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#65761 - 04/24/03 06:35 PM Encouragement & Insight Needed
Faith Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/24/03
Posts: 11
Hello All:

Please let me apologize in advance for the lengthy posting. I am new to this and have had tons of these questions and concerns floating around with no where to go with them. I just found this site and now I feel like the floodgates have opened and maybe someone out there can give me some answers, insight, advice, anything.

I am in love and living with an adult male survivor of childhood sexual abuse (abused by men). We are in our early 30's, have been together for over a year and plan on marriage. I sometimes feel discouraged about our situation, but want to believe that there is hope, even if the road is rocky and difficult. I'm willing and wanting to be by his side, but I'm just looking for a little encouragement and insight. I have a few questions about the best way to deal with and help him and this site seems to be a good forum full of helpful information and resources. Here goes:

1) Although he is open to therapy, he is not very pro-active about it. Would it be out of line for me to give him some of the names of therapists I found on this website? What would be the best way to broach the topic? Do I need to wait for him to bring it up?

2) When I feel him pulling away/becoming distant, do I just leave him alone or can I try to talk to him about what he's going through? What would be best for him?

3) Is it okay for me to initiate discussions about his abuse and the subsequent feelings/issues that have arisen from it?

4) Any insight about ways that I can not taking it personally when he withdraws sexually or becomes less affectionate? I find myself thinking that it must be me (I'm too fat, too skinny, not pretty enough, etc.), when in reality, I know it's a sypmtom of his abuse. I'm just looking for some tips on how to not personalize it and feel offended/abandoned/undesired by it, which is how it feels to me.

5) Is there hope that with the proper therapy/healing/etc. that we can have a healthy, "normal" relationship? Will it always be this tough? Can he find happiness, healing and fulfillment in his life?

6) He displays a few of the "common" symptoms of abuse (ie - depression, low self esteem, etc.), but the one that I have a question about is his admission of having homo-erotic fantasies. He says they are few and far between and that doesn't feel sexually attracted to men...he says things like "I know I'm not gay, but I can't explain why I've had these thoughts" or "I'm only sexually attracted to women and can't imagine being with a man". Is he gay and in denial/latent/repressed?

7) He has difficulty climaxing during sex. He gets and maintains erections and can orgasm from oral sex, but never from "standard" sex. When he does orgasm, he says he often feels guilty. Is there anything I can do to alleviate the guilty, shameful feelings? Why can't he orgasm from "regular" sex?

8) When we are making love, he is passionate and generous...he seems to be very "into" our sex life. I sometimes feel insecure that maybe he's "faking" his passion for me or just going through the motions for my sake. I rationalize that since he can't orgasm when he has sex with me, I must not be that desirable which means, he's faking any passion with me. Any insight?

Thank you, thank you, thank you in advance for any information you can offer. I appreciate it more than I can express.

Keeping the Faith


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#65762 - 04/24/03 07:56 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Faith
don't apologise for a long post and lots of questions, your questions are important to you, I hope we can help.

From my own experience I can recognize a lot of what you're experiencing, as a survivor I have had, and still have some of these problems.


I don't think someone can be pushed into therapy with any success, it's such a personal thing that we need to make that decision, but to jump to the other questions in no particular order, encouragement and talking about it might help. But it's probably going to be a 'if it feels right - do it' decision as to when and how to start talking.
Possibly he'll welcome the chance because of his fear and shame, and if you tread carefully and don't pass judgement he might open up.
I was very fearfull about talking to my wife, I took over 25 years just to tell her I'd been abused ! but we talk about anything now.
But if he retreats then maybe it's best to let him, and let him know that you're respecting that.

Sex is a difficult thing for many of us, I have flashbacks to the abuse during sex, I don't like to kiss or make full body contact - although I'me getting better with practice \:D

The flashbacks are mixed with my 'favourite' fantasy - performing oral sex with other men - and because I don't want this fantasy it makes sex difficult.
But like I say, it's getting better - but only through therapy and my hard work - and my wife's understanding of course.

