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#52105 - 03/11/03 03:50 PM healthy sex lives...
zadok1 Offline

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
A problem has come up for me in the last few weeks. I am finding it very hard to be excited by sex with my wife. She has to work very hard to get things to pop. As part of my healing, I have walked away from porn and fantasies not involving my wife, but in trade I am finding sex routine and boring. After six years together, it feels like we have done all there is to do, and simply changing positions doesnít do it for me.

During the abuse, and the years that followed, I was very hypersexual. My abuser introduced me to many fetishes, which I continued doing until I learned that they were taboo years later. After that I knew they were taboo, but by then I was hardened to them, even needed the thrill of them to function.

First, I would like to hear your thoughts on how best to tell my wife about this, or if you all think I should even do that. I mean clearly this will hurt her. What wife wants told that she is boring or unexciting? The part that makes me feel even worse is that compared to other wives, she is really neither of those. The abuse makes me too far beyond what I can expect her to want, and I am unsure how to approach it.

Secondly, I was wondering if other survivors here struggle with maintaining sexual relationships. I know of a few here that do, but as a whole how has the abuse affected this side of your life? I guess it would help if I didnít feel like a total freak because I want more from a relationship than my wife should be expected to deliver.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

#52106 - 03/11/03 05:02 PM Re: healthy sex lives...
Wifey1 Offline

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
hubby2 & i had this conversation yesterday... neither of us are able to "pop" or get in the mood for sex -- both of us are having problems from our abuse -- altho i dont know if i ever experienced having a fetish? -- i know we both got off on the adrenline and endorphines from sexual activity.
i dont know whether you should tell your wife rather i cant give you a yes or no answer,... but i think if you should choose to do so... your own words here say it so beautifully
"I have walked away from porn and fantasies not involving my wife, but in trade I am finding sex routine and boring. After six years together, it feels like we have done all there is to do, and simply changing positions doesn't do it for me.

During the abuse, and the years that followed, I was very hypersexual. My abuser introduced me to many fetishes, which I continued doing until I learned that they were taboo years later. After that I knew they were taboo, but by then I was hardened to them, even needed the thrill of them to function."

that is not placing blame on anyone or making either of you responsible in my opinion only -- its just being honest and forthright.
As a wifey of a survivor and being a survivor myself i can only speak from my experiences... its hard to tell the stuff that may be hurtful -- especially to someone we love so much and cherish, mix that with the shame we get given to us for being made to feel at fault for what was done TO US -- well, its just that much harder.

When hubby & talk about our sex life we really try hard to make sure it is in a non triggering situation for both of us -- like lunch time in the daylight.. making sure neither of us feels ill, and that we are well rested -- seems almost impossible to find the perfect setting...

no one wants to be told they are boring or unexciting -- maybe rather it seems the sexual activity itself feels that way... not your wife, nor you -- just the activity feels like that?

more -"The abuse makes me too far beyond what I can expect her to want, and I am unsure how to approach it." -- i'm not quite sure what you mean by this, do you mean you want to ask her to partake in your fetishes with you? Perhaps to help you recreate the "thrill to function"?

Yes Zadok we struggle with our sex life/ lives -- we're still learning, struggling moving backwards, forwards and sideways -- most of me tells me that is normal even for couples who dont have sexual abuse histories.

how has the abuse effected this part of our lives? It created a hellish havoc of hiding secrets from each other that were more painful than telling the tough thoughts we struggle with in our own minds. It created betrayal thru sex addiction, re enactment of abuse, lack of communications, distanced us from each other on far too many levels to list.
Yet once we spoke the words it brought us together closer, removed the fear of rejection and "freakishness" realizing we were responding normally to an abnormal situation. Another side effect is that we were able to push back our own self felt freakishness and talk openly and frankly with our daughters about sex on many levels.

