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#59791 - 01/19/06 12:19 AM questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
This is mostly directed at (male and female) partners of survivors, but of course all input is welcome.

*************This is a sensitive subject for a lot of survivors and may be triggering***************

How many partners here have been blamed, attacked, or made to feel at fault for the sexual difficulties or sexual acting out in the relationship-- directly, by the survivor?

I am talking about statements such as "You are closed-minded for not wanting to do X with me/ not being okay with my acting out" "You are a freak for wanting sex/ feeling that intimacy is important" "You are a bad partner for confronting me about my acting out/sexual issues" "You contributed to my acting out/lack of interest in sex because of XYZ"

Now... how many partners here wondered about this, or believed themselves at fault or to blame for the survivor's acting out or sexual difficulties, without getting that message directly from the survivor?


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#59792 - 01/19/06 01:17 AM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
SAR,

Very sore subject. My b/f never has, and I don't believe ever would, directly blame me for his acting out, but I have, and at times still do, wonder if I was at least a partial cause of it.

I don't deny sex to my b/f because I don't want to. My phylosophy is that if you love someone and there's no physical or serious emotional reason why not, then why not? It hasn't happened often that "I just don't feel like it" but when it has, we laugh, alot, and I make it a joke and tell him to do what he's got to do. It hasn't failed yet that things work out for me as well. BTW, this isn't just a new thing with or for him, it's just the way I feel.

Our sex life together runs from the normal to the not so normal. By that I don't mean way up on the freaky scale, but a little bit. I guess since we're both consenting adults, it's not really freaky at all. But he does tend to be a bit more adventurous than me and I can't help but feel that if I did XYZ, maybe he wouldn't feel the need to act out. I know that this isn't true, but in my darket moments, that irrational way of thinking comes to the forefront.

He's told me that it wouldn't bother him if I were with another man - I find that super freaky and I would never do that because I don't want to. If I wanted to be with someone else, then I would not be with him. He believes that sex can just be sex and love, at least what he understands of it, is a totally different thing. He can't or won't understand that the two are not mutually exclusive.

He told me for years that he worried that he could not be faithful. Little did I know when he was telling me that he'd already been and continued to be unfaithful. He knows that's not an option - ever again - if he wants to be in my life.

I'm scared to death that if our sex life wanes, he'll go looking again. Even for the week or so when I have my period, I get scared because it's a week that we haven't been together and that might be too much for him.

Is that my fault? No it's not and I know that in my head, but it doesn't stop my evil twin from surfacing. It's way worse now because he gave me reason to be distrustful of him and I hate that. It's a viscious cycle that I hope to break - only time, with no new reasons given to me for fear will relieve me of this.

I hope I answered what you were asking, I might have gotten a little side tracked.

It's a very scary thing to think about.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#59793 - 01/19/06 01:49 AM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Nope-- not sidetracked.

This is a very difficult subject for many of us and I think it helps to put the fears and frustrations into words and see that we are not alone with them.

I'm not asking a specific question so much-- I just wanted to open up the topic.

\:\)


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#59794 - 01/20/06 01:07 AM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Talking to my wife ( at last :rolleyes: ) she has told me that as my interest in sex faded - when I was acting out a few years ago - she believed that it was her fault for being overweight, and she thought I was having an affair with another woman, a particular one that I worked with who was tall, skinny, blonde, young, and available! ( She's also dumb and not my type at all )

But at that time we didn't talk, so things went from bad to worse, my failures became her 'proof', her attitude towards me was a mystery at best, often it was anger, but I never expressed my anger towards her. So everything went unsaid between us and it festered away.

Sex is a very powerful thing that engenders many different emotions, and if we don't share the feelings and desires, or the hangups, we have then all manner of problems can happen.

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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#59795 - 01/20/06 02:07 AM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
SAR,

Since you say you just want to open up the topic, I can add something that bears on what Dave says about the importance of communication.

As I began to come out of denial and had a million fears and freaked out feelings roaring around in my head, I became hypervigilant about being touched, especially if I wasn't expecting it. I also startled very easily and my interest in sex was plummeting.

