Associating safety with a sex partner

Through regular EMDR, I'm understanding that part of me thinks that anyone who wants to have sex with me is automatically evil and that sex with another person is automatically abuse.

Obviously this isn't true, but since being sexually abused by my ex-wife these cognitive distortions have become completely ingrained. While I want to have sex with my current wife, part of me deliberately sabotages myself to make sex impossible between us. While I want to live in harmony with her, I assume any neutral word from her is anger, and I emotionally attack her before she can attack me.

How in the hell do I fix this??
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Strangeways

You need to find a partner that makes you feel safe inside and outside the bedroom, one who respects your fears and listens, understands and do not judge for the know they cannot feel what we feel. In time with the right person you will become closer and intimacy will not carry fear. I think sometimes we focus only on feeling safe with sex in the bedroom, what I learned when I felt safe outside the bedroom I felt safe inside the bedroom--I did not have fear of being mocked because in life in its entirety she made me feel safe. It is a process. I am glad you are working with T and undergoing EMDR.

It took time, patience and some not so successful attempts. In time I could feel the safety net given to me.

Kevin
 
You need to find a partner that makes you feel safe inside and outside the bedroom, one who respects your fears and listens, understands and do not judge for the know they cannot feel what we feel. In time with the right person you will become closer and intimacy will not carry fear.
Well, that hasn't happened yet after 13 years, so perhaps my wife is the wrong person.

I'm not leaving this relationship, so should I just give up and assume sex isn't ever going to happen between us again?
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
I am not saying your wife is the wrong person. Sometimes we fail to communicate our feelings to our partners and partners fail to communicate their feelings in a positive and nonconfrontational way. There are words that instill fear, uncertainty or control--and maybe used unintentionally. It is important both parties "listen" and not tell you what is wrong with each other.

Have you talked about possible therapy or joint therapy that will allow you to feel safe so as not to sabotage having sex with your wife. I would not give up because you want to be with your wife. Communication is key. Has your wife expressed her feelings to you?

Kevin
 
I’m afraid to get intimate with someone and they touch me the same way I was sexually assaulted and then I freak out and the person doesn’t like my reaction and then abandons me. I’m not afraid of sex itself. I’m afraid of being touched the wrong way.
 
Have you talked about possible therapy or joint therapy that will allow you to feel safe so as not to sabotage having sex with your wife.
We've tried this ... it didn't really work because at the time I wasn't really in a place to hear anything that sounded like a criticism. Maybe we can try again.
I do remember the therapist said we just needed more intimacy between us. I agree, but when I'm too defensive and get angry at her, she pulls back, and then I pull back. That's the way it is.
Communication is key.
Yes, our sexual and intimate communication is nonexistent.
Has your wife expressed her feelings to you?
Yes. She's sad and disappointed at being cheated out of a normal, loving sex life. I get it.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Strangeways

I am sorry to read of her response. Did she ask about you? Two way communication is important. Get it is not the answer to her nor is her response to you as to what she wants for you and herself. Tell her why you are distant and maybe she will open up about you and not her and you will open about you.
 
I'm realizing more and more that the longer our dry spell is, that I think I don't actually want to have sex with my wife at all. I definitely do not trust her.

I don't think sex is ever going to be safe for me. And without safety, I'm really unwilling to put myself out there.

I'm doing OK just taking care of my needs by myself. Maybe someday that'll change, but I'm OK with things as they are.
 
This has a feeling of deja vu to me since after successfully seducing a woman and marrying her, I couldn't tolerate the intimacy and withdrew emotionally and sexually. Like you I interpreted every comment as a criticism that invariably led me to shame, which is not the place from which intimacy happens. For me it led to self-destructive acting out behavior I've written about elsewhere on the website.

Clearly, you know what is needed... more intimacy with your partner. You also aren't able to engage in the behaviors required to get there, doubtless because the fear from previous traumas keeps you from going there. I've no idea what will move this for you though I believe it begins with self-compassion... or self-acceptance... coupled with self-care. You are not a problem to solve, nor am I. Personally, I've come to realize that I have NEVER been a good candidate for an intimate relationship, simply because the childhood trauma was too destabilizing and my methods of attending to fragmentation invariably took me to places that don't allow for real connection. I was a master of false advertising. I looked good. I played a good game... but it was all for show. Inside was turmoil.

I'm glad you are able to take care of your needs and I'm sorry your wife feels so unfulfilled. All of my four marriages ended in divorce and I invariably felt it was good they were no longer with me. I do better living by myself. I have greater capacity for intimacy after years of hard work, but I wouldn't dream of attempting to create a sexual relationship with a woman. At 79 years old I can make that choice.

All the best to you as you work through this material.
 
Thanks, Visitor. That was a helpful post. I don't think I can work through this right now, with a full-time job, part-time school, being a parent to a toddler AND a teen, and of course the fucking pandemic on top of it all so we're all around each other 24/7.

I am going to try to do some EMDR around sex and safety when T and I get the chance. But I also realize it's not ALL about my PTSD. I also have a history of abusive situations with my current wife. I didn't want to see it, but yelling at your partner and calling him names when he can't keep an erection (which, of course, is not within his actual control) is emotional abuse. She also hit me hard once after a sexual encounter, and that was real, actual physical abuse. Neither of those things has been repeated, so I don't consider her an abuser, but the retraumatization from those events has made her a dangerous person in my trauma-addled mind.
 
Last edited:
Top