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Old 07-16-2010, 01:06 AM
inlovewith2 inlovewith2 is offline
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Question The importance of sex

So, some of you may remember that my husband is struggling with this poly thing. There is so much there—my mental health crisis of last year, my sexual abuse history, which has dogged us our entire relationship, and now my discovery that I am poly. It's a lot. Most men would have run for cover a LONG time ago. And as you may know, I struggle with either denying an important part of myself for him, which, in truth, contributed greatly to this whole mess (albeit in a much different form, see below), or committing to do what is right by me in the hopes that it is indeed what is right by us in the long run, which I truly believe to be the case.

It would help if you all understood some of my background. I have, on more than one occasion, said that I could be asexual. In truth, that was just because sex terrified me d/t my lengthy abuse history. One day, my therapist made a comment about how maybe I'm meant to be asexual. And when I heard him say it, I knew that it wasn't okay with me, no matter how much I thought I could sacrifice. Fast forward a few years, and a few valiant but unsuccessful efforts to “fix” our sexual issues created by my abuse, and I meet my boyfriend. He too is an abuse survivor, so I knew he would get it. To be fair, my husband tried really hard, but I knew he never could (for which I am very grateful for his sake). I also want to be clear that in no way do I view my bf as a substitute for my husband. It is very clear to both of us that polyamory will never work if our relationship is not strong, if we are not the focus.

My bf and I did have sex, but it was much more about connection than it was about sex. We were both trying to emerge from a very dark place at the time too, so, voila, more connection.

I have since had more suitors, one of whom I feel has pressured the sex issue, although he's been very understanding when I've set limits. And that right there is new!!!!!! I never would have set limits with my husband—I thought that in order to keep him, I was obliged to have sex with him (this still makes me very sad).

My dh understandably feels like he blazed the trail with his patience and understanding all of these years, and now these other men are benefiting. He is very focused on the sexual piece of any relationship I may have. It seems pretty clear to me that he worries that he isn't “enough”, and I don't know how to assure him that it isn't that at all. I feel free to explore my sexuality at my own pace now, and yes, that includes other men, but it primarily involves him!!!!!! And I've tried to reassure him that no matter how great the sex was with these men, it is to him I want to come home. But that just implies that he's not “good at it”, which isn't true. How the hell would I know? Until recently sex=fear, so when it feels good, I'm thrilled. And it feels very good with him, I know that and that is so nice!!!

He says that he has no problem with my being emotionally intimate with these other men—it is only the sexual piece that bothers him. How do I help him to understand????? When he says “why do you need to have sex with them?” I don't know how to respond.

I don't “need” to (or maybe I do, I don't know, as I said, it is such a significant want that it feels like a need). The way I understand it is that I didn't “need” to have sex with him either, but I wanted to, as an expression of how I feel about him.

What I want is for him to know how amazingly important he is to me. I think to myself how I could stay with him if we never had sex again, but I'm afraid all he hears is that this indicates that he's not good enough. Quite the contrary, it indicates how deeply I love him.

We'd love thoughts and feedback (he's reading over my shoulder ;-)).

Christie
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:40 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Wow..thanks for sharing and making yourself so vulnerable in this. I think I get the want to have sex with other partners for poly people. Part of it is so totally foreign to us monos that we can't seem to wrap our heads around it. I get the desire to express emotions with the one person I love but can't really understand how it is applied to multiple partners. Why? Because I don't understand how someone loves more than one intimate partner. I can however understand having sex with random un-cared for people when I was single, but for some reason when I fall in love, I just don't desire my other relationships to take on that aspect. In all honesty I don't even think I need sex anymore....but I love having it!

This is useless advice but you made me think and discover something...thanks
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:32 AM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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This seems to be a lot to do with his trust in your telling him he is who you want to be with and that you are satisfied in your sexual connection with him.

Honestly, he has to trust you in this fact. You can't convince him of it, he has to believe it. Either by time and build trust, or...just give over to the love he feels for you and you feel for him
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:06 AM
Jade Jade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlovewith2 View Post
“why do you need to have sex with them?” I don't know how to respond.
If sex is not love, and love is acceptable, why is the attachment of sex to love unacceptable? Is this forced limitation truly poly? It sounds like a fear of loss of primacy, but I'm only guessing. I'm not an expert. I've read no books (who reads books before falling in love?).
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:57 AM
inlovewith2 inlovewith2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Jade View Post
If sex is not love, and love is acceptable, why is the attachment of sex to love unacceptable? Is this forced limitation truly poly? It sounds like a fear of loss of primacy, but I'm only guessing. I'm not an expert. I've read no books (who reads books before falling in love?).
Not sure I completely understand, Jade. But let me try--the issue here is, at the core, a mono/poly one. IOW, he obvee understands that sex is a product of love (for us at least), but what he doesn't get is why sex has to be attached to all of those that I love or care for (in a dating sense of course).

