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#72383 - 04/29/04 02:57 AM What is healthy sexuality for us
IFEMan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/24/04
Posts: 3
Loc: Chicago
Hi board - Yet another round of questions from a newcomer.

I have been in a monogamous relationship with my partner for over 3 years. Prior to meeting him, I had a long history of compulsive sexual behavior - most of it anonymous.

Through the years - prior to meeting my partner - I thought I was a sex addict and attended SA meetings. After reviewing this web site, I feel most comfortable with what has been described about how sa survivors act out. I really feel that this is my core issue and that my previous sexual behavior was a byproduct of the sa.

Unfortunately, I am so unbelievably confused about how to behave in my relationship. I find myself wanting to revert back to old behaviors lately (likely due to all of this being brought to the forefront of my thoughts). I also don't find myself really interested in sex with my partner. I think my disinterest has a lot to do with my shameful feelings about sex in general. (Is it common that sa survivors feel more comfortable having anonymous encounters?)

Sorry for the long message but I'm really confused and freightened. I feel like I could lose my relationship because of my lack of interest. I don't know how to incorporate sex into an emotionally intimate relationship.

Any thoughts provided would be appreciated.

Peace - Dan

#72384 - 04/29/04 03:23 PM Re: What is healthy sexuality for us
hdan Offline

Registered: 01/06/03
Posts: 43
Loc: Texas
The way you feel is very common for survivors of abuse. As you said, the abuse messes up our perception of healthy sexual relationships.

I am experiencing the same type of issues with my partner. I have acted out much in the same way that you have described. How can I come to view sexual relationships in a healthy way?

Unfortunately, I am not quite sure as I am still dealing with the issue. Does anyone else have some insight to share?

#72385 - 04/29/04 09:36 PM Re: What is healthy sexuality for us
Dale English Offline
Newsletter Founder/Producer
Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 448
Loc: PA

I'll take a stab at it.

Child sexual abuse has the ability of arresting normal psychosexual development. So imagine that this development gets arrested when you're 3 or 6 or 10 whenever, but your body keeps moving forward. So the body with its hormonal releases draws you into sexual activity but the emotional part of you is still back there at 3, 6, or 10. You don't have a prayer that a partner will experience you as a peer and a whole person. It's like the kids of today being overstimulated by media without the emotional maturity to handle the feelings, emotions and situations that come with the overstimulation. Get the picture?

There are so many steps that many or most of us never got the chance to take in a safe and supportive environment with people who loved us. What we need are groups of people who share the same challenges with whom we can form this missed safety so we can grow emotionally and then fit into the adult bodies we find ourselves in. So don't be too hard on yourself. We've been in self-protective fogs for years and we missed many classes that everyone else got the chance to take.

I wish I could find a partner who understood this and would go exploring with me so that I could have a few enjoyable moments of innocent discovery which might end in loving each other completely which could also include sex.

I think sometime I'll need another lifetime to get all that done!


#72386 - 04/30/04 02:49 AM Re: What is healthy sexuality for us
blueelectron9 Offline

Registered: 11/07/02
Posts: 387
Loc: Victoria, BC Canada
IFEMan, I'm really glad you posted because I have been having a lot of shame and guilt feelings around these same issues.

I've been with him for four years now and find myself wanting/trying to break up with him because I find it much more stimulating or exciting to have anonymous sex or at least fantasies about anonymous sex. It really interferes with my relationship with him and it is difficult for me to develop real intimacy. For example, my T suggested that we spend about five minutes a day just holding hands, but I grit and grind my teeth whenever I *have* to do that because it is so difficult for me to just sit with him and be intimate, but it is not difficult for me to just act like a porn star and have "raw" or "anonymous" sex with him. That's changed a lot over the past couple of years of our relationship as sex between us has gotten less and less. We don't do anything wild or experiment with certain types of sex because I realized that it was just too triggering for me because of my sexual abuse history.

I find myself also wanting to revert back to old behaviours. It has gotten so out of hand that I checked myself into a sexual recovery program for seven weeks and now attend S-meetings for fellowship with other sex addicts. I find that the meetings really help, once I get past all the G?d stuff.

My feelings about sex in general is that it is something that couples are supposed to do after every major event and the only reason for being together is to build major events that lead up to sex. It sure surprised the hell out of me when I learned that the relationship dynamic was pretty much the exact opposite of that. We are remodeling our bathroom and painting and staining doors and cabinents, stripping wood, cooking together, going to RCA meetings, going to the grocery stores--day-to-day things that don't necessarily lead up to sex.

In fact, it's been over three months since we've had any type of sex together because I was in an abstinence period for 90 days after leaving the hospital but the spark just hasn't ignited for us yet. I wonder sometimes if it ever will again because sex with my partner is just not as exciting as fantasy, but it is more real and I'm trying to remember/learn that.

Sex has become so different. I am working on being present during sex and am finding that it is really building a lot of true connection and it is starting to replace some of the anonymous desires. I was amazed that I actually had a fantasy about my partner today. I think I may have had about two or three others over the last four years. I have a lot of guilt and shame around that--my partner's an attractive man, I'm attracted to him sexually, but I just have a hard time wanting intimacy.

I'd like to continue the thread so perhaps I'll come back to it. Thanks for starting it--I don't feel so alone anymore.

Thank you so much for sharing,

An odd duck who likes even numbers.

#72387 - 04/30/04 08:25 AM Re: What is healthy sexuality for us
markgreyblue Offline

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA

Thank you very much for making this post - it is a line of thought that i have needed to contemplate but did not know how to initiate it -
all of the responses here likewise are helping me to articulate all of the ideas that are affecting me in light of the sa and ea of my past -

Sex for me was introduced at a very early age -
and then my ea was so psycho - that it harmed my growth -

All of these posts really hit home for me -

Thanks again IFEman -


" not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous

#72388 - 04/30/04 01:34 PM Re: What is healthy sexuality for us
Brayton Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 696
Loc: Minneapolis
I don't act out with anonymous sex but it has played a big role in my fantasies.

You've all written stuff that helps me understand myself better.

Taz, you are so right on the mark for me to the point that you could've been reading my mind.

Sometimes, things just won't work the way we want them to.


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