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Old 01-11-2009, 09:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Committing relationship suicide

I need some advice and insight, and I 'm really hoping that people on this forum will be able to help. I feel that I'm in the midst of committing relationship suicide. I'm married to a fantastic, supportive man for nearly 8 years. Our relationship is strong in all but one part: our sex life.

The issue is that I simply am not interested in having sex, but the curious thing is that when we do have sex, I really enjoy it! We often go weeks at a time without doing anything. My husband tries to discuss it with me, but that conversation typically ends w/ me in tears, hyperventilating, feeling guilty and horrible about myself, and what I'm doing to him and our relationship.

I have seen a sex therapist about this, and learned from those sessions that I make the decision to want a fulfilling sexual relationship in order to"fix" this. I do want to attain this goal (more so that it's no longer a black cloud hanging over me and my relationship, if I'm being honest), and yet I don't do what needs to be done in order to attain this goal.

Right now, I'm desperate, frustrated and deeply scared that I'm going to lose my husband, as I'm not sure what else to do in order to convince myself that sex must be part of my life; that sex is fun & positive; that this is something that I want.

As some background, I've never been abused, I have depression and am on anti-depressants, which I realize can negatively impact one's sex drive; and the lack of sex life has plagued our marriage from the beginning.

One of my biggest problems is that I don't view sex positively, in fact, it feels like a chore. It's a subject that has become so imbedded in negativity that I avoid thinking about it. In fact, sex just doesn't naturally come to mind as part of my life - I hope that makes sense....

Any suggestions of things that I can do to make sex a positive part of my life would be appreciated.

Thank you!
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would try taking a trip together. Nothing too fancy, just the two of you somewhere alone. Bring some massage oil and candles, and go from there.

Think of it as a jump start to intigrating sex back into your life. It won't happen all at once, but if the two of you can slowly remember that sex is fun, and shouldn't be a chore, things should work out.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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OK, from what I gather, you seem to feel like it's a chore but enjoy it all the while your doing it. Well, I would utilize rahl's advice but first take relaxing exercises. Maybe Yoga or meditation. I know you said depression and not anxiety but the key to relaxing is not to get interested in sex but temporarily relieved from daily stresses. Once you get a break through meditation, you will be better poised to think about and tackle your day to day issues.

You said you frustrated by the issue but seeing as you also said you enjoy the activity I can say with certainty there isn't anything to be stressed over. The fact that your seeing a therapist and came to us means your working to resolve this. It will take time but your asking for advice means it won't take too long. You just need to see things a bit more clearly.

Remember meditation is not about reflecting on your inner self and all that jazz!! It's about going into a quiet room and thinking ONLY about your breathing. Yes, thinking about nothing at all is the key here. Once you realize that you shouldn't be frustrated by something that you enjoy, then you'll find out the real reason you have all this guilt built into sex and remove it.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you explained this feeing to your partner?

He may think you're hiding different feelings, and could be feeling angry or hurt about the sex life you have as a couple.

I know that when I had a partner who clearly enjoyed sex, but wouldn't have it with me, I assumed she was having it with someone else.

As it happens, she was, but that's not the point.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like you're approaching the situation with a mature outlook. If your husband knows that you are seeking counseling and actively working on your sex life, you are likely at no risk of losing him. Especially since this has been the pattern since you started your married life - perhaps he is aware this will take time and effort to overcome.

Here's a mental trick: you could relabel intercourse as something you immediately associate with non-intimidating enjoyment. Something along the lines of "ice cream break," "cuddling session," "cookie time," or "cute, fuzzy kitty-watching."
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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COOKIE TIME! Woohoo!

...

Sorry, that's the funniest thing I've heard in a month.

...

EDIT: Just tried it with the s/o. Does NOT work.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crompsin View Post
COOKIE TIME! Woohoo!

...

Sorry, that's the funniest thing I've heard in a month.

...

EDIT: Just tried it with the s/o. Does NOT work.
You should go back and ask her if you can watch her cute fuzzy kitty.
Better duck if she's a quick puncher.......
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Honestly, I think that you need to do more than just see a sex therapist a couple of times. I think you should enter a longer-term therapeutic relationship.

There's nothing wrong with not having a high sex drive. And some people just naturally have a very low sex drive, and that's simply the healthy norm for them. And if it turns out that this is you, then you'll have to have a serious discussion with your husband about the future of your relationship; with the understanding that if you can't work it out, it's nobody's fault-- this is simply the proverbial "irreconcilable difference."

However, I suggest a longer-term therapeutic relationship because of two things you've said: first of all, and most importantly, that when your husband attempts to engage you in discussion of this issue, you have what sounds like a serious panic attack and bout of irrational negative emotions (guilt, fear, self-directed anger, etc.). Now, perhaps I can't tell from your description, and it turns out your husband is bad at discussion and your panic and negative feelings are a perfect response to his behavior during arguments. But you didn't seem to indicate anything like that from him, and I suspect that your panic and negative emotions are resulting from this issue being a hotspot-- bringing it up presses some kind of major psychoemotional button for you, the nature of which is not obvious, even to you. In other words, this is an issue that cries out for serious psychotherapeutic self-work, not just for your husband's benefit, or to "save" your marriage, but for your own benefit as a healthily integrated individual.

