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Author Topic: my partner can't make me orgasm
kamille
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He feels insecure that he can't make me orgasm. He tries really hard. But I can't, somehow. And that upsets me, too. It upsets me because the last time I can remember feeling an orgasm coming on, I was having sex with my ex-boyfriend four years ago, and he told me to slow down. I was so close to orgasming, but he cut me off. And ever since then, I don't believe that I've orgasmed...Also, in the past four years, I've dated a couple of people who have treated me poorly, and sex has been the catalyst for our hangouts/dates. There was no substance to our relationships, other than sexual encounters, some of which I've tried to block from my memory. Now I'm with someone who likes me, and I like him. I enjoy his company. He makes me laugh. He is attentive, and pleases me. But I can't seem to relax enough to orgasm. What I'm saying, I guess, is that I think I have a mental block. Probably massive amounts of insecurity and worry. I'm nervous that my past will affect our future. I'm worried that he will feel uncomfortable once he knows the number of people I've slept with, or how they treated me. I feel small and vulnerable. And ashamed that I went along with all of those past flings...I feel sad because I've always wanted something like this, meaning, I've wanted a secure one-on-one relationship with someone who cares for me, and is interested in me as a person, not just my body. I don't know what to do.
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Haleigh H
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kamille,

Thanks for posting your question. I think you've answered part of it yourself [Smile] It definitely could be that you can't seem to orgasm because your having a hard time relaxing and being in the moment.

And, on top of that it sounds like you have a really good idea of what is keeping you from relaxing - insecurity and worry.

How sexual partners treated you in the past is not your fault. There is no reason to feel ashamed.

Is the number of sexual partners you've had something you want to share with your boyfriend? I think if you're not comfortable sharing that with him then you don't have to. Why do you think that he would feel uncomfortable if you chose to share that information with him?

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Haleigh

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kamille
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Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Sure, I seemingly have some sort of an idea of what could be keeping me from orgasm, but words like "insecurity" and "worry" are just blanket terms. I don't really know what it is. I don't really know what parts of my past are affecting me so strongly. And I don't know how to express these feelings to him, or what to say, or where to start, if I were to talk to him about things that I keep pent up inside.

I feel as if the way some of my sexual partners treated me is, in part, my fault. It wasn't consensual, but I didn't stop it, I didn't say no. In fact, sometimes I coaxed people into giving me this kind of attention that I thought would help me feel better. Does that make sense...?

I think he would feel uncomfortable because he has his own insecurities as well. And I know that hearing about these things would upset him, especially hearing about someone hurting me, or causing me any pain, emotional or physical.

I think that it's important to share, and it's something that I'm working on because I find myself to be quite a closed and private person, and it hasn't been serving me well to keep everything pent up inside.

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Haleigh H
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Kamille it's my pleasure.

I think what you're saying makes total sense and I know that others have been there too.

I sounds like maybe you have taken a look at this page but if you haven't, it's great - Navigating Conent.

Remember consent is not about saying no, it is about saying yes because it is something you really want to do. If things happened that you were not into, that is not your fault. Your partner has a responsibility to make sure that they have your consent - and from what you are saying they didn't. Again, not your fault.

I agree it can be really damaging to keep everything pent up inside. If you are worried about your partner's reactions, do you first think talking through what happened in the past with a close friend or someone else you trust would help? Have you considered seeing a counselor or therapist? Do you think that would be helpful to work through these feelings?

I think you may feel more confident in talking with your partner about what happened in the past if you first worked through those feelings on your own (or with someone else you trust).

What do you think?

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Haleigh

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kamille
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I think I have read that article in the past, but I'll take a look at it again, thanks.

I think that it's going to be difficult for me to take a look at my history objectively. I think it would be helpful to seek help from a counselor or therapist, yes. It would definitely be beneficial to work through these feelings, however, it's difficult for me to pinpoint what exactly I feel worried or anxious about, in terms of what has happened.

I definitely agree with you. I would feel much more confident in talking with my partner about what happened in the past if I worked through those feelings on my own, or preferably someone else who would be able to translate my thoughts.

I just don't know what to dooooo. Counselling is so expensive...

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Robin Lee
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Hi Kamille,

Can I check in with you about a couple of things?

When you say you haven't experienced orgasm in the past four years, do you mean you haven't experienced it at all, or that you haven't experienced it with a partner? if you masturbate, are you also not experiencing orgasm?

How do you feel about your sexual relationship with your partner ((and your relationship with him in general)? in other words, is the sex between you enjoyable otherwise?

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Robin

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kamille
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Hi Robin, thanks for checking in.