The fantasies confused me for many years, and eventually I acted them out and had sex with other men. Although I have been completly faithfull as regards other women for our 28 year marriage.
I never looked at any guy and fancied him, never fantasized about any particular man or type of man.
It was purely the oral sex.
Now, though my recovery, I know that I'm not gay. It was purely a response to my abuse - re-enactment.

there is hope, I know that for sure. My life is so much better than it was until about 5 or 6 years back.
I can't make myself froget it, there isn't a cure for it - I know that. But I can live it now.

I couldn't have done it on my own, I tried that for over 30 years and it didn't work, I just kept trying the same thing for the same problems, and nothing worked. Eventually it got worse.

But don't let that put you off, he's disclosed which means he's open to help I'm sure.

therapy and someone to love are the the things that got me through it, and these guys here do a damn good job as well !

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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#65763 - 04/25/03 12:28 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Tom S. Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/03
Posts: 161
Loc: Nashville, Tn
Faith;
Dave has provided some wonderful insight and answers to your questions, and I can only add a couple small things.
In regard to iniating questions about your partners SA, or even SA in general; Do not ask any questions unless it is something pertinent to the situation of the moment. ''Don't open old wounds probing for the sake of your own curosity." Just know he has had an experience unknown to you, and let it rest at that, until the time comes where both of you can exchange EVERY life experience, and maybe share some not just with each other, but with other aquaintance as well.
A male survivor who has a supportive companion to build a life with, can become one of the strongest most affectinate husbands and fathers in the world due to his sensitavity that a nonsurvivor can never posess.
Also, realize he will have his moments. Be it a flashback, or an inability to function sexually, where he can and will act unexpectadly, or out of the ordinary. You must be aware of that and be willing to not take it personally, and ALLOW it to happen. But under no circumstance should you take anything physical. Period. NO ONE SHOULD TAKE ANY PHYSICAL ABUSE FROM SOMEONE ELSE EVEN IF THEY DO HAVE A PROBLEM. Leave that to professionals in a facility where it can be dealt with properly in a controlled environment.
I know what it is like to be where you and your partner are, and it can be wonderful. Don't let anybody take it away from either of you. My own wife and I started off together close to 21 years ago, and according to all common wisdom, we should have failed miserably long ago. But we both had SA issues, and neither of us fit in with the rest of the world. But we have become successful despite the rest of the world. She has developed a good and rewarding career as a teacher and lab instructor, and later as a supervisor, even though I chose to stay home and take care of kids and housework. We are happy even though we can't find family, friends, or church members who agree.
It CAN work, if you allow it, despite the issues or the odds. But realize you may have to do it alone without support from the rest of the world.
You are asking the correct questions, and folks here can give you a bunch of good answers.
I want to leave you with this. Somewhere along the way you MUST stop and ponder the question that only YOU can answer, and ask; ''Why do I want to spend the rest of my life with this particular man who has been sexually abused?'' Know the answer to that, because it can be well worth the effort. Turn your focus on God and your husband; and not the abusers or the rest of the world.
Tom S.
[ I just love to hear stories of people facing down the devastation of abuse and sharing a life together !! God can create beauty from ashes. ]

_________________________
' None are so enslaved as those falsely led to believe they are actually free '

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#65764 - 04/25/03 01:07 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Faith Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/24/03
Posts: 11
I can't thank you enough for your insight and advice. It is just what I needed!


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#65765 - 04/25/03 04:25 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
Lloydy, Tom,

Your insight is invaluable.

Tom,

I am in total agreement on NO PHYSICAL ABUSE. However, you also have to watch out for the verbal and emotinal abuse as well. Those can damage the soul.

Great advice at the end on the question to ask. I agree, anything is possible, if bothe people are in it together.

Freedom.

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#65766 - 04/25/03 04:44 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Tom S. Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/03
Posts: 161
Loc: Nashville, Tn
Quote:
Originally posted by Faith:
I can't thank you enough for your insight and advice. It is just what I needed!
You are very welcome, and 'THANK YOU' for the opportunity to share. It's just what I needed!
Tom S.

_________________________
' None are so enslaved as those falsely led to believe they are actually free '

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#65767 - 04/25/03 04:52 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Tom S. Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/03
Posts: 161
Loc: Nashville, Tn
" However, you also have to watch out for the verbal and emotinal abuse as well. Those can damage the soul."

