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#208742 - 03/04/08 06:51 AM trying to understand - an outside's view
trying2undrstand Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/04/08
Posts: 2
hey everyone, (skip to the bottom few paragraphs if you would like to avoid a long story)

this past september i met a man named james. we hit it off really well and started dating, and ever since things have been great. in the first few months of our relationship, due to certain random events, we never really had much of an opportunity to explore physical intimacy (sex) with each other. most of the time we were around other friends or family, so the nights never had the chance to turn sexual. he also expressed to me that because he was raised very conservative, sex was something that he wasnt fully comfortable with, which i respected. i also assumed that the reason he never initiated any sexual advances was for the reason he gave me. we had a few talks about it, and he assured me he liked sex, but that it just took him a while to get comfortable with someone.

flash forward to this past december.. we came across the perfect opportunity to play around with each other privately. we transitioned from kissing to foreplay to sex, but he stopped and told me he was really uncomfortable. i wanted to make sure he was ok, and i was pretty inquisitive because i wanted to know how exactly he was feeling. it was then that he told me that when he was younger he was molested by a man in his neighborhood, and that its led to him having issues with sex his entire life. he said that he still likes to have sex, but sometimes it becomes overwhelming for him. i asked him what the two of us could do about the situation, and he said "nothing" and that "as long as he didnt think about it, things would be fine".

though i have never personally been sexually abused, i've always wanted to make sure that i'm coming from an open and understanding viewpoint when talking to james about his feelings and experiences. for him, though, it's hard to communicate about the things he has been through, so very little is said (and perhaps understood) from his perspective.

since then ive let things take their own pace. james will occasionally show interest in having sex with me, but then will change his mind and then completely avoid it for weeks after. this past weekend, he told me that his feelings go deeper than he previously told me. he said that he often feels completely asexual, and rarely has sexual thoughts. and now, it seems like sometimes he will behave out of character in order to avoid personal alone time.
this past weekend he came over late after work, and we went for dinner and a movie. we had a great time, and when we got back to my place we started kissing. after a few minutes of that he suddenly stopped me and told me not to use too much tongue (i have not kissed him any different in the past 5 months, and he had never mentioned anything like that to me before) and then he got into bed and fell immediately to sleep. i found it really odd because, even without having any sex, the night was still young and we were planning on playing some games and watching tv. he went into a nearly comatose sleep, and refused to wake up. thinking back now, when we were first dating he would sometimes randomly become very very tired when it was time for us to be alone together at night.. at the time i shrugged it off, but the sheer bizarreness of him becoming so tired so quickly, at such a convenient time, alarmed me this weekend.
the next morning i tried to talk to him about his feelings toward sex- assuring him that i'm not trying to push him at all, but letting him know that he's not alone, and that he could talk to me. he couldnt come up with anything to say to me though, and it seemed like he was trying to understand it himself. also, i tried to explain to him that i enjoyed sex, and that i thought of it as a way for two people to come together. he admitted that he doesn't see sex that way at all.. i tried comparing it to kissing (something he enjoys), but he still didnt understand.

i'm really in love with james, and i want to work things out with him. the problem is i really dont understand where he is coming from (his feelings after being molested), and what we can do. sex is something that is fairly important for me in relationships. i feel like there are walls between james and i that shouldn't still be there, and wouldn't be there if we were physically intimate. it's also hard for me to get across that i really enjoy (and want) sex, but also not trying to push or force him into doing anything.

i joined this community so i could receive advice from people who have been or are currently going though the same things james is dealing with: aversions to sex, feeling asexual, not understanding pleasure with sex.. as his sexual partner, what can i do to allow him to be comfortable with being with me?

i apologize for the length of this post, but i would really appreciate any words of wisdom from this community.

-K


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#208755 - 03/04/08 08:50 AM Re: trying to understand - an outside's view [Re: trying2undrstand]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2569
Unfortunately actually being intimate with you is not going to break down those walls. He needs allot of healing. The damage is very very deep and it takes time. Can it happen? Absolutely. And yes, there are walls there. I've been married going on 9 years and I'm just now beginning to get those walls down. This crap truly sucks, it's hard, it hurts, and it messes you up big time.