Your last sentence echoes my own thoughts on many occassions, and then I ask myself -- What exactly is it that I want, I try to list them... Hubby listed for me what he wanted from me, and what I found was not sexual activities specifically -- but rather a request for acceptance of himself as a whole person who wanted loved and desired on many levels despite the way he felt of himself. I read the list, I keep it and look at it occassionally, its something tangible for me to see and hold -- then I can decide for myself what I can fulfill of his expectations of me.

i personally believe that no one wants to be compared to another -- yet we seek likenessness of ourselves in others so as not to feel so freakish -- a tension of opposites

someone told me once that my life is like a pendulum swinging, my experiences were so far to one end of the arc that i must experience the opposite end of the arc before i can settle in the middle at rest .... i dont view that as stopping or giving up, or dying when the pendulum comes to a rest -- i view that as finding some sense of peace and acceptance.

You are not a freak by far Zadok -- you are human and you feel....

Warmest regards, A Sister in Healing ~ Wifey1

#52107 - 03/11/03 05:27 PM Re: healthy sex lives...
zadok1 Offline

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
thanks for the reply. no, i dont expect or want her to relive what i have been through. heck, i wish i hadnt been through it, but i have, and part of me misses it. i am concerned that i will never be happy and fulfilled by a traditional relationship.

fetish is perhaps the wrong word, because fetishes are things that a person must have to function, and that isnt the case. perhaps socially unacceptable would be better.

what makes it hard is we were at one level, and i have felt my wife struggling with her own issues. she has withdrawn from things we once enjoyed, and i feel responsible for that. i feel perhaps i pushed her too far, or that i demanded too much. demanded is wrong, because, i ask, i dont demand anything.

i guess in the end, i accept that my view of sex is skewed, i accept that i need to keep it very fresh to enjoy it. i accept that i am a bit confused about my sexuality. i accept i am who i am, and now i am struggling to polish things. i want not only to make peace with it myself, but have her to make peace with it as well. does that make sense? as a couple it isnt just about me, it is about us.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

#52108 - 03/11/03 06:52 PM Re: healthy sex lives...
Cement Offline

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
Zadok, I feel for you, man.


Okay, now that I have disclaimed...

I have struggled with maintaining sexual interest in my wife. I have slipped and used outside stimuli and found that it doesn't make my relationship with my wife any easier. Even so, the compulsion to use porn or to do certain other things (which would be harmless for someone else, but are dangerous for me, slippery slope and all) is strong.

I shared some of this struggle with my wife. Frankly, I should not have. She was not comforted by the idea that someitmes it is difficult for me, in fact she turns it around and thinks that she is not attractive and that is why I am not interested.

So I am in a bind. I would love to be compeletely open and tell her - I was taught sex incorrectly, so I get turned on by things, I can't stop swivel heading at girls, I cannot stop looking at porn, I can't stop wanting women to see me naked.

I can slow down, but every now and then it will pop up. Unfortunately, the fact that she is sitting there worrying that I will slip, convinced that she is not good enough for me, actually makes me more ashamed of this part of me, which gives it even more life.

Our sexual frailty depends upon shame to live. It feeds on it.

and dammit, it doesn't change or go away. I want to yell at her, "Get over it, it isn't about you. Do you have any idea how hard it is? NO! you don't." This is about me. And the last thing I need is my wife wondering if I have been misbehaving, snooping in my things and scrutinizing my erection.

well, that was a vent...hope it was of any help to others. More immportantly, I hope it was of help to me.


And let the darkness fear our light.

#52109 - 03/11/03 07:02 PM Re: healthy sex lives...
zadok1 Offline

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
you have touched on some of the things that haunt me. i know they are unhealthy for us, but they are part of me. my desire fot this stuff keeps coming out in unhealthy ways. i finally got enough backbone to drive the garbage out, and now i can't function the way i want. all my life i have wanted control over sex, and now i have it, and it is very dissapointing on a certain level.

i cant help my past. the groups, bi-sexual, urophilia and other things i was exposed to as a child is part of me. sex has become a game, a means of feeling good, and i know that is my addiciton and abuse talking. all i want is to be happy and content within the confines of marriage. is that so much to want?

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

#52110 - 03/11/03 11:35 PM Re: healthy sex lives...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
to me this is my major hurdle, I haven't had 'normal' ( I use that word for lack of any other to describe what I want between myself and my wife ) sex for longer than I can remember.

I can't kiss, because one of my abusers made me kiss him and I remember being enthusiastic about it as an 11 yo boy.

