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#342079 - 10/14/10 04:01 AM Erections and lack thereof
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 371
Loc: Europe
I don't like my erections when they happen, and then can't get one when I wish I could.

When I wake up, I know it is natural to have an erection, it isn't necessarily a sexual thing at all. The problem is that somehow when I was up with an erection, quite often I think about my brother--the things he made me do. Since I've got the morning erection, and I'm thinking about those things, it is like I am aroused by them. It is an awful way to wake up.

But when I look at pictures of women...nothing. Even though I know I am straight, I just don't respond to even the most beautiful figures, even when well-photographed.

Last time I had sex with my wife, I heard my mother's voice in my head, and lost the erection. If having sex means having that happen again, I'd rather just do without sex again.

I wish we were taught more about erections growing up--what causes them, that they are not all about sex, etc.

At the same time, though, it's not about education. I used to take erections for granted, and now I can't. It's another thing they've taken away from me, and I know that the anxiety around that can make it worse.

I don't want my own erection in the morning to remind me of giving oral sex to my brother. I do not want to be aroused by anything related to that. I do not want an erection to be lost when I'm in bed with my wife. I don't want this thing that used to be so natural to be one more area of worry and pain and inadequacy in my life.

"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#342100 - 10/14/10 10:02 AM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: learning2remember]
expom Offline

Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 126
Loc: Australia
Hi there Learning2remember

I don't know if you have the chance to talk face to face with other survivors about this issue. Mike Lew in his book points out that a great many of us go off sex whilst we are actively engaged in our recovery process. As he puts it, it is often difficult to find enjoyment in areas of life that we are trying to process because they felt so bad before.

My wife and I went 3.5years without sex. One of the things that I learnt was that in order to be able to perform in bed I had to feel loved, appreciated etc outside of the bed. That was tough.

The inner affected child reacted each time I heard the song "Where do you go to my lovely when you're alone in your bed?" And I started to realise that I could choose where I went to, who I went with and what we did. I experimented with getting aroused, controling who, what, where I imagined I was. I made sure that mentally and literally I was alone and not interupted.

Then, when away for a weekend with my wife, we agreed to some skin therapy - only giving each other a massage. This lead to agreed non-penatrative sex.

The voice thing is difficult. I've had to deal with my own negative self heaping shyte onto me - but he soon disappears when I take time to compliment my wife and talk with her about what are doing right now and how much I enjoy the legitimate closeness.

There have been times when I have had flash backs in the middle of a love making session. Once, I lept out of bed dashed to the toilet vomitting. Poor wife didn't know what was going on.

That took us two days to get round to feeling safe enough to talk about. She wanted to back off and avoid doing the things that we were doing at the time (her manually stimulating me). To me this seemed like we were going to allow the perpetrator into our bed - it was something that we had to work through. So we had another go and again I freaked - but this time I stayed there, guided and advised dealt with it academically rather than emotionally. Together we reclaimed that togetherness that had alluded us for so long.

Now - a couple of years on - we frequently have non-penetrative love making and I found that my own anxiety levels diminished a lot if I was able to provide my wife an orgasm before I even got an erection.

As an old mountaineer once explained "you don't have to reach the summit to enjoy the view"

This is part of my story - I don't know if any of it will resonate with you. I want to wish you all the best and hope that you will soon be able to re-enjoy those things that we have every right to enjoy.

Endure and Prevail


I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.

#342101 - 10/14/10 10:03 AM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: learning2remember]
Sobernow Offline

Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 256
Loc: Oklahoma

I just have a suggestion for being intimate with your wife ---- put on some calming music -- take it slow -- maybe keep on a little light -- try keeping your eyes open more ------------ as a way to minimize fantisizing about other people ------- focus on your wife ------- have a more stress free environment (no TV) ------ don't feel like it is a performance -------- also maybe focus on her pleasure and not yours.

Are you on any medications?

You are brave to face these issues.

#342110 - 10/14/10 10:46 AM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: Sobernow]
EvanCan Offline

Registered: 09/09/10
Posts: 170
In two of my last three love-making sessions with my wife, my erection faded prematurely. It is humiliating. It makes me want to avoid intercourse. It feels like there are three of us in bed: my wife, myself, and this black cloud of shame and anxiety.

Formerly, when I was numbing out, this was not a problem. But now that I've resumed serious work on my recovery, this cloud is present. The "skin therapy" and non-penetrative ideas seem like a really good place for me to start back.

Thank you all for your suggestions and frank honesty on this thread.

Hope Springs 2010 WoR Alumnus
"I'm here, and I'm on the mend."

#342366 - 10/18/10 05:52 AM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: EvanCan]
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 371
Loc: Europe
Just to let you know, things went better this weekend. My wife hinted that she would be interested Friday night, but I was so scared (and sleepy) I went to bed way before her and nothing happened. On Saturday I was relieved that I'd made it through, but also worried, because I knew that sooner or later I'd have to deal with this thing. I was also mad, because 15 years ago I relished every chance to have have sex with my wife, and now I find myself afraid of it. That's just not fair, and it's not my fault.

