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#345447 - 11/16/10 09:26 PM Does your SO reject you sexually?
DeadEnd Offline

Registered: 10/22/10
Posts: 10
My husband often rejects me sexually. Or we will be going to have sex and he can't. It bothers me. I do take it personally. I believe that it is me he doesn't want, that he doesn't find me at all attractive. It has lowered my self esteem to nothing. I am embarrassed for him to even look at me now.

Why is it that he can masterbate, no problem getting hard, or he can look at porn, look on the internet for sex, no problem, but with me there is a problem. If the problem is not with me personally?

I read on here that we a spouses should not take it personally, but how many times can you be rejected and not let it bother you?

Please don't flame me, this is a very big problem in my marriage.

#345459 - 11/16/10 10:28 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: DeadEnd]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
I watched the Dr. Oz program today, which I have only done once before. They had a segment on couple's functioning in bed. I thought it was quite good. A number of positive things were mentioned.

The methods promoted on Dr. Oz's program seemed helpful.
Couples today think of sexual activity as 100% coitis. The ideas came in part from a female ob-gyn Dr. in San Francisco. The solutions mentioned on the program all advocate methods other than coitus for sexual fulfillment in marriage after these difficult stages intervene. On the program they rattled off a bunch too quickly. They recommended that the husband must become active in some of the household chores so that the wife can have more time and energy. They said that she would actually be sexually stimulated by seeing that her guy has helped out with the household chores.


pufferfish whistle

Edited by pufferfish (11/17/10 08:35 PM)
Edit Reason: removed personal story as not relevant to this thread

#345460 - 11/16/10 10:31 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: DeadEnd]
Lavinia Offline

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 61
This is going to sound crazy but the reason your husband rejects you is probably the opposite of how you are perceiving it. When he masturbates to porn, there is no emotional connection and so it's easy for him to finish. When you two want to be intimate, he most likely feels a lot of pressure to "perform" sexually and still feels shame from his past abuse and may even wonder if he is being abusive towards you. A lot of times, survivors have unhealthy boundaries, have trouble saying no to sex, get triggered easily by seemingly harmless things, and other factors that make sex difficult. Since your husband loves you, he is probably anxious about you hurting him, since he was most likely abused by someone he loved and other words, being close to someone reminds him of past abuse. I have found the book "The Sexual Healing Journey" by Wendy Maltz helpful for recovery issues specific to attitudes about sex and how to have a healthy, satisfying sex life after sexual abuse or assault. Good luck!

#345463 - 11/16/10 11:00 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Lavinia]
nevragan Offline

Registered: 10/23/08
Posts: 907
Loc: NC
I don't mean to hijack your thread. I do have a problem with the statement of "get triggered easily by seemingly harmless things".

How to word this?? Maybe this comment wasn't thought out before it was said?

If they were so harmless then why do many of us get so triggered by them? To an outsider that may appear to be harmless but to a survivor there maybe a threat of safety. Triggers can put us in harms way also. I'm guessing your not a survivor and have no idea what it feels like to be triggered. Guess where I have the problem is your coming across as if triggers are just made up or aren't that big of a deal when they are for us. I realize the F&F forum is for Friends and Family but there are some survivors that read this forum too. I think some consideration to how survivors here feel should be considered when posting. Just my two cents on the subject.


#345468 - 11/17/10 12:02 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: nevragan]
Lavinia Offline

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 61
I give up. I honestly and truly want to give up on this board entirely...

I define "seemingly" to mean something that appears a certain way but is not necessarily the way things are. In other words, a seemingly harmless thing that would trigger an abuse survivor may APPEAR harmless to someone who has not experienced abuse, but in actuality the triggering thing IS harmful for the survivor.

Another example would be that I am seemingly not a survivor myself, meaning that to you, I don't appear to be sympathetic or understanding or compassionate, but the fact is that I AM a survivor of sexual and emotional abuse by many perpetrators and I am trying to work out my own issues as well as help my partner who happens to be a male survivor of multiple and very severe forms of abuse.

I'm frankly exhausted today, stressed out and not in the mood to argue what was supposed to be a helpful bit of advice to a fellow supporter. If I come across as harsh, I apologize but I am seriously sick and tired of taking close to an hour every time I want to post something on this board, in order to peruse every word and phrase I type, lest someone take offense to it.

#345470 - 11/17/10 12:11 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Lavinia]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5971
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
I feel your frustration, DE, this is very difficult for you as a supporter.

*Your post cries feelings of rejection and abandonment.
*Your husband is not intimate nor sexually supportive to your needs.
*This is causing tension and stress in your relationship. *Finally, your needs are not being addressed.

The last one first...