Freedom;
You can watch out for the verbal and emotional stuff if you wish, but I am sad to report that with any victim on his way to survivor status, know up front that it's going to be there.
But with any degree of faith [not the author above, but in God] it can only damage your soul if you let it. Just ask my wife.
Tom S.

_________________________
' None are so enslaved as those falsely led to believe they are actually free '

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#65768 - 04/25/03 05:52 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
Tom,

Agreed wholeheartedly (sp), but regardless how much pain we have been put through, it helps to try and be mindful of not inflicting it on others. Not everyone may be as strong as your wife. Abusers win when the evil is passed on.

Thank you for your words. There is power there.

Freedom

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#65769 - 04/27/03 06:25 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
teimosa Offline
Member

Registered: 04/07/03
Posts: 33
Loc: LA
Sorry for the long post, but I have a lot to share...please be patient...THanks!

Hello Faith,

I am also in a committed relationship with a man who is CSA. I wanted to reply to some of the quesions that you had becuase I have had personal experiences myself....If you would like you may read my post...The Costly Mistakes we make....it is a long post about this history of my relationhip with this man. I am in my 30's, he is in his late 20's, so we are contemporaries which I think will also be of help.

I will quote you and then give my comments.

Although he is open to therapy, he is not very pro-active about it.

Same with my man. I have been talking to him about it for years. He is open but not running out to get any. The best I can offer is to make sure you get yours, or be sure to have a really good support system to help you (being here is great too, but you need friends or porfessionals or both) Lead by example! Don't pressure him about it though...he'll run or become resentful.

When I feel him pulling away/becoming distant, do I just leave him alone or can I try to talk to him about what he's going through? What would be best for him?

I would point it out to him and let you know that you love him and are concerned. Let him know that you are going to be there for him (really sit him down are be really clear about it, gently) Let him know that it is OK that he not talk about it right now, but you hope that he will feel comfortable sharing with you. Let him know that you will never juedge him about his feelings and that you want to work things out together...then just leave it alone. Your own feelings you will have to deal with. You know that he's now pulling away from you...it's just him dealing with his own stuff. DOn't let your own insecurities cloud your juedgement.

Is it okay for me to initiate discussions about his abuse and the subsequent feelings/issues that have arisen from it?

This one is kinda touchy...my man is very comfortable talking to me about things. Often when memories come up for him, he will share them so that we can process them. He has had a great deal of emotional and sexual abuse in his life. Sometimes I feel ill prepared for the graphic details that he gives me. You man might be very different. It was depends on how ready he is to talk about his stuff. I would let him know that it's ok to talk about it. Be open and honest about your own painful stuff. Expose yourself to him too. Live by your own example.....if he feels that you are being just as candid with your own stuff with him, he might come out of his shell too.

Any insight about ways that I can not taking it personally when he withdraws sexually or becomes less affectionate?

I think that all relationships have cycles when it comes to sexuality. I don't think that this is unique to his issues. Let him deal with his own stuff here. It sounds to me like you need to deal with your own issues if he decides that he is not feeling sexual that you start feeling bad. Besides, he will pick up on your feelings and feel like it's not ok for him to take those time outs....What are the issues that you have that make you automatically think that you are inadequate?

Is there hope that with the proper therapy/healing/etc. that we can have a healthy, "normal" relationship? Will it always be this tough? Can he find happiness, healing and fulfillment in his life?

Sure there is...but you have to work those tools you get in therapy. Right now neither I nor my man are in therapy (i have had years of therapy though...actually so has he, but he was in institutional placement at the time and the therapists weren't very good and were not of his choosing). The tools that I got have been intergral to me and how I deal with him. Now, his own happiness and fulfillment is up to him. My man can be extremely gloomy and doomy...he is making the conscious choice not to be that way in this relationship (and I see his efforts each and every day)

He displays a few of the "common" symptoms of abuse (ie - depression, low self esteem, etc.), but the one that I have a question about is his admission of having homo-erotic fantasies.