The result was that if my wife put her hand or arm on me in the middle of the night as we slept, something we previously did a lot and really enjoyed, I would startle and would sometimes wake up almost in shock. The way everything was going she read me as rejecting her. She didn't tell me that, but at the same time I was too confused to say much either. It was not until last year that I was able put enough together and deal with it enough to tell her.

This is just one piece of the story of course, but the point is that if we had been able to communicate better back then this could have been alleviated and perhaps avoided.

I don't cast blame here and I know a lot could be said for both sides, but that is not what I am onto here. The point is that big problems arose because we could not talk about this as soon as the issue arose.

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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#59796 - 01/20/06 03:14 AM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Larry & Dave,

How do I put this respecfully? Were your sex lives very active before you began dealing with the S/A? The reason I ask is that my b/f almost never seems to get enough. Sure there are some nights, especially after a rough conversation, that we just go to sleep, but then the morning comes and he's ready to roll again. That sounds so crass, but it's just the way it is.

We've been together for over 4 years and we're 42 and 45 so it's not initial dating lust or youthful vigor. As far as our initimate life goes, we're just almost always on the same page.

As for communication, you come through loud and clear. My b/f says that I over communicate, maybe that's true sometimes, but I tend to think that some of what I need to talk about, he shys away from and shuts me down, gently, but with no room for doubt.

I also worry that because he does tell me things about his childhood, he'll think of me more of an, I don't know how to put this, a friend? confidant? supporter? I want to be all of these things, but I also just want to be his girlfriend. I don't want him to look at me and feel no desire because of what I know. This is a scary thought and one I've had many times.

I wonder if there may be something coming down the pike that I should begin preparing myself for now. This will be a difficult conversation for him if we ever need to have it and I won't lie, it will be difficult adjustment for me.

ROCK ON......Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#59797 - 01/20/06 05:49 PM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Trish,

My problem has always been that I am so ravishingly gorgeous, charming and sexually magnetic that women can never get enough of me. Sigh. What IS a guy to do???!!! My wife just DOESN'T understand how lucky she is.

Seriously, yes, our sex life was pretty good I think. We were always able to communicate what we liked and wanted to do, and if there was a problem for one the other would understand. Sex wasn't something we had difficulty enjoying and talking about.

Trish I think you make a crucial point when you stress that you are his girlfriend first. He needs to know that it isn't fair to ask you to hear him and support him and go through all his crap, and then seem less desirable because "you know"!! I hadn't thought of that. Wow. What a lose/lose situation that would be.

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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#59798 - 01/20/06 06:19 PM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
I don't want to attack any of the guys who have posted to this thread-- but I wonder if the communication issue is as simple as "no one brought it up." My experience with communicating with my boyfriend about this stuff is mostly what Trish said:
Quote:
I tend to think that some of what I need to talk about, he shys away from and shuts me down,
These are difficult issues for caring partners to discuss too and in our case, my boyfriend manipulated the conversations almost before they began-- so I felt that my choices were "Be supportive and caring, and DON'T try to talk to me about this" or "Sure, say it if you have to-- at the cost of my feelings and my trust in you-- and good luck trying to get anything out of ME about it."

There is a lot of shame for many survivors (and many females who aren't survivors, too, I suspect) in just admitting that consensual sex is enjoyable and important to us. It was very easy for my boyfriend to tap into my shame about wanting to communicate and wanting to improve our sex life. When I tried to communicate with him about his emotional distance and lack of interest-- "Well, we've done it X number of times this month-- what's your problem?" or "Why is our sex life SOOO important to you? Why don't you care about this and that instead?" which in my mind isn't a very big step from saying "You're the freak here, not me... X number of times is plenty for anyone normal." This was a way to shame me into NOT communicating about a whole range of issues which were related to our sex life-- including his acting out and his lack of affection in general. Small wonder he didn't want to go there.

Most times I would drop the whole thing-- which wasn't the best choice I could have made-- but if my boyfriend (who knew what he was doing on some level) tried to characterize this as a general lack of communication, I'd be pissed off.


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#59799 - 01/20/06 06:49 PM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Larry,

There was never any doubt in my mind that you would give Adonis a run for his money *lol* I'm sure your wife is well aware of the jewel in her house.

