Friday, May 16, 2008

My Vasectomy Part 6 - It's Official ...

Well, I am officially documented sperm-free. The results of two separate samples taken a month apart both showed zero sperm.

When the woman from my doctor's office called with the news I asked her if that meant I would get a certificate or something? She laughed and said that if I sent them a certificate they'd be happy to sign it.

I just had them send me the lab results instead.

Monday, May 12, 2008

With You

With you

Well coupled: I could wade
in warm water
and melt like a sugar cube.

Poem on p.219 of Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Vasectomy Part 5 - Afterwards

For new readers: I got a vasectomy back in January and wrote a set of articles about it. This is the followup article I started writing in the days right after the procedure, but I left it unfinished. Now it's May. Four months later and time to catch up.

Day 1

The next day after the procedure was Tuesday. I took a normal shower, and found that I was a little reluctant to play with myself. It wasn't so much that I was sore or sensitive, just that I was worried about moving things around too much, too soon.

I went to work as normal and didn't think too much about the vasectomy at all. More annoying was that I had come down with a cold and was dripping snot all day. Went to a band practice in the evening and forgot about both the cold and the vasectomy.

Day 2

Wednesday morning: I noticed that my right testicle felt just a little bruised, and maybe a little swollen. I also took a mirror and examined myself, and could just barely see a tiny mark on the upper part of my scrotum, the wound where he made the opening. If it weren't for the residual swelling in that region, now much subsided, I don't think I could have found it.

I'm a little worried about whether everything still works down there, looking forward to reassuring myself.

Day 3

Thursday morning: This morning I got good and hard, so things seem to be working normally. Both testicles still feel a little bruised, and I can still feel a little swelling where the opening was made.

Today for the first time I was able to actually feel a new lump inside my scrotum, which would be one of the cut ends of the vas deferens, and possibly the clip at the end. It was hard to find, and I didn't find it again later when I looked for it.

Also today, I took a mirror and looked closely at my balls (not something I do very often). If it weren't for the slight swelling, I would never have been able to find the surgical opening. It is tiny, and it is right on the centerline of the scrotum, about 3/4 inch from the penis. Because it's on the centerline, it gets lost in the wrinkled skin there. So it's essentially invisible, and not painful at all.


Day 4

Friday: The swelling at the wound continues to subside. Both testicles remain a little more sensitive than usual, and seem to be a little swollen, making my Levi's noticeably tighter in the crotch than usual. But it's not painful, or even very uncomfortable. Just different.


Day 5

Saturday: Hardly any swelling at the wound. Testicles remain more sensitive, mostly the right one, but not uncomfortable. Looking forward to seeing Tiggy tonight!

I've buried the particulars, but I do recall that I did not cum that night.

Day 10

Thursday: The wound is hardly noticeable at all now. I can just barely feel a little swelling if I look hard for it. My right testicle is still unusually sensitive. I think it's still a bit swollen. Not much change since last weekend.

The remainder of this is written nearly four months later, in May, so it's all from memory.


About Day 12

Tiggy and I got together again and I came for the first time since the surgery. We're using a condom -- the cum looks pretty normal but there's not as much of it as I would have expected.


Four Months Later -- Looking Back

My right testicle remains a little sensitive when I think about it, but maybe it was this way before the surgery. Certainly it doesn't hurt.

I definitely think there's less cum when I cum.

My cum is now more of a runny liquid, not as viscous as before. It still has some whitish color, but not like it used to be with all the sperm. And it may be my imagination, but it also seems like the physical experience of ejaculation is usually less intense.


Would I do It Again?

Tiggy said to me before the operation, "You know you're doing this for your next girlfriend, not for me." By this she meant that we wouldn't necessarily still be fucking by the time I was certified sterile. And I appreciated her candor, even though I hoped it wasn't true. But she was right. She broke it off in mid-April, right after I sent my first semen sample in for testing. So I did miss out on the condom-free time together I'd been hoping for.

Also, I miss the thicker loads that I seemed to be packing beforehand.

On the other hand, if I ever get together with another partner I trust as much as Tiggy, I can do without the damned condom. And even with the condom I won't be worrying about making any new babies.

And I'm not one to look back with regret anyway. I think it was the right thing to do at the time.

Wearing Your Wedding Ring

I've started exploring the infidelity blogosphere a bit more lately, and found a great post by the Lazy Philosopher on Wedding Rings.

