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#66958 - 06/29/03 01:52 AM advice on sexual issues
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
My bf (ex?) has been more open with me lately about what he is going through emotionally. I feel good that he is trusting me with his thoughts and concerns, but I am not sure how to be helpful. Just listening seems like it leaves open the interpretation that I am somehow judging or have a negative reaction to what he is saying, but I don't really know what to say about it.

He has brought up some concerns about getting sexually turned-on by some things that leave him feeling disturbed. I have read similar concerns on this site, and told him that, which was some help (at least he knows that it isn't just something relating to only him). Does anyone have any more reassuring information about that issue that I might pass along to him?

What seems to happen is that he becomes very ashamed of himself -- so it isn't so much the behavior that is a problem as the reaction that he comes away with. As his gf, I don't find any of it offensive, & I told him that it didn't really worry me other than the fact that it upsets him. As far as I am concerned fantasy as a part of sexuality is not anything to be ashamed of, but I know that as it realtes to SA it takes on another meaning... Also, the fantasies he has brought up really don't offend or worry me -- without getting into detail, they aren't anything that involves hurting anyone. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Today, for example, he was really consumed with shame & felt horrible. He didn't get out at all & had no energy to face the day. He wanted me to try to find some type of drug to turn off all of his sexual urges so that he could eliminate the problem. We talked for a while & he admitted that he'd really rather overcome the shame that this brings up, but I have no idea what it takes to do that -- I mean, do you accept the fantasy as a harmless mental concept, or do you try to overcome it as a reflection of sexuality that has been twisted by the early abuse?

I'd really like to see if I couldn't find some information or direction (book, article, theory) that I could point him in so that he can work on it himself as he is ready to absorb the info. And I'd love any advise that you have for me about how to better support him regarding this.

Thanks.
-BB.


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#66959 - 06/29/03 07:35 PM Re: advice on sexual issues
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
bb

Quote:
We talked for a while & he admitted that he'd really rather overcome the shame that this brings up, but I have no idea what it takes to do that -- I mean, do you accept the fantasy as a harmless mental concept, or do you try to overcome it as a reflection of sexuality that has been twisted by the early abuse?
My fantasies mainly centered on me giving bj's to other guys, somethin I did reularly to many different people between the ages 11 and 16.
The fantasy stayed with me since my abuse stopped, and for the most part it didn't do any harm.
In reality what's the difference between me fantasizing over giving a bj or having sex with Liz Hurley ? whichever I use it's all contained in my mind, it helps me get an erection if I need help.
And the bald truth is that after many years of faithful marriage a fantasy can be a great help, please don't tell her though !

But the problem was that my bj fantasy came with baggage - guilt, shame and all the other crap, homophobic issues, sexuality issues....the whole list. And eventually these surfaced, and I didn't know what they were, what caused them or what to do with them.
They surfaced slowly, made the fantasy confusing by adding all this crap to it, and you don't want to be thinking about the shame of getting caught giving bj's when you're trying to get excited.

So I beefed up the fantasy, concentrated harder on them. And it worked.
It worked too well, and I ended up acting out and fulfilling my fantasy. And it was shit.
And then all the baggage came along after, with a whole load of new stuff as well.

That's when I went into crisis and sought help, way too late, I should have done it years ago - but that's the beauty of hindsight isn't it ?

As I progressed through therapy and worked at my healing myself I found myself becoming more and more asexual. It was the only way I could stop the fantasies dominating my life.
Obviously our sex life died a death, but my wife understood as best she could and we got by.

Now, I'm restarting my sex life - slowly, but I hope to get it back to where it was many years ago. It had died away anyway because of the issues surrounding the fantasies. I needed the fantasies in the end, and I felt guilty for using them while making love. So I'd fail. Then I'd masturbate to see it it still worked, and it did. So I got confused and it all went to hell !
Anyway, now I've accepted that fantasy can be used without guilt and shame, or at least not as much. So I'm prepared to use it, even my 'old bj' fantasy.
I use it on my terms now, not my abusers. I never fantasize about what went on in the past as a kid or more recently when I acted out. It's a new fantasy of consensual sex with some unknown man.
And it works, so does Liz Hurley and the girl behind the bar up the road.

Should I feel guilty about that ? I don't know or care.
Because I've had enough of feeling guilty and ashamed, and I don't see why using something that can increase my pleasure is bad for me.

There's nothing wrong with fantasy, but it has to be FANTASY
NOT, a rehash of old memories, they're the ones with the baggage attached.