I read in past posts about the Madona/? complex, can't remember exactly what it was, and that, I suppose, is one of the things I'm really concerned with. I just don't want to be an "angel" in his eyes because lord knows I've got plenty of the devil in me that likes to come out and play too.

I try to just let things develop in our lives and see where we go, but sometimes, my thoughts and fears screw me up.

{edited to add]:

SAR - you're dead on. It took me alot of years to admit to myself, never mind another person, that sex is important to me. Before it was almost a shameful thing to admit. Now that it's done, there is no going back. I'm happy with who I am and I have a partner for whom sex is equally as important. Its far from the most critical thing in our relationship, but it's definately in the top 5.

The thought of losing that because of something that I can't control is very frightening.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#59800 - 01/21/06 02:10 AM Re: questions about sexual difficulties (TRIGGERS)
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Well, Adonis has a beer belly, beard and is 52 years old, fact! \:D

A question for Larry, did the serious slide in sexual activity coincide with the start, or intensive period, of your healing?

Before disclosure sex was different for me, and it wasn't all good or bad either.
I've known my wife since I was 19yo and we became sexual within weeks of meeting, this was the early 70's and sex was still fun.
At that time we were very active, and I though fairly adventurous. We tried most things that we were comfortable with and made love at every opportunity. A lot of that was obviously the libido of youth and the passion of serious love at work, now I'm wondering if what we had was what could be considered 'normal' - and 'normal' is a huge and difficult thing to define I know.

But - ( Linda and I have had a long discussion about this tonight inspired by this topic that I read last night ) when I think back to those days I remember them as me being stilted and dominated by my feelings of not wanting to impose my sexual wishes on someone else.
We had both had sexual partners before each other, and I think she'd had what could only be described as a 'proper relationship' whereas I'd just jumped on any girl available.

I have NEVER felt comfortable instigating sex in any way other than the most cautious and subtle ways, I would start with kissing and caressing and see if that led to sex, I could always back off if I thought that Linda didn't want sex at that time.
I could never bring myself to ask outright for, or suggest, sex. A scenario of rushing home from work and having to go out in a couple of hours and saying "come on, let's have a quicky" has never happened to me because I somehow ( subconciously ? )feel that's it's wrong. But is it? I don't think it is now, but I'm stuck with that mindset. I listen to friends talk, as couples, and I'm envious of the way they treat sex. And I'm not talking about couples who would be considered anything out of the ordinary.

So, although our sex life was very active when younger, and way before disclosure, I can see ( with hindsight ) that I certainly wasn't as open about sex as I believed I was. The various hangups I had were almost certainly a result of both my upbringing and my abuse, but I covered them up, as I did my abuse.
That level of cover up was olympic, I guess I used the same 'skills' for both.

As middle age approached I suppose I suffered the normal decline in sexual interest that so many men in a marriage or relationship suffer. The sad fact is we get jaded, and not only men either, and that leads to the decline and often the straying and infidelity.
I didn't go down that route though, I retreated into my fantasy world and eventually acted out with other men.
Perhaps I'm being generous to myself in saying I didn't act out because of the reasons above, maybe at the time those reasons would have included the need for excitement and variety in my sex life to a degree.
I know now how it was driven by my abuse, but back then I didn't and I obviously went along with it in the expectation of gaining something.
My acting out was built up on extreme expectations, and the reality was always complete dissapointment. It was also very complex, but I only see that now.
Was / is my whole expectation of sex built upon these ( unreasonable ? ) expectations of sex I learned as a boy? I think so.

Since disclosure / healing my sex life has actually got worse. Which is infuriating because I understand so much more about myself and my problems, and as a couple we talk so much more openly. I can preach, but I can't practice. There are still way too many hangups. Perhaps I have different hangups now?

Perhaps I over analyze and attach way too much importance to things such as the instigation of sex, the performance during sex, the very reasons to have sex even?
I don't want to be the type of guy who says "come here bitch, let's f**k", but why can't I find a level that suits us as a couple that allows me to ask for sex? After 32 years of marrige I know my wife well enough to know the danger zones!

Because of all that shit I just find it easier to avouid sex, which is desperately sad because I love my wife.

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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