I don't like being touched and caressed, because I had that done to me as a boy.

As a boy I 'enjoyed' giving bj's - but I can't do that to my wife. And it's still my obsession.

If I initiate sex I feel a fucking rapist ! I hate that so much.

Now here's the real hard part.
I know all this, I tell my wife all this and we discuss it.
But I can't leap over this hurdle, no matter how hard we both try.

When we have sex I choose a position where my body is as remote from hers as I can get, all I get is penetration.
It's little more than masturbation.

I fucking hate it, and most of all I hate not being able to deal with this last big thing.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#52111 - 03/12/03 01:49 AM Re: healthy sex lives...
Little Red Offline

Registered: 09/25/01
Posts: 15
Loc: White Plains
Zadok1 - you have definitely hit me with your topic. healthy sex lives.... what is healthy. I don't know - I don't know if mine is normal or not. I was abused by my teacher from 13-15 and had no clue about sex before him - people can call me naive but growing up in a Irish Catholice upbringing - sex is not talked about. I can remember the first time seeing a porn magazine - 5th grade - my dad found out and gave us the belt for looking at it once. I could not sit for quite sometime after that and he wonders today why I was not able to talk to them about the abuse.

I am definitely hypersexual - I would love to have sex everyday and if I don't have it 99% of the time I masturbate. I can have fantasies about anyone at anytime. The reason why I think I am not normal is when I am introduced to a nice looking woman - I picture them naked and wonder how it would be. I use porn, videos anything to get me off - i have fantasized about other women while doing my wife because it does get boring. the same routine over and over and her not wanting to change it.

I have been married for 10 yrs been with her for 12 and we are now getting separated - sex was not important to her. I would have to initiate it 9-10times and that bothered me. It bothered me more that of the 9 times I would be turned down half the time. So, I would turn to other things to get me off. I was abused for 3yrs 365 days a yr. How do you not get fucked over with being played with daily, with seeing different movies, magazines - guy-girl, girl-girl, guy-guy - it didn't matter. It felt good and it felt better with the cuddling afterwards.

I have always been afraid of pushing the line with anyone - you will have to tell me that you want me. I can not cross it - I can bring it to the point but if you want me - then you have to tell me. If you don't I will be pulling back feeling like crap feeling that I might have crossed the line and turning into an abuser. I could never let myself do that - fucking scares the shit out of me thinking I might have hurt someone like I was hurt.

I love being touched. I love having someone hold me. I love making people feel good. I love the idea of pleasing my partner. I need all the above. If I please them then I feel good about myself. What is a heathly sex life - I don't know. I wonder about that daily. I wonder if my need of getting off daily is my normal or is it because of the abuse.

Zadok - I wish I could tell you to inform your wife. I don't know - it is hard but I know how you feel. It is hard to maintain a relationship when what I was use to was constantly something different.

It is very much annoying not knowing what is normal or healthy. Is it the abuse or is it just us? I don't know normal, never had a chance of learning what it would be I would be like - I was thrown into the sex world without any directions other than the abuser.


#52112 - 03/12/03 11:42 AM Re: healthy sex lives...
zadok1 Offline

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
I have struggled with much of this most of my life. At five I was abused by a teen, and it involved a neighbor girl I played with as well. From the time I was five until I was seven or eight, I had sex with this boy and girl, but I didnít know it was sex. Hell, all I knew was that it felt good, and I liked it.

When we moved to a new home, I befriended that kids around me, and showed them the games. Boys, girls, even animals at points, were fine with me. I didnít know it was sex, I just knew being aroused and physically close felt good. I remember the day my best friend told me what sex was, and I was just shocked to death, because I had been doing that stuff my entire life.

The problem is that by the time I knew what I was doing was sex, I had become quite used to all this open expression of sexuality. I consider myself omni-sexual now, kind of like a bear is an omnivore because they will eat anything, I can be sexual at any time I choose. Do I blame my abuser? How can I not? If I was allowed to develop along a more normal path, certainly I would have never tried sex with another male, let alone animals. To me, his games were just that, until I was an adult, and those gnawing lusts didnít go away.

