Monday, December 5, 2011

Holly Hill, Endometriosis, and Stupidity

Although part of me hates myself for even doing this post, I think it's pertinent I do. Because this story is a prime example of the ignorance and bigotry that surrounds endometriosis. It has become a sort of rallying point for endo-sufferers and is such a blatant showing of ignorance that it's even gotten people who knew nothing about endometriosis prior upset!

So here is my summary of the situation, notice I am trying to be factual and level headed. Please do not mistake this for agreement or support for her. Holly Hill is a self-proclaimed author/activist for open relationships. She believes that males are biologically programed for cheating and are forced into secrecy by partners who refuse to be open-minded about infidelity. She instead preaches 'negotiated infidelity', meaning sex with multiple partners is okay, so long as you and your partner lay out the ground rules. She believes the idea of one-man-one-woman for a lifetimes marriage is dead.

She draws her unique ideas from her personal experiences. She used to be a mistress of a married man who convinced her to quit her day-job and live off his wealth. But then he dumped her and returned to his wife. Desperate for money, and likely depressed, Holly advertised herself as a 'sugar baby', offering companionship, cooking and sex to a man in return for a $1,000 per week salary. She details her experience with 5 following partners in a book she published and sold in Australia. I won't name the book here because I refuse to advertise for this woman.

Well, of course this contriversial view that she is so loud about gets lots of attention. She's been on talk shows, Nat. Geographic, etc., but more because of how she spreads her ideas. Anyone who's studied psychology should know that this woman's views are anything but new. Evolutionary psychologists have battled to explain why partners cheat in monogamous relationships for decades. Probably why they battled so hard is because the evolutionary psychology module is inadequate to explain human behaviors like infidelity. (Let's just say, that the primary evolutionary success of human's is their neuroplasticity, meaning human cognition adapts well to current situations. It's more the diminishing negative consequences that are responsible for encouraging infidelity, not genetic predispositions. In fact, the human species has been evolving for thousands of years, and only in the past few hundred have offspring stood equal chances of survival and continued proliferation whether or not their parents were providing together. Meaning, that if a man did not stick around to protect for and provide for his offspring, they stood little chance of surviving and further proliferating. But I suppose that is getting more science-y than I need to.) My basic point is that Ms. Hill enjoys using science to support her controversial views, yet just like those before her who have spouted such ideals, her views do not have adequate scientific support.

Ah, but I digress! How about for my next entry I go further into why mutual fidelity is necessary for successful relationships? In the mean time, let me point you to an interesting article I found: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/building-great-marriages/201107/is-monogamy-dead. It just explains the flaws in reasoning that infidelity will somehow strengthen a marriage.

In the meantime... So this woman has rather controversial views, as I've shown. Now, to be honest, I would not care two cents for this woman's views before Nov. 30th. I'll be honest, I personally think her views are disgusting, and an insult to marriage. But the beautiful thing about free agency is that people are allowed to do and think as they please. As far as I am concerned, what people do in their own lives are between them and those concerned. I also believe they will face consequences from the big-man-upstairs, but that is none of my concern.

However, miss Holly Hill crossed the line from controversial to discriminatory. She did a little radio spot on an Australian radio-show, talking about how allowing your spouse to cheat on you shows them that you love them. Yep. Not only did she say that, she said that when women 'cross their legs' for an extended period of time, like from pregnancy or ENDOMETRIOSIS, they should be willing to let their men find sexual satisfaction elsewhere. Yep, if you don't believe me, here's the link: http://www.novafm.com.au/audio_is-infidelity-the-secret-to-a-successful-marriage_103788#HeadingReply. Make sure to have a thick skin when you listen, man or woman.

But Holly doesn't stop there. she moves on to post on her blog that 'sexually deprived spouses' are suffering. That being unwilling to offer them sexual options is unloving. In a response to one outraged endo-sufferer, she wrote, "If you can't f@ck your husband, of course he should be able to go elsewhere for sex. You are not his wife, you are his jailer and one who tortures him as well. Why should you both suffer such a dreadful disease?"

Yep. Not much I need to explain on why that was awful. Women from the endometriosis community are outraged, furious, understandably so. Many rallied against her, demanding an apology or just harassing her to no end out of fury. Some have left messages of hate and bitterness on her facebook page. Some have written angry letters. Some are simply just demanding some sort of apology or trying to educate her on her lack of understanding of endometriosis.

Clearly, a lot is missing from Holly's understanding of endometriosis if she thinks it is a simple matter of not being in the mood for sex. For many women that suffer from active endometriosis, sex is a horrible complication of the disease. Because endometriosis inflames and adheres internal organs, sexual penetration and thrusting (that's right, I used bedroom words!) can be uncomfortable to unbearably painful, depending on the locations and extensiveness of the endometrial implants. To make matters worse, if the woman does not feel comfortable discussing the pain with her partner, and continues to have sex despite the pain, sexual interaction and all thought about it can become emotionally distressing and actually trigger pain in reproductive organs (just the thought). Often women fear that the pain and adverseness to sex will negatively impact their romantic relationships. Sometimes they do. It takes a man who is understanding and empathetic to the disease (and all it entails) to maintain a healthy, happy, and fulfilled romantic relationship. Sadly, not everyone is sympathetic, and I have heard sad tales of ended marriages because of inability to compromise with this disease. It is certainly not a simple manner of 'crossing your legs'.

