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#67211 - 08/01/03 11:26 AM Why is sex so important?
newcanuck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Sorry guys, here I am AGAIN, with a lot more doubts and questions ...

Why is sex so important for you guys? Really, I’m having a hard time in understanding this … specially for SA survivors, when “sex learning” came from abuse, it would be reasonable to think that sex was not that important.

My bf and I are going through the worst time in our relationship. It seems that the only problem he thinks he has is that he cannot have sex with me. After so many years of abuse, you can expect all kinds of problems, but noooo … his only problem is that he cannot “perform” and it’s now an obsession. He suffers from frequent nightmares, hates having his body touched (but asks me all the time to touch him), appears to suffer from depression, has obvious problems of trusting in people, has NOBODY in his life but me, a lot of fears and obsessions, is very insecure, and there is so much more going on, that his “sexual inability” seems completely irrelevant. Maybe not irrelevant, but it’s not the biggest of his problems for sure.

His emphasis on sex is way too strong, it seems that all his being comes from having sex. When I say NO to another attempt, it becomes a battle almost; he is so intent on having sex that it feels like it becomes his mission. He claims that it’s not only about sex, it’s about physical closeness. However, we are physically close; we just don’t have sex! He has tried everything, we have tried everything, but it will not work while he DOES NOT GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. I say that to him all the time, but it’s as I’m talking to a wall. It’s so sad, his issues resurface every time, and he always pushes me away. I understand this is a result of his abuse, but how does that make me feel, being “rejected” so many times?

He says that he feels we are just roommates without the sexual side. And I was like … what? I don’t have the sexual side too and I don’t seem him as my roommate at all … what about the love he says he feels for me? Every time I try to talk to him about sex, he shuts me out, he knows it’s a problem but he is not ready to deal with it so, he just want to have sex, not working out the problem. I’ve told him at least a hundred times that he is in NO WAY responsible for anything that happened, he should be VERY proud of his courage just to keep living.

Last night, we had a very serious conversation about his behavior, his refusal to seek out professional help, its effects in our relationship. I’m trying hard to make it work, but in his view, it will work only when we are regularly sexual. I don’t understand, after all he went through, I would expect him to not want any sex … I don’t even think he likes sex, his abuse was pretty awful. After this conversation, he became so needy, very kissy and huggy … and then he thought everything was all right, but here I was...nothing had changed to me since the discussion. I told him last night that he needs to chill out; his seemingly "mission" is very uncomfortable for me. What a HUGE mistake to say that, he said that he just wanted to have a sex life and make love to the woman he loves, the last thing he wanted was to act like a rapist! Oh my God, I had to spend the whole night convincing him that I NEVER meant that, that I don’t think he molests me at all.

I’ve told him that I have to LEARN how to deal with his abuse, that I love him and just want to do the right things to help him through this. It’s hard for me to know how to relate to what has happened to him, he has so much buried deep inside him … how should I act? May I touch him or is that threatening? How do I handle triggers during intimate contact, when he "shuts off" completely?

Any advices?


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#67212 - 08/01/03 11:48 AM Re: Why is sex so important?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2258
Loc: Maryland USA
Eve,

I think you may both need to slow down a little.

Therapy helps a lot of guys. It helps me, for sure. But just getting therapy is no guarantee that healthy sexual functioning as part of intimacy is suddenly possible. Be careful about setting expectations, because working through this stuff can (not must, but can) take a long time, with different levels of success in different aspects of recovery at different times.

See, it's really simple. \:\)

Your story sounds so much like my relationship with my wife. I remember how I hounded her because I wanted to "try" again, to see if I could avoid the flashbacks.

Why is sex important? Well, humans are sexual creations. Our sexuality is part of our physical and mental make up. And it was turned against us as a weapon. It was taken from us and used against us. We want it back.

Sorry. I'll keep it to "me and I."

I want it back. But I don't have a frame of reference, or I didn't, for healthy expression of love through sexuality. My sexuality is part of my humanity, but I don't know how to claim it as my own. I want it, so I can share it with my wife. But it was deformed into something ugly, or so it appears. I have to get to the point where I recognize it as mine, as a good part of me, before I'll be able to share it as a gift. As long as it appears so ugly, I'll have problems with it. As long as I'm human, it'll be part of me.

I'm not sure any of this help you, but I think I learned something about myself while writing it. Thanks for that.

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 unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67213 - 08/01/03 03:43 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Interesting question...

