Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Staying sex positive after betrayal?

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

totalheartbreak posted 2/4/2014 12:13 PM

I'm relatively new here, so this may have been done before (why is there no search function?) so I apologize in advance if I rehash/repeat. I'm also completely open to being told I am completely wrong. Is it possible to remain sex positive after having been betrayed?? Have any of you?

Here is what is going on in my head:

I think the language sometimes used here, specifically regarding sex/PAs, may impede recovering/surviving the infidelity. While I am only a few months out, I feel there are sexist/shaming undertones that carry over into what could otherwise be productive interactions. Several of the books and articles I've read have started with definitions of terms as well as explicit discussion regarding why the author chose those terms. For example, infidelity vs. adultery vs. betrayal. etc...

In my experience, of the three main emotions (anger/sad/happy) anger is the biggest initial emotion I felt as a BS, followed by sadness. I believe anger is incredibly valid and important to feel. I believe the anger is healthy. I believe anger is the first step in recovering from and surviving the fallout of infidelity.
However, I am not good at expressing or dealing with my anger. I am in fact terrible at processing and expressing my anger. I do not like the person I am when I am angry and I am working on this.
In another post I confessed I frequently regress into a sarcastic (usually passive-aggressive) asshole. To say this impedes conversation is an understatement.
In my case, I am not violent but I frequently use my words to express the anger, and when/if motivated I try to twist my verbal knives to hurt more. My IC has referred to this as verbal aggression and verbal violence. To clarify, I do not threaten physical violence or damage but instead through IC, I've realized I try to impart the pain that I am feeling. To this end sometimes I will knowingly exploit my WWs internal fears. While it does indeed cause pain, instead of evoking empathy I get wrath and resentment.
I attach my anger to the words I choose during these periods.

My biggest regret during confrontation, was calling my WW a whore and I completely meant it when I said it.
She has and always has had extremely poor self esteem, and I did more damage with that one word than perhaps anything else I could have done. I regretted it immediately and I've apologized for it. Despite this, when we've fought she has stated "Whatever, I know you think I'm just a whore!" I finally stopped this by interrupting her during one of these tirades to inquire if money had actually changed hands. WW was temporarily stupefied by this and hasn't repeated it since. Whore is a derogatory noun for a prostitute. I do not believe my WW to be a prostitute. I wish I hadn't used the term. Slut is the other term that I see frequently used. It is a pejorative for woman who are sexual. I don't think a sexual woman is a bad thing. Both are sexist terms that have recently been adapted to address men as well (man-whore/man-slut). I believe these words still carry these undertones and they are especially multiplied when expressed with anger.
While I regret my word choice, I also know that it is entirely normal. I do not intend to shame those who have used derogatory words, especially in angry moments. I know everyone here is working on themselves. At this point for me, and in my opinion, holding on to and continuing to use these terms requires holding on to the anger behind them. If reconciliation is being pursued, I think this anger would be detrimental to forward progress.

My logic is this; Affair behavior if the WS was not already in a committed relationship is typically called 'dating.'
I was advised by friends, parents, siblings, acquaintances and even clergy to:
"Play the field," "See what's out there," "Sow my wild oats," etc...
These are simply socially accepted ways of saying date/sleep around.
If flirting causes road side fire crackers of dopamine and serotonin and all the other chemicals to be released, sex can be the full professional fireworks display.
And why not? Sex is fun, healthy and normal. Being a sexual being makes one human.
Sex is the closest people can get to each other and when trust is involved you can achieve true intimacy.
To that end, I do not think sex itself is wrong in any capacity.

Personally, I do not care what straight/bi/gay consenting adults do with one another.
I recognize there are open/polyamorous/monogamous/etc... and they are all types of relationships where people are cheated on.
Any relationship has to exist with communication and rules. If either is broken, so is the relationship.
To me, that is where the line is drawn. Informed consent. The lack of consent is what is killing me. The lack of honesty.
Numerous posters have come to say that the sex doesn't bother them, the deception does. I believe that is what I am realizing too.

My WW is not a whore. I do not wish to label her a slut either.
I want my WW to enjoy sex. I wanted her to enjoy it with me and I did my best to make that happen.
I do not condone what happened, nor am I trying to justify any of the affair behavior.
I do want to use more accurate words that actually highlight where my problems lie.
She is broken. She is a liar. She is a cheater. She is manipulative.
She is weak. She made horrible choices. She was incredibly reckless and lacked judgement.
She lost her integrity. She may be an addict. She has problems.

