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Recovering Sexual Desire

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IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 14:33 PM

First off - Today is exactly 1 year from DDay. I am doing good. It wasn't as bad as I expected but that's probably cause my relationship has changed so much in the past year. I am grateful that we are both working towards... a better life together.

We have sifted through alot and are doing better but one issue that keeps coming up in sexual desire. My wife has some serious hang ups with sex. Not just with me but sex in general. She doesn't like it. Nothing turns her on. She can't even turn herself on. Literally I think she would be happy maybe having sex once a month if that. Couple things she said that resonates with me "I used to use sex to keep you around when you were neglecting our marriage" "It was the only thing we had. No Emotional Connection or quality time together only sex for years" "When I was young I viewed sex as a wreckless act to rebell from my parents and church" I read an article on Marriage Builders about this and I was wondering if anyone else has had issues recovering desire after long marital issues and an affair? WS are welcome to post. I was wondering if the affair psychologically impacts this as well?

She claims her A wasn't about sex. For her it was more emotional which led to sex and she felt obligated to it. She says that even in the A sex wasn't something that she enjoyed. She used it to keep him around too.

We both want a healthy marriage. She is working on this but tells me it will take baby steps and to be patient (Which I feel I have been extremely patient)

ladies_first posted 8/20/2013 15:55 PM

David Schnarch says eroticism is “the pursuit and delight in sexual pleasure.”

In his book "Erotic Mind," Jack Morin talks about PEAK erotic experiences.

Attitudes for self-discovery:
I’ve consistently observed that venturing into the erotic realm is dramatically more rewarding for those who, right from the start, make a point of learning how to:
1. suspend judgments: the most emotionally charged judgments arise from moral convictions. Many people experience a similar visceral discomfort when their erotic experiences don’t match their expectations, or when they realize that what truly excites them conflicts with their ideals.
2. trust themselves: erotic self-discovery will be infinitely easier and more rewarding if you can find and nurture even a small spark of faith in yourself.
3. use a gentle approach: because few of us are free to express our unfolding eroticism openly, hiding the truth — even from myself — begins as an act of primitive self-preservation.

You say she's at once a month now. I would gently say that you expecting "much, much more" than that is only going to leave you disappointed.

roses303 posted 8/20/2013 16:48 PM

As a BW who has similar problems with desire, I can tell you this is not easy on her either. It is very difficult to get to the root of the issue especially when a good portion of society doesn't get it. It is just assumed that everyone likes sex. How could someone not when it is so pleasurable to so many.

One thing that might help is to both read The Sex Starved Marraige. While the issues between WH and myself are not in any way solved, the book has lent us great insights into what the other is feeling and made us appreciate our differences in a non emotional manner. WH had never really understood what was going on with me and assumed that all issues were a reflection of my feelings for him, on the other hand. I now understand that he wasn't just a horndog. he saw sex as equalling love.

Talking about it the other day he had a huge revelation. He always talked about how good sex felt while we were having it. I explained that it was hard for me because sometimes I didn't feel much of anything and it made me resentful. All of a sudden he said "damn that must be like going out to dinner and not being able to eat anything while the person you are with spends the whole time gushing about how amazing the food is". Bingo. It isn't easy. But through these insights we are working to find what works for us. It will take compromises on both parts though.

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 17:00 PM

Thanks for the responses. It is a really difficult topic for us. I feel like it is a lose lose for me. I don't ever walk away from these conversations with her feeling better. I actually feel worse for bringing it up. I feel like maybe I expect too much but 2 weeks go by and I feel myself getting sexually frustrated.

Physical intimacy is my primary love language. I totally link that to feeling loved. I am really trying to meet all of her emotional needs. I do it without any expectations (I especially dont expect sex out of it). Our MC gave us a book but she never wants to read it. She tells me baby steps that she is working on it within herself. I don't want to put added presure. I offered taking a month or 2 break from sex completely. She felt it wasn't healthy. I don't know. Our marriage is getting so much better in other aspects. This is seriously more difficult topic for us to talk about than her A and my emotional abandonment.... We love each other but are frustrated. It also impact us having fun and totally causes us both to withdrawl. SUCKS!!!

I guess part of my expectations for reconciliation is that we would build a much more fulfilling relationship in all aspects. This has been problematic for me for years....

LonelySilhouette posted 8/20/2013 17:10 PM

I am no expert in these matters, but isn't this something she should/could talk to a doctor (or sex therapist) about? It could be something medical?