I think in general being sexual with one's partner and "pleasing them" sexually is a big deal for guys, SA or not. Its weird for women to understand this - not sure why - perhaps guys are just hard-wired the way they are that being able to have sex is a big deal and if they aren't having it or they're not good at it that there's something wrong (this concept of "not being a REAL man unless you're a serious stud in the bedroom is definitely very reinforced by culture/society). I have had a few relationships (some serious and some not so) before my BF where SA was not a factor, and some of those guys even were VERY concerned about their "performance", whether they pleased me, etc. They did really look at their abilities in the bedroom as one way to develop and build self-esteem.

So take that issue, and combine it with the trauma of SA - and you get a really stressful and emotionaly charged situation. While I can't say for sure, perhaps your BF is feeling that sex with you is not only a way to keep you but perhaps a way to work through his SA? Like maybe if he finally has sex with someone in a "normal" and non abusive way that he will start to get over his pain? And the fact that he can't do it is just putting him in a really painful paradox? Just a guess...

I totally agree with you that it would seem logical that for someone who's been through SA that they might not even want to have sex. However I'm learning over time that the whole SA issue is just NOT logical - and dont forget even if you are sexually abused people still have sexual urges - its natural for people to be attracted to others and want to form relationships and to have sex - its just what is done with those urges and desires (stuffed inside? acted out?) that is so baffling to those of us who have not suffered from SA.

From what I'm learning, some people like your BF totally refrain from sex altogether after SA. Others go the other way - my BF is an example - he rushed into sex (and drugs and alcohol) as soon as possible after his SA (he was abused as a teenager) and he has stated to me that he has used sex (and drugs and alcohol) as a way to try and forget the abuse - to find some comfort, to get over the pain, be accepted, to be "approved", to prove to himself he wasn't gay (he was abused by a man), a whole lot of reasons (and each time a sexual relationship broke up he got back into another one asap). To me - this behaviour is equally baffling as your BF's current dilemma - I wonder the same things that you do WHY would my BF, as a SA survivor, even *want* to have sex (and especially in ways that are unhealthy and risky and guaranteed to cause more guilt and pain and shame??)

Anyhow I am not an expert on this and I certainly hope that I have not spoken out of line being a non-survivor and trying to help answer this - I have just come to these conclusions from discussions I've had with my BF and the things he's said about his past relationships and non-relationship sexual encounters - that it certainly sounds like for my BF, getting sex has been a REALLY big deal. Sex had to have been a HUGE deal for him to have violated his morals and beliefs (we had a big chat about compatibility regarding morals and beliefs last night) and compromise himself in many ways just to "get it"!

Wow - just like the previous post - in writing this I think I have learned something valuable about my BF... a way not to be so scared of his past and put it into perspective... but that's a post for another day and another thread.

Hope this helps. It has helped me just to write this.


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#67214 - 08/01/03 03:49 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Outis/Joe - I really am glad that you posted these lines:

Quote:



...Humans are sexual creations. Our sexuality is part of our physical and mental make up. And it was turned against us as a weapon. It was taken from us and used against us. We want it back....

....I don't have a frame of reference, or I didn't, for healthy expression of love through sexuality. My sexuality is part of my humanity, but I don't know how to claim it as my own....

....it was deformed into something ugly, or so it appears...

...As long as it appears so ugly, I'll have problems with it.

Not only did your post help you, these particular quotes have helped me see my BF and his scary past with less fear and more compassion. Which is what he is emphatically asking me to try and do.

Again, thank you.


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#67215 - 08/01/03 07:27 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2258
Loc: Maryland USA
PAS,

Wow, thanks. And I was thinking the best thing about it was I hadn't compulsively gone back to fix the typo. \:D

Seriously, thanks. It feels good to think I helped.

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 unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67216 - 08/01/03 09:22 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
While I can't say for sure, perhaps your BF is feeling that sex with you is not only a way to keep you but perhaps a way to work through his SA? Like maybe if he finally has sex with someone in a "normal" and non abusive way that he will start to get over his pain? And the fact that he can't do it is just putting him in a really painful paradox? Just a guess...
I think this is probably as close as it gets, the abusers took away all our 'normal' sexual references and left us with their distorted ones.
And then, all we have to do to cure ourselves is have 'normal' sex.

But we worry so much about having 'normal' sex, as seen on TV and movies, and hyped up constantly by the media, that we invariably fail to reach these dizzy heights.
And we know that we're going to fail before we start, so why bother.

But to cure myself all I need to do is .............

Been there, doing that.

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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#67217 - 08/01/03 09:45 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
martin Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 229
Loc: The Good Earth
Eve,

Sex is a strange and complicated thing. We are "hard-wired" even from birth to have some level of sexuality.