*DE, get help. Talk this out, here in F&F, to a trusted friend, or to a counselor. This has nothing to do with you as a person, and may be about the anxiety and fear that he has from his abuse.
Feelings of rejection may be due to the perspective that marriage mates are entitled to sex. That is a mistake. Like a physical condition, mental disorders can create a "block" so that the survivor only "performs" in certain settings.

Is marriage defined by a sexual scale only? What are other rewards that can be had in this arrangement? Can he show his attraction and acceptance in other ways that are valuable to you? Consider these and talk to him.

*Stress and tension in your marriage.
You may be worried that he is abandoning you, so you react by pressuring him for answers, verbal, physical, emotional. It may be that you want him to speak endearingly of you, and to connect again as he may have in the past. You may need to understand his perspective...
What is his issue? Is it not the inability to reach out in a sexual way, due to overwhelming trauma in his life? His inner child is terrified because his past trauma is still present to him.

So, may I ask, what is your perspective? Is there trauma in your past that you need to manage in order to support this wounded man? Seek counsel and help to alleviate your presenting symptoms.
To repeat to him the words you have chosen to use here, unless they are done in the context of healthy exchange, not confrontation, would further open the gap. The two outcomes could be, that yes, he does validate you, and by doing so, submits and reinforces the past abuse. The other, he withdraws further away. Consider your long term goals.

Byrom Katie has a intuitive video on "I thought you were supposed to love me." Here,
In it she describes the co dependent pleas of a husband and what he expects of his wife. Byrom goes on to help him find his inner strength. Please... watch this.

*Your husband is not intimate nor sexually supportive to your needs.
Trauma on the scale of torture was inflicted on him, abusing him in a very humiliating way.
It is a testament to your marriage that he is able to feel and express this abuse now, as abuse memories can come out when the general life of a survivor is calm and supportive enough to consider it.
He is reliving the trauma, and he may be using the coping mechanisms he has used for years to try and bury the intense emotions, pornography and masturbation.
He is reliving the sexual abuse, he will need much time to express and manage those emotions. You seem in it for the long haul, understand it and be patient.

*Feelings of rejection and abandonment
These can be self support discrepancies in one's own personality. Find ways to support yourself, because he is unable to currently.

Sometimes, the loss of our comfort destabilizes the best in us.
Please forgive my rash comments,

Peace and self care.

Edited by sasuva (11/17/10 04:09 AM)
Edit Reason: unproductive
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#345472 - 11/17/10 12:35 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: SamV]
Lavinia Offline

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 61
Guys, again I don't mean to be harsh, but why on Earth do you read the posts by friends and family, knowing full well that something said could trigger, offend, or otherwise bother you? This is the section for friends and family, meaning that not all of us are well informed regarding sexual abuse and its effects on boys and men especially. I honestly didn't see anything in the original post that sounded offensive. It sounds like this woman is at a loss as to what she should do about her husband's lack of a sex drive and she wants to know how to help him and try not to take rejection in the bedroom personally. Not only did she get flamed for posting, but I also got flamed for my response to her.

If the friends and family section bothers you in any way, why read the posts here? That would be like a survivor new to recovery going into the survivor stories section and reading every single story there in one night, and then wondering why he had nightmares all night or had flashbacks or was very triggered by the de>

#345475 - 11/17/10 01:18 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Lavinia]
nevragan Offline

Registered: 10/23/08
Posts: 907
Loc: NC
You actually do make a very good point about reading the friends and family section. After some thought and reading your reply, maybe I was harsh myself and a bit critical of you. I'm sorry about that. I think that maybe I was sensitive and over reacted about the comment made because of my own past. Obviously I have some issues I need to work on and will address this in time. You do have valid points and I hope you continue to post here. I wish I had some advice as to the original subject of the post but I don't. Anyways, no more flaming and back to the subject at hand. wink


#345477 - 11/17/10 01:26 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Lavinia]
hopeandtry Offline

Registered: 07/29/10
Posts: 476
All I'm gonna say is, I agree with many things Lavinia is saying.

#345479 - 11/17/10 01:35 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: hopeandtry]
Lavinia Offline

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 61
All right, no harm done I hope. We're all under a lot of stress I think, and it's best not to take anything too personally. I'm sorry if I came across as really mean-spirited. I'm really not like that in real life; I'm just dealing with a ton of stressful stuff right now.

Peace and goodnight, all.

#345561 - 11/17/10 08:48 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Lavinia]
DeadEnd Offline

Registered: 10/22/10
Posts: 10
Thank you all for your replies. I am not a survivor of sexual abuse and don't pretend to know what it is like, but I have been abused in other ways by people I trusted. While it is not the same it does leave you with issues to deal with. While I was not a child when it happened, I was hurt very badly, almost killed in fact so I know what it's like to have flashbacks of something so traumatizing that you are almost incapable of setting this right in your head.