I think APs are likely the same. Perhaps I am far too optimistic...?

However, after the betrayal, how can I stay sex positive when sex itself has become a trigger? HB ended a while ago. We barely touch now.
If we R or D, I am concerned future relations will be affected.
I've realized if I stick to pejorative derogatory terms my WW will only hear my anger, and I won't move past it.
If I can say what I am actually feeling and pinpoint where my problems lie, we might be able to address them.
I apologize if I may have rattled off topic here; Is it possible to remain sex positive after having been betrayed?? Have any of you?

[This message edited by totalheartbreak at 6:56 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

painfulpast posted 2/4/2014 12:25 PM

Well, anger isn't a primary emotion. It's secondary. Your wife hurt you. To cover the pain, you become angry. Someone scares you. To hide that weakness that is fear, you become angry. As you start of with anger as a 'basic' emotion, I think that needs to be re-examined.

I'm not really certain what the rest of your post has to do with your question of remaining 'sex positive', which I assume means continuing to enjoy sex?

I will say this - over time the meaning of words change. a 'Whore' is no longer just a prostitute. Each person may have their own barometer of what makes someone a whore, but it doesn't mean prostitute any longer.

norabird posted 2/4/2014 12:35 PM

Interesting post. I will say that I have seen both OWs and WWs frequently referred to as sluts in many posts and it always gives me pause. Sex with women can so often become a way for them to be judged by other people, even when it's all above board. Of course in this case they have deeply hurt many people and so the anger is justified. But the slippery slope into the not very sex positive language does always seem troublesome to me. My exWBF actually called me a slut the last time he was confronted (comparing my behavior pre-relationship to his during, I suppose; classic minimalization), and it was very hurtful. I was the non-cheating party there so it was obviously him lashing out and very wrong; but if I had been the cheater, I still think it would have been sexist and over the line. The implications are just so large and there is so much cultural baggage in how sex and women are mingled. Yet I can understand the impulse to go there.

I don't have any advice but I think it is great that you are mindful of this. Staying aware is the best you can do.

Good luck.

sisoon posted 2/4/2014 13:27 PM

My system includes 4 or 5 feelings - mad, sad, glad, scared and maybe love. Any of the feelings can be masks for other feelings. For me, grief was my major feeling, followed sort of closely by anger, and some fear.

I think the way an emotion is expressed can be very impactful. It's one thing to call someone a whore. It's quite another to say 'I'm furious that you (did) ....'

The first attacks another person and evokes defense mechanisms. The 2nd shares something about yourself; it's not an attack, and it's less likely to evoke defenses. (After the revelations of an A, the 1st seems pretty normal, for a while; then, if R is to be a possibility, the 2nd way of expressing anger needs to take hold.)

I also tend to keep the Drama Triangle in mind. (Search the web on karpman drama triangle, since Karpman is the developer of the concept.) So maybe your W is genuinely distressed by being called a whore, but maybe she's feeling sorry for herself.

I think sex after betrayal and after HB may need a real sense of connection. I think both parties need to agree to work on their M or commit to R for sex to happen naturally.

And both partners need to start to heal for sex to happen.


painpaingoaway posted 2/4/2014 13:30 PM

Is it possible to remain sex positive after having been betrayed?? Have any of you?
Yes, absolutely, it is very possible to remain 'sex positive', (interesting term), after betrayal.

FWH and I have achieved that, and, here we are, years later, still 'sex positive'.

However, I do have to have to admit, that the road there was difficult initially. H gave me his sweeties STD, (I normally say 'whore' because, she was one). Repairing a marriage after that is a very VERY bitter pill to swallow. So, needless to say, initially, I was very 'sex negative' for quite a while.

Then, one day, I just decided that, you know what, why should I deny myself the comfort, and healing aspects of a healthy sex life because he was a temporarily insane idiot? I need sex, I want sex, and as long as there is proper remorse and positive steps toward R, why deny myself? (Of course while practicing safe sex, and continued STD testing).