He's no longer reading over my shoulder, but maybe he'll chime in to clarify.

And to answer your question about forced limitation, a couple of points. One, I truly don't see him as "forcing" anything. He's being honest with me about how he feels, just as I am being honest with him about how I feel. We just fundamentally feel differently, which makes it very tricky. Nonetheless, I do consider this process to very much be a part of transitioning a relationship from mono to poly. For 18 years, we've been monogamous and all of a sudden, NOT! As I said, lesser men would have fled.

I HTH to clarify. If not, feel free to ask. Clearly, I'm open.

Christie
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:30 AM
SayYes SayYes is offline
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This is interesting to ponder for me, because my relationship with my boyfriend has been minimally sexual, partially due to circumstance and partially because neither of us feels that it's a huge priority in our relationship. We're very physical, but the majority of the time I would say it's more sensual than sexual. In theory, we would be fine not being able to have sex for an extended period of time. And yet, I wouldn't be comfortable agreeing to those terms for our relationship (if they were externally imposed). I think more than anything, for me, being poly means that I love more than one person, and that I have separate relationships with them. In order to really, truly have a relationship with my boyfriend, I need to be free to express how I feel in a way that feels natural and organic, not laden with rules and specifications. Even if that turns out to rarely mean sex, were the option not there, it wouldn't feel like I was *really* free to have a relationship with him. That's the best I can do at explaining why it matters.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:30 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Originally Posted by inlovewith2 View Post
As I said, lesser men would have fled.



Christie
I would prefer the idea of "most men" would flee, but in essence I agree. Your man is amazing
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:33 PM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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Yeah -- what Mono said. Treasure that guy.

For me, what happens during sex is apparent in what happens afterwards: pillow-talk is, for me, an order of magnitude more intimate and loving than any other communication with a human being. Trusting another person with my body creates a connection that nothing else rivals.

But that's just me. I don't have any abuse history or sexual baggage to speak of. Your emotions are obviously different. And of course you gotta be who you are.

However, a difficulty may arise for you because what you feel about sex could be very different from what your significant others feel about it. For some people it's not about physical gratification but about a very deep, resonant connection.

It's like two people learn to play all sorts of relationship music together. Light conversations and fun little tunes, serious discussion music, deeply emotional pieces. One way I think about lovemaking is that it's a particularly deep and satisfying music to make. If you get a lover who feels that way about it then they will want to learn that part of the repertoire with you. Not because they need to get their rocks off but because they want that deep emotional music.

Unfortunately I don't know how you bridge from your feelings about sex to the kind of feelings I describe. Maybe just be aware that they exist, and that your lover(s) are asking you for something that you may not completely understand but which is very significant for them.

I dunno. I may be off-track in my comments. I always worry that I've misunderstood. Good luck!
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:45 PM
inlovewith2 inlovewith2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Wow..thanks for sharing and making yourself so vulnerable in this. I think I get the want to have sex with other partners for poly people. Part of it is so totally foreign to us monos that we can't seem to wrap our heads around it. I get the desire to express emotions with the one person I love but can't really understand how it is applied to multiple partners. Why? Because I don't understand how someone loves more than one intimate partner. I can however understand having sex with random un-cared for people when I was single, but for some reason when I fall in love, I just don't desire my other relationships to take on that aspect. In all honesty I don't even think I need sex anymore....but I love having it!

This is useless advice but you made me think and discover something...thanks
Hi Mono!

I don't believe replies are ever useless; they always make me think somehow, or feel heard. I tend to be a very open person by nature (a strange juxtaposition with my difficulty trusting to be sure), and I feel like sometimes these details are important to give others enough info in order to best respond.

I would have been right there with you in not understanding how one can love multiple partners until 7 months ago. And isn't it funny how we are all different; I can't understand having sex with anyone for whom I didn't care a great deal. We are a complex make-up of our genes and our experiences aren't we?

You are most welcome, and again, your thoughts are helpful! Oh, and to your later reply, you are absolutely right; a better phrasing would have been most men would have fled. I know that those decisions are never easy!!!!

Thanks as always,

Christie
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:49 PM
inlovewith2 inlovewith2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariakas View Post
This seems to be a lot to do with his trust in your telling him he is who you want to be with and that you are satisfied in your sexual connection with him.

Honestly, he has to trust you in this fact. You can't convince him of it, he has to believe it. Either by time and build trust, or...just give over to the love he feels for you and you feel for him
Yes, I think this is true. I do think it has another dimension though in him not understanding why I need more than what he can provide. And it's not that I do, necessarily; I view it as an expression of my feelings for the other men in my life. I had a better way of phrasing that, but my kids came in mid-thought and I lost the better explanation ;-).

Thanks!
Christie
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