soon after next Wednesday I will hear a positive response from the task force.