I can't speak for your man. If he says that he is not gay, then you have to trust him. My man, though he is far from gay, has a certain familiarity, for lack of a better word, that he can ID with. I know that he has had experiences with men, and that he, on occasion, have fantasies about them. I do not at all take it personally, I don't believe that he will go out an do anything like that. We discuss it, sometimes laugh about it, sometime cry about it. But the bottom line is that he feels free to express it without feeling judged or guilty. I see it like anything else. I trust my man to be faithful to me (regardless of the gender). Any sexual thoughts that he has will not be judged by me...becuase all they are are thoughts, not actions. If he tell you about his fantasies...DON'T under any circumstances, make him feel funny about it!

He has difficulty climaxing during sex. He gets and maintains erections and can orgasm from oral sex, but never from "standard" sex.

I really feel you on this one becuase I experience that quite often with my man. In fact, I just came back from spending a week with him (we live 3,000 miles from each other) and though we were intimate several times during that week, he didn't climax once. That disturbed me and I had my own bout with feelings of inadequacy. Don't worry! Just because you see the physical manifestation of his enjoying the experience doesn't mean that he was satisfied on deeper levels, likewise, just because he doesn't ejaculate, doesn't mean that he is not otherwise fulfilled for feeling passion for you. THe most important thing is to feel emotionally connected during the experience. Communicate with him and allow him to communicate with you during the experience. It will help to increase the level of intimacy and safety.

I hope you find this useful. PLease feel free to contact me directly if you want to ask me any questions

_________________________
Peace and Blessings...love and light

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#65770 - 04/28/03 12:31 PM Re: Encouragement & Insight Needed
Tom S. Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/03
Posts: 161
Loc: Nashville, Tn
He has difficulty climaxing during sex. He gets and maintains erections and can orgasm from oral sex, but never from "standard" sex.


OK, I don't usually get this graphic, espicially in a public forum with people I can not see, let alone know; but with my wifes permission, I will this time.
Absent erection is a clinical problem, but lack of orgasm is not necessarily, and if I am reading this correct, I will share a private detail that from the outward appearance of what you gal's are writing here, you may not have an understanding of.
Just being connected still counts as having sex doesn't it? Or am I wrong? [it's kind of like a presidents definition of sexual relations not with the first lady]When me and my wife are connected, [erection req'd] it is as close as we can get physically, and from that we get closer emotionally, and I even think spiritually. kabish?
We are both the safest and most secure we can get when we are together, and when we connect we are able to share things that we could not if we were fully clothed simply sitting or holding hands, or let alone on some strange Phd's couch . Don't answer this here, but haven't you experienced that. That is why you are a couple.
I think some people probably think climax is the only way you can finish and noisy action is necessary like in movies. That's fun alright, and necessary to produce children, but the time you can share together is precious. My wife and I were married for 8 years before she got pregnant with our son. He is 12 now, and she only got pregnant one other time since then, but we lost her before she got to term.
Me and my wife have shared our most horrible personal experiences while together that can not be shared any other way. There is not enough safety.
Always remember it is imperative you allow time together and use it for nurturing not only yourself, but each other, as well as having climaxing sex, oral and otherwise.
The most crucial aspect of survival is knowing the warmth of being 'special' and not being compared as just another sex partner, not just for you but most importantly for him.This is the super glue that holds your family together. And I am beginning to believe it is something that non survivors can not have, because I have had too many highly educated people tell me that sex can not hold a marriage together. bs!! Just ask my wife about the times I have cursed her only to find security connected to her. And the same for her also, but maybe not as much as for me. No one else, not even a parent can provide this kind of closeness and security. And it sure can't be bought at any counselors sliding scale price, despite the fact a T may be a necessary part of recovery.
The more I read here, the more I think most of the people in the world miss this concept. The media that constantly solicits us with sex in this country must be changing peoples perception somehow. Realize you shouldn't have to be a particular size or have the 'look' to be special. That's only the icing on the cake.
My wife and me get hot and love being vigouous too, but simple connection is what it's all about. We have been doing that since our second date, and no one else has ever let me do that.
Now, next question. [I wish I knew how to make the little red smiley face below work right here]
Tom S.

_________________________
' None are so enslaved as those falsely led to believe they are actually free '

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