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#407191 - 08/18/12 07:43 PM excellent husband, no sex
aksnowyowl Offline


Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
I am relatively new to discussion forums and these types of networking, but i live in a fairly rural area and i appreciate being in contact with a community that i'm not sure exists in-person in my community.

my husband and i have been together for a year and met through a 12 step program. At the time, I was just finishing EMDR for my own traumatic history, which involves a rape in my early twenties. My Husband was forward with me and I was with him: from the get-go neither of us was terribly interested in sex.

but several months later, the changes from my EMDR set in and i found myself desiring sex. We both have a lot of stability in our relationship. it's loving, it's balanced, it's respectful, and we openly love each other dearly. we've been going to couples counseling since the first month we started dating, since we knew we both needed help to be together.

we have started discussing having a child. he is 16 years older than me, this would be his first child and i am his first wife. but with a child, comes all the conversations about intimacy.

in the last month, i have put two and two together and have realized that he has probably experienced CSA and/or sexual trauma. I brought up the possibility with him and he agreed that it sounded likely. So we talked about it with our therapist who also agreed. I'm proud to say that my husband called an EMDR specialist right away and has his first appt. on monday.

however, i do not know what to do with the lack of intimacy. in one sense i understand it, since i had a lot of traumatic symptoms before my own EMDR. yet, my husband has gone years without sex, doesn't think about it, doesn't flirt, has no interest in anything sexually related. there are time limits on how long we can kiss or hug. he is very particular about the clothing that i wear, that it not be sexual, revealing, feminine. he isn't comfortable being naked, with me being naked, with any situation where either of us would be naked together or separate.

he jokingly asked if we could pursuit a child by thinking of sex as "farming."

he falls asleep when we talk about sex...narcoleptically: a coping mechanism i also had.

we are just starting out on this road. in his lifetime, he has overcome childhood abuse, poverty, homelessness, heroin addiction, alcoholism, and add/dyslexia. he's a successful man, a great husband, and i admire and respect him.

i am an independent person when it comes to my sexuality and i have managed to get to a place that no longer associates shame with sex. but i'm getting tired of taking care of sex by myself. it's something i want to share with him. and i'm not just tired, i'm heartbroken that sex is so locked down in our life. i "get in trouble" for flirting with him and he locks down and gets angry.

since i'm new to this and very familiar with the openness of the 12 step format, i'm willing to hear anything from anyone. i just don't know what to expect, where my expectations should be, what i should or shouldn't push. i've been trying to follow the guidelines i had from my own sexual trauma, but i'm beginning to see that it may different for men.

i'm afraid i need the basics and i would appreciate advice from anyone.

thanks in ak!

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#407194 - 08/18/12 09:54 PM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
AK - I'm afraid I can't offer much to your situation in terms of advice or guidance, but I do want to say welcome to the group. smile I'm sorry for the situation that has brought you here, but you're sure to find some amazing people who can shed some light and encouragement on your situation.

Comparatively, I've only had little "t" trauma by comparison to many on here (I'm the non-CSA in my partnership), and I know the benefits of EMDR personally. It sounds like my recovery (yep, 12-step Al-Anon) has been a cake walk compared to many, but I respect everyone's journey just the same.

Congratulations and kudos to you for reaching out. Stay tune - I'm sure someone with much more insight will be here to provide you encouragement and direction.

((BIG HUG))

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#407215 - 08/19/12 10:05 AM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5947
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Hello Snowy Owl, and welcome.

When I went through recovery of female sexual abuse and male/female physical abuse, I went for a long time not wanting to have sex. My poor wife had to go for most of two years with some sex, mostly none for months at a time. We had had a compulsive sex life, very frequent until that drought. Nothing she could do, wear or say would overcome the shame and trigger of the abuse. When she pushed, I switched transferring from shame in sex to the control of physical abuse, and I would get angry that she was trying to hurt me. Rational? Not "no" but "heck no".

Previously it drained me, like what I was doing was wrong, but I could not stop myself. I hate to say it, but it was all "about me". I could not be persuaded to perform sex with my wife until I was ready.

Recovery dear Snowy Owl, disconnects sex, love and shame from the abuse, negative emotions from our past and hope in our relationships moving forward.

During this time I was not the least bit interested in sex, it repulsed me. That had no correlation with my wife, but I could not convince her of that. It is not about the spouse, I think you know that, but it may be good to be reminded of it.

Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#413596 - 10/18/12 10:06 PM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: SamV]
DeEtte Offline


Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 1
Loc: utah
Sam, I am new to this forum as well. My husband of 33 years is a male survivor. Unfortunately, this has caused problems in our marriage in the past couple of years. The intimacy in our marriage is completely gone. The extent of romance is a quick hug and a peck! The last time we were truly intimate was almost 10 months ago. We have been in Therapy, but the therapist told my husband that it seems like I am looking for a fairy tale romance. (The psychologist says that relationships first start out physical/romantic in nature but over time as we grow in the relationship those things are not as important. I see to some degree what he is saying, but he makes it sound like having intimacy in the marriage as you age isn't important....I totally disagree) I am in my mid 50's, and I want to feel that closenesss, that intimacy with my husband. Besides all the good physical benefits of having a good sex life.... The more that my husband turned away from me, the more I got upset with him....and that caused him to not feel safe with him....sort of a catch 22. He was pulling away, I got angry and that is it in a nutshell. I can't say the therapy didn't help, because it did to a certain degree...it got us talking and helping me to understand the "safety issue". I definitely wanted him to feel safe. I am no longer angry with him, and he is now feeling closer to me, but still not quite there. I want to feel that closeness that I once felt with him, and it just isn't there. It hurts so bad, and at times.....I want to just leave....to run away from everything. I stay at work late....because I just don't want to go home....
_________________________
Olivia

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#413616 - 10/19/12 01:56 AM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1736
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hi Snowy

Your husband sounds like a gem and he is a real survivor, to have overcome all that and still be successful, that's great.
Now the emotions the sex and the intimacy for me all came as I started healing from my CSA.
Although I am not like the energizer bunny, I do reeeaaaally enjoy sex and don't do all that I can to avoid it, so the answer is once the healing has begun and as it progresses so the sex and intimacy will happen.

If your husband isnt doing the porn and self gratification thing, then he can definitely start getting some sort of sex life.

I hope this helps a little

Heal well
Martin
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#413617 - 10/19/12 02:07 AM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1736
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
DeEtte
I am sorry but your therapist gives me the horrors. A therapist should NOT offer his opinions in therapy, and his explanation for your dismal sex life is just his lazy attitude towards therapy.
If you feel that sex is a problem then his responsibility is to find the problem.
Yes you do have a problem and yes your husband does have a problem and yes you both need help

Heal well
Martin
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#419731 - 12/21/12 04:08 AM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
aksnowyowl Offline


Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
I spent a few months off of this site, misguidedly believing that we had "fixed" things. our marriage counseling really took off and we enjoyed several weeks of wonderful, trusting sexuality before it all went away...and is still away...months later.

we've gotten to the place where he is willing to touch me again...even managed to work out some flirting with once a week couples therapy...

but almost as soon as it felt like progress was being made, that he enjoyed sex, that we were trusting each other, it disappeared, and was slowly replaced with controlling behavior.

he doesn't tell me what he covers in EMDR, so i don't know if it's related. but honestly, i don't know if it's in me to handle years of this back and forth, working so hard and so patiently for the joy of being touched.

lately, he's been telling me that i'm the one with the problem. that i should look at myself. while it's true that i picked up some unhealthy self-destructive behaviors in this last round of distrust, our marriage counselor keeps emphasizing that i am not asking a lot: to be kissed, to be flirted with, putting sex off indefinitely.

still an excellent husband, but still wondering if it's enough...

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#419756 - 12/21/12 11:33 AM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
Hailwic Offline


Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19
Hi Snowy,

Sorry to hear that you and your spouse seem to have lost headway with your progress. I can't offer you much in way of advice, as I'm currently in a situation very similar to yours, but maybe there is some small comfort in knowing you're not alone?

My husband and I will have been married for 10 years this coming February. He only just disclosed his CSA about two years ago, when I dragged him kicking and screaming to see a marriage counselor. I had no idea for 8 whole years why he wouldn't touch me.

Since originally disclosing, we've been on one heck of a rollercoaster, and things are still not really 'great' between us. It's one of the hardest things ever to wait, as you put it, for the joy of being touched. But my husband, like yours, is truly a good man with the biggest heart I've ever met.

Speaking for myself, if there's even the tiniest chance that things will some day get better, it's worth it for me to hang in there. Don't minsunderstand - this is the hardest thing I've ever done. There are days when it seems like Satan has shot every flaming arrow in my direction, and if I could just come home and snuggle up to my husband without him freaking out because he thinks I want sex - life would be perfect! But perfect isn't in the cards for me, so I have learned to try and think like this:

Nothing in life worth having comes easy (I think Andrew Carnegie said that, but who knows...)

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#420575 - 01/01/13 03:06 AM Re: excellent husband, no sex [Re: aksnowyowl]
aksnowyowl Offline


Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
my husband and i had a break through conversation about sex and CSA the other night. i explained how i felt through an analogy:

it's like he's in jail and the jailer locked the door and split town. there are no guards. there is no one keeping him there. just that neither of us knows how to get him out.

and because i love him so much and i love his stories and insight and humor, i sit outside those bars to be with him. we can be close and i can tell him what's in my heart. more and more frequently, he can tell me what's in his. sometimes we can laugh at the situation. but no matter how close we want to be, physically or otherwise, there's always iron bars between us.

i'm a survivor of rape and i remember how shitty my jail cell was, how easily i can trick myself believing i'm in it again. but i am blessed (for lack of a better word) because a whole bunch of people came into my prison and helped me figure out how to unlock my door.

and now i know what it's like outside. i can tell him about it. sometimes he's cynical and sarcastic and defeated and doesn't want to get out. sometimes he tells me how ridiculous it is for me to sit outside the jail cell just to be with him. sometimes he's desperate to get out, panicky, anxious, suffocating.

and there we are. two people very much in love. in jail.



I just read this posted by SamV on someone else's thread:

"Post about everything here in Friends and Family. The mistake I have seen is that things start getting better so survivors and supporters alike stop posting. Then when the situation inevitably digresses because abuse controls are a negative cycle, the supporter or survivor are back in the same situation as before and can be discouraged. Having a journal of posts and replies can support the supporter with a process that allows them to use the same process to combat a negative cycle. It also creates a friendly supportive environment for the supporter. We get to know your situation and can help to guide you.

Being a supporter is difficult and rewarding, you are regarded highly here by survivors, thank you. This is a good first step."


WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO READ. thank you so much SamV.

word for word, this is what has happened to my husband and me. things were rocky, then we began this good uphill climb, peaked for a few weeks, and then craassshhh.

and apparently that isn't uncommon. which is also good to know.

also, it's SO good to hear from survivors. on posts. in messages. it makes a big difference to me, since there is someone else on the inside slipping encouragement and suggestions and insight.

so i'm back. back on this site. since my husband is just a flat out wonderful man. when things are good between us, it's the most satisfying, fun, interesting relationship i've ever been in. it's mostly healthy and we mostly grow. and then...there are the other times.

we are in a better place now. i've started going back to 12 step meetings. he finally found another job after being laid off. some outside stressors released and we managed to scoot ourselves closer together. managed to be able to talk to each other, and actually join each other, instead maintaining the frigid parallel.

i decided to stop stuffing. since that's what i do. he'll touch my knee or kiss me, and all of a sudden, i'm overwhelmed, completely lost in the thought of how reassuring and fun it would be just to be spontaneously intimate. but at this point, whenever he senses that i want that, he is filled with dread.

so this time i told him i didn't blame him. that it wasn't his fault. but it hurts and what hurts especially is that i feel like i have to be an invincible person. the person who can be rejected sexually over and over again and it's not supposed to have bearing on our relationship.

and instead of spiraling into insecurity and codependence, we managed a conversation about sex. a long one. one that makes a difference. he doesn't talk about the EMDR, but this time, unlike other conversations, he was able to label his feelings more concisely, so that i could understand. when i kiss him for too long, he gets physically ill. and because he told me, i can tell myself he feels sick, it's not me.

what i didn't see coming a few months back was that when things were good, when we were being intimate, and enjoying sex, i didn't realize how fragile that was, that it could be fleeting. i didn't see it as a cycle. i saw it as fixed. now i know.

what i miss from my life is the feeling of letting go. it's what i don't have now and i'm not sure how to get it back. life with my husband is very much based on routine, sameness, predictability, and thus, stability. it took a lot of adjustment for me, but in the end, i've decided that it's good for me for the most part.

but with other partners in the past, spontaneity was a big deal. skinny dipping in the woods ( i live in a rural area:), last minute camping trips or road trips, spending a whole day watching movies in bed, staying out late for concerts, or taking turns deciding what to do next as long as it's different each time.

i don't have that anymore...and i realize that part of that is my fault and i realize that sameness, especially now while he does EMDR, is important for his sense of security.

but it feels completely shitty when even at home, with the predictability and sameness and routine to help him feel safe, there is no emotional "letting go", no time when we fall crazy in love with each other, no time when we act like kids even though we aren't anymore.

to me it feels like life half lived. i have found it with other people and have a rich social life. but i pulled back a little from it because i started to find that other people were getting to know me better than my husband and i hated the feeling.

i don't know what's best. more questions, fewer answers. but i'm thankful that i had another day with my husband, it was a good day.

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