Friends, this post is a huge part of why I wanted to start this series in the first place – the topic here is universal and it is also secret.  My guest is a woman who rocks my world with her powerful writing, friendship, teaching, and hilarity.  Enjoy this next post in our Love and Making It Series!


I flinch when my husband touches my boobs. I don’t know how else to tell you that except for just outright. So there it is. I flinch when my husband touches my boobs. Even when I am enjoying it (yes, I just went there and you don’t even know my name!) Now, that we know where this is headed, let’s back it up a little bit.

My name is Abby Norman, I am the mother of two hilarious girls and the wife of one great man. We met during my freshman year of college when I was not looking for a man. When my grandpa asked me if I was dating anyone, I told him no. I was dating everyone. I don’t think he had ever been prouder of me. I was not going to date seriously until I was a junior.

God had different plans. I was engaged a year after that conversation with my grandfather and married a year after that. I wasn’t dating anyone my junior year. I was married to him. That was almost nine years ago. And still, when my husband touches my boobs, the automatic response from my brain is “no-touching!” Perhaps I need to back up even further.

My parents never shied away from the sex talk. I knew that sex was for married people before I even knew what sex was. Anytime those semi-awkward “making out in bed then cut to black” scenes showed up on the tv when we were in the room my mom would tell us. That is sex. It is good. It is for married people.

In the third grade, sitting in the Target parking lot, I learned that sex was for making babies. I mentioned that I was excited that my teacher said we were going to learn about that. My mom saw no reason to wait, and the birds and the bees were explained next to the red cart corral. No blushing, just the facts.

In middle school I remember my dad mentioning that married sex was about as much fun as you could possibly have this side of heaven. When I was engaged and my mom and I were on our way to Victoria’s Secret to pick out a white teddy for the first night. We had this conversation:

Mom: Do you know where your clitoris is?

Me: Yes.

Mom: Good. After you know that you can figure the rest out.

I say all this to say, I was raised in a pretty body positive environment.

I was encouraged to save sex for marriage, and I did. I saved a lot more than just sex. In high school I invented “the bathing suit rule.” If it was covered up by a bikini on me or mens swim trunks on him, we shouldn’t be touching it until we were married. Kissing was about as far as I wanted to go. This rule wasn’t perfect and I wasn’t perfect at following it. But for the most part it worked for me and thus getting to the wedding night with my husband having never touched or seen my boobs before.

I didn’t date a million guys, but I did date a few in high school. I don’t know how else to say this but they all wanted to touch my boobs. Though we would talk about “the rules” prior to becoming officially boyfriend/girlfriend apparently that wasn’t what either of us were thinking about while making out in someones basement. I learned to have a healthy defense. The hand went to far up the shirt…my elbow came down pretty hard. Problem solved. I learned to have automatic defense mechanisms and they worked for me. And I want to take the time to say, I was grateful for these rules and the frank conversations I had about them. They kept me out of a lot of places I didn’t want to go. And those were firmly my decisions, not something someone else just decided for me. I think it saved me a lot of heartache and frankly spared me a lot of jerks who were not interested in dating someone who wouldn’t take her pants off for them. I am glad I had the rules and made the choices I did regarding my sexual choices.

But now, how do I turn off the rules? It has been nine years and two babies. You would think they would have turned themselves off by now. But they haven’t, when I get turned on. So does the track in my head. “DEFENSE! DEFENSE!” Only, there isn’t any need for a defense. There is nothing to protect me from. My husband is loving and caring and respectful. There has never been a moment where has he has done anything I have ever been uncomfortable with. And yet…I flinch when he touches my boobs. I have to remind myself that it is allowed.

I don’t bring this up very often but I have found a few friends who have the same problem. Why is no one talking about this? I was given solid and practical advice from the church when it came to keeping my pants on, but no practical advice when it came to taking them off. While I appreciated the soundtrack when it was necessary, how do I turn it off now?

Pray it away is the only advice I have ever been given. (Which is sort of lame considering the church promised me a perfect sex life if I just waited.) Sometimes prayer cuts it. Sometimes it doesn’t. I have noticed a direct correlation between how I feel about my body and how likely I am to bat a hand away. I am aware of the connection between the emotional connection I have felt for the past few days and the reaction I have to my husbands touch at night. I can work on those things too, but we both have jobs and two toddlers. As far as exercise routines and romantic getaways are concerned, we are already doing the best we can. Still, the flinching.

As a couple, my husband and I have talked about this recording in my head, and we work through it when we need to. But I wish we could join in on larger conversations already happening. The church is the place where I was taught to think like this. Now, can they please help me stop?




Abby Norman lives and loves in the city of Atlanta. She has two hilarious children and a husband that doubles as her copy editor and biggest fan. If two in diapers and a full time job teaching English at a local high school don’t keep her busy, you can find her blogging at When Abby grows up she hopes to see her words on a bookshelf somewhere. She is finally working toward her dreams.