I too struggle with being hypersexual. I can go every day, several times a day, and that is very hard to live with. I sexualize every woman I really get to know, and am not beyond doing the same to guys if they hit me that way. When sex with my partner got old, I simply switched on the fantasy duíjour, and bingo instant motivation to have sex with my partner. Except, I wasnít making love to them, I was getting off to some fantasy. Naturally, I have never told my wife that I was doing that, so all she sees is that we once pulled all night sessions, and now I sometimes fail to go once. She hasnít said anything, but I know she is thinking that she is the problem, that I donít love her, or find her attractive. I can feel it when I hold her, can read it in her expressions. I have told her that I have changed. I have told her that I have set limits and controls in place, and that I donít work the same as I did before. I have tried to be as honest as I can, but I know she still has insecurities because of the changes in me. It hurts me to know I am the cause.

To have peace with myself, I focus on the things I am doing right. It makes me proud to look in the mirror and know I have walked away from masturbating several times a day, and that when I hold my wife, she is the only one I see. But I will never feel Ďnormalí as long as I cannot do that, and still function when it comes time to.

Acceptance is important, and I accept that I am the way I am, and I know I canít change those engrained feelings. My view of the world was skewed by abuse, and I will forever see the world in a very sexualized way. That is who I have grown to be. I can control it, wrestle with it, but in the end, I must accept it. The only problem is by controlling it, I always feel hemmed in and repressed. It is like a gay man trying to live a straight life. He can do it, but is he really fulfilling himself with it. I wrestle with this stuff every day, trying to balance being true to myself, and still do right by those in my life. I suspect I will always have this.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

#52113 - 03/12/03 05:30 PM Re: healthy sex lives...
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...

Yes my sexual acting out based on my CSA is still very much with me, as well as the effects of it on my sexual relations with my wife, which are difficult to initiate, pop off on and most of all be intimate in. To me that's what it's about intimacy. No matter what I do in acting out or in relations with my wife, it will seem relatively empty unless I love & trust myself enuf to love & trust her enuf so that we can share mutual intimacy = in-to-me-see.

I fucking hate it, and most of all I hate not being able to deal with this last big thing.
Dave, my brother, you are dealing with it--right here, even by posting about is as you have!
Take it easy on yourself. You're a survivor.

OK men I gotta go back to this "normal" thing.

Do you wanna know what I think "normal" is?


Well, big surprise, I'm gonna tell ya anyway! :p :rolleyes: \:D

Often, "normal" is another person, group, culture,
ideology, etc trying to impose their reality (or their unreality) on you, or on someone else(s). Normal may be a box insecure people try to put other people in. Normal can be a hindrance to creativity & a hazard to growth as a unique individual. Normal easily ends up being a kind of unreality or antireality.

Disclaimer: Please notice the qualifying words I used. Please also notice that all this "depends on how you define 'normal'" (sorry I just had to say that!). Or the context in which you use it. ;\)

Having said that I'll stand by what I said at least as a statement for dialogue if anybody wants to.

Maybe we'll figure out what normal is! :rolleyes:

That's me ROFLMAO at the very thot of that!


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

#52114 - 03/13/03 01:43 AM Re: healthy sex lives...
stride Offline

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
Hi all,

I am concerned to see so much self-retribution and judgement about fantasies and fetishes. We must be more gentle with ourselves! So, not to take anything away from what are clearly very painful and difficult, complex problems (my heart goes out to you/us all), but I feel compelled to add something (that will hopefully be helpful) to this thread.

First, Victor makes an important point about the concept of "normal." The whole notion of "normal" reminds me of a poster my daughter has which reads: "The only 'normal' people out there are the ones you don't know very well yet!"

I also appreciate Zadok1's comments about fetishes. In my view, fetishes are only a problem when they are harmful to oneself or others, and/or when they interfere with our ability to function effectively in our day-to-day lives. If one's fetish isn't causing a problem for anyone, then it's not a problem! Ditto for sexual fantasies, in my opinion.