[This message edited by LonelySilhouette at 5:10 PM, August 20th (Tuesday)]

Rebreather posted 8/20/2013 17:14 PM

she is working on it within herself

I would be leery of this in any wayward. How exactly is she going about this?

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 17:25 PM

How exactly is she going about this?

You got me... She has talked to her sister about it and she sent some articles to read up on. If she did I don't know about it.

Honestly, I am not leery that she is cheating on me. She has been an open book. I am leery about her sexual attraction to me. Maybe she just isn't into me... I told her last night sex wasn't a problem in the beginning of our relationship (after kids it started to decline and as we had more marital problems less and less frequent) and sex wasn't an issue for you during your affair. She told me it was different than I think. We are going to talk tonight at MC. She claims she didn't enjoy sex during her affair and used it to keep him around. She was more attached to the emotional connection (I find that hard to believe).

I see my satisfaction in reconciliation linked to our sexual relationship. When we are having sex I feel loved and appreciated and whole. Weeks go by and in comes doubt. It sucks.

Rebreather posted 8/20/2013 17:28 PM

Yeah, if she isn't exploring it in IC or with a sex therapist, I would be dissatisfied. While the sex issues can be complex and complicated, waywards tend to want to push back on all kinds of self work. I would raise my expectations, if it were me.

The part about sex being rebellious part of her youth really makes me think she has unhealthy connections and needs a professional to help her work through them.

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 17:34 PM

The part about sex being rebellious part of her youth really makes me think she has unhealthy connections and needs a professional to help her work through them.

She definitely has unhealthy connections with sex 1st rebelling from her parents and religion and 2nd Using it as a tool to keep men around. She claims for years that is what she did in our marriage and now with her AP she claims to have used it to keep the affair going so he wouldn't emotionally leave her. But she has to discover this on her own. I have found I can't force her to see these things lol

Rebreather posted 8/20/2013 17:37 PM

Yes, but you can require her to work on it more actively and with a professional in order to remain in a relationship with you.

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 17:39 PM

Yes, but you can require her to work on it more actively and with a professional in order to remain in a relationship with you
This is true. I will talk at MC tonight. Thanks rebreather!!!

ladies_first posted 8/20/2013 17:40 PM

There are 5 stages of change:
1. Precontemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware or underaware of their problems.
2. Contemplation is the stage in which people are aware that a problem exists and are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet made a commitment to take action.
3. Preparation is a stage that combines intention and behavioral criteria. Individuals in this stage are intending to take action in the next month and have unsuccessfully taken action in the past year.
4. Action is the stage in which individuals modify their behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome their problems. Action involves the most overt behavioral changes and requires considerable commitment of time and energy.
5. Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action. For addictive behaviors this stage extends from six months to an indeterminate period past the initial action.

MC gave us a book but she never wants to read it. She tells me baby steps that she is working on it within herself.
She could be anywhere 1-2-3 ... but you are chomping at the bit for ACTION, 4.

Ask her where she is, internally.

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 17:51 PM

Ask her where she is, internally
she has been at 2-3. She told me she is aware this is an issue in December and would go get her hormones checked. Now its August still no action. Same problem keeps coming up in our relationship. Yep I am striving for ACTION. I have made so many changes to promote a healthier relationship... You have no idea

Kelany posted 8/20/2013 19:18 PM

Is she able to orgasm through sex?

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/20/2013 19:29 PM

Is she able to orgasm through sex?
Yes both oral and penetration. Some positions hurt since the kids but we don't use those ones.

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/21/2013 10:47 AM

I came back to post an update. Thanks everyone for your replies. I hope this helps anyone else feeling the way i do. We went to MC last night. It was a great session. Almost like a light went off in my W. My W was saying sex just felt like a ton of pressure. The she feels pressure to do it more an feels guilty when she doesn't want it and I do. Our MC told her the having sex is a choice and told her to focus on the fact that she owns her body completely and she has the choice what she wants to do with it. She can say no and isn't responsible for my emotions. He said a bunch of things. but the concept of her owning her own body totally hit a nerve with her. She just lit up like a weight was lifted off her shoulder. Weird stuff honestly. We had an awesome fun date after MC and awesome sex later in the night.

Rebreather posted 8/21/2013 10:57 AM

I'm glad the session went well. Just consider it a start, not the end, ok?

IGaveItMyAll posted 8/21/2013 11:18 AM

For sure. MC reminded us this is not a quick issue to work on and get past but we will work on it together to get us both where we want to be. But it opened the table where my W and I can at least talk about sex. Seriously that is the one topic we struggle with.

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