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#218149 - 04/14/08 09:39 PM Intimacy
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
I am terrified of being intimate. Have NEVER felt comfortable in bed with any of my wives(4)or any woman after a night or two.
Once I feel strongly about her, this fear of showing kindness, gentleness/etc becomes an obsession. Currently divorced and my ex wants to start a new relationship. I welcome her advances, but am totally terrified of winding up in bed with her. I am in search of a new therapist, and hope to find a way of overcoming this asap. Any suggestions????


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#218156 - 04/14/08 09:57 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Jeff Amsel]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
Hi Jeff, and welcome aboard.

Well, I'm a little mystified by your situation. You have some very strong emotional issues that keep you from being able to maintain long-term relationships, or to even have intimacy/sex. While at the same time, you've had your shit together and functioning well enough to the point where you're still able to attract someone in your life that and was interested in you enough to MARRY you. This is no small achievement. I should know, because I've never done it myself.

So, I must say that you should give yourself credit for being able to actually be appealing to someone else, be it for your personality, looks, talents, whatever. So, you OBVIOUSLY have some strengths to work with.

Do you WANT to have sex with her ANYWAY? In case you don't know this, no one is OBLIGATED to have sex with anyone. If you don't want to do it, then I don't see why you can't TELL her this.

It's kind of hard to elaborate more with what you posted here.

So, again, welcome aboard. Hope this helped.


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#218158 - 04/14/08 10:19 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Hauser]
JustJeff Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 262
Hi Jeff(Nice Name Btw), believe it or not, i have the same problem as you. i am not comfortable in going to bed with a women and that is also one of the reason's i've mainted my singleness for such a long time. i to have your obsession and overgentleness.i feel i can easily get married but the fear of going to bed with a women is unusually strange. i can not for the life of me think why this happens or how to fix it.

_________________________
.

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#218228 - 04/15/08 03:18 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: JustJeff]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
Hello Geff, and welcome to the forum.

From my own experiences, fear of intimacy is something I really understand, and I appreciate that this is something that's causing trouble for you at the moment. But as Hauser said, you seem to have come a long way with this yourself, and should be proud of where you've come.

I am 25, and have never even had an adult kiss let alone anything more unless you count my abuse. Even the sound of the S word is like a small electrict shock to me, and any sort of physical affection is something I find incredibly difficult, ---- holding hands with a girl for about five seconds last november nearly destroyed me!

Obviously I'm not you, and from your point of view things will be different, but having got to that level of closeness with someone would seem to me to be something to celibrate, and something to work out betwene you. I have always hoped that if I come to that point myself, I'll be able to explain things to the other person and have her understand the situation well enough that we can both work through it together.

I'm really sorry if this isn't much help, and I really hope you find what your looking for on this site.

luke.



Edited by dark empathy (04/15/08 03:21 AM)

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#218230 - 04/15/08 04:14 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: Jeff Amsel]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Hi- i hate to appear blunt and insensitive, but my 1st thought was, "If you have to ask, it's not the right time." Better to be be honest about your current ability to be genuinely intimate, than to put on a 5-star show, and have to explain the level of "special effects" afterwards.... after what i've been through, i'd rather be honest, than try any more juggling acts; after all, the camera never really shuts off, and a ball is bound to hit the floor at some point... at least that's always been my experience. Sorry if this response hasn't been more helpful,but at least it's honest...

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#218266 - 04/15/08 09:42 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: JustJeff]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
So Jeff, what do we do????? How to overcome this seems impossible. I do not want to live out my years like this. One night stands with someone that I have no feelings for is not the answer. I want intimacy, but wouldn't know it if it bit me in the ass.......HELP is needed.


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#218268 - 04/15/08 09:45 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: dark empathy]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
Luke, you make perfect sense.....communication is a must here. I find it very difficult to open a dialogue. Embarrassed and tormented keep me from talking. I will try to overcome that first, and then hope to have a good chat.
Thanks


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#218270 - 04/15/08 09:51 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: Jeff Amsel]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jeff (and Jeff),

One thing that might help you is to think about why it is that you fear intimacy so much. Once you know the reasons for your fears it becomes easier to deal with them. When we look at things this way we discover that the reasons for our fears no longer apply - we are just carrying into adulthood feelings we learned as abused boys.

