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Reconnecting with DH after trauma

(21 Posts)
ZooAnimals Wed 09-Jan-13 20:55:45

'how is he repulsed by sexual contact but at the same time able to masturbate?'

I think it's completely possible to be repulsed by sexual contact with another person, but fine doing it by yourself.

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:44:59

Merry, thankyou so much - you are right. Joint therapy is something I would consider but if dh won't talk to me I don't think he will talk to a stranger with me. I might try the book though, and you are so right about the broader effects. I want my children to grow up in an environment where they are comfortable with and see relationships as positive.

MerryMarigold Wed 09-Jan-13 20:17:18

I've heard Relate do good sex therapy. I would definitely suggest being pro-active in this area, even if it is not instigating actual sex, then instigating sorting out it out. Often women are better at dealing with things, and since you are willing to see there's a problem (with both of you, don't point fingers) then I think you need to be responsible to sort it out. Obviously it will be the best thing for your daughter too. She needs you both to be physically close in the long run, to see the normal side of things. (Not that she would be aware of you having sex, but having a healthy sex life generally leads to more physical closeness, hugging, touching etc.). And also for your marriage to be saved. I have no idea what it would do to her if she even suspected something that happened to her was affecting your marriage.

I am not preaching at you. My dh and I had sex twice in 4 years and we are still not back on track (very sporadic, but we are managing to). But I have come to the realisation that it really affects our marriage in much broader ways, our closeness, our kindness to each other etc. I am reading that book, Just Do it: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned on Their Sex Lives for 101 Days by Douglas Brown. Not that it's revolutionised anything yet but it's helping me change my mindset.

BB01 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:49:19

Sorry, read now that someone else suggested therapy already. Sometimes therapy can be really practical based rather than talking about feelings. You might get set tasks to try like homework every week. Wonder if that would make it seem less daunting if he knew it wasn't all necessarily about recounting the past but practical tips and encouragement for both partners

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:38:35

Izzy, writing it down might be a possibility, I will think about it. Thanks.

BB01 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:24

I really feel for you and although some time has passed I know from experience things can have lasting effect on your sex life. Could you try to broach it with him not when you're about to do the deed or after but when you both have some time on your hands and aren't too stressed. A specialist sexual therapist could really help things get things moving forward for both of you if you can get OH to agree. Some areas may still do it on the NHS. Try to get a GP referral if you can. Best of luck

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:34:51

I must not have explained properly. I've only backed off since we had several unsuccessful attempts to have sex, and then he made excuses ( the bed being uncomfortable/ siren putting him off etc ). It was the fact that he didn't feel he could talk to me at the time that's made me back off

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 19:29:07

Sorry but I don't think he is the one that needs the therapy. He instigates, you back off, he loses his erection. It's the backing off that's the problem, not the start or finish..

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:22:26

I accept it may seem like a long time. But it feels like yesterday in some ways. I have suggested therapