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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Am I too insecure or is he just emotionally unavailable?

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Author Topic: Am I too insecure or is he just emotionally unavailable?
JellyTots
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I apologise for the length of this post but in order to see the big picture and establish the problem(s), I have had to explain the details and history of the relationship.

So to set the scene, I'm a 21 year old virgin.
I have been in a long term committed relationship of 7 months with my boyfriend. He has a history of sexual partners and sexual experiences. I had never engaged in any kind of sexual activity prior to meeting my boyfriend other than masturbation.

When we initially got together I told him that I was a virgin and he respected that. But after our second date, he was eager to give me oral sex and was, looking back, rushing me into things that at the time I felt quite uncomfortable and uncertain with. But i eventually gave in and rather enjoyed the sensations of oral sex and reciprocated with him. We moved onto anal sex quite quickly, with my boyfriend suggesting that we try it and he took all of the precautionary measures, i.e. ensuring that I was lubed up well and he started by inserting just a finger before moving onto penile penetration. I must admit I felt quite rushed into trying anal sex but because he showed knowledge of what he was doing I trusted him with doing it.

However recently we have tried to have vaginal intercourse. I asked him to try and he obliged. We engaged in all the necessary playing, such as kissing, touching and we had oral sex. I would say that I was aroused and I was well lubricated due to this. As my boyfriend began to push inside slowly, not even the shaft of his penis had entered my vaginal entrance, when I began to feel very uncomfortable and it hurt. I asked him to stop and we tried again later when I felt ready to. Again, the same thing happened. So I decided to see my GP. I explained to her my concerns and she decided to take a lower vaginal swab. Even to have the swab taken I experienced pain and discomfort and she explained to me that although everything appeared healthy I seemed to be very tender down there. I was found to have thrush which I then took medication for and it cleared.

Now, my boyfriend does not convey his emotions very well and often comes across as quite cold, even to me. This is just the way he is, he doesn't do emotional, he is a very practical person. Even when we have sex, he is not very sensual or affectionate, rather he just centres upon wanting to have oral or anal sex without being romantic with me (we do kiss and caress but there is often not much feeling behind it, or so that is how it comes across to me).

I haven't seen my boyfriend for quite some time though now because he has moved away to study but whenever we talk about trying to have sex again he doesn't express any kind of emotion about it. I feel that it is putting me off having sex with him. I am quite self-conscious during intimacy because I am insecure with my body but I try to be as relaxed as possible. But my boyfriend doesn't do or say anything to help me to overcome this. I am afraid of sex hurting me after our previous attempts and this has further reduced my 'urge' to want to have intercourse. I need reassurance from him to make me feel comfortable and to tell me that we will go slow and do things one step at a time. I often get the impression that he just wants sex with me because his 'needs' require attending to (as he puts it) and he says he finds it extremely hard not having vaginal intercourse. This hurts me a lot because I feel that I have done a lot to accommodate his needs but he fails to understand my emotions with regards to having sex.

I feel as though his lack of emotion is making me less attracted to him and to wanting intercourse. Being my first time, I would like it to be special and appreciate that it won't be all flowery and perfect but I do expect there to be a mutual connection on both a physical and emotional level. However he doesn't display this. I feel that I need to be with someone who can show emotions and help me to overcome my fears and insecurities in a sensual and romantic way. Equally I love my boyfriend and don't want to break up with him but at the same time I don't feel I want to lose my virginity to him because he doesn't make me feel comfortable or assured through his actions.

My questions are:
Is it me with the problem or him?
How do I overcome my insecurities with my body and eradicate this fear of sex being painful?
I would like to have vaginal intercourse with my boyfriend but I want him to be more emotional with me in order for me to feel like it will be special rather than just a fumble...but how do I go about doing this?

I am so very confused and distraught...I don't know what else I can do. Please help.

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Heather
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In terms of the question you posed in your title, I'd not say it's either/or like that, from the sounds of things.

I'm hearing a few things in this.

I hear you saying you felt very rushed into a sexual life with this person, more than once. I hear that you don't feel your boyfriend is affectionate towards you nor shows affection (to the point that it sounds possible you may have gone ahead with sexual activities despite feeling rushed in an effort to experience some affection).

I hear you expressing feeling insecurities and discomfort when it comes to sex with him, which isn't surprising if this all felt rushed and happened at a pace you were not comfortable with AND this person isn't affectionate or reassuring. I hear you talking about sex as being about his "needs" and how you attend to them.

I also hear you saying a lot of things that suggest you two really aren't a good fit, that your natures, in some really essential ways, are in conflict, as is your pacing.

I don't think this person sounds likely to be emotional/affectionate with you in the ways I hear you saying that you want. It seems like he's been the way he is from the start, and that's not likely to change. It also sounds to me like your motives with sex with him are a bit iffy, like they have a lot to do with his wants and his pacing more than yours save for that it does sound like sex is the one way you think you can get the emotional connectivity you want, even though, given the history here, and this person's approach and personality, that sounds unlikely.