For example, many guys have trouble with intimacy because intimacy means they will be vulnerable again. They are giving up an important element of control of the situation when they are in an intimate setting. This loss of control feels dangerous and unbearable, and it's easy to see why. As a boy the guy learned that loss of control in an intimate situation would lead him to terrible harm.

Once we see what sort of feelings we are carrying from boyhood that makes it possible to address them, and of course doing that in therapy is the best way to go.

This is just an example, but I hope it's a useful one.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#218277 - 04/15/08 10:22 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: roadrunner]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Kind of bluntly put...

I think Larry is right. We developed psychological defenses in childhood that are still in place, and perhaps completely unconscious. You don't realize/feel your fear, know what it is you're afraid of, but you act to avoid intimacy. I've needed an outside point of view, a therapist to get at this. I'd guess you would too.

You can't "figure this out" with your mind. Defenses act to protect your mind from knowing about possibilities that are just too frightening. Get help. I think it's the only way. It's not your fault.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#218280 - 04/15/08 10:25 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: Jeff Amsel]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Jeff,
When we are abused sexually that really messes with how we end up looking at sex almost on a subconcious level. First I think us guys need to understand that with women, sex and intimacy are two distinctly different things.

Intimacy is where us guys get confused. To a woman intimacy means a sharing of lives, thoughts, emotions. The want to get to really know us and for survivors that is very hard for us to allow. Many of us have been hurt allowing someone to get that close. We are not comfortable letting someone see inside of us to that degree. See our thoughts, feelings and motivations on any given subject.

We have been left with self doubt and insecurities and make that kind of openness scary, risky with the fear of rejection and pain. We tend to feel we need to keep people at a distance just in case so we stay superficial. Women can spot that immediately. You will hear comments like "Where are you? You are not here?. What are you thinking? Who are you really?

Sex is something we really think we understand. We think sex is just a performance. I can last, I can do this all night. I can give you multiple whoopee's. But that is only the mechanics of sex.

Women want you to make love to them. TO THEM. Not just have sex with their bodies. One woman told me after a session I was particularly proud of that I was not really there. ??? She pointed out correctly and sadly that she could have been any woman and to me it would not have mattered. I was having sex with a body and it was all about me.

Abuse and I think, casual sex tends to make it just a recreational activity in our heads. It objectifies people and tends to separate sex in our heads as something different and separate from intimacy with another person.

And yet, as you obviously seem to feel from your post, you wnat to connect with the other person during sex. You want to make it mean something to you and the other person. A vehicle in which you connect on an intimate level permanently and meaningfully with the woman your with. Women need a reason to have sex. Men to whom it has lost it's meaning just need a place.

The solution?? Maybe it is to take a step back and become friends, very close friends with a woman first before we open ourselves to that kind of vulnerability. It should mean something to us as well as to her. It should be a gift of ourselves instead of an act of release

I know there are those who see sex as just recreational. "I like you. You look hot. Instead of playing tennis lets have sex." That is fine if you find someone to whom that level of superficiality is ok.

Most women however, want more than that and if you expect to have a life long committment with one I think you have to consider that your thinking about sex and intimacy and vulnerability and self esteem will have to change.

A good therapist can help you work though these issues and help you find a satisfying relationship that will meet both of your needs together. Just my opinion.


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#218289 - 04/15/08 11:40 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: Freedom49]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
with respect roger, i really don't agree with the genda bias in your post. What you describe as "what most women want" is exactly what I want. I want someone I can make love to, share myself with completely. The idea of doing things just for the satisfaction of physical desires is one that both terrifies and disgusts me. Even in terminology, explicite language or the S word is something I really don't like, but I'm quite happy with the expression "making love" This might be to do with my abuse, but i certainly have one male friend who works the same way.

On the other hand, I have met very casual girls who behave much as you describe guys behaving, ---- and that sort of thing scares me! Even when a close friend of mine talks about her desire to effectively be with her boyfriend, and how she had to practice and study to get it right, I find myself feeling very uncomfortable.