I always tried to remove my ring when Tiggy and I got together, not because I was hiding anything but as a mark of respect for her. Wearing the ring says to every waiter and waitress, "I'm married". And to anybody observing us, it wouldn't take long to figure out, "Not to each other." The point isn't that I care what they think, but she might care. Anyway it's not up to me to assume that she doesn't care.

Originally my intention was to keep all thoughts of my marriage out of our relationship. I think that's an excellent policy, but must admit that I failed badly at it. Subject for another post ...

When Tiggy and I went away for several days together I wore my undergrad class ring in place of the wedding ring. I did this to make the untanned, smooth and hairless spot on my finger less obvious; again, the point wasn't to hide anything, just to avoid making it an issue.

Finally, I confess that there were two times when I forgot and left it on. Both times Tiggy busted me for it. And the second time was the night she called it quits.
Bad timing, Apollo, but very symbolic.

Monday, May 5, 2008

On Love

The mind staggers at the thought of how much has been written about "love". Perhaps this is why writing was invented. Certainly love is the reason for the existance of Apollo's Fire.

I love my wife, "E". We met in late 1978 and married less than a year later -- we've been married over 28 years. Through that time I've demonstrated my love in many ways: I've fully supported her (i.e. she has not held a paying job since we've been married) and provided for her. I've encouraged her in whatever she has wanted to do. We've had lots of dates and travels together (though she would say it hasn't been enough). We have four kids together and I've done my best to share the load of raising them.

I do the laundry, I pay the bills. She won't clean house so we have a cleaning service. And I used to be very affectionate, but not so much anymore.

I have loved E in many concrete and real ways that go beyond feelings or emotions.

But in the past year I concluded that our sex life was irretrievably broken, and I sought a new partner. Eventually I found one and discovered a whole new world of happiness. So that makes me "unfaithful", an "adulterer", a "cheating husband". Ok, but I still love E and I continue to prove it every day.

Some will say that being sexually unfaithful proves that I don't love my wife. I disagree. I'd say a man who doesn't provide for his wife, or doesn't encourage her dreams, even if he's sexually faithful, is not showing love, just need or possession.


But my dilemma is this: to weigh my own happiness against her happiness. To break her heart and shatter the relationship that we have, so I can pursue the hope of greater happiness with someone else. Or is it better to just wait?

Tiggy ended our affair last month, and shook the dust off her feet as she left, because she could no longer stomach her role as "The Other Woman". I respect that, but I'm sad about it -- it was working fine for me.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Comment Policy

If you comment on my blog, your links will be spidered by search engines. Hooray! This is a good thing for the blogger community, but it makes such blogs more attractive to spammers. So, for months I've maintained a policy of moderating comments in order to guarantee zero-spam. But now, since there wasn't any evidence of a problem, I've relaxed a bit and turned off moderation. Actually that reflects my personal life as well: I've relaxed a bit and become less moderate.

Background

I just learned about the new (2005) "nofollow" attribute of the HTML anchor tag, a device promoted by search engine companies to minimize the effect of link spam. Here's a news article in Search Engine Watch that talks about it.

"Nofollow", in effect, means that bloggers can't reward each other with cross links for making comments. Of course this can be abused, but so can any mechanism that counts links. Links are the essence of PageRank(tm), the Larry Page invention that launched Google.

Credits

I learned about this while checking out the "I Follow" icon on Haunted Poet, which led to an article in Randa Clay's blog explaining the basics, which then led me to instructions in "Beta Blogger for Dummies" for editing my Blogger template to remove the "nofollow" attribute.

Randa Clay's site provides some nice icons, but I created my own "U Comment / I Follow" icon to better fit my page design.

On Haiku

Five sounds
and seven sounds:
those are the rules.

Modern haiku
says, "Fuck rules"
and it works.

Perhaps the
rules too subtly
fall upon me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Confessions

My wife is a sweet and loving woman. In our 28 years of marriage we have argued very little, and she has never given me any real cause even to be angry with her. She is devoted to me in many kind and tender ways. Our friends and family generally admire our marriage as a perfect example of marital bliss.

And yet I have become frustrated and unsatisfied.

I love my wife, and in most ways enjoy our relationship. After all these years together we are good old friends, sharing a vast landscape of common, mostly pleasant experience. We are close to our children. I suspect that many, perhaps most people would be extremely happy to have what we have.

