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#67197 - 07/30/03 11:18 AM difficult question
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi all - I have a question about my bf's recovery that is tearing me up inside. It is really hard for me to ask this to anyone but I hope you dont mind.

From time to time, I do have a hard time accepting what my BF did in his "acting out" phase after his abuse. He was molested (at least twice he is now remembering) when he was a teenager, and he went right from a "molested virgin" at age 17 to acting out with quite a few women (mostly casual sex) until he turned 23 or so. He went "cold turkey" and got heavily into drugs and alcohol for almost 5 years and then returned to acting out when he was in his late 20's. We met in 2001 when he was 32 and I was 31.

My question is - for those of you who have been here - is it possible for sex to be special with a special person after you have been involved with acting out? How can it possibly be different when you have done the same acts with someone else? I am just finding myself somewhat obsessed with what he thinks of me and our sex life in comparison to the other women he's had sex with. He tells me that it is so different with me - and even that he felt like he wasn't even in his own body when he had sex with anyone else but with me he's finally feeling like a whole person when we are intimate. But when he says that a big part of me goes "yeah right".....

I know a lot of this "obsession" and this doubt is tied into my own abuse history - I was never sexually abused but certainly verbally and emotionally abused/abandoned for many decades by a mentally ill father (and a mother that focussed solely on his emotional needs and not on mine). he was really insulting to me and to women in general whcih really has created a pretty piss-poor self image of myself and of women in general (is it possible for a woman not to like other woman and being a woman?) I then followed that experience up with dating similar guys who treated me like crap and left me for other women.. so the experience of someone actually being NICE to me is really new. Maybe part of my problem is that I dont believe that I personaly could be anything special - thinking about some of my BF's ex girlfriends and ex-flings - they were beautiful, wealthy, and "ready to go" (have sex whenever however) and here I am the "late bloomer" from a poor alcoholic home and fighting a bit of a weight problem at the current time...

It certainly sounds like my abuse history and his are just kind of converging like a "perfect storm" sometimes and right now I"m having a lot of emotional pain. Any insight on your experiences with how you feel about your partner vs. when you were acting out I think might help. That it is truly possible to separate acting out from true intimacy.....

I really appreciate your responses on here. The questions I ask you guys are really helpful as it is not possible for me to ask these kinds of questions to my BF as he is still putting all the pieces together and sometimes opening this topic up just opens up the whole trauma over again for him - something I dont want to do to him.

Thanks in advance...


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#67198 - 07/30/03 12:19 PM Re: difficult question
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
PAS

I do think each relationship is different, but I believe that sexual pleasure is merely a byproduct of the happiness of being in relationship. It is not the source of happiness. [this might beg the question "What is happiness"]

It is extremely difficult to be in a relationship with one who was not awakened naturally to the experience of sexuality. For those of us whose sexual experienced was induced, finding peace in sexual relationship is a difficult as trying to un-ring a bell. You are very courageous and compassionate for investing so much of your own life in this person who is struggling to come to terms with this aspect of his life.

That's all that comes to mind right now, but I am sure others, particularly the guys in relationships such as yours, will have a great deal to share about their experiences.

May all be well with you,

Ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#67199 - 07/30/03 07:44 PM Re: difficult question
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
PAS
My acting out was with other men, giving bj's to strangers was my speciality.

But it was as though I was standing alongside watching someone else do it, he just looked like me that's all.

"Acting out" includes all manner of things from using porn, to homosexual acts and heterosexual sex, compulsive masturbation....the list goes on I expect.
It's more to do with a vain attempt to re-live the abuse on our terms than just having promiscuous sex.

It's something that's driven from within us, for me it was unstoppable once I'd started. And I know how much of a cop out that sounds. But to me it was an addiction to the fantasies, the adreniline rush I could create from them, and then the ultimate rush from the very unsafe cruising I used to do.
The adreniline high I used to get is unbeateable. I still fear it when my old behaviours poke their heads above the wall.
But I've gone 6 years now, so I know how to deal with it.

The sex was awful, because it was such a small part of the whole experience for me. I never let the other guys bring me to orgasm, or even touch me.
Acting out is a mind thing, not a sexual thing.
It manifests itself in sexual ways, but it's driven elsewhere.

Sex after acting out, with a partner we love, is a different thing altogether.
I struggle to have sex with love, I can't make the connection easily, but there's no reason why it has to be that way. I'm working on it.

I think practice is the answer ;\)

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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#67200 - 07/30/03 10:46 PM Re: difficult question
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Thanks Dave,

I really needed to hear this:

Quote:
I struggle to have sex with love, I can't make the connection easily, but there's no reason why it has to be that way. I'm working on it.

