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#356984 - 03/18/11 09:04 AM my partner is struggling with my sexual identity
GettingThere Offline

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 5
Hey folks. I'm having a bit of a different issue than I've seen covered on the board. I'm hoping that some of you will be willing to share your ideas (and maybe even your stories) to help me work through it.

I spent time on this board several years ago during the early stages of my recovery from CSA. I've had lots of support since then and feel like I'm finally able to be myself (i.e. the person I would have been if not for the abuse.)

The biggest remaining issue I have is the strain my experience and recovery have had on my relationship. I've been with my life partner for most of the last six years. She was my first consensual sexual partner. Unfortunately, when we first got together I told her I had been intimate with previous girlfriends, I believe because I was trying to build myself up in exactly the way the CSAs tore me down. I told her the truth relatively early in the relationship.

Since then, she's been very suspicious of my efforts to share some of the more uncommon elements of my sexuality. As an adolescent and teenager I didn't have feelings of attraction towards men or women; I masturbated to the thought of a general female form as well as penises. My partner has done enough reading about CSA to recognize this as one possible result of significant sexual trauma.

Where this breaks down for her is how I can be generally averse to sexual interaction with people, yet have such strong feelings for her. She feels that I must either be lying about being attracted to her or lying about not being attracted to other people.

She's said she would feel much better if I could show her a medical study or a thread of survivor stories that echo my particular outcome. Unfortunately, what I've been able to find only express the aspects of my sexuality as distinct outcomes.

Can anyone suggest a way to support my outcome, and address the last remaining consequence of my CSA?

#356992 - 03/18/11 10:18 AM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: GettingThere]
Mountainous Buck Offline

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1631
Loc: Minnesota
I can't show yiu something to support a particular outcome-only what my direct experience supports, and even that won't convince someone with insecurities about their partner.

I had two sexual lives- while I acted out the one I learns in the abuse and in a dysfunction household devoid of intimacy for many years and struggled with labels and shame in isolation. I finally had to open up and get honest and stop the fantasy life-that is how I discovered a deeper truer sexuality with my wife but it took a lot of effort to get clarity and accept some things abiut me I didn't want to face-once I could shed these Preset sexual ideas-trying to get power, control affirmation and male acceptance instead of sharing myself my love and my body with a real partner,

My belief is that we find a true partner to share and work thru our deepest wounds-if we r willing to grow and risk, so will they. If my gut doesn't trust them then I have some inner work to do and decisions about boundariesand getting my real needs met innmy relationships.

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

#357087 - 03/19/11 01:54 PM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: GettingThere]
devon0 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 47
Loc: TX, USA
You wrote: "Where this breaks down for her is how I can be generally averse to sexual interaction with people, yet have such strong feelings for her. She feels that I must either be lying about being attracted to her or lying about not being attracted to other people."

My problem is the opposite. I have strong sexual attractions for others but I'm unable to form emotional attachments and love other people. At least you can love and you can express that to her. She's lucky in that regard. I'm still learning how to love. I'm not sure I'll ever be successful at this before my time is up.

After the sex is over, you have each other. I have nothing. Considering the time spent living and the time spent having sex, you've got the better part of the deal. I'd trade sexual attraction for the ability to love any day.

A life worth living.

#357112 - 03/20/11 08:41 AM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: devon0]
GettingThere Offline

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 5
Thanks for your thoughts, Mountainous Buck and devon0. I appreciate you guys putting yourselves out there.

This has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but having no members saying they've had a similar experience with CSA, I'm starting to understand why my partner is having such a hard time believing me. I'm not sure where to go from here.

#357127 - 03/20/11 11:32 AM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: GettingThere]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
You asked a good question. I'm going to fwd this to our sex doc, Joe Kort to see if he can provide a solution.

Meanwhile, see what the others say around here.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#357140 - 03/20/11 01:52 PM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
LandOfShadow Offline

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Getting There,

My first reaction is why she's making such an issue of this. What's the problem for her? Why is she so distrustful when I don't hear any other reason to make it important. Does she WANT you to be strongly attracted to lots of other people or something??? Odd...


My experience is that I have a lot of fear around sexual attraction, be that my own, others toward me, or a mutual attraction. That continues even into a relationship for quite a long while but eventually gets minor or gone. That fear makes it easy to stay committed to someone. Starting a new relationship, or an affair, or whatever just is difficult due to all that fear compared to a "safe" established partner. Were you strongly attracted to her from the start? And that's unique?

Your aversion to partners sounds similar. What exactly does that mean? Is there something you can identify as fearful, you're afraid of, that's the target of your aversion?

Still, ... what's the problem for her? I don't always completely "get" things about my partners experience of life, feelings, decisions, but overall, she makes enough sense to me that I trust what I don't understand myself to be accurate and honest and true for her. I guess that's what puzzles me about your partner. Why's it such a big deal? Or, do I have that wrong?

Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you

Paul Eluard

#357165 - 03/20/11 08:10 PM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: LandOfShadow]
1islandboy Offline

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 906
Loc: washington
o.k. so let me get this straight...

due to your history...instead of not wanting to have cheap random sex with the entire might instead have the concious desire to be turned on by the sanctity of a precious one.

and after that we need to find some general medical study that proves this preciousness to some conclusion.

I was privy to a random series of conversations while on leave at boot camp a couple of decades back...where this guy called all sorts of women...(telling them all the same damn thing...oh baby your the one)...made me so sick...I seriously wanted to puke...and ended up leaving the room.

I am totally honest with my commited partner...on how my wiring is all screwed up and how i am all over the place...on subjects like this...(but that is my truth).

My humble point of view for you...(and perhaps your partner) that there are just some things that come down to faith...(it's in the pudding...try it, it's good).

my best example might be that...I believe that black holes are the creator's doorway...(how on earth are we supposed to prove something like that...???...).

Faith (George Michael)


Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

#357189 - 03/21/11 06:57 AM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: 1islandboy]
GettingThere Offline

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 5
Hi guys.

Thanks Ken, LandOfShadow, and 1islandboy for your thoughts. Really appreciate it.

I think I might have done a bad job of explaining why my partner is upset. It's not that she doesn't want a devoted partner, but that she has a hard time believing that I'm attracted to her but not other people (to such a significant extreme). She's done a lot of looking and she just hasn't been able to find anything to suggest that my outcome (or combination of outcomes) is possible.

#357190 - 03/21/11 07:13 AM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: 1islandboy]
mac80 Offline

Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 38
Honestly, not to minimize your issue, but being wildly attracted to one person in particular doesn't seem like much of a problem for a monogamous relationship.

What aspects of your sexuality is she uncomfortable with exactly? The fact that you're more attracted to her than other people?

Am I missing something?

Sometimes we confuse our partner's insecurities with our own problems. It's difficult to tell the difference sometimes without taking a step back. This might be a good place to step back and look at the whole picture, asking yourself, is this my problem or hers? If it's her problem, only she can deal with it.

One of the most valuable things my therapist has taught me is that it when I try to rescue my girlfriend from herself, because I tend to think I'm the cause of her problems, IT DOESN'T WORK!

Not only does it not work, but she gets over her emotional issues a lot faster if I give her plenty of space.

As far as coming up with medical studies to validate who and what you are, that's really over the top, dude, sorry. You gotta draw the line somewhere. That's just my opinion, you live your life the way you want. Take it or leave it.

#357191 - 03/21/11 07:17 AM Re: my partner is struggling with my sexual identity [Re: mac80]
mac80 Offline

Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 38
P.S. Your "outcome" sounds like being in love. Lots of examples of this outcome in literature. Good for you!

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