The second thing you said was that you found sex to be like "a chore." And in my experience, people who simply have a low sex drive find it to be something of a harmless waste of time, but not much of a chore, unless it is demanded of them on more or less a daily basis. In my experience, regarding it like a chore either indicates a lack of desire to have sex with the person in question, or that the lack of desire is actually avoidance, in that having sex causes unpleasant issues to be brought up, or evokes unpleasant feelings or memories or associations (conscious or subconscious).

But in any case, I think this is really going to be worth your while to explore seriously. And the fact that you would be working on the issue in therapy might help ameliorate the situation for your husband, also, allowing him to continue to be supportive and present for you.

I was once in a relationship with a girl I loved very much, who had a much lower sex drive than I did (mine is quite high) and it was difficult for both of us. We both spent a lot of time working on our issues, and in the end, we discovered that it wasn't that her sex drive was so low, but that she was in fact a lesbian, and naturally was less than enthusiastic about having sex with me, as I am not a woman. While that was difficult for us to learn, in that it necessitated our breakup, we became much happier people after that, and are still good friends to this day. Hopefully, your situation will be different enough that you will not have to separate, but I do think that you will inevitably end up happier in the long term for figuring out what's really happening with you.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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This is obviously about more then your marriage and making your partner happy. You describe this as a black cloud hanging over you

Quote:
more so that it's no longer a black cloud hanging over me
That means that whether or not your partner leaves you you are still going to have to deal with this. Since you obviously love the man to me it makes more sense to work through the underlying issues together rather then trying to do it without him.

Quote:
One of my biggest problems is that I don't view sex positively, in fact, it feels like a chore. It's a subject that has become so imbedded in negativity that I avoid thinking about it
Is this only with sex or is this with all forms of phsyical intimacy, I mean are you a tactile person? Do you feel comfortable hugging, cuddling and kissing your partner? If so at what point does it go from being enjoyable to a chore?

Maybe you need to start right from that beginning stuff? Hugging and kissing and getting used to touching him and him touching you? Once you begin to enjoy that you could move onto massages and small sexual exercises (I'm sure your sex therapist can suggest some) until you do enjoy being in a physically intimate situation with the husband.

That will hopefully start a positive feedback loop. If everytime you kiss him you enjoy it then you'll look forward to kissing him, hopefully that will mean you'll do so more often and so on for the rest of it.

Quote:
sex just doesn't naturally come to mind as part of my life
This is a bad sign I have to tell you, it sounds to me from this one sentence that you don't consider yourself a sexual being in any way shape or form. That is not healthy for you mentally or emotionally. Is there anything that makes you fel sexy, anything at all? If there is maybe you should play on that

One thing that is a positive and that you should keep in mind is that everyone on this board is open minded and none of us will mind helping you as much as we possibly can, even if you just need someone to listen while you vent.
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crompsin View Post
Just tried it with the s/o. Does NOT work.
*shrug* maybe not for her. I like the nicknaming-sexual-activities game.


Always leave it to Levi and Hyacinthe to offer the best advice!
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes, kudos to Levite & Hyacinthe for providing great advice.

Without knowing what you've tried or what you like...You wrote that you don't think about sex, you consider it chore, but when you have sex you enjoy it. It might help if you do some experimenting in an effort to discover what really turns you on. Research sexual activities with an open mind (you might be surprised by what gets you going!) & note which ones get your attention. If some do, find porn (yes, you read that correctly) that relates to the activity/activities, and see if you're interested in trying something new. The internet is filled with free porn, stories, photos, and video (short clips are great for testing the water).

The search function here at TFP will provide hours of reading, and some viewing.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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levite and hyacinthe couldn't have said it any better.

i would also like to add that it seems from your post that you are doing this mostly for him, to save your marriage. you need to do this for YOURSELF. you need to find some internal motivation to work through this, and really want it. it's ok to not have a big sex drive, i'm not suggesting that you aren't normal or that you should fix your sex drive... but you should certainly find a reason for yourself to work through these anxieties, because they aren't going to change until you deal with them, no matter what 'right' partner you may have.. self exploration is always a good indication of personal evolution and not settling for complacency. so good job for taking this first steps..
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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My first inclination was to talk about how having no sex kills romantic relationships from the inside out, but I think a better comment might be that sex is something wonderful, best served (in my opinion) with someone you love, and part of healthy romantic relationships.

I would make sure that the problem is something to do with sex with another person first, though. If you get uptight about self-stimulation, I'd ask why that is and suggest the problems might be related. I'm guessing from your post you aren't getting yourself off either. That's something positive that you can build on.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My first inclination was to talk about how having no sex kills romantic relationships from the inside out...
Bingo.
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Do you ever masterbate? If not, maybe you should start having a little bit of private time. Even if it feels like a chore at first, if you take the time and try to enjoy it, you may find that you can view yourself in a more sexual way.

