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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Sexual Dysfunction, Abuse and a Relationship

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Author Topic: Sexual Dysfunction, Abuse and a Relationship
JamsessionVT
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Member # 17924

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Hello, all. I was a mod here for a long time, and haven't been around for a variety of reasons for several months now. I'll admit it's a little funny feeling coming back needing help myself, but I'm at a point where I'm extremely stuck and not sure what to do.

Some background: I have a history of sexual abuse. I was molested by my grandfather starting at the age of 6; this continued for a little under a year until I stopped being dropped off at his house and he moved to Florida. I had thought I'd started to deal with this this past summer, when I got out of a 3 year relationship with my ex and realized I need to start helping myself. I sought counseling and was in counseling for 2 1/2 months. I thought I'd learned to manage my emotions, my feelings of anger and helplessness, etc. I didn't expect to end up in a new relationship for some time.

That changed when I met my current boyfriend in September, who I've been dating for 3 months now. He is by far the best match for me in almost every way I can think of; we are a lot alike, have similar needs, can talk openly about everything and anything and have progressed together far more quickly than I'd expected for only three months together.

This includes the fact that he knows a vast amount about my history of sexual abuse. Part of it is because I've told him out of the need to be up front and honest about my needs. I hid it for a long time from my past partners, wanting to pretend things didn't happen as they did. After I went back to school and stopped being able to see my counselor regularly, I decided I needed to talk to any partner I had in the future sooner rather than later about what I'd been through and how it's affected me so that we could go through it together, and I didn't feel like I was hiding something and grow to feel resentment. My current partner knows quite a bit, not everything, but I've been coming out with more as we go along, and he's been as supportive as he can, although he's admitted he doesn't always know what to do or what I need from him.

Now comes the tricky part: I've had issues with sexual contact for a long time. Not having it in general: I've been able to have sexual contact without being afraid or fearful for the most part. There have been a few instance where something has triggered a negative response and I've had panic attacks, but on the whole I've done OK. The problem is, I get almost no pleasure from any type of sexual contact. I don't really feel anything when my partner touches my genitals or breasts. I can become aroused and want sex by just heavy petting, kissing, making out, etc., but after we go further, I feel myself wanting to stop because I know nothing good will come of it for me. After a few minutes of touching, things start to tickle, feel uncomfortable, or I just start to get irritated because I feel nothing. It's been this way from my first sexual contact with a partner all the way up to now. I cannot orgasm with a partner, either. The only way I've been able to orgasm is on my own, looking at pornography, using a chair corner/dresser corner or something similar to hump, I suppose, to stimulate myself. He has an issue with me looking at porn due to his own insecurities, which I've respected and since we've been together, not looked at it, Consequently, I haven't orgasmed in a long time, which I think is adding to my resentment. We discussed this more, and come to an agreement so I've been feeling OK to masturbate on my own, but I still feel resentful to some degree.

I've also never had intercourse. Even fingering is very painful for me. I do know I have a flap of my hymen that hasn't eroded and is blocking the entrance to my vagina, causing pain wheneven penetration is attempted. I don't use tampons because of the difficulty I have putting them in, and though I feel like I've been ready for intercourse for a while now, I'm scared that it, too, will leave me disappointed and sexually frustrated as well as in pain.

This has become a pretty big problem with my new partner. He's very enthusiastic about sex, has had sex before, but he understands and wants to wait on intercourse for the mean time until I'm ready. On the other hand, everything else, oral and manual sex, etc., he still wants to do. We started out doing quite a bit, and now I can hardly go for longer than an hour or so before I start to feel resentful of him for getting so much pleasure from it, for wanting to continue, etc., when I feel nothing. He knows this; we had a long conversation last night where we both cried, sharing a lot about how we've been feeling.

One of my biggest fears is he'll want to eventually move on from me because I can't give him what he needs sexually/because he can't deal with my issues anymore. I feel myself wanting to get his orgasm over with because I don't want to do anything sexual anymore, which hurts him and me. I told him I was scared, and he confirmed that a part of him wants to help in any way that he can, but there's another part that wants to run away from it all. To hear him say this hurt me more than anything, and I completely broke down.

I don't really know what to do. I'm stuck in this place where I love and care for him, but feel resentment about sexual contact and even moreso when I participate because I want to do it for him, even when I personally don't. I don't want to push him away because of this, but I have no idea where to start. We can talk about everything, which is good, and he said he'll do what I need of him as long as he can. That statement still makes me nervous, but I can't expect him to commit to something that'll make him unhappy, and I told him that.

I guess I need somewhere to start: I hate how I feel, I hate that my mind and my body can't get on the same page, I hate that I feel nothing yet I'm with someone who I'm attracted to. I hate that I don't feel anything when he touches me even though I want to, and above all else I hate that I can feel myself starting to push him away. I'm scared to death that I'll never have a normal sex life or relationship because I don't know how to handle these emotions.

Help?

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Abbie
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Abbie: it's really great to see you, and I'm sorry it's under these circumstances! I am so glad, though, that you felt able to ask for help that you needed here.

I know this probably isn't what you'd want to hear, but if we could turn the clock back, and you'd have asked me when you started this relationship, I'd have suggested staying in counseling longer and staying out of sexual relationships for a while longer while you were in that process. Obviously, we can't turn back time that way, but by any chance have you checked back in with that counselor you saw before of late to talk about all of this?