I haven't experienced an orgasm, at all. I have tried masturbating, and have come close...maybe twice in the past six months.

My partner and I haven't engaged in penetrative sex yet, but the oral sex has been enjoyable. Well, for the most part, until very recently when the fact that I haven't been able to orgasm began to really weigh on him. He feels frustrated, and maybe a bit inexperienced. I've tried to express to him that it feels good, but I think there's a part of him that thinks, "Others have done it in the past, so why can't I?"

I have wanted to experience orgasm for a very long time, and now I'm with someone who I feel happy and comfortable with. Why is it still so hard??

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Heather
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kamille; I'm wondering if it might not help to kind of walk/think/talk through why you think or know each of you thinks orgasm is that important.

In other words, what do you think it will give you that you don't have already in your sexual life and relationship? How about your boyfriend: what is he feeling like you reaching orgasm would give him, or both of you, that isn't there already?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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Heather - that's an interesting idea to consider. We have discussed it, but I think that now I might be feeling a lot of pressure. I'll have to think about it and approach the subject again.
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Robin Lee
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So it sounds like you don't know what he thinks, but i'm wondering what you think.

Was not reaching orgasm an issue or concern for you before your boyfriend brought it up?

If so, as heather asked, what do you think it would give you that you don't have already? What made you want to experience orgasm for so long and what makes you feel disappointed and frustrated now because it's something you're not experiencing?

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Robin

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kamille
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I know what he thinks to a certain extent: He worries that he's not good enough and compares himself to others. However, his fears are somewhat irrational because we haven't even discussed any previous partners. However, at the same time, his worries are entirely valid, and my history is a delicate subject.

Not being able to reach orgasm was an issue/concern that I anticipated myself having. Mainly because I know that some scenarios in my life haven't been that pleasant, and I've worried whether or not they would affect me.

I think that I feel disappointed and frustrated about not being able to experience it with my new boyfriend because I feel foolish for investing time and energy into other people who really only wanted to have sex. And now that I'm with someone who is interested in me as a person, I feel guilty, in a way, that everything may be less special because I feel a bit like damaged goods.

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Robin Lee
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So, what I hear you saying is that you think you're damaged goods because you don't experience orgasm?


Might it help to think about orgasm as a physical reaction, not as something that we give to our partners or have to please our partners with? Orgasm is just one part of sexual arousal and response, and I confess that i'm still having a little trouble understanding what it is that makes this one part so important. Forgive me if I'm being obtuse and the answer is right there in front of me. [Razz]

What part of your boyfriend's fears do you feel like are valid? I'm not saying they're not, only wondering what you meant by that, whether you meant something specific or were simply validating his right to have fears.

Do you think any of this stems from not having discussions about previous partners and that having those discussions might dispel some mystique that may have built up around the past?

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Robin

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kamille
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Sorry, no...you've misunderstood me. I feel that way because some of my sexual experiences have been traumatic, and at times when I remember them, I feel less than. Having encountered certain scenarios makes me sad because I thought that I had more power within myself to say no, and when I remember other times, I wish that I had had more love for myself back then, rather than seeking validation from the outside.

Having an orgasm isn't the be all and end all for me. I very much enjoy everything else, and the tenderness and affection only grows. However, I find myself worrying that I won't be able to let go fully in order to experience orgasm because of being used in the past. Not experiencing orgasm is fine with me at this point, and I've told my boyfriend that everything else is good and that I don't need to at this point. But he's struggling with fear that he might not be good enough (and coincidentally, that's what I'm worried about, once we discuss sexual history.)

Yes, I think it all stems from not having a discussion about previous partners. I'm nervous to talk to him about it because I know that hearing it will make him upset. I hope I'm being more clear in this post.

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Heather
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I'm wondering if it might be helpful for you and your boyfriend to talk about what a partner who is 'good" means to you?

In other words, it sounds like he's thinking "Give orgasm = awesome." Now, that's not actually something that will equal, all by itself, sexual satisfaction for most people. It also sounds like that's not how you're feeling, yourself.

But perhaps if you could talk together more about what "good enough" or even "awesome" in a partner means to you, and he could see and better understand that you reaching orgasm might be nice for you both, but isn't what makes him, or someone, a "good" partner for you, he might be able to feel better about this, and thus, both of you might feel a lot less pressure in this department.

Which, as it turns out, ironically, often makes people more likely to reach orgasm who are having trouble with it. Guilt or shame about not reaching orgasm and pressures to orgasm are two of the things we know play the biggest parts in people not reaching orgasm.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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That's a really good point, Heather.