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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#66960 - 06/30/03 12:36 AM Re: advice on sexual issues
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Thanks a lot for that reply. It helps a lot & makes a lot of sense. I think part of the problem that my bf is having is that he doesn't have any clear memories, so his abuse is surfacing in his feelings about himself, his feelings about his sexuality, sexual fantasies, & other areas. It seems like as the stuff surfaces, he is feeling worse about himself & more confused.

-BB.


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#66961 - 06/30/03 06:22 PM Re: advice on sexual issues
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
My memories were, are, perfectly clear. I remember just about everything that happened to me.

So it was easy for me to pick out the 'best bits' :rolleyes: and use them for fantasy.

I can also imagine that if your BF has no clear memories of his abuse then what's resurfacing must be doubly confusing.
Is it a genuine memory or a complete fantasy ?

If it's a memory then it's upsetting for one set of reasons, but if it's a fantasy that he's created ( albeit unconciously ) then he's upset for a completely different set of reasons.
He may well be imagining he's a 'sick pervert' for having these 'fantasies' - or are they 'true memories'

My view is he should see a therapist and be completly honest, it's hard I know.
We are full of shame and fear at the prospect of telling a stranger all this "sick, perverted shit" we carry around in our heads.
But if you listened in to one of our group sessions and saw the reaction, well the lack of reaction, from the female therapist who facilitates the group it's easy to see that there's nothing we can say to shock them.
But it's a hard thing for us to do, I found it hard to talk openly with a male therapist at first.

Just finding the words to describe my fantasies, and my acting out was so difficult, it was possibly the biggest thing I had to overcome.

See if he'll open up some, and try to get him used to the idea.

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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#66962 - 07/01/03 05:08 AM Re: advice on sexual issues
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Thanks once again. He is in therapy, but I don't know how much of this he is discussing in his sessions since it is clearly a sensitive topic. Your interpretation again really sheds light on it for me. It makes a lot of sense that the lack of memory would contribute to his sense of confusion and he has described himself as sick and perverted to me before.

I think I'll back off for now -- he is pushing me away again (I guess the conversation the other day was too intimate...) and he seems sometimes to 'rehearse' topics that he then talks about in therapy by seeing what my reaction is first before he talks to her ('cause I'm expendible, but she isn't...) So I'm hoping this will mean some relief for him as far as some of the shame he is carrying.

I could go on (& on & on & on) about the intimacy issues & the fact that I feel so expendibile, but I won't get into it today.

-BB.


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#66963 - 07/01/03 12:21 PM Re: advice on sexual issues
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
You surely are not expendable. He needs you, even if he is not clear that he does, or why he does.

Dave has given you really great information. You seem to read your bf very well. And you see that you need to back off a little.

Right now, I would encourage you to go on and on and on about yourself and your feelings and let folks here help you. That way you will be able to help him from a place where you are feeling good and strong.

It is so sad that so many people suffer with worries about things sexual. It is a great gift that we have. It can be abused, obviously, but it is more often fun, loving and caring and just plain wonderful, than it is abusive. I don't think we can do "bad" things sexually.
We can be abusive. But that is a matter of power, not sexuality.

He has been very intimate with you in sharing his feelings and angst. I hope you can enjoy intimacy that is mutually life giving.

Take care of yourself friend, and talk as much as you care to. That is why we have this place.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#66964 - 07/01/03 02:39 PM Re: advice on sexual issues
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
BB
You could well be right and he is rehearsing what he's going to discuss with his therapist, but is it a problem ?

Personally I did it the other way around, and unloaded everything with my wife after the session, but I can see why someone would want to see if his ideas had some merit before he told his T.
In a lot of respects he's trusting you more than the T by doing that, and I don't think it's because you're expendible - far from it. I couldn't have done it that way around at all.

Perhaps he needs your reactions to make some sense of it all, and then get reinforcement from his T ?
If you think he's doing this then work the system.
It'll be a tightrope walk I know, but with a bit of care you could be doing a lot of good work that gets validated in therapy. But I'm sure that's happening anyway.

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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#66965 - 07/01/03 04:47 PM Re: advice on sexual issues
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
BB I stumled upon this article and I started to read it--not finished yet, but I think it should be very helpful in all of this.

Bob

http://www.kalimunro.com/article_sexualabuse_and_sex.html

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#66966 - 07/01/03 10:21 PM Re: advice on sexual issues
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Thanks you are very kind. The information that you are willing to share here is a huge help, as are the words of support.

My sense of being expendable comes from his attitude, which he has clearly stated to me, that if things are problematic between us (how can they NOT be given these issues?!) he is operating in 'survival' mode which means that he won't make the effort to work things out with me because he is too close to the edge, has too little margin for emotional interactions, to be able to reach compromises or mutually satisfactory solutions to issues between the two of us. So he will tell me things in a very 'take it or leave it' way -- such as the discussion about the sexual fantasies. It isn't so much that I really think he is prepared for me to reject him over it. He knows I am open-minded reagarding sex, have friends ranging from the stereotypical family with 1.5 kids & matching SUVs to friends in the process of changing their gender. So I am pretty 'safe' to open up to. But the manner in which he tells me doesn't really acknowlege the nature of our relationship to each other -- that I might have feelings about being compared to whatever the fantasy may be, or feelings about who he desires sexually.

I think that the fact that I have been here consistently has made him feel safe to share, but there is a facade between us that I need him more, will tolerate more, etc. so that he calls the shots.

This leaves me feeling very discouraged & uncared for, which creates more emotional distance & conflict.

When we have more open conversations, as we did about this stuff & some other issues as well this week, I feel encouraged & more optimistic. But this is generally followed by his withdrawal & emotional distance. I see the consistency with the therapist as very positive, but I do also think that he places more value in not alienating her because he views her as part of the solution. As a woman he is sexually involved with, he views me as part of the problem because of his conflict over his sexuality.

He'd like to eliminate his sexuality so that he wouldn't have to deal with the emotional turmoil that it brings up. He sees sex as something that saps his energy and creates emotional extremes, and he sees it as a bad thing that has hurt him & generally interferes with human relationships.

So that is why I say I am expendable. Without some strong effort on his part to take responsibility for his current adult self & the half of a relationship that is up to him to nurture and maintain, there will be no relationship at all. I am not intending to sound jugemental, just acknowledging what the reality is -- I can't fix this & I can't help him fix his stuff. His current attitude is pushing the responsibility for his happiness onto everyone & everything else. He is truly victimising himself & I don't like it when the blame shifts onto me. It is hard to take responsibility for the issues I DO bring to the relationship and ward off the sense that I am inherently (due to my femininity, sexual nature, and love for him) a threat to his well-being.

How's that for going on & on & on? ;\)

Maybe I'll write my own book on it one day. But for now I must go nurture my dogs -- constant, loving, non-judging, positive, honest, loyal and accepting creatures that they are.

-BB.


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#66967 - 07/02/03 09:31 AM Re: advice on sexual issues
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
How's that for going on & on & on?
BB,

Not bad. I've done the same many times. When it gets started it's hard to stop.

From your de>
_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#66968 - 07/03/03 12:48 AM Re: advice on sexual issues
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Thanks, thanks, thanks -- I am constantly amazed at how truly helpful this site is to me. I originally came here looking for sources of information for my bf & have really felt supported & welcomed by everyone when I have posted my own issues & needed support.

The article looks really good -- I will definitely print it out for him. The books he has & goes to periodically. I also talked to him tonight about this thread. He said he doesn't want to read it, but he asked for a verbal summary, so I gave him the basic info. I don't know exactly why, but he seems uncomfortable about accessing this site so I try to just offer the information that I find here & elsewhere as it seems appropriate and/or of interest to him.

We are both going away over the weekend -- me for a short trip & him for a bit longer. He has said he will do some thinking about the relationship & what he wants to be doing with his life. I will be NOT thinking for a while & take a break. I'm going to the mountains -- nothing like the rockies to put small issues into perspetive.

-BB.


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#66969 - 07/03/03 10:22 AM Re: advice on sexual issues
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
This sounds familiar:

Quote:
Originally posted by stpbb:

So he will tell me things in a very 'take it or leave it' way -- such as the discussion about the sexual fantasies. It isn't so much that I really think he is prepared for me to reject him over it. He knows I am open-minded reagarding sex, have friends ranging from the stereotypical family with 1.5 kids & matching SUVs to friends in the process of changing their gender. So I am pretty 'safe' to open up to. But the manner in which he tells me doesn't really acknowlege the nature of our relationship to each other -- that I might have feelings about being compared to whatever the fantasy may be, or feelings about who he desires sexually.
My ex boyfriend used to do that a lot - tell me about problems with his relationship with me as if I was some kind of neutral friend and not a person who had some kind of emotional involvement with him. It was truly bizarre. As if the relationship and everything that we had just didnt exist at that moment. I truly believe my ex BF is also a survivor of sexual abuse but he really has no idea that he was. His excuse regarding all the intrusive things that his mother did to him (checking his genitals as he was going through puberty, touching him inappropriately, seeing his parents walk around the house naked, etc) were "because she was a nurse" and because the "family was french" (which they are but come on now....)

Such a weird situation - kind of like an out of body experience being played out right in front of you.

I just think that during those moments the person who is doing this is just so wrapped up in themselves and their pain they just cant see that there is anyone else out there that could possibly matter at that time. They just dont have the "goods" to show any kind of compassion, empathy or common courtesy.


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