THUS FAR THOUGH, THIS JUST HASN'T HAPPENED AT ALL, AND EXAMINING THE REASONS AS TO WHY, MY PROBLEMS WITH PHYSICAL CONTACT AND SELF WORTH IS SOMETHING THAT'S TAKING UP A LOT OF MY TIME AND ENERGY AT THE MOMENT.

this is why as I said Geff, I always imagine communication being the major thing, sinse I've always hoped that if I get to the point of making love with someone, she will understand, ---- certainly all the girls I've fallen in love with have been good friends first, and friends I've been able to talk to about a lot of things (though not about my abuse, sinse I've only started talking about that from last november onwards). Perhaps the ability to discuss things without feeling shamefull or embarrassed is something that you could as Land of shaddow said, try solving with a therapist. You might also considder writing about things on this forum with chaps who will be more understanding, ---- which certainly is something I've found helpful.

Of course, this is just me, and I personally dislike all the social conventions around genda, ---- and around anything else, anyway, and other people might work differently, particularly with what happens withA FEAR of ANYthing physical.

I'm really sorry for slightly taking things offtopic, but this is a major thing I'm struggling with at the moment.



Edited by dark empathy (04/15/08 12:00 PM)

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#218290 - 04/15/08 11:48 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: dark empathy]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
DE
I was speaking in generalities and indeed got to gender specific. This is true as you say of some men. I have even found it so with me later in life. Your point is well taken. These feelings may not at all be gender specific per se. Generally speaking though from all I have read or experienced this is true. There are definately, as you so accurately point out, notabable exceptions. Thank you for bringing that up.


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#218293 - 04/15/08 12:06 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Freedom49]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
well I'm sorry about jumping on you over this one roger. I'll admit, that genda equality is something I tend to become defensive about, both because of my ethical position on the subject, and because any suggestion that as a male I'm "only interested in one thing" is something I'd find disgusting, ---- not the least because my abusers were female.

one of the worst run ins I had over this was in a lecture about the ethics of these sorts of relations given by a rabbid feminist, where I became so angry I physically had to shut down and close myself off from what was being said to avoid screaming.

i certainly agree that both in social convention and historically, there has been a genda bias over this sort of thing, which is obviously not good. it might be that being at university I tend to run into unconventional people anyway.

I'm really sorry if what I said sounded angry or defensive.


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#218298 - 04/15/08 12:12 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: dark empathy]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Wow DE not at all. You picked up appropriately on a blind spot in my discourse lol. I am glad you did and your input is valuable to me as it is others as well. Thank you for your post.


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#218299 - 04/15/08 12:17 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Freedom49]
Magoo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 48
Loc: far, far away
What an awesome reply, Roger!
You described ME perfectly. When I'm in a relationship, initially it's mostly physical and I have no problems with sex. After I start to develop deeper feelings, usually 3 months, and intimacy, my sex drive wanes. Then my partner starts to get worried that something is wrong with HER (why women always think something is wrong with THEM is strange to me). And then I'm single again. This has happened to me too many times. I don't know exactly why, but it has something to do with trust and being a CSA.
My T will help me with this and that is my suggestion to you, Jeff. Get a good therapist, be honest, and you'll figure things out before getting involved with someone and repeating the pattern of pain.
Peace,
M


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#218345 - 04/15/08 03:46 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: roadrunner]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
Thanks Larry. What you say makes sense, but tough to put into practice. I am seeking a therapist now, and hope to really get into this. Love Back to you Jeff


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#218346 - 04/15/08 03:53 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Freedom49]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
Roger, so well put. My fear/pain never shows when it's casual or recreational sex. Only when the woman is meaningful. I dont know why or how to overcome that. Casual leads to meaningful, and when that happens "forgetaboutit". I become terrified. I come up with the most rediculus excuses imaginable. Hope to find a therapist soon and work thru this. I will remember your words. Thanks,


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#218350 - 04/15/08 04:28 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: dark empathy]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
Shame and embarassment is holding me back from communicating. I find that just getting into a conversation makes me shy and I have to keep my mouth shut. This coming from somebody that did stand-up comedy for 22 yrs. It was tough for me to use dirty words thus I was not able to work certain rooms in NYC. Competing with people like Andrew Dice Clay, Jimmy Walker, Sam Kennison made it impossible for me to get the gig. My act was more like Alan King, Sid Ceaser etc. Worked adult rooms, not for the kids. Never used 4 letter words.....and my sex life was as silent....and in the dark of night. Daytime was out of the question......
More later..............