I also would very much not suggest taking more steps forward and further with sex when you already know that where things have gone hasn't been right for you. Having any kind of sex to try and keep a partner around is -- I know you already know this, but still -- not a sound strategy or a route to healthy sexual relationships.

This is still a really new relationship, and what I'm hearing is that it doesn't sound like a good sexual fit. He wants things that don't work now for you, you want things that don't work now for him. In a realtionship only three months old, you're still going to be in the place where you're figuring out what the right kind of relationship is and how you and this other person do and don't work together. I hear you being very attached to a certain kind of relationship with this person earlier than I'd say is sound (which is not to say none of us have done that ourselves before, mind).

I also think it's too early to be worried about NEVER having a "normal sex life" (whatever that is) because at one time of your life in one relationship the sexual dynamics aren't working.

Can I ask if the two of you have discussed the possibility that a sexual relationship just isn't the right thing for the two of you as two people, either for present and near future and possibly altogether?

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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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JamsessionVT
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I haven't checked back in with my counselor, for a number of reasons. I'm not living in the area during the semester, so it's difficult to see her because of distance. It's also a cost issue: my insurance doesn't cover it, and I have a hard enough time taking care of the basics. In terms of prioritizing in that sense, it fits in lower on the totem pole, unfortunately. HOWEVER, last night's breakdown made me realize that I need to be back in some sort of counseling, if not with her than someone else near me. He was supportive of this and said he'd do what I needed of him.

We haven't discussed that possibility, no. It's a conversation we've been continuing for the past couple of days. We've realized that right now, it's not balanced. He feels badly because he has told me that in every relationship he's been in, he wants intimate contact more than the other person, and his level of passion tends to grow the longer he's with them, while there's tends to wane. I consider myself a pretty passionate and sexual person, but I've found myself (and not in just this relationship, but all that I've been in) not getting what I need, but by no fault of the other person. This has led to a bad cycle of putting off my own intimate needs and downplaying my desires as unnecessary for my happiness, and it's put me in a really bad place mentally.

I'd hate to doom the relationship from the get-go: I've personally acknowledged to myself that I have a tendency to fall into relationships hard; call it a character flaw [Smile] . I'm just trying to figure out how to balance it all, I suppose.

[ 12-11-2010, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: JamsessionVT ]

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Abbie
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Heather
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One thing to know, if you don't already, is that counseling for sexual abuse survivors can often be found at low-cost or even for free. I'm not sure where you're at right now, but I'd be happy to help you look to see what's available for you locally. You could also look for yourself just by Googling something like "sexual abuse" + counseling + <whatever your zip code is>.

I think one thing this guy needs to bear in mind is that unless every relationship he has had has been with a survivor, that past experience really isn't comprable here. Plus, if that's been a pattern, then what it might suggest is that he needs to keep that in mind when choosing partners for himself, and be choosing partners who right from the start, seem in more alignment with him that way. That's on him, not you or his other partners.

I don't think that you're dooming the relationship from the get-go, nor that an area of incompatibility does that. rather, I think areas of incompatibility when we have other areas where we are very compatible give us information about what kind of relationship may or may not be right for us and someone else. For instance, if and when we're so compatible otherwise, but not sexually, that can give us a tip that a sexual relationship may not be the right one, either period, or at a given time in our lives.

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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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JamsessionVT
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 17924

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If you wouldn't mind helping me out in finding something at low-no cost, Heather, I'd appreciate so much. My mod powers have died a bit in that sense; I don't really know what's available around here, if anything, or how to find it.

We've kind of put the sexual stuff on hold for now; he agreed to it to give me a chance to get into a counseling program as soon as I can to start dealing with some of these things, and for the mean time we're going to take it easy and continue to get to know each other.

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Abbie
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Happy to help with that: have a zip code for me?

I'm also glad to hear you were able to agree to put sex on the back-burner right now. Seems like both having it there AND having this person acknowledge that's what you likely need right now are both a big deal.

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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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JamsessionVT
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 17924

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My zip code while I'm at school is 05061. When I'm home, it's 05495.

And yeah, I agree. It was a long discussion, and I'd mentioned what you'd said about the situations (from his perspective) not really being comparable given what my history is and the fact that, as far as he knows, he's never been with another abuse survivor before. He said that's largely the reason he hasn't allowed himself to become frustrated or resentful himself, because I've been upfront and honest with him about what I can and cannot do.

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Abbie
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Okay. First up, know that if you call the RAINN hotline, they can always help you find local resources, wherever you may be. That's: 1-800-656-HOPE.

I'd also suggest contacting Vermont's Women's Crisis Center for referrals: (802) 254-6954 or 800-773-0689
Email: wmnscc@myfairpoint.net

One more is the The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, which provides some services: 1-800-489-7273.

I'm glad you two had that conversation, though I hope he can translate some of it to how he communicates with you about this. That's not just about how frustrated or resentful he may become, but about how he communicates about it with you when he is. I'd say it's also about his being able to do an honest check-in with himself to make sure he's really up to handling this. If he's not, he's not going to be doing either of you any favors and again, it's not like you two have to have a sexual and/or romantic relationship to be close or in each other's lives.

--------------------
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JamsessionVT
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 17924

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Thanks, Heather.

When that discussion occurred, I pretty much told him exactly what you just said: if he can't handle this, I need him to tell me so we can re-evaluate what kind of relationship we can have at that point, because it certainly won't be healthy for either of us.

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Abbie
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Posts: 3987 | From: Greater Burlington Area, Vermont | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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You're so welcome, and good on you. [Smile]

--------------------
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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