So, let me toss this out at you: how might you feel about the prospect of staying with and continuing sex with this person versus the option of being with someone who, sexually, goes more at your pace, doesn't present sex as a "need" for you to fulfill, and who also IS more affectionate and warm?

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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Thank you for such a speedy response Heather.

I value your advice greatly and appreciate the points you have made. I have often spoken to him about being more emotional with me despite his difficulties in doing so. On a personal level, we do get along well but emotionally, we are on opposite sides of the spectrum and I understand this is especially important when it comes to being intimate with someone.

I agree with you, I feel that if we were to have sex, it may enable us to connect more emotionally perhaps. But when I have asked him why he would like to have sex with me, his response has just been, I am attracted to you and love you. To me, this doesn't feel like enough of a reason to want to have sex with someone but then again, it could be due to my insecurities that I crave more than just being told I am loved. I want to be made to feel special. I believe that had I not told him I was a virgin from the beginning he would have tried to pursue sex from the get go. I feel this because he slept with other girls as soon as he met them. To me, this does indicate love or show a real emotional bond, rather it is just a bit of fun.

I respect the fact he is willing (although reluctantly so) to wait till I am ready but he goes on about "how difficult it is to not have vaginal intercourse" and because of being a virgin he claims that I would never be able to understand this.

I cannot make him more emotional or affectionate towards me, but if I am to have sex with him, I want to feel that he is doing it for legitimate reasons of affection because he loves me truly and not for the reasons he did when he slept with other women. Although he says he slept with them for legitimate reasons, I fail to understand what these were other than one-night stands.

What would you advise me to do Heather? Should I stay in this relationship but cut out the physical stuff or should I just move on? He does make me feel happy but just not loved.

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Heather
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Well, I think it sounds like you have a good grasp of his limitations when it comes to what you want emotionally and what he probably just can't give you in that department, for whatever reason. It also sounds like he's been pretty clear, in words and actions, that what you're seeking from and with him in sex isn't something you're likely to find with him.

So, for me, this seems like an issue of you two wanting very different things neither of you are likely to find with the other. And that, for me, means that you probably want to really rethink if this kind of relationship is a sound one for you two to be in together. To me, it doesn't sound like it is.

What do YOU think?

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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I feel very close to him both as a friend and lover. I enjoy his company and I am attracted to him. In whatever sexual acts we have engaged in, he has made me feel good, although the circumstances in which they occurred may not have always been ideal.

I agree, we both have very different views about sex and about life in general. We both like different things. I don't necessarily see this as either a good or bad but just different. However I don't know how long I will be happy for in a relationship that is just 'different'. Or more importantly, how long it will last this way.

It is rather strange and worrying but as of late I have been thinking about my ex boyfriend of 5 years. He was the complete opposite to my boyfriend now. Although we never engaged in sexual acts, he made me feel very special in other ways and through alternative means. Until recently, I have thought how it would feel had I or if I lost my virginity to him. I know this is not healthy to be thinking in this way about someone else but the way I am feeling at present has got me very confused about what I want and how I will find it?

I have considered that I should perhaps seeks some advice from a counsellor at university but don't know whether I really need to or if I just need to be alone by myself as a single person for some time to reflect and understand more about what I want from a relationship...

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Heather
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Well, maybe the thoughts about your ex are about recognizing that with a very different kind of person -- maybe not that specific guy, just someone more like him than THIS guy now -- all of this might feel better to you?

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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Yes, I think so although I feel very insecure and don't want to leave my present boyfriend. I feel that we do share something very special and we do care for one another a lot. But I would prefer somebody like my ex to experience vaginal intercourse with.
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Heather
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Do you think some of your feelings of insecurity, though, might be about the way sex has gone so far?

In other words, what do you think will help you with those feelings and to feel more confident? Do you think staying in this and these dynamics is going to help you feel better or keep you feeling the same?

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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I have always been self-conscious of my body and assets. I am quite blessed and this makes me feel more insecure.

The very first time I received oral sex, it took my boyfriend almost 30 mins to coax me out of my clothes. Nevertheless I enjoyed it once I got past the initial stages of getting into the mood, i.e. getting undressed. So yes to a degree I do think it is about how sex has been so far. Saying this, however, my boyfriend likes my assets as he has said to me before how aroused he becomes when he sees my breasts and he enjoys giving me oral sex. This should make me feel more comfortable in myself but for some strange reason it doesn't. I cannot lie there naked whilst receiving oral sex, I usually pull the duvet over me because I am conscious of how I look.

When we have discussed about us eventually having sex, I have voiced my concerns about being on top because I would feel uncomfortable with how my breasts would move and 'hang' horribly throughout. He disagrees and says he finds it a turn on to see that but it just makes me feel very dirty and ugly. I'm also worried about the noises that will be made and heard during sex.

I am scared about what to expect and what to feel if/when we do have vaginal intercourse. From our previous attempts as I explained in my first post, it was painful.

I feel that I need to experience more emotions and affection from him to feel good about myself. To help me relax and feel comfortable, I would like him to be more sensual and comforting to me. To take it slow and communicate more with me. Previously he led by assumption, and we discussed that in great length after I told him that I felt he didn't listen to me when he continued to enter me once after I expressed that I didn't feel wet enough and that I was nervous.

