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#62726 - 01/17/02 11:53 PM Any book suggestions?
Just Call me J Offline

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 204
Loc: Inland Empire, California
Considering all the things I've written in this forum before, it feels a little awkward to be asking for suggestions. But I need the SO perspective for advice.

I will try to avoid gratuitous details, and keep my language as "safe" as possible. I hope no one is offended.


A week and a half ago, my SO and I were having an intimate encounter, and I had a hard time staying physically interested. I was able to bring her to climax, but afterward, I just couldn't stay interested. She took over, and provided a an all-over sensory experience that was amazing. And I was so relaxed by it, apparently, I fell asleep.

We have since talked about it, and she understands as much of my abuse issues as I do. But she told me that she felt like she wasn't sexy enough for me. And that really hurt my feelings that actions out of my control would cause her to think that. This is the first relationship I've ever been in. I'm 27.

I'm recognizing many effects from my abuse that I never would have seen before, because there was never an intimate situation to bring it up.

So, are there any books, from a SO point of view, that have helped you to deal with all this mysterious behavior from your man's past? I feel like saying "It wasn't my fault; it's the abuse" is just a cop-out (even if it is the truth). But the fact is, that sleep is such a strong pull for me. There is no denying the need when it comes, and it seems to come at the worst possible times.

Dealing with this crap was hard enough when it was just my life. Now that it effects someone I love, it's unbearable.

Thanks in advance!

We're in this together.


We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails

#62727 - 01/18/02 03:50 PM Re: Any book suggestions?
searching Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 21
Jeremy, I think it's great that you care enough about her feelings to want to help her understand this. One of the hardest things about being involved with a survivor is separating the things that are about "you" from the things that are about "the abuse."

There are many books that I've found helpful, most especially Mike Lew's books and one called "Ghosts in the Bedroom" that I read a long time ago (I'm so sorry, I don't remember the author's name, but I believe it's in the books section of this site).

However, I found that none of the books really went into enough detail about how partners can cope with this problem. I eventually found three things most helpful:

1. Talking to other partners (especially through this site), and realizing that the things I was experiencing were universal (misery loves company?), which made me more able to accept that it wasn't about "me."

2. Seeing my own therapist and discussing how the issues I brought to the relationship--self-esteem problems, concerns about intimacy, etc.--were causing many of my concerns. I have a tendency to react very strongly when I feel I've been "rejected," and I needed to realize that my self-worth can't be tied up to a minute-by-minute evaluation of how desirable I am. Perhaps your partner feels the same way.

3. Visiting my husband's therapist with him. I don't know whether you're seeing a therapist right now or not, but if you are, you may want to consider whether you'd feel comfortable including your partner in a session or two. Hearing my husband's therapist say, "He truly loves you, he tells me so every time we meet," was such a great thing for me. And hearing from a professional third party that the things we were going through are, unfortunately, part of the typical healing experience for a survivor was immensely reassuring.

I hope this helps. Please tell your partner that it's not uncommon for sexuality to become complicated and, sometimes, distorted for survivors and their partners. Things like numbing, phasing out, losing interest, etc. are ways that survivors had to cope with abuse in the past, and they aren't always easily dismissed.

The good news is that, with time, effort, and caring, things get better. It's not easy, and there are setbacks and roadblocks, but intimacy can grow and trust can flourish if you're willing to be open with each other.

Good luck!


#62728 - 01/22/02 01:46 AM Re: Any book suggestions?
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills

Just a thought. I had a similar situation develop. I couldn't stay interested,had to really concentrate and I fell asleep immediately afterwards. I looked up some of the side effects of Celexa an antidepressant that I had been taking for about 6-8 weeks and guess what, reduced libido was one of them. I talked to my physician and I'm on another antidepressant now and everything is back to normal, whatever that is/was.


I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

#62729 - 01/30/02 11:58 PM Re: Any book suggestions?
michael Joseph Offline

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
I sometimes avoid intamacy, but i can be turned around. maybe it is a power thing, I do not know. In my case we are both sruvivors, so that adds to it. We also see the same counselor and are in the same group.
Not sure this helps you at all, it is all that came to me after reading you topic.

Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
The Round Table, Men's CSA Group, Monday 7:30pm CST, MaleSurvivor Chat


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