As I see it this gives me no more reason to be hurtful to people than someone who hasn't been in the situation I have only a reason to be more kind and understanding of others as I wish someone was with me at the time.

Just a thought. Peace.

#345564 - 11/17/10 09:21 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: DeadEnd]
Avery46 Offline

Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA

I am glad your talking about your situation. I hope your able to benefit from whats being said.

To all others,

I only come here to read in this F&F section as I am survivor on MS here and have been apart of a post that resulted in an a F&F website being formed. I am also a F&F as I have several friends both male and female who have a lot of the same issues.

Anyways, I don't post here - except this one - as there seems to be "flame" throwing like picking teams. This survival stuff is NOT about throwing in one's stuff and if one person does NOT like then we bash that person, is it? This is LIFE and trying to ride the waves. We need to support each other.

I don't like it when my ANY of my brothers here on MS get "flamed" - this seems to be the word being used out here. I also know it is very helpful to the F&F for all to be heard even if we don't fully understand.

MS is a great resource!!! I divorced 21 years ago without any resources to deal with this. My ex-wife had NOTHING to go on. NO resources affected not only my wife and me but our children.

Andy-nevragan is my dear friend, and so are you H4H, Lavina, and others . I love you all.

I am drawing middle ground here.

I know we have to duke it out with our close friends/husbands/wives, etc. Do we have to here too?


aka DJsport

#345724 - 11/19/10 08:11 AM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: DeadEnd]
Ever-fixed Mark Offline

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 732
Loc: United States
Hey DeadEnd,

In the last while I've been getting into this situation from the male survivors' side so I might be able to give you a little perspective. First a little background to set the scene...

My partner and I have been together for over a decade and over time the sex has dwindled down to nothing. This is a huge problem for him, but what I don't think he realized when he finally brought this up with me earlier this year, is that not being able to have sex has become a huge problem for me too. I had increasingly become terrified about having sex, ashamed and humiliated that I wouldn't be able to deliver, and then guilty that it was all my fault. Rinse and repeat.

I just didn't (and probably still don't completely) understand what has been happening to me that has disconnected me from my libido, or how to fix it.

My partner is a tall, handsome, fit, and strong guy with a sweet nature. I'll be honest... he's a total hottie and I love him very much. A few of the survivors here have met him and I think they'd agree that he's a babe.

He finally talked to me about being angry and feeling rejected because I "didn't want to have sex" and that when I did try I wasn't able to finish. It made him feel undesirable and unwanted. That's a perfectly valid and understandable reaction to the situation from his perspective. Neither of us talked about it until it became unbearable.

I didn't bring it up because I was increasingly terrified, ashamed and bewildered by what was happening to me. I already felt un-fixably broken, spoiled in some way that could never be made right, and the shame of my predicament was... crushing. He didn't bring it up with me for a long time because he knows that I'm a survivor and knew that doing so would cause me pain and shame. He's a loving man and by his lights, he didn't want to hurt me. Unfortunately, all that did was allow the problem to develop a lot of compound interest in silence while he became depressed by my physical withdrawal, and I became more humiliated and desperate to avoid feeling like a complete failure as a lover and as a man.

So much compound interest, that when I finally pushed him into telling me what was wrong, he told me that he didn't think he loved me enough and he didn't know if he'd be able to love me again.

When I was 8, I watched my Dad have a heart attack and die in front of me, at 9 my Mum put my brothers and I in a children's home for the first time, from 12 through 15 I was institutionalized in another boy's home where I was sexually abused and we very rarely, if ever, got to go home. After losing our father, I couldn't understand why my mother didn't seem to want us. This was compounded by being an adopted child whose extended family made it very clear I wasn't considered "one of them". I remember crying tears of desperation and loneliness - I wasn't wanted by anyone and everyone who was meant to care for me just... went away.

My partner's words sure sounded like the prelude to being left again. I was devastated.

I got myself into individual therapy, found and joined a CSA group in my area, and started digging into my abuse and the effect it's been having on me. Unfortunately, there isn't any kind of trauma that you can get over by just deciding to. It's not a failure of will or character that we can't spontaneously heal or even just make our symptoms go away. Among other things it's often a failure of awareness, understanding and knowledge.

For me, being a survivor working on recovery is like a game of Celebrity Heads. I'm going though life with a bunch of sexual abuse effects stuck to my head written in a language no one but me can decipher. So instead, I have to figure them out by exploring every other aspect of my life - my feelings, my fears, digging into painful memories, putting together fragments of information to try and find out what my story is. My therapist and group help me do this, but it's hard work and great motivation and diligent effort aren't rewarded with predictable results. Or sometimes with any results at all.