Human sexuality is an incredibly complex phenomena, whether one has ever experienced SA or not. And that certainly includes our fantasy lives. As an adult human with a healthy sense of myself as a sexual being, I generally accept my sexual fantasies--which are often mundane, but sometimes bizarre, "perverse" or even somewhat unsettling to reflect upon in the light of day--as perfectly acceptable facets of my sexuality overall. It is perfectly "normal" to be turned on by thoughts or images of things that we may or may not actually desire in reality. And it is absolutely "normal" for both men and women to fantasize about persons other than their partner from time-to-time--especially men. Again, this strikes me as being a problem only when we are no longer ever able to be turned on by our partner or when fantasies about others are the predominant feature (longterm) of our sex life with our partner. (I know, just cos' he's human [and male] that my guy isn't always fantasizing about me when we're together. Our agreement is that if he's thinking about someone else, he doesn't tell me about it! But if he's *always* fanatsizing about others? I want to know, as painful as it would be to hear. This, of course, may or may not be true for other women.)

The same applies to the use of porn, to my way of thinking. I understand all too well that for many of you, porn is a problem because of a dependency on it and because it further hinders your ability to be fully present and intimate with your parnter/s. A very difficult and painful problem to be sure, though the shame that goes with this, while entirely understandable, is certainly something to work towards letting go of, hard as that no doubt is to do. My partner too, struggles with a dependency on porn and the problem has hurt both of us as individuals and our relationship, so this is not a subject that I take at all lightly. He still struggles with it and, consequently, so do I.

Personally, I don't have a problem with some porn in and of itself, and like many other well-adjusted women, can even find it very arousing from time-to-time. I do have issues with the way most porn degrades women and/or dehumanizes people. Overexposure to messages that, for example, portray women as "anal sluts" desensitizes viewers to that, just as overexposure to graphic violence tends to desensitize us to violence. It certainly doesn't help nurture our capacity for intimacy! But as an occasional aid to one's autoerotic or interpersonal sex life, I don't see porn use as a serious problem. To me, it's like alcohol use: Some of us can have the occasional drink and leave it at that, some of us can't. Sadly, the impersonal and typically dehumanizing nature of porn can have far-reaching and heartbreaking effects for many of us, I know.

Zadok1, it seems perfectly normal to me that we can go through phases where our partner is not exciting to us at all. If this isn't just a passing phase (and it doesn't sound like it is), then I think you need to communicate your concerns as lovingly, gently and yet still openly and *honestly* as possible with your wife. I also suggest identifying *the problem* as the problem, being clear and careful not to make either of you the problem (am I making sense here?). Perhaps ask her for her help with the problem. In this way, she can be part of the solution and have that oh so necessary feeling of your being loving partners working together on something of critical importance to you both.

If it's a question of wanting to do certain things with her that she doesn't know about, who knows? You may find that she's been having secret desires for the same things, but been too afraid that you'd reject or be put off by *her* as being too perverse or "sick." Perhaps not. She may react with total hurt or worse, revulsion. Consequently, I'd suggest waiting until you feel you have the emotional/psychological reserves to handle whatever happens. And make sure you've got a support system in place that can help you through things if it doesn't go well (the guys on this forum, for example).

If the problem is really one of an inability to be physically and emotionally intimate with her because of issues unrelated to her, how can she help with this or even avoid feeling that she's the problem if you don't tell her?

One of my greatest hurts in my own relationship (my partner having a long and unresolved history of CSA)is that my man is unable or unwilling to share with me about what's really going on for him in terms of his sexuality. Yes, it is hard to know that many of the things I would like in bed are off-limits (triggers) with him. Yes, it leaves me in utter despair that genuine intimacy seems quite beyond him most of the time. Yes, it is extremely difficult for me that often when my guy tells me that he has no interest in sex at all, says he isn't even capable of an erection at the time, and rejects any advances I make, I discover later that he went and masturbated to porn on the net once I'd gone to sleep. It can feel devastating at times (no doubt to us both).

Still, as a partner to someone with a history of CSA and huge issues with intimacy, what I find hardest is the lack of honesty, the sneaking (porn), the lack of communication and trust, and therefore, the lack of opportunity to see if we can't come up with some solutions and healing.

Whatever you decide, the very best of luck to you. And please, be kind to yourself!


In the right formation,
the lifting power of many wings can
achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.


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