How can I start a discussion like that? I'm not sure how to approach the subject.

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Heather
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Well, these are my words, so you'd adapt them to something that felt like you, but if it were me, I might say something like:

"It seems like whether I orgasm or not has gotten really loaded for the both of us. It also seems like you might be feeling like somehow it's proof of you being a good lover or not, even though it's an involuntary response a body has (or doesn't), that neither you or I can control. And that also seems lie a real shame since I think you are a good lover, and it actually isn't about orgasm for me, but a whole lot of other things about you and the way we're sexual together. Can I tell you about them so you know what they are? I figure you might like to know, but also that it might help both of us relax about all this orgasm stuff, and I think we'll both feel a whole lot better with the pressure around that dialed way down."

Sound like a maybe-way you could get started?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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Thank you, Heather. That was helpful. I will ruminate and talk to him about it next opportunity.
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WesLuck
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Good luck! (But I'm sure it will go well. [Smile] )
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kamille
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Hi everyone,

Last night I was over at my boyfriend's house and he started asking me questions about drinking. Most of the uncomfortable sexual encounters I alluded to in my previous posts happened while I was under the influence. I felt very uncomfortable talking about it, so we just skimmed the surface (i.e., I told him that drinking and getting drunk was something that I wasn't into anymore and that I wasn't proud of some of the things that happened, but no detail).

I wanted to bring up this website that I've been reading for discussion:

quote:
Often when people ‘share’ their past, hurt or insecurity, it’s like “Please don’t hurt me!” or “You can’t or at least you shouldn’t hurt me because look what at what happened to me!”

From personal experience and listening to many stories, what we don’t realise when we ‘overshare’ is that somewhere we feel a need to impart this information because we suspect that we have reason to be cautious.

Rather than lay out all of your insecurities and pour out various ‘Hurt Stories’, it would be better to address the insecurities and make peace with the painful incidences so that when you do talk about these things, you’re talking about something that’s in the past. It’s very difficult to evaluate a relationship on its merits and know whether you’re dealing with a present or past insecurity or issue, when you’re carting your baggage from relationship to relationship. It’s like you’re together for a while and then one night, you show up with all of these extra bags. “What’s in there?” they ask. “Oh just some problems I need to make you aware of because I’d really like not to be hurt again so I’m going to tell you in the hope that if you were thinking about hurting me, you’ll change your mind” you reply.

We all have pasts and sometimes, they’re ones that we’re not proud of, that we have some regrets or embarrassment about, or that still impact us. That said, while your past experiences can contribute somewhat to who you are, they don’t represent all of who you are and can actually distort you.

They’re getting to know you. Anything you’re telling them should be done so organically and not the equivalent of vomiting out your insecurities and your past so you can get it out on the table before either of you get too comfy. I know I’ve been guilty of saying some stuff because it was like “OK they’re definitely going to turn into an ******* now that they know this”, as if I was trying to force the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Also never allow yourself to be coerced into sharing or find yourself having to apologise repeatedly for something you did ages ago because both overstep your boundaries and they cannot control the uncontrollable. You cannot ‘make it up to them’ for a past that they weren’t a part of.

How your past or insecurity comes out has a lot to do with where you are with it. A number of readers have said they’re embarrassed about being married a few times or being with a few jackasses. If you talk like you’re ashamed, you’re setting yourself up to fail. You’ll also find that we’ve all got at least one ghost of shady relationship past in our closet – I’ve practically got a little cemetery going on!

Instead of going into intricate detail about your exes (you shouldn’t be talking about them on the first 1-3 dates anyway as you have better things to talk about), the simple answer is “We wanted different things.” This is 100% true. This is a lot better than “They were a psycho” or pouring out your life story. Detail, where needed can be gradually added later. I’ve found that buffering what you disclose with contrasting who you were then with who you are now, also clarifies that you’ve moved on from it.

When I told the boyf about the guy with the girlfriend, I felt slightly embarrassed about it but more in a “I can’t believe how silly I was and what an awful mistake” way as opposed to “I’m so ashamed and I may not be good enough for you.”

Don’t Fast Forward unloading your past and insecurities – it’s best to establish a relationship, to gradually get to know one another, to gradually share, and to have positive, healthy experiences in the relationship that build your trust. You should obviously disclose anything of direct relevance to this relationship like a STD, convictions, that spouse you forgot to mention somewhere, etc. The rest comes out organically – you’ll always find out new things about one another. You will find that you can talk about your past or even your insecurities with more confidence when you have a secure footing in the relationship because you know each other enough for it not to impact.

That said – as I explained in the last post, don’t offload all of your insecurities as it makes for a very toxic atmosphere that will increase your insecurity. They’re your insecurities to address. Unless the insecurities are about them and related specifically to things that are currently happening in your relationship, you telling them that you’re insecure because an ex did something in 2005 will only tell them that you’re not over this situation. They can’t prove themselves to correct someone else’s eff up. You have to judge them on the merits of their own actions and the relationship.

They’re getting to know you. If you’re emotionally honest, authentic, and living congruently with your values so that words and actions match, they’ll ‘get you’ without you having to do the equivalent of doing the entire Dynasty boxset of your past and a Powerpoint presentation on your insecurities. Your past is a part of you, but not all of you.

http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/disclosing-your-past-and-insecurities/

I guess I'm having trouble understanding when it's appropriate to share the past with someone new. In the whole scheme of things, I've only known my boyfriend for about five months, and we've only been dating seriously for about two. There are some things that I think he wants to know that I've never told anyone, not even my best friends of 10 or more years. I'm just not sure if I really understand what the author of this post is trying to express. I guess I feel more scared about sharing after reading that. I want to have an open and honest relationship, but now I'm worried that sharing will cause discomfort or distortion of perception...
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Redskies
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First, I'd say that we generally can't spend a great deal of time assessing other content on the internet unless it's explicitly describing itself as educational. We also can't know what another writer was thinking, what they mean, and what motivations they had when they wrote any given piece.

I would note that the writer of the site says the site is "for entertainment purposes only" in the site guidelines, and doesn't list any educational or sex and relationship training in her "about me". So, when we're reading sites like that, I'd figure that we should treat it as a different and interesting perspective and something interesting to think about, if we think it's any good, rather than very serious guidance about how we should live our own life.

I can't know what the writer was thinking and meaning, but I read the extract you put above as being about a very specific situation. I don't think it's about All communication about one's past, but about talking about one's past with a new person as a way of trying to get some personal closure with that past.

It's true that we can't expect to get resolution or closure about something in our past from a new person, and that if we're sharing something for that reason, we probably want to take some time to think about our motivation for sharing and perhaps try to get closure in a more appropriate way. However, there are many, many other reasons for sharing parts of our past, and many of those are completely healthy, functional and appropriate.

I'd not get too bogged down in what one writer said, which presumably was based very much on her own situation. Instead, I'd focus on what Does seem to apply to your own situation, and the feelings you have about your situation.

Would you like to talk about what sort of sharing is appropriate, in relation to you?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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kamille
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Thank you for replying, Redskies. I think I still have to think a bit about that. However, I would really like to go back to why I initially posted this thread.

I'm worried about talking to my new partner about my previous sexual partners. I feel very vulnerable about exposing any stories, but I also think it would be unhealthy to withhold information, or keep secrets. I am regretful. There are a handful of instances that I was very much unlike myself, clouded by insecurity. And now I feel embarrassed to talk about it, and furthermore, potentially judged...

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Heather
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So, am I hearing that you don't feel confident this is a partner who will accept your sexual history if you share it?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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I tend to be a very private person so it makes me anxious that I have to reveal anything. I think that he would accept it, but the knowledge would potentially be very difficult for him.
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Robin Lee
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I'm hearing you voice that it feels vulnerable and awkward for you to talk about this, but that you believe it's important to do so.

What do you think would be difficult for him in hearing what you need to tell him? What makes you think he'll have these difficulties? That is, have there been things that he's done or said in other situations that give you the idea that he'll find this knowledge difficult?

Also, what does difficult look like?

What do you anticipate the experience of this discussion to be?

What do difficult discussions usually look like for the two of you?

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Robin

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kamille
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He has emphasized that hearing about past relationships, or sexual encounters is hard for him. I asked him the other day what part of hearing it would make him most uncomfortable, and he said that it would hurt to hear that I wasn't okay with what happened, or that I was repressing it.

I'm not sure what difficult looks like. I anticipate the experience of this discussion to have moments of sadness, vulnerability, disconnection, shame. Usually he is pretty good at communicating. I find it difficult to put my emotions into words.

But. We had sex for the first time the other day. He's wanted to have sex for a while now. Which confused me, because I thought he was abstaining for religious reasons, but I asked and he ensured that this is what he wanted to do. I feel a little bit of anxiety because we haven't discussed some of the painful experiences I've had in the past. Also, the day after we had sex, he told me that he had been tired, and not totally in the mood, and found it hard to do. This made me feel sad, disappointed, and kind of embarrassed. That was our first time, and his first time, so it's kind of just a buzz kill. I wanted things to be perfect and meaningful...and I know that I can't expect perfection, but I had hoped that we would at least have a strong emotional connection. And instead I just felt like he was going through the motions that he didn't understand quite yet, just to please me...