I think practice is the answer



_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#67201 - 07/30/03 11:29 PM Re: difficult question
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
PAS - You ask a very important question that I will try to explain. I was abused by both male and female perps from 5 through 13 years old. When I was 12 and 13 I had multiple partners of both sexes. My parents always caught me with the girls never with guys. They made me vow to stop embarrassing them with girls (no sex!). I agreed and made the vow never to have sex with girls. For the next 9 years I was exclusively homosexual. During a wedding when I was 22, I met a bridesmaid. I had vowed to my parents to stop sex with girls (they had no idea [NO CLUE] I was having gay sex with 10-15+ guys}. That bridesmaid and I talked and found good companionship. As we continued seeing each other, I began having feelings for her and she for me. As time continued, we formed a very close intimate emotional relationship. Today, she is my wife of 33 years. The sex I had before meeting her is no comparison to the emotional and intimate life we share together. I had one slip about 27 years ago (with a guy) which we worked through and I have been faithful to her since.

Yes, there is a vast difference when I make love to the woman I love, have deep emotional and physical feelings for. I can understand, perhaps, what your bf is saying. In all those years I felt no real compulsion to cheat on her because we have what I can not begin to find anywhere else. All sex before her was void of any real attachment...without meaning.

Today we share in the lives of our three children - a girl (married now) and 2 boys living at home. There are absolutely no regrets but a long fulfilled life with my wife.

I hope this has given you some answers and hope to you. Questions? PM me and I'll try to share more.

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#67202 - 07/31/03 01:58 AM Re: difficult question
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
PAS, you've gotten some great answers here. I can't offer anything much relating to your main question, but I did want to respond to your comment:

ďMaybe part of my problem is that I donít believe that I personally could be anything special - thinking about some of my BF's ex girlfriends and ex-flings - they were beautiful, wealthy, and "ready to go" (have sex whenever however) and here I am the "late bloomer" from a poor alcoholic home and fighting a bit of a weight problem at the current time...Ē

You compare yourself to these rich, beautiful women & question what you have to offer. I have been feeling the same things with my bf/ex's family. I was good friends with his sister & felt that we had a sincere, open, caring relationship. She basically 'dumped' me as a friend when I distanced myself from a mutual friend who I realized wasn't a friend to me at all. She used me & pretended that she cared, but she put me down & used me socially to climb up her own version of a ladder of success.

Both women are beautiful, model for fashion shows & local tv ads, come from privileged backgrounds & education & appear to be really 'desirable'.

I felt insecure for a while, like I wasnít good enough because I donít operate the way they do & I got dumped. However, my bf/ex recently did an inventory of the people he felt he could rely on in his life. They both were in the 'no' column. That was a real wake-up call for me.

The package doesn't tell you anything about what is inside. My so-called 'friends' are working hard to climb the social 'success' ladder. They both use their sexuality as part of that climb. I donít like to judge peopleís choices sexually because there are a lot of differing views and attitudes about sex that can be healthy, and many unhealthy choices are part of a deeper dysfunction that deserves compassion, not judgment. My own capacity for intimacy & caring is something that I have protected throughout my life because it is a precious gift that I am fortunate enough to share with the people closest to me. It is something that not only do I offer them, but that gives me a great sense of self-worth, comfort & meaning in my life through that sharing. To confuse that with those externals is really selling yourself short!

I don't mean to say that there aren't beautiful rich sincere caring people out there. But those external things are only that -- external. They might be attractive on a superficial level, but who would YOU want holding your hand when you were dealing with your life's difficulties? Whose eyes do you want to gaze into? And why would you choose that for a life-long partner when those things can leave as easily as they appear?

Thinking about the situation with my bf/ex & his sister, I came to see the parallels in his difficulties in being close to me & her choices in friends. I realized that she is just as afraid as he is to rely on people because of the family issues. She chose the friend that would help her network & fundraise for some projects she is involved in, and she didnít even have to make a choice at all! I never asked her to. I donít think she understands that people can care for you long term & that it isnít an exchange or mutual use situation. There are no Ďclubí rules, just personal choices. I feel so lucky to have had true friends in my life Ė who I havenít seen for years but who came across the country when I was depressed to stay with my for a while & make sure I was OK. Who cares what they look like?! They gain weight, lose weigh, get jobs, lose jobs, have money & success, divorce & trouble, and through it all they are my friends & I am theirs.

My ex-husband, for all of our difficulties, would be at my door if I really had a life/death problem & I asked him to come & he lives in another country!

Those are the people you learn to appreciate ESPECIALLY if you have the opportunity to compare. In a way, it is almost a good thing because you are with someone who will never say that he wonders what it is like with someone else. He knows & he is choosing to be with you. That is an educated choice. I donít advocate sleeping around for those reasons, but given the facts of his experience you actually can move forward with the knowledge that this man shares something truly meaningful with you. And he knows that.