Endometriosis certainly does affect my relationships. There have been weeks at a time where I was unable to do any social activities because of the pain that was wreaking havoc over my body. Imagine trying to go on a date when it feels like your insides have a knife stuck in them! I know it is extremely difficult for my boyfriend, who is a wonderful, understanding man, to see me in horrible pain and be unable to do a thing about it. There was once a time where he was especially angry when I was feeling ill, and I thought it was because he was frustrated with me. But upon speaking, it was revealed that he could not get over how angry he was that no one was able to medically help me. That I was still suffering after countless doctors appointments. If he does feel any anger towards me over this, he has never even hinted at such a situation. I have even once told him that I would understand if he wanted to leave and date someone who wasn't ill. I love him very much and just wanted him to be happy. Like countless other women with endometriosis, I did not want to force my beloved significant other to suffer with me. Many women with endometriosis have found themselves backed into this situation. Where, full aware of the burdens this disease carries, we are willing to protect others from suffering with us, even at the expense of our own happiness. However, he, like many other endo-man-supporters said that he was in for the good and bad times. That he was much to attached to me to give up that easily.

Women who suffer from endometriosis are some of the strongest women I know. They know what real pain and suffering is. They know what it is like to suffer from a disease with no cure and little relief. To suffer often alone and without understanding from others. This has made them strong and empathetic people. Unfortunately, they often do not receive the empathy they so willingly dispense on others. I often have had friends, family, coworkers, doctors, and other medical personnel treat my pain like a mental choice. That if I just toughed it out, everything would be better. People do not often realize that I am toughing it out every day I get out of bed. This lack of empathy and understanding is hurtful but widespread. We must do a lot to educate our friends and loved ones about the true nature of this disease. It's an uphill battle but we do it out of the hope that as more and more women are diagnosed, they'll receive understanding rather than bigotry.

So, when a woman like Holly Hill says something like she did, there is certainly going to be a backlash. A violent one too, may I add. We struggle enough, we don't need people like her spreading untrue, biased, and completely uncalled for information too. Maybe for her an open relationship is fun, but for the majority of people, infidelity is one of the most hurtful things that can ever happen to them. As someone who still believes in the sanctity of marriage, and that faithfulness to one another is vital for a successful relationship, I see NO justification for such behavior, especially if someone suffers from an incurable disease. In my eyes, spreading of such ideas (that infidelity is warranted by a disease) is discrimination and hate speech. What she said was plain awful, and while I don't agree with verbally assaulting her, I certainly understand why women are angry and hurt and reacting the way they have.

And as this post is probably long, unorganized, and not thought out as it is, I'm going to stop for tonight and work on my book! I'll work tomorrow, but I'll close by saying that this 'dark' episode of endometriosis awareness is a great opportunity for endometriosis women to rally together and further a better understanding of the disease. This is a prime example of ignorance about the disease and public one at that. I hope I can turn this into something positive, I'm sure there are other women who think the same!

5 comments:

  1. I felt like it was my writing on this page, you have most likely encapsulated what millions of women with Endo go through.
    Good on you for getting it out there. I also share my plight with endo on my blog, but also recipes that are endo happy, and things I do to distract myslef from the pain.
    I will keep an eye on your blog, has been interesting to read.
    keep strong <3

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    1. Thank you Tegan! I am just now writing back to these beautiful comments that deserved responses so long ago! I am glad you enjoyed it, I hope you find future posts equally interesting. I will check out your blog! And I am actually going to start splitting it up, where Tuesdays are my thoughts, and Thursdays are management techniques (like diet and exercise). I should see how you write for inspiration! You keep strong too :)

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  3. You, my dear, are absolutely a shining star! You captured exactly what it's like for women to deal with endo and relationships with not only significant others, but family, friends, etc. I lost my husband over this disease and the next time I get married, it'll be with someone who completely understands and accepts endo for what it truly is: an emotionally-terroristic roller coaster ride! Keep on writing! You have a gift and as I'm a writer myself and not very impressed by most blogs I read, I can say without hesitancy that yours was a highlight and I couldn't stop reading it! God bless you! You are a warrior and we warriors must stick and yes, rally together <3

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    1. What a beautiful comment, thank you so very much! I'm so sorry that your relationship ended, I've heard many sad stories of the same tune and it's just awful. I feel so lucky to have a boyfriend who really seems to understand, but I still constantly worry that one day he won't. It really is a horrific roller coaster disease. I hope you find a man who deserves you!

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About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health, struggles, and happiness.