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Robin Lee
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Hi kamille,

Were you able to tell your partner how you felt during the sexual activity, as well as how you felt when he told you later that he'd been tired and not really in the mood? These are feelings it's important to tell him about. It's also sound for the two of you to talk about how it's a good idea to call things off if someone isn't in the mood, rather than going ahead and doing it. After all, you perceived that something was wrong, so nothing was gained by your partner trying to hide how he was feeling.

Conversations about the past are often difficult. Sometimes, having difficult conversations is just a part of being in a relationship with someone. If this is a conversation you feel it's important to have, is there anything else besides anticipating it being painful that is holding you back?

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Robin

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kamille
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Yes, I was able to tell my partner how I felt at both times. We talked about how we should stop if one or the other isn't feeling it.

I'm just worried that he won't be okay with our conversations and that it will weigh on his mind and that he'll be thinking about it obsessively.

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Heather
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I'd say these kinds of conversations are very basic for anyone who is earnestly ready to be sexually active with someone else. If a partner can't handle them, I'd say that's evidence of them, perhaps needing to re-evaluate if they truly feel ready, willing and able to be sexual with someone else.

And that's really his responsibility, per himself. And I'd say if these conversations make him think about that, that's a good thing: checking in with that is something that's pretty much always good for any of us, and if we are troubled by these basics, by all means, recognizing that and that sex with someone else isn't something we want or feel up to is really important, not something to avoid.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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You're absolutely right, Heather. And I don't want to withhold information. I just worry that I'm not in a space where I can really orate anything well enough to be heard. I worry that I'll just blurt something out and not have enough answers to the question why for us to have a good discussion.
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Heather
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Is there any way you think I might be able to help you with that?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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I'm not sure, Heather. For some reason talking about things is really difficult for me. Like, something really minuscule will overcome me and I'll be torn up about it and in panic/anxiety mode...then a half hour later I'll be totally fine, but I won't be able to verbalize what's wrong, or why, or anything. It's really frustrating and a painful experience for everyone.
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Heather
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Do high-stakes conversations go -- and feel -- any better for you if you start with a letter, making most of your points, and asking some of the questions you want to ask the other person, first, before talking?

As well, when you have those panic/anxiety moments, do you have coping techniques you use to get you through those? Even something very simple like asking to step outside for a moment and taking five deep breaths?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kamille
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Hey. So, I've been thinking about why I've been feeling so anxious/insecure lately. My self esteem seems to have plummeted to a whole new low. I realize now that although throughout our relationship I have compared myself to his successes and things he's good at, I think that the real tragic negative thinking started after we had sex. I think that this insecurity and feelings of inferiority steam from being used for sex. I am very hurt by some of the experiences I had and find it difficult to forgive myself, also. I am afraid to tell him about any of those things because I'm afraid that he will judge me and think that those experiences are who I am. He believes a lot in values, good judgement and decision making, and I find it hard to forgive myself because I broke some of my own values in the face of insecurity and wanting to find love and affirmation. I think that because I felt very insecure and needy during those times, I have reverted back to that and feel the same way now. I don't know how to discuss this. I feel sick about myself, it's been weeks and weeks now. I don't like my behaviour. I'm acting needy, insecure and clingy. Please help me. I want to find peace and crawl out of this low self esteem hole into the sunlight.
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Heather
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That sounds like a lot of pretty amazing self-awareness and realizations. hard, obviously, and sucky, too, obviously, but it's good you've gotten there.

I think it sounds like step one with this is to figure out if you want to share all of this with this partner or not.

Personally, I'd say if you have plans of continuing this relationship as an intimate relationship, and the goal of changing the dynamics here, that being open and honest about all of this is a must. It may or may not result in positive change in the relationship and how you, yourself, interact in it, but to have a chance of that, I'd say you have to be honest with him about these realizations and feelings.

But if it doesn't feel at all safe for you to do that, you want to pay attention to those feelings, too. And if that's the case, then I'd say it sounds to me like this might just not be a relationship to continue, that it's either already over, or you've established it's just not a good one for you, one you feel you can grow in and be in in healthy ways.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Just as an extra note, I'd say that when an intimate partner isn't one of the first people we very much want to share big self-realizations with, even the hard ones, and we don't feel the MOST safe sharing those with, that's a very clear sign something is really amiss in a relationship.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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