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#218351 - 04/15/08 04:31 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Magoo]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
M, your post was right on the money for me. After a period of time, 2-3 months, I am on the move....find another woman, I cant get into bed with this one any more....and yes....they ask what is wrong with them.....WHY???? I have no idea, but I sure cant tell them the truth. I will be in therapy soon I hope. Thanks,


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#218433 - 04/15/08 10:44 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Jeff Amsel]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
Geff, I've never tried stand up comedy, but what you say is also something I recognize, and it's great your starting to talk about it.

I've been a fairly serious tenor for the last few years, and have done some very major things performance wise. the odd thing is, I find myself able to do things in terms of physical contact or even suggestive dialogue on stage which I'm not able to do off it, ---- in fact I think during one very major production of trial by jury, at the international gilbert and sullivan festival, I got kissed on the cheak and hugged more times than I'd ever been in my life off stage.

On stage though, this is fine, and the adrenaline is there to stop me from panicking as I would were I not on stage.

Also, for years I've developed a conversational stratogy which, ---- while not exactly false, allows me to hide my true feelings. people often say how confident I appear, when really i'm full of thoughts of what an awful person i must be. I'm even chosen to perform duties like tutor for my colidge, or representative for my academic department because of my ability to put across the idea of being very relaxed and confident in what i'm doing.

but it's all just acquired acting skill of course.

I'm not sure if this is similar to what you were saying, but it's what resonated with me when I read your post.

Please certainly feel free to say more about how you feel. As i've learned the hard way over the passed few weeks, for all the anger and energy I try to put into dealing with the way I feel, those feelings won't go away and all I end up doing is exhausting myself. So, i'm now trying just talking about them for the sake of accepting them. Perhaps doing the same can help you as well?

One question does occur to me, ----- feel free to answer or not as you wish, but do you have any idea why you feel ashamed or embarrassed, and why you feel you need to stay silent?

I really hope this helps.



Edited by dark empathy (04/15/08 11:03 PM)

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#218436 - 04/15/08 10:54 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: dark empathy]
Magoo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 48
Loc: far, far away
Hey Jeff!
I'm from NYC too. Just moved to Dallas 2 weeks ago for a job. Getting hard to live there, but I miss it.

Later,

M


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#218504 - 04/16/08 08:58 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: dark empathy]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
DE,
You have brought out the MOST defining characteristic of my personality. The ability to hide fear thru comedy. When I walked out on stage.....nothing scared me. After the show, many younger woman thought it fashionable to be my friend, and getting them into bed was easy. I was the STAR......some of those relationships last for weeks, but I broke them all off because of this fear of intimacy. I became terrified of just being in their company. So....I left them, and went on to find another/more. This behavior is what I do not understand, and want to change. I will do almost anything to achieve this.
I stay silent because of emarrassment and shame. Easier NOT to talk about it. I DONT KNOW HOW NOT TO DO THIS.


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#218505 - 04/16/08 08:58 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: Magoo]
Jeff Amsel Offline


Registered: 04/14/08
Posts: 17
Loc: NJ
Good Luck Magoo.....you deserve it'


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#218506 - 04/16/08 09:22 AM Re: Intimacy [Re: Jeff Amsel]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Jeff - vulnerability is the key I think - the problem is, once you're vulnerable with women you're likely to get laid again.

Joking.

Being vulnerable means you might get abandoned and you have to take a leap of faith.

It's worth it.

_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#218586 - 04/16/08 04:48 PM Re: Intimacy [Re: Freedom49]
JT's the Man Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/21/08
Posts: 41
I have to thank Larry, for what he said here... I will have to think about it for myself. Ask yourself why you are afraid...

John


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