We have both found it to be extremely healing, and at the risk of sounding corny, sex is the language of love, and communicating sexually can only help as long as BOTH partners are on board with it.

Just start with cuddling, massages, kissing, holding hands, romantic dinners, etc, and move on from there when it feels right.

msmaggiemags posted 2/4/2014 13:40 PM

So interesting that you wrote this and I came across it today. In 2005, after my WH initial A with a co-worker, we were not "sex positive" at all before the discovery of his A. When I found out about his A and having left him for a week, I could not get enough sex with him. Weird, I thought!! I think that for me personally I needed to be needed by him and to know that anything he ever felt for me wasn't in fact gone. Even this last time, we have had sex through it all. His A's are more about kibbles to his ego I think. Because we have always had a great sex life. Now, my feelings if I think with my head instead of my umm body are that am I rewarding him for his bad behavior by giving him the one thing that was always a great part of our M? But I can't stop. I want him to want me, and I in turn want him back. So strange and confusing.

justdoit posted 2/4/2014 13:44 PM

DDay was in May '09 and after several months of hysterical bonding I am still not "sex positive". It is something I am working on - but it isn't easy.

SpotlessMind posted 2/4/2014 17:43 PM

Fascinating post, THB. I've also pondered the tendency toward slut-shaming that arises in certain threads and it makes me sad, because slut-shaming is such a (IMO, incredibly hurtful) double standard.

I actually started typing up a post on that exact topic a few days ago, but stopped bc I feared I couldn't do it justice (yes, I have perfectionist issues--working on that! :). I've never considered the women my husband had sex with to be "sluts" or "whores." Morally challenged and broken? You bet.

I'm so glad you recognized how damaging the insult you used to hurt your WW might be, and that you've taken steps to remedy that hurt.

I think it's totally understandable that people have these kinds of thoughts about WW and OW--after all, this is the way society teaches us to think. But I also believe that when our society engages in character assassination based on holding an entire gender accountable to one standard of sexuality while giving the other gender a free pass, we ultimately contribute to the systemic shaming of women as sexual beings.

And I think that can play into unhealthy sexual dynamics in marriages, in many ways--the most obvious being men who seek OW to do things in the bedroom they couldn't dream of asking their wives (aka: Madonna/whore complex)

[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 5:45 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

BeautifulEmpty posted 2/5/2014 02:05 AM

I came from one of those very sex positive backgrounds which went south badly and became garden variety cheating.
At various times in this mess, I've been called a slut and honestly, if I were acting like didn't bother me in the slightest to be called one. I have a scarlet letter tattooed on my arm in memory of past times I'm not overly proud of.
I've called my H's OWs sluts and him a fucking fuck stick.'s ugly and uncouth and hardly sex positive but while my heart is laying on the floor in a pool of blood and it's his pretty, cruel mouth that has ripped it out...well...his behavior earned him my rage. My behavior earned me some rage in a previous life too. Just quit whining is my thought. Act like a slut, own it. Hopefully learn from it and graduate to something better but I'm done trying to not get angry and not call names when it feels so damned good to call it like I see it rather than pandering to not huwting their wittle baby feelers.
Sex my community this means celebrating all forms of sexuality expression...unfortunately, many of these people are completely boundary less. I know I sure was and I was trying to play by the rules. I cringe to even think about going back in there.
I'd like to pretend I am still that awesome, progressive person who still wishes you could legally be married to multiple people but after my own train wreck, I'd just be happy if people could figure out how to handle one relationship rather than clutter it with others.
As for sex positivity in a one on one relationship, well..yeah, it's an awesome thing to have. Unfortunately for me, my husband just can't conjure up a sexual encounter if I've upset him and am upset myself. Never mind I've said I need sexual closeness to help me through this stuff but I digress. He's doing the work in every other way so I'll quit my own whining.
I apologize if I completely missed the more enlightened point but those words trigger me like no tomorrow so you get emotions rather than logic.
That's okay though...I used up my logic tonight at dinner while debating as devil's advocate the difference between scientific theory and anecdotal ideas...surrounding evolution, god and all that in a public place with my mother (Pentecostal pastor) and my MIL (failed Jehovah's Witness). No logic left for you.

painpaingoaway posted 2/5/2014 07:04 AM

Sex my community this means celebrating all forms of sexuality expression

Ah ha. I had no idea that was an actual term. SI has educated me to so much!