Also, I have found that when I go without sex I don't usually have as much of a craving for it. When I do have sex more often, I tend to want it more. I'm guessing it has something to do with the hormones that are released when you have sex.

Also, see how your partner feels about having an intimate time WITHOUT the sex exactly. Perhaps it's the pressure you feel about actually having sex to 'please him' when you should BOTH be able to be pleased. I'm sure he wants to please you too, maybe you can try to accept that pleasure as a gift from him.

Last but not least... If you are on antidepressents there are two things working against you. 1. Depression is frequently associated with lower sex drive - maybe you need to see your Dr abou tweeking the meds to reduce any depression symptoms that could be causing thing. or 2. Depression meds can cause low libido (as you mentioned) and your Dr could tweek your meds again just to reduce that side effect.

My prescription... 1. Play with yourself. 2. Have more sex. (even if you don't feel like it at first it may change). 3. Have intimate time without sex. and 4. See your regular Dr about your antidepressant meds.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I just want to thank everyone who replied to my post. Your suggestions have given me a lot to think about as well as given me ideas on action items. Hyacinthe really hit the nail with the comment about not considering myself a sexual being - I don't feel sexy, am not sure what makes me feel sexy and don't think of myself as a sexual person; it all somehow in my mind registers as being "bad". I know that this is not true and not healthy thought processes. I've done a lot of journal-ing (if that's a word) since I initally posted and everyone's comments have given me something new to work out. Thank you all.
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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SSRI antidepressants and hormonal birth control can both ruin your sex drive. Once I took an SSRI for about a month then I realized I'd rather be depressed than on that. It didn't ruin my sex drive but it made sex a chore. if you are on either of those that's the first thing I'd look at. there are several other types of antidepressants as well as birth control that aren't notoriously bad for your sex life.
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n0nsensical View Post
SSRI antidepressants and hormonal birth control can both ruin your sex drive. Once I took an SSRI for about a month then I realized I'd rather be depressed than on that. It didn't ruin my sex drive but it made sex a chore. if you are on either of those that's the first thing I'd look at. there are several other types of antidepressants as well as birth control that aren't notoriously bad for your sex life.
This happened to my friends wife who is now taking SSRI's and he has been miserable ever since.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:50 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Very good to hear from you again scared25 I was wondering if this was going to be a one time problem post so it's fantastic to see you back.

Maybe sexy isn't the best word to use then, is there any time in your life when you have felt, beautiful, feminine, powerful, in control - anything that makes you feel honestly good about yourself?

Those are great things to use in regards to feeling 'sexy'. For me I feel sexy in stockings, ridiculous heels and corsets. They make me feel powerful, feminine, an object of desire. They make me feel confident in myself and I think that's one of the cores of feeling 'sexy' having that confidence. Sex and sexual situations do leave you emotionally vulnerable so that strength which can be buoyed up by pretty much anything can help you to feel more free physically, emotionally or mentally in a sexual situation. If your discomfort is related only to the word sexy you can try hot, cute, desirable, feminine etc etc One of the things that always makes me feel like that is a set of nude photographs I had taken for advertising purposes, everytime I look at them I am reminded "you know what I'm really nto a bad looking girl" I doubt you're ready for nude phtooes yet but something to keep inmind for the future!

The journalling is a good idea, it will help you to go through and really look at your reasoning when it comes to disliking sexual situations, having to write down and examine your thought processes can make you realise that there is a problem there and (not directed at you but more me when I journal) how silly some of your mental connections between ideas really are.

How is the hubby handling all of this? Does he appreciate how hard you're trying to sort this out? Or is it still hard on him. If so you might want to share some of the things that worry you about sexual situations with him, some of your doubts and fears.It'll most definitely hurt if he laughs them off but if he's the type of person that can sit and listen and then just hold you after or explain to you WHY he thinks differently via some nice compliments that could be useful.

How is the sex therapy going? Has that helped at all? Having never been to a sex therapist I'm not sure what type of things he / she would have you doing but I'm hoping it's helping
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:25 PM   #20 (permalink)
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SSRI antidepressants and hormonal birth control can both ruin your sex drive. Once I took an SSRI for about a month then I realized I'd rather be depressed than on that. It didn't ruin my sex drive but it made sex a chore. if you are on either of those that's the first thing I'd look at. there are several other types of antidepressants as well as birth control that aren't notoriously bad for your sex life.
So true. I am on Wellbutrin, which is practically the only antidepressant that doesn't kill your libido.

I tried Paxil once, and Celexa another time. Both times it was like being dead from the waist down. Sex was a frustrating, pleasureless slog. This is a very common side effect with SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro; possibly Effexor too?).

The Pill also killed my libido. Once I went off it, my sex drive began to return and my sexual responsiveness improved (i.e., now when my spouse kisses me, I actually feel something physical).
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