I've been reading about it lately to try to unserstand my own sexual compulsions.

Ken Singer real shed some light on the subject of sexual compulsion in one of my threads. He said -- and its just my interpretation as I am no expert-- that the act of being sexually stimulated beyond the childs developmental level becomes a very powerful experience. Later in life he tries to "act out" in an attempt to understand or control that experience.

I don't know if your bf has had any sexually compulsive behaviors but many SA survivors do. It is ironic. Probably because like Joe said we all are sexual creatures its just that survivors of SA at such a young age have had this powerful experience. Many even become sexually aroused against their will during the experience. That would add to the confusion and hurt.

Think a lot of guys do feel that it part of their role to please their wives/gf's sexually. Men are supposed to always be ready sexually.

It takes a lot patience and love to deal with a loved one's SA. I respect you and PAS immensely for having that.

Remember to show yourselves the same patience and love.

Take Care,

Aaron

Joe,

I always have to back and fix my typos too. \:D

I can let a few of go, just a few \:D

_________________________
Its times like these we learn to live again,
Its times like these we give & give again,
Its times like these we learn to love again,
Its times like these time & time again.
-The Foo Fighters

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#67218 - 08/02/03 12:29 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
FocusM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/03
Posts: 1
Loc: USA
Hi Eve and all,

I think some of the myths of our culture contribute to the "obsession". Observe portrayals of male/female interactions and notice the emphasis on the "physical prowess". Unfortunately, most of happens between real human beings seems to be relational, which is perceived to be the female domain, which "normal" guy fears to enter, which compicates matters. How do you relate to a man who has been thought that relating is a feminine thing and beneath any man?

That is why it seems to take forever for men to discover they have feelings, and longer yet to figure out what to do with them, once the panic subsides a bit. In a sense, it is so much easier to strive for "technical correctness in performance". It must be the ultimate irony of nature that great performances are usually tied to emotional engagement. What a visious circle!

Having been raised in a more relational environment, women may not understand that action and performance is what guys identify with. That is how the score is kept on the male side. No percormance, you lose. What guy can live with that? As PAS said, combine that with CSA and the confusin plus low self-esteem that that carries, and no wonder that obsession can set in quickly. The stress can be unbearable.

For SA survivals sexual behavior can also be a way to act out (to varying degree) what they find impossible to put into words. Behavior is like a whole new language one has to learn. And when it all gets to be to much, the flight instinct can set in with a justification that it is for the partner's good.

It certainly is a complicated life and as Joe said it can take a long time to go through it. It takes a serious commitment on SA survivor part and anyone else in their life.

Best wishes,
FocusM


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#67219 - 08/02/03 03:52 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
Freedom Offline
Member

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

It seems that everything in SA is sexualized in some complicated ways. It seems that a lot of work is required to understand that process. A lot of work and lots of pain. The key seems to be willingness to go through the pain.

It takes a lot of courage to face the pain. It takes lots of courage to be there for someone who want to face it.

Peace,
Freedom

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#67220 - 08/05/03 10:47 AM Re: Why is sex so important?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Lloydy:
Quote:


I think this is probably as close as it gets, the abusers took away all our 'normal' sexual references and left us with their distorted ones.
And then, all we have to do to cure ourselves is have 'normal' sex.

But we worry so much about having 'normal' sex, as seen on TV and movies, and hyped up constantly by the media, that we invariably fail to reach these dizzy heights.
And we know that we're going to fail before we start, so why bother.

But to cure myself all I need to do is .............

My BF totally confirmed this with me - I had a chat about this with my BF this weekend...

In my attempt to understand him and not be afraid of his past, we did delve into his sexual history some more - and he said to me sex scared him and that he knew he had a problem with it, and that he believed the problem with sex that he had was that he wasn't having any and that if he just had sex then he'd be OK. And after a few broken hearts with girlfriends he couldnt handle emotional intimacy, which is why in between his relationships he sought out sex with little committment or emotional ties. But then his morals kicked in and he realized that a) this was wrong for him and b) he couldnt handle this so he bailed. He even broke a few hearts doing this and he still struggles with that.

Man - my mother hen instinct kicks in when I hear all of this - I just want to hold my BF and let him cry on me until he can't find the tears anymore... I wish I could make it all better for him. Hopefully being in a relationship where things are healthy and we are growing and both dealing with our abuse and moving forward and defining what exactly we want and developing boundaries that are to be respected he will be able to heal. And hopefully I can heal too.