Although he has improved since then, I think maybe he needs time. As you have stated in your articles, sex is different each time you experience it with someone new. As this is our first time with one another, perhaps we need to spend more time learning about each other's likes and dislikes and understanding what we both want.

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Heather
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Well, I don't agree that someone becoming aroused about your body should result in feeling more comfortable automatically. That can just as often make someone feel more comfortable as it can make them feel LESS comfortable. Want to maybe fill me in on why you think that *should* make you feel comfortable?

It sounds to me like part of what's going on here is, again, about pacing, and about the pace and what you do being more about what this person wants, likes and is comfortable with than you. Ideally, in a healthy sexual relationship that feels right for everyone, it should be about both people pretty equally, more equally than this looks to be.

I also hear you being very clear, again, about what you do not get or experience in this relationship that you KNOW you need for comfort. Those feelings matter quite a lot, and for sure if this person can't or won't meet those emotional and interpersonal needs, then I would expect you to feel UNcomfortable and to keep feeling that way.

Again, I'm not sure this is about more time in that respect, because I get the impression from you that the affection stuff is about his nature: that he's not warm or open in the way that you are or want. Sometimes some of that is changeable, but sometimes that's also just about how people are, you know?

But it sounds like, if you want to take more time to figure all of this out, and just stay away from any kind of sex you are NOT comfortable with and that does NOT feel at your pace, it'd probably be okay to do that. In fact, seeing if he can even handle things going at a pace other than just his will probably give you more information you need to make choices around this.

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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I have never really thought about it in that way to be honest. I guess, when you see that someone else is comfortable and happy with you, and admires you and your body the way it is, should enable you to feel positive about yourself because somebody likes you and appreciates you the way you are. There is no reason why you yourself should feel bad about yourself if that is the case....I suppose I have just never liked my body and how I look and so I fail to understand how anybody else could like it.

I totally get what you're saying about his nature being the way it is and it's something I won't be able to change. But i'm hopeful all the same.

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Heather
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I think it depends on a lot of things.

For example, sometimes when someone has someone else "appreciate" their body parts sexually, they can feel like ONLY their body, or them-as-sexual-means are being appreciated, and they are not actually being seen or appreciated as a whole person.

Not saying that's what's happening here, might be, might not be, just throwing one example of a way this can make people uncomfortable out there.

But for sure, if and when we don't feel comfortable in our own skin, no one else can change that for us, including with the fact that they like it.

With your hopefulness about him changing, is that about what you want? Or is that based in his wanting to be different than he is? In other words, has he expressed that he'd like to become more affectionate and warm and open and make these changes for himself? Or do you think these hopes are about you wanting him to change for you because it's how you'd prefer he is?

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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The latter. I am hopeful about wanting to change his emotions towards me because I would prefer that.

How do I go about being more comfortable about myself and how I look? I want to be close to someone, physically and emotionally, and I don't feel I can be until I am comfortable and happy in my own skin...

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Heather
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Here's the thing, though: for someone to change, they need to want to change. That's not only about practicality, there's also an ethic to that, in terms of accepting who other people are, including when they're not who we want them to be. Do you know what I mean?

By all means, when it comes to positive body image and comfort in our own bodies, we've got to be a good deal of the way there ourselves before we can be there with others, usually. So, what do you do for yourself to feel good in your body? For instance, what do you do TO feel good: what activities make you feel good about your body, particularly how you feel in it, not just how it looks or you feel it looks?

--------------------
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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JellyTots
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I understand that you can't change a person against their will but I would like a change in order to move on in our relationship.

With regards to what I do to feel good about myself in my own skin, embarrassingly, very little. I feel good when I am out with friends, dressed up for a party and dancing away, because I feel happy doing that and feel comfortable with my body whilst doing that. Otherwise there is not much else.
I have recently started at the gym to help me to feel better about the way I LOOK, and I think when I begin to see changes in my body shape and size, it will lead me to feel more comfortable about my body. But there are things that even going to the gym won't help me to feel happier about. For example, I really dislike my breasts. I can't look at myself in the mirror naked because I hate what I see. I hate my stretch marks and the birth marks that I have. They make me feel insecure especially because I know they won't ever go away and there is nothing I can do to get rid of them, I'm always aware of them.

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Heather
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The thing is, I'm still hearing YOU talking about how you want him to change to suit your needs. I'm not hearing about what he wants and if he wants this, too. And that really matters, both practically and ethically.

Per your answers here around your body image, that still all sounds to me like things around looks. If and when we only really focus on how our bodies look, then getting to a positive body image is awfully hard. Often, part of why people have poor body image has to do with over-emphasis on looks.

So, let's try this: are there things you can do, or ways you can be in your body, where it just FEELS good to be in it and you appreciate it, where you are either not thinking about how it looks or, when you are, the way you're thinking about looks isn't about attractiveness or sexual appeal? For instance, we can feel good per looks about our bodies looking strong or agile, even if and when we or others may not find that attractive.

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