I'm glad you care enough to try and get insight and support on this issue. Truly, until he's really ready to heal, there isn't much that can be done, except for stand by him, and love him. I'd say you can encourage him to begin looking for help, but it's a long long road.

I'm sorry that you're relationship with him is being damage by these things. I hope in time that healing can begin. It might help him to know he's not alone. You can point him here, maybe he'll come and read, maybe not. But not being alone is a huge catalyst. For me it helped allot. But once those walls started coming down, with them comes all the pain and turmoil and agony that's been stuck, barred in and festering behind those walls for so many years. It hurts. Very badly, and I think everyone here will concur, that there are days that I really wish I could put it all back in the box because it hurts so bad. I realize that doesn't fix anything, so I keep going. Holding on to my brothers here, trying to make it to the next sunrise.


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#208801 - 03/04/08 11:24 AM Re: trying to understand - an outside's view [Re: JustScott]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Dear Trying,
You are incredible. I so admire you and your desire to help James come to terms with his abusive history. Scott is correct in what he says about it not going away on its own. When a child it touched or abused at a young age it damages the spirit and soul. This is not a car accident where the bones and tissues heal and all is better. This damages something inside. How he sees sex. How he seed and feels about himself. If you have never had this happen to you thank whomever you want that it did not. In his mind as in mine and Scotts, sex brings up a lot of abuse memories. He may in fact still be reacting to sex as he did with the abuse. The need to withdraw and sleep, to just not be there in his body while it is happening. This is commmon. What he really needs from you and love and patience and being able to help him talk about it. What he also needs and professional help. Some one expert in dealing with Trauma and Abuse in childhood because that is what he has suffered regardless whether he enjoyed it on some level or not. I hope this helps.


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#208912 - 03/05/08 01:47 AM Re: trying to understand - an outside's view [Re: Freedom49]
trying2undrstand Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/04/08
Posts: 2
thanks for the responses!

i forgot to include in my story some of the details of James and my conversation the night he told me about his abuse. He told me about the abuse, and told me that throughout his life he had struggled to deal with it. He said that since he was a child he had been going to therapy, and stopped going about 2 years ago because he felt that he was starting to not need it anymore. 3 or 4 years ago he was in a relationship, and from what it sounds like, his previous partner was very pushy and impatient about sex- and wanted it all the time. james told me that he talked to his therapist about this, and that he and his partner had sex a lot. he told me that now he feels a lot better about the situation, and that he would rather have me not bring it up again because it put uncomfortable pressure on him. i took that for what it was.. i figured he needed me to be very mindful about sexual situations, and not to put him in any situation he wouldnt like. it wasnt until later.. when his actions while we were together revealed to me that things weren't as simple as he implied.

maybe i should talk to him about seeing a therapist again, since it seems like he is a step back from where he was 4 years ago when he had a therapist in his last relationship? i would be fine going to couples therapy with him- but im not sure if this is something he would be comfortable with.

-K


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#208913 - 03/05/08 02:03 AM Re: trying to understand - an outside's view [Re: trying2undrstand]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
That sounds like a good plan. A therapist might be of great benefit now to both of you.


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#208957 - 03/05/08 11:23 AM Re: trying to understand - an outside's view [Re: Freedom49]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Dear Trying,

Welcome to the site. you have taken a really positive step... for you to get understanding and support.

I'm not sure if I have any advice on what to do, Scott and Freedom have given great replies. I guess I wanted to let you know that your searching for info and support is something. Everything that happens, even subtle things can shift how James is feeling. One of my mistakes was doing nothing. Initially I didn't know about the CSA so I internalized our problems and they festered... for many many years. I wish I had done something, anything, rather than just living with a situation that was hurting both of us.

I also wanted to acknowledge the new info in your second post. Its sounds as though James' previous relationship further damaged his sexual health so in addition to him having issues due to CSA he has issues caused by that relationship.
I think that definitely bares keeping in mind because in all the superficial ways, you probably seem very similar to her.

I agree with Freedom, it sounds as if therapy would be of great help to both of you.
I hope its a possibility for you.

Good Luck and best wishes,
LJA





Edited by LJA (03/05/08 11:23 AM)

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