Talking with her about it is not an option in my opinion, because when I started dealing with things, she told me that my mom wouldn't be like that and that I must have misunderstood something. When I told her I was interested in a support group, she said she didn't mind as long as I didn't come home one day with the news that I was gay. (I'm not, but let's just say I think she and I are both happier if I don't share the SA stuff with her.)

Anyway, Sunday morning things were better. When I think about it, I wasn't intentionally trying to follow your tips, but I think what I did was in line with them. For example, I am more of a morning person anyway...emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. Also, since it was morning, it was light.

Finally, somehow, I ended up thinking about good memories with my wife. I think that was a way to focus on who I was with instead of trying not to focus on mom.

I'm still scared about next time, but am also feeling better abotu things than I have in weeks. Thanks for your help. I hope this gives you hope. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. You aren't either.

"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#342526 - 10/20/10 05:25 AM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: learning2remember]
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 371
Loc: Europe
One more thing...I also get erections when I am processing my past, either while journaling or even while talking through stuff with T. I wish that didn't happen. I think it is as much about anxiety as it is about arousal. I think in these cases it is better just not to get too worked up about it.

"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#344264 - 11/05/10 11:05 PM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: learning2remember]
RTMark Offline

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 6
Loc: EC, WI, USA
After my abuse began, I started to masturbate at least twice a day. That continued for many years. When we got the internet at our house, that frequency went through the roof. It was then that I started branching out as to what was arousing to me. It started with women; beautiful women. Then it moved to lesbians. Then it transitioned to transsexuals, where it remained for a long time. Now, my arousal has currently turned to gay pornography. I'm married and have two kids and I know I'm not gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), but it is frightening to me. When I think about what my brother did to me, my erections do the opposite of what happens to you. However, when I have sex with my wife, I almost never concentrate on thinking about my wife. I tend to fantasize about anything from men, to transsexuals, to her sisters; anything to keep me from thinking about the abuse. I feel horrible about it, but I know it's not my fault.

I'm new here and I'm new to admitting to my abuse. But, if you'd like to talk, I would enjoy PM'ing about some issues we might share.

#344302 - 11/06/10 08:53 AM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: RTMark]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Moderator Emeritus

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Welcome to MS. Your situation is a familiar one for many of the men here. The premature sexual stimulation by a male probably was reinforced by many years of masturbating to the imagery and feelings regarding the abuser's penis. Guys here have talked about the arousal they have had towards penises. This is often a legacy of the abuse.

It may not be at all a romantic attraction to men if you see yourself as heterosexual.
I almost never concentrate on thinking about my wife. I tend to fantasize about anything from men, to transsexuals, to her sisters; anything to keep me from thinking about the abuse.

What you may be doing with this is removing your wife from the romantic aspects of the sex, replacing her with thoughts/images/fantasies of partners you would normally not be involved with. It sounds like you are removing yourself from the real "here and now" aspects of sex with your wife. Remember that you can train yourself to reinforce these fantasies rather than being with the one you love.

As far as experimentation to see where you are, I think you'll hear from others who have tried that approach. As youself how you'd feel if your wife decided to explore her sexuality with another woman (and what if she liked that more than with you?)

Also check out Joe Kort's website about gay sex for straight guys.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#345485 - 11/16/10 09:28 PM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
Jffnn Offline

Registered: 11/16/10
Posts: 1
Wow..I just discovered this site and have NEVER talked about this before but like a lot of people just watched the Oprah Show and thought i would give it a try

I was abused by my brother at the age of 6-9. I say abuse but to this day am still hesitant on saying that as my brother is only 2 years older than me. Is that still abuse? If so because he was also a "child" does that mean he was abused possibly too which is why he did to me? So many questions I guess and not sure where to start...

It has definately made my life complicated and confusing...I am a sex addict and havent been able to have real relationships...I have been with both men and women....

After the abuse at the age of 15 I found the internet which allowed put myself in the situation to be abused again and again by older men...I enjoyed sex with men and it felt good but didnt and dont want to be gay and am not sure I am...

I like women and have been with women...Just confused...about a lot of things...

Even writing this made me feel better....

#345488 - 11/16/10 09:47 PM Re: Erections and lack thereof [Re: Jffnn]
Mountainous Buck Offline

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1627
Loc: Minnesota
Wow men,

so much courage here: you all inspire me. smile
welcome Jffnn and RT Mark!

learning to be sexually intimate and feel safe, accepted, and supported has been huge for me: there were years of my sexuality where I clouded it with stuff tainted by my abuse experiences and never saw the connection.

Healing from my sexual compulsions has been a journey that led to discovering healthy sexuality and intimacy: both physical and emotional and spiritual. I'm grateful for the men who share their successes, and those who are struggling.

Peace, keep sharing!

We have to take responsibility for what we're not responsible for.

�It doesn't matter where you've come from,
It matters where you go" Frank Turner

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