The hardest things for me to figure out, and the hardest set of feelings for me to access, are the ones around sex and intimacy. It's pretty unusual for me to have random sexual feelings and spontaneous erections. Alone I can get an erection if I really put my mind to it, and even masturbate, but it's like bench-pressing my own weight. I can't do it for long, and at the end of it I feel spent and empty. I don't do that much because it doesn't make me feel like I'm getting closer to feeling or understanding what is preventing me from making the kind of sexual connection I want with the man I love. That said, sometimes I get so frustrated, so disheartened, that I think I do it just to prove I'm still capable of it. It pushes back the despair a little.

I've been surprised a few times when I've seen guys that triggered some kind of sexual reaction in me. What's clear to me when I think about those situations is that if there was to be sex, there would be nothing at stake for me.

With my partner, everything is at stake. Our lives together so far, our future, our feelings, our next breaths in and out - it seems that vital to me. This is the closest relationship I've ever had with another person. It took me *so much work* to get here, to trust, to open up to him and to keep opening up over and over again.

Then, with so much at stake, what keeps me from him and that physical intimacy? Fear, terror, and a sense of dread that sex and intimacy can bring out in me. In the last two weeks I've learned some messages I got and some beliefs I learned about sex and intimacy that start to help me understand.
  • Sex and trusting someone is dangerous. There is almost nothing more dangerous.
  • If I trust and make a mistake something will be taken from me that I'll never get back. I won't even fully understand what it is/was.
  • Sex is painful and will probably involve tearing and blood.
  • Sex kills - that having sex and being gay is deadly - I'll probably catch a disease and deserve it.
  • Sex is something to be endured and survived.
  • That sex is nothing to do with my pleasure or my feelings, only someone else's.
  • That places on my body which should be gateways to that physical intimacy were damaged on a psychic level and now they are physically damaged and beyond healing.
  • That I'm somehow disfigured and completely unattractive in any dimension as a result.
  • That greater physical intimacy could mean I'd no longer be loved at all - I'd be found out.
  • If he really loved me, he wouldn't want me have sex with him.
I have some of the characteristics of "Sexual Anorexia" and from your comments it might be worth getting a better understanding of the dynamics involved to see if they resonate in your relationship. Exploring them has been helping me grapple with what I'm feeling and dealing with even though they are not a perfect fit.

I'm sorry that this post is so long and not crisper and more to the point. I wanted to give you a feeling for what it's like to be on the other side of the situation that I know you and my own partner find so painful and challenging.

My partner and I have talked a little about this and we're trying not to take on the responsibility/blame for each other's issues and feelings. It's so easy to think that we are the cause of other people's reactions and so often it's just not true. I love him and he knows it, I tell him every day and I *mean* it. I tell him all the things that are so great about him. My problem with sex and intimacy is *my problem* caused by my abuse. It affects him and that hurts me, but it's because he is so important in my life that it has the charge for me that it does.

If I didn't care, if there was nothing at stake, I could probably have empty sex with someone I don't know, function fine, and feel completely empty and alone. But *there is something at stake*, and that's why it matters, and that's why I spend all my spare waking (and some sleeping) hours working and digging into a past that terrifies me to the point of physical shaking to make my life with him better.

I hope you can recognize that your partner's problems are not your fault, that what you are observing is the same as what many other partners of survivors see, and I wish him and yourself every success in the difficult but ultimately rewarding process of recovery.



Everybody here's got a story to tell
Everybody's been through their own hell
There's nothing too special about getting hurt
Getting over it, that takes the work

- "Duck and Cover" by Glen Phillips

#345736 - 11/19/10 01:07 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Ever-fixed Mark]
SunnyGirl Offline

Registered: 07/14/10
Posts: 79
Your post expresses everything and more that I've wanted to hear from the man that I love but never have heard from him. Thank you for being so honest.

Best of luck to you and your partner as you work on your recovery.


"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

#345775 - 11/19/10 07:14 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: Ever-fixed Mark]
jesusfreesya Offline

Registered: 11/13/10
Posts: 27
Hi efm,
Being new to the board, I am trying to read past, as well as current posts each day to get a semblance of what csa entails and what those who walk in recovery have found that brings wholeness and healing. Your post here strongly caught my attention. It very articulately explains what the battle is for those who have been victimized by csa that prevents them from bringing emotional and physical intimacy to their marital relationships. Every spouse who reads your post will surely find a sense of relief and healing that their own spouses have not thus far provided to them. Thank you for having the courage to spell it out so clearly- your post should be a comforting gift to all who happen upon it. And I,too, pray for your full recovery.

#345784 - 11/19/10 09:15 PM Re: Does your SO reject you sexually? [Re: jesusfreesya]
DeadEnd Offline

Registered: 10/22/10
Posts: 10
EFM- Thank you for your post. Some of the things you have written are things my husband has said to me. He has told me that he is scared of not being able to deliver and that then he feels ashamed and less of a man because he can't.

I pray for you to have a full recovery and a wonderful happy life with your partner.

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