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#58435 - 03/19/04 08:09 PM the inevitable...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
yup, you guessed it, it's about sex.

I feel a little silly even posting about our sex life here... we have our share of problems but all in all we do okay, I feel like I should just consider myself lucky...

But this is one incarnation of the come here/go away routine that I really cannot deal with. I understand that my boyfriend needs a lot of space sometimes, that there are days when he's just been overloaded emotionally and sex isn't something he even wants to think about. That's fine. I understand that sometimes he wants to just be held and cared for with "no pressure" and that's fine too, I can do that.

My problem is that even though I have never been anything but respectful of my boyfriend's boundaries, he always anticipates that I am not going to be. I *know* when he doesn't want to make love--I know it the minute I walk in the freaking house because he is broadcasting it loud and clear on every channel. It is on the brink of actively hostile. It's not the not having sex part that bothers me--it's the way he acts so bristly and defensive, keeping me at arm's length or more from dinnertime onward because if he acts friendly or at all affectionate, I might try to have sex with him 4 hours later. If he just wanted to be left alone all night, I could even handle being kept at a distance--but he does this hostile thing and then wants to be just held and kept close--and I'm not a saint, I get sort of annoyed at being kept at a distance, with no explanation whatsoever, and then expected to act sweet and loving--on entirely his terms--with no time to adjust in between.

And if I ask him what's wrong he gets all pissy and turns it into MY problem (this is one of his favorite old tricks)--there's something wrong with ME, I only want sex, I always want sex, I can't just be affectionate with him, I can't respect his boundaries, etc. Mind you this isn't the reaction I get when I ask for sex. This is the reaction I get when I ask if anything is wrong. And I don't have an abnormally active sex drive, and I don't pressure him to do anything if he's uncomfortable, nor do I give him guilt about it and make him sleep on the couch or whatever. I just want to not have to be made to feel entirely repulsive for the entire night because he is irrationally afraid of me not respecting his boundaries. And it hurts my feelings to be treated like someone who is out to hurt him.

We talked about this a little bit today and he recognized what I was talking about--I asked him if I'd done anything to make him feel like I might pressure him or force him and he said that I hadn't done anything, but he still worried that I might, also that he didn't want to be affectionate with me if he didn't want sex because he was afraid of leading me on (??? although I don't see how sitting next to someone is leading them on)

he asked me if, the next time he felt like he didn't want to have sex, I could help him find a better way to tell me. I said okay but honestly I don't even know what that means. How am I supposed to tell myself that I don't want myself?... it makes my head hurt... it still feels shitty to have to be told a whole bunch of hours in advance, by the way, I'm really not into you today... and does that mean that he just wants me to get the message or does it mean that I still have to do the whole "get out of the room, now come back and hold me right now and shut up" bit and just not get annoyed about it? I know I know it's not about me, but it is about me. There's no way for not wanting to make love to me be not about me. I can deal with it but I can't be entirely objective either.

Any of this familiar, guys? Do any of you know what it means for me to help him to talk to me about this? Does he want a>

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#58436 - 03/20/04 04:31 AM Re: the inevitable...
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
sar,
>
_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#58437 - 03/20/04 11:10 AM Re: the inevitable...
darp123 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 15
Loc: Maryland
Sar,

Something that his therapist told me has really helped us this past year. She told me to let him initiate sex so he didn't feel pressured to have sex. I found out that my H had an affair and that he had been SA the same night so we were having a very difficult time and I wanted to be close to him so that I knew he loved me and he felt pressured because he thought I wanted sex.

He started going to a therapist about 3 months later and she told us not to have sex for a while and when we started again (a few months later) to let him initiate it.

Take care,
Darp


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#58438 - 03/20/04 06:23 PM Re: the inevitable...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
SAR
does any of that ring true ? I read your post twice - I had to. It shook me because what you describe is what I did - and still do an awfull lot.

Quote:

We talked about this a little bit today and he recognized what I was talking about--I asked him if I'd done anything to make him feel like I might pressure him or force him and he said that I hadn't done anything, but he still worried that I might, also that he didn't want to be affectionate with me if he didn't want sex because he was afraid of leading me on (??? although I don't see how sitting next to someone is leading them on)
"but he still worried that I might" this smacked me around the head ! pre-empting a 'possible' pressure from a partner, and getting the defences in early.
That's exactly what I do and didn't really figure out until I read your post. Thanks for your honesty and insight there, this is a difficult subject for us survivors to talk about.

I still can't talk about sex with my wife, not in a 'normal' "hey, let's try some wardrobe leaps !" type of way - I just can't ask her to do something that I like, because that's way too close to control = abuse. And equally I can say "do you like that ?" Because I 'might' be offending her by doing so.

So, with sex as fraught with 'danger' as it is, the thought of "the weaker, submissive sex" taking control and making the moves scares the shit out me ( us ? )

That's when it becomes easier, and more effective, to pick a fight - especially when with some practice we can turn the 'blame' back onto you - then the fallout from the fight is less, and we don't have to the sweaty stuff.

Eventually, it can lead to the loss of a sex life. I have gone for periods of 6 to 8 months like this in the past without any great effort on my part, once we learn the technique it's easy.

Now, what you really want to know is "how do we get over it ?" Sadly, I wish I knew as well, I'm getting better, but I'm very seriously thinking about psycho-sexual therapy. The therapy I've had has dealt with the abuse and the acting out wonderfully, and I though that I would just slot back into the rest of "my shit" easily, but I was wrong. It's very tempting to think that we can do the rest on our own.
The therapy I had was like comparing a snipers rifle to a shotgun - the rifle hits accurately and powerfully, like the therapy I had. The shotgun hits everyting eventually.

Work on it NOW, don't leave it until it's too late.

Dave
PS. Theo is talking sense, once again.

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#58439 - 03/21/04 01:38 PM Re: the inevitable...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
hello everyone,

I won't be able to respond properly until tonight or tomorrow but I wanted to say thanks. I know this is a difficult topic for everyone to discuss, Dave, Darp, Theo, I hope you feel brave and honest for replying. I don't feel much of that right now, just very very sad. There aren't enough \:\( s to be as \:\( as I feel right now. I love this guy and he loves me and we've always been able to be partners and friends... even to be friends when we couldn't be partners. It should be able to all just fall into place from there, and it's just not falling into place and it just seems ridiculous and sad. there was a period (longer that 6 months, Dave, don't feel bad) that we didn't make love at all and it was devastating to our whole relationship--I couldn't love the man I loved and suddenly it was like a million other walls went up. Some of this overlapped the period he was acting out the most and that makes sense to me. Not because he was being fulfilled sexually by something else, but because he had more secrets from me, more defenses, and by that time intimacy between us was already sort of a loaded gun--it would have been hopeless even to try at that point--theo I cannot stop thinking about what you said about trying to put up his hands and stop what is coming next. How sad. how sad. Damnit.


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#58440 - 03/21/04 02:58 PM Re: the inevitable...
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
sar,
i understand the sadness of the image, especially since it is the truth. in my former marriage, the last three years we were together it was her that was putting her hands up. i think in all that time we only had intimacy about three times. the last attempt was just too painful for me to even discuss, but it spelled the end for us by her actions.

she never did stop with putting her hands up to push me away in fear. that is the difference here with you and your boyfriend. the sadness and the tragic power of the image is intended to be a light of hope because once you can see the fear for what it is there is a chance you can then reach through it and gently hold the hands that are held up to ward off the pain of the past. i know the sadness of isolation, sar, and was never able to overcome it in my previous marriage...but i took what i learned from that and have loved lady theo in ways i never knew were possible. intimacy is about looking into your partner's eyes and being able to see love, fear, pride, arousal, laughter, tears...all of it, and having seen it all in their eyes, to be able to share it with them. that is intimacy. once you can see the hands held up in fear, instead of the adult hostility, your intimacy with him went into overdrive. the pain and heartache is tragic, but the victory of being held by a loved one, even if only by their eyes in undrstanding, is salvation.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#58441 - 03/21/04 07:29 PM Re: the inevitable...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Is some of this also about peoples ( men & womens ) natural tendency to take the easy option - ok, be lazy ?

As Theo so rightly says,

Quote:
intimacy is about looking into your partner's eyes and being able to see love, fear, pride, arousal, laughter, tears...all of it, and having seen it all in their eyes, to be able to share it with them. that is intimacy.
This great de>
_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#58442 - 03/21/04 10:44 PM Re: the inevitable...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
this is dead serious for me but I have to take a sec first. Dave-- "wardrobe leaps?!?!?" WHAT? Guess I learned something new about England today :p Felt good to giggle anyway. OK, back to posting for real.


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#58443 - 03/21/04 11:14 PM Re: the inevitable...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Dave and Theo, there is so much you guys are saying with only a few words that I don't even need you to explain further, which I guess is good because it means I am starting to "get it" a little. But clearly it's not good.

I'm not going to get graphic or any more triggering than this already is, but given the details of some of his SA it makes total sense that the anticipation of the act provokes more anxiety than the act itself. (I just had to pause for a long while because of the rage and sadness of recognizing how true that must be for him. Theo, I have no doubt that your guess is right on but I don't think I could bring it up with him at all, I don't think the place exists for him yet where it's safe enough to hear that). Within our sex life when it exists he is much more concerned about being spontaneous and random than I am--I've always chalked this up to a kind of typical "male" need for variety etc., but maybe it is also related to this fear of knowing what's ahead, or maybe even to a fear of having to be intimate-- being "spontaneous" doesn't leave a lot of room for intimate talk...

Darp, we didn't have sex for a while after I found out he'd been seeing someone online. That was mutual though... I wasn't sure what I thought of us (or him) anymore, and I think he was just too disgusted with himself. He told me soon after about the SA and in a way, that made it easier for us to have a sex life again. It was important to him, I think, to know that his "abused" status wouldn't hurt the rest of our life (whereas he was entirely prepared to have his "cheating jerk" status destroy it).

Also, I wouldn't say I look on his disclosure fondly (and it still took a little time), but him telling me and me believing and supporting him, was a good new beginning for us... it meant the (re)building of lost trust, it meant that there were answers to be found, it showed both of us that even at the worst, we were committed to each other. It didn't restore our intimacy as partners but it restored our intimacy as best friends (not a relationship prospect for the lazy either). So I do know what you mean, Theo, about hope in this sense.

And no, it's not effortless. I think that's true for just about everyone, even the (allegedly) normal... but I don't know, Dave, if this kind of vigilant avoidance of intimacy could require less effort... I believe that eventually it does but for my boyfriend and I, right now, I just don't see how... I've been beating myself up about the other day (of my original post). Did I say something to scare him? Did I subtly suggest somehow that I might want to make love later on? Was he trying to talk about something and I missed the signal? I don't know what exactly is up here but when you said "sex = desertion" it gave me chills. Because it makes sense to me, sort of, but the message that he gives me is just the opposite one, when he's doing this "make it my fault thing"-- I'm choosing to "desert" him by pushing to get close to him-- he's pushing me away because he doesn't want to be intimate-- but then he doesn't really want to be left alone...

I used to think that he never initiated sex. He does... I just have to read his mind first. He sends out a very weak signal and if I don't pick up on it very quickly, he drops it. I'm thinking now that part of it is frustration on his part over what he may see as "not being heard" on this... although he's not saying anything... for every time I "get it" I'm probably missing it a few times as well. The same thing goes for what he likes and doesn't. He probably thinks I'm ignoring him in all sorts of important ways. Unfortunately asking seldom gets me anywhere.

all right people.
not deserting anyone,
still his friend
even when it's an effort
SAR


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#58444 - 03/22/04 08:36 PM Re: the inevitable...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
SAR
It's getting a bit weird here, every post someone makes I recognise another bit of myself

Quote:
I used to think that he never initiated sex. He does... I just have to read his mind first. He sends out a very weak signal and if I don't pick up on it very quickly, he drops it.
Like this bit here. Oh boy do I recognise that !

And the sex = desertion thing is about associating sex with someone who deserts us after they've finished with us.
It's hard to admit, but I bet we all got 'something' out of our abusers. I got protection from older boys at school and cigarettes. Bum deal eh ?

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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