I think what is the hardest for me is to realize that this whole SA recovery for him is still such a problem. Other than his anger problems with me (which I have seen in other relationships and which can be caused by other things) I never realized that he was still battling with this issue. He is so good at making things look so smooth and so calm that it is a surprise that this is still so painful for him. He seems to be functioning so well that it is such a surprise that this is so hard for him, and that even as recent as 5 years ago (3 years before we met) he was struggling so hard that he still was seeking out sex-without-commitment. But then again I guess a lot can happen in 3 years.. a lot of healing can happen.


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#67221 - 08/05/03 10:59 AM Re: Why is sex so important?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by outis:
PAS,

Wow, thanks. And I was thinking the best thing about it was I hadn't compulsively gone back to fix the typo. \:D

Seriously, thanks. It feels good to think I helped.

Joe
You are helping so much because sometimes I can't discuss this with my BF. He is still dealing with things, and the issue is gaining more seriousness in his and my lives because he is in the process of prosecuting his perp (latest notice - within six months he will likely be testifying - eesh but that's another post for another day...).

Your point of view makes it seem that my BF is NOT, by his history, some scary sex-crazed woman-user (I've been used, I've been burnt, I'm very skittish), but someone who has reacted in the past, in a very typical way to a very painful experience!


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#67222 - 08/05/03 11:27 AM Re: Why is sex so important?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by martin:

It takes a lot patience and love to deal with a loved one's SA. I respect you and PAS immensely for having that.
While I may be patient and loving with respect to my BF's SA, my BF is not the only scarred and hurt one. It also takes a lot of patience and love for my BF to love me - a verbally and emotionally abandoned/traumatized woman who has issues with OCD, anxiety and depression. We help each other.


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#67223 - 08/05/03 08:33 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
PAS
Quote:
which is why in between his relationships he sought out sex with little committment or emotional ties. But then his morals kicked in and he realized that a) this was wrong for him and b) he couldnt handle this so he bailed. He even broke a few hearts doing this and he still struggles with that.
Oh boy - does this hit a nerve.

Sex without intimacy............

is this why I can't kiss, cuddle and caress while having sex ?

is it why I can't talk, and say "I love you" while making love ?

is it why I masturbate many more times than I'm intimate with my wife ?

is it why I feel afraid of initiating sex ?

I think the answer's "yes" - and I'm probably not the only one.

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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#67224 - 08/06/03 12:37 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
moo2 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 82
Loc: pottsboro,texas
This is a good thread!!! Keep it up!!!

My husband is a CSA survivor & right now he can not have sex. I believe that wanting sex & normal sex is completely normal. But being a CSA survivor distorts the view of sex.

In our life my hubby introduced me to S&M & other stuff because that is normal to him. Before our marrage he was a male prostitute in the Marines. Rough sex was his life.He was also scared that people could see that he was truly gay. {He never slept with a guy}

Right now is a differant story. No Sex at all & I just recently am sleeping in the same bed as my husband.
Sometimes I wish that I am having your problems of trying to have sex(Hubby touches me during sex, but not afterwards).
Right now we have to deal with what we can & what our mates/bf can handle at the time.

When I found out about my hubby's CSA & knew he needed to talk-I wanted to heal him quickly so life could move on. I became his therapist. For me this was a real bad move. I became just so extra emotional. My hubby now goes to group therapy 1 a week & this is better for our marrage.

I hope I have left you with some valuable things here & did not just babble.
Talk to you soon I hope.
WITH MUCH LOVE,
Kim


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#67225 - 08/06/03 03:57 PM Re: Why is sex so important?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by moo2:


He was also scared that people could see that he was truly gay. {He never slept with a guy}

However was your Hubby initially abused by a male? For my BF it was because his abuser was male that he figured one of the reasons this happened was because he was gay.

Quote:

When I found out about my hubby's CSA & knew he needed to talk-I wanted to heal him quickly so life could move on. I became his therapist. For me this was a real bad move. I became just so extra emotional. My hubby now goes to group therapy 1 a week & this is better for our marrage.
I totally agree. I am just not able to handle his news without me crying and that doesnt help things. I am also not able to handle knowing any more details of his prior sexual acting out (because then I have to spend days and weeks and months trying to accept and rationalize). Even his drug and alcohol abuse days are even hard for me to hear about.

I would rather have him go and work his crap out in a therapists office and then he can come home and we can go to a movie or something. Its not good for our relationship to wear ourselves out constantly trying to work on heavy emotions all the time. It happens from time to time but after awhile one or both of us just wants to do something else.


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