But I'm not happy.

Over the last ten years I became aware that I was sexually frustrated. I wanted more. It took a long time for me to act on this impulse. A little flirting, kissing an old friend or two, kissing a former co-worker, but nothing serious.

Then last year we seemed to turn a corner. Sex with my wife became completely frustrating. Multiple issues came together at once: her weight (250lb) makes sex increasingly awkward physically. I mean it's hard for me to stay in her, I keep slipping off her. Even changing positions so I can push on the headboard with my feet doesn't completely solve this. Her vagina is fairly loose, so there is still a lack of sensation for me. And she takes very little active part, despite some discussion of this topic.

I have my own changes to deal with. Last year I started taking blood pressure meds that make it more difficult to sustain an erection. But these are compensated with Viagra, so I can still keep it up.

Anyway, the result was that when we did have sex, which was very rarely, it was dull and unsatisfying. I could almost always bring her to an orgasm with my finger first, but I think I got off with her just two or three times in all of 2007.

I began to feel sexless, castrated, wondering what the future would hold. Was my sex life over? I could still masturbate, so I knew that my sex organs functioned properly.

I started to think more seriously about finding a new partner.

In early July 2007 I joined an on-line dating site and, after three months of active searching, began seeing Tiggy. I've written enough about her elsewhere in this blog -- suffice to say that she touched me in completely new and exciting ways. Not only did we have great sex together, but she was fascinating. Even a hug or kiss with Tiggy could last forever. I soon fell in love with her.

And as my heart turned to Tiggy, I began to recognize that there are other cracks in my marriage that I had simply been ignoring, unaware of, or plastering over for a long time. I love my wife, but I have started to see the limitations of our relationship. For example, she is completely dependent upon me -- in some ways I feel like I'm caring for a sweet child. And there is something smothering about her attention -- she wants to be part of everything I do. Charming perhaps, but it is too much. There are other issues that I'll describe in separate posts.

Tiggy is gone now, after six months together, but part of what she has left me is the recognition that I have some questions to ask myself and some decisions to make. Even before the questions of "what is right?" or "what to do?" I need to understand "What do I want?"

Compartmentalization

I started this post back on February 27th, but left it unfinished and didn't publish it. Now I've fleshed out the ideas a little more, though it deserves further exploration.

As a married man having an affair, I came to realize how I naturally compartmentalized these two parts of my life. In fact I was astonished by how easily I separated these two ways of thinking: on the one hand, the faithful husband of 28 years. On the other, the adventurous sex-starved lover.

It seemed to me that this "compartmentalization" was essential to successfully maintaining my mental health while playing these contradictory roles.

So I started to collect further information -- here are some useful quotes...

"Compartmentalization is a 'divide and conquer' process for separating thoughts that will conflict with one another. This may happen when they are different beliefs or even when there are conflicting values.

"Compartmentalizing is building walls to prevent inner conflict. To some extent, we all compartmentalize our lives, living different value sets in the different groups to which we belong."

http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/coping/compartmentalization.htm

I'm looking forward to learning more about this. It seems to me that there must be risks to mental health associated with maintaining these separate compartments with contradictory values and behaviors.

And while carrying on an affair may be an obvious example, I'll bet most of us do a lot more compartmentalization than we realize.

He, She and It

I just finished "He, She and It" by Marge Piercy. I've said more about it elsewhere, but here is a quote I think is worth sharing here ...

My problem is that my despair dyes everything a sullen gray. I have always viewed despair as sinful self-indulgence; perhaps I truly believe that relinquishing hope is the inevitable result of sitting still. If I do not keep moving, if I do not have projects and the heady clamor of problems to be solved, I will subside into a state of near-fatal clarity in which I will begin to doubt the value of everything I normally do. The result is a personal ice age in which I lie embedded in my own glacier that is burying the landscape I usually love but to which I am now as indifferent as the ice I have exuded. (p.158)

Anyone who has ever suffered depression is likely to find something familiar here.

I especially like this because it looks beyond "depression" to despair, and in the context of the book this character (Malkah) indeed has much to despair of. And so not only do we get a frighteningly majestic description of a depressed state ("a personal ice age in which I lie embedded in my own glacier"), but we also have a prescription for avoidance: maintain hope, make a plan, and act upon it.