I guess I need to go back and specify that I am 'sex positive' within the confines of a monogamous relationship.

As far as the issue over using words like slut and whore, I have no problem with. If someone behaves like a slut or whore, I have no problem calling a spade a spade, and yes, I consider someone that has sex with my husband to be a slut:

Definition of SLUT

chiefly British : a slovenly woman
a : a promiscuous woman; especially : prostitute
b : a saucy girl : minx

Definition of WHORE

: a woman who engages in sexual acts for money : prostitute; also : a promiscuous or immoral woman
: a male who engages in sexual acts for money
: a venal or unscrupulous person

These words are spoken here by people that are suffering extreme pain, and I think we need to give them a break. Now, if we continued to call our formerly wayward partners these words, yes, that is wrong, and definitely not conducive to healing for the WS or the BS.

[This message edited by painpaingoaway at 7:05 AM, February 5th (Wednesday)]

heartbroken303 posted 2/5/2014 10:37 AM

D-Day I called my wife every name in the book. And I meant it that day too, but don't anymore. However, I don't particularly regret it. I then emailed the coward OP and told him that I'd recently caught herpes and hope he enjoys it. That I regret because I let him know that he'd gotten to me. My WS was mad that I sent that, but I told her tough shit.

To a point a WS must take their medicine like a grown up on D-Day. This would be yelling, crying, and name calling at a start. Getting kicked out is not out of the question. And if they're street-smart they should be ready to be punched. The power of this news is overwhelming as we all know and can cause violent reactions. Maybe the cowards on the OP threads think differently, but everything isn't about them.

I would advise you to not let her hold what you said that day over your head. It's drawing attention from her deplorable behavior and deflecting it onto you. My WS has tried that, and while I'll listen to her gripes about me, I tolerate nothing of what I said or did on D-Day.

I was never deceived. For some reason my WS doesn't lie to me. It helps that I've been trained in lie detection and have manipulated the truth out of her when I can see she's resisting it. Plus the coward OP lives in another state and I work from home so quick rendezvous are tough.

The not knowing if you've gotten the whole truth I can see would be torture. But the actual act of sex really killed me... especially since OP is butt-faced fucking ugly. I wanted to measure my dick right after I found out to see how lacking I am, but know full well it's not about that.

In regards to how many act on here to save their marriage, I'm a bit of an iconoclast. I typically say if you want to save your marriage, then do it. That may mean having a 1-night stand yourself if your wife isn't ready to love you right now or is still in the fog. Or perhaps just trying your best to get into sex and hugging her to make her feel loved. Some of the things you may need to do may be sacrificing yourself. But try to think of your goal, and how to achieve that. If your wife thinks you were an angry, cold husband, then try not to be that even though right now it makes sense to since you've got good reason to.

JustSoSad42 posted 2/5/2014 12:07 PM

What makes someone a whore or a slut in the instance of infidelity is that fact that at least one party is in a committed relationship and engaging in sexual behavior with someone NOT in that relationship. A WW in my opinion is absolutely deserving of those names with regards to her behavior during the time she cheated. A WH is equally deserving of such names, I just don't personally know of any sexually derogatory names for men, so I stick to things like "selfish asshole, douchebag," etc.

As for the other person involved, the names are fitting for them as well. My husband's ONS is absolutely a disgusting whore. I don't know anything about her, other than that she knowingly seduced a married man who was minding his own business trying to go to sleep on a couch. My husband is also a selfish disgusting asshole for not telling her to F off.

It has been my experience that nothing good comes from casual sex. I firmly believe that a going out/ONS/casual sex mindset from his single days kind of took over my husband (along with his hormones) while we were living apart and he was going out more than a married father should. I believe that if he had had more respect for sex itself when he was single, that he might have been in a stronger position to turn it down when it was offered to him on a silver platter. He agrees.

Sex culture today is disgusting. I had a month in college where I was casually "talking to" two guys, and had sex once with each of them within the same period cycle. I was HORRIFIED with myself and my slutty behavior that if God forbid I became pregnant, I would not know who the father was. I felt disgusting. Felt like a slut. I had acted like a slut.

I don't think there's any need to be PC about inappropriate sexual behavior. Just call a spade a spade.

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.