Sorry if I ranted on this Ė it is currently one of my hot-button topics. I hate to see anyone questioning their worth the way I did for a while during this process. I was really hurt & wondered what was wrong with me. Then I looked around at who was staying & who was leaving & realized that I donít want to be a social climber. I donít want to go to charity events & hob-nob with the so-called do-gooders. I am involved on a more grass-roots level in things that matter to me & I might not be the one to get you that ride on a private jet & a $50,000 check for your project, but Iím the kind of person that will help someone believe that they can do whatever they set out to accomplish & that you donít have to sleep with someone to get itÖ.

OK, you get the point. I defer to the survivors to relay their experience about acting out & sexual intimacy. But if you worry about this side of things, let me know Ė Iíve got lots more stories about beautiful, sophisticated, sexually available women & it does not serve as a recommendation for pursuing that lifestyle.

Look in the mirror Ė I bet you ARE beautiful!

-BB.


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#67203 - 07/31/03 03:07 PM Re: difficult question
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi all - thanks so much for your posts...

I do tend to worry about BOTH sides of this issue - both the fact that my BF has acted out and used sex as a way to "feel better" about himself, AND that he has also had sex in more committed relationships with beautiful/wealthy women.. (also my BF is drop dead gorgeous and I KNOW that many women have and continue to find him very desirable - yipes) and that he *still* struggles with sexual and emotional intimacy and closeness and trust.. even with me.. it just scares the hell out of me sometimes.

I guess I just figured that with a history of SA he'd be totally one way or another - that he seemed to waffle between an attempt at a sex within a committed relationship and then acting out with casual sex just confuses me. And scares me. And I dont know why. Its like I have to understand why why WHY WHY!!! But then I wonder WHY do I need to know why? And why is it so painful? And why can't I just let this drop?? Is it my own bad experiences with a few men in my past who used me for sex that is making this all the more painful? Do I somehow see him in those men? And those men in him? (In this era of sexual politics and relationship games who's to say if what I went through could be considered sexual abuse.. who knows...)

All of this fear and inability to understand on my side combined with my own abuse issues.. all of this is just combining together at the current time to create a very painful emotional bomb... having a hard time sleeping and eating this week, and thinking about anything BUT my boyfriend's sexual history, for some bizarro reason yet again after I have spent a lot of time and money and effort to wrestle with is rearing its ugly head yet again. This is just so damn painful I want it to just go away!!!!

So.. in yet another attempt to figure out what the hell this all means... I made an appointment with a centre here in my City - the sexual abuse and childhood trauma centre - perhaps there is a T there who could help me figure all of this out.

Blah.. this is so confusing. Not just one thing, or another, like a billion things all combining to make one painful mess in my heart right now.


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#67204 - 07/31/03 03:33 PM Re: difficult question
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi - Thanks so much for this reply too - I guess part of this confuses me though:

Quote:
Originally posted by Sans Logos:
PAS

I do think each relationship is different, but I believe that sexual pleasure is merely a byproduct of the happiness of being in relationship. It is not the source of happiness.

This I can understand - and for me in my past with other boyfriends I can understand that others (even me) have had previous sexual relationships - but what starts to confuse me is comprehending my bf's sexual experiences when he was NOT in a relationship and under NOT happy circumstances.

Quote:

It is extremely difficult to be in a relationship with one who was not awakened naturally to the experience of sexuality. For those of us whose sexual experienced was induced, finding peace in sexual relationship is a difficult as trying to un-ring a bell.

Could that explain his total confusion and inability to understand totally what his motives were for a lot of his sexual experiences?


Quote:



You are very courageous and compassionate for investing so much of your own life in this person who is struggling to come to terms with this aspect of his life.

Thanks - I am not so sure that i always have the goods to do so - I try really hard as I do love my BF but I do have my own issues that make it hard.. (see my other reply)...


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#67205 - 07/31/03 05:38 PM Re: difficult question
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2258
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
(In this era of sexual politics and relationship games who's to say if what I went through could be considered sexual abuse.. who knows...)
PAS,

I know that one. Who is you.

If you believe what happened was abuse, it was.

Can you take heart in the fact that your boyfriend is making the "struggle with intimacy and sex" so he can be with you, and not for any of the beautiful/wealthy/whatever others?

Joe

_________________________
"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 unbrokenÖ"óThe Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67206 - 07/31/03 08:18 PM Re: difficult question
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
PAS
Who's hand does he hold, who's eyes does he look into when he smiles ?

Personally I think it's more of a 'girlie thing' ( excuse the sexism ) worrying about old flames.

My wife gives me the death stare at just the mention of their names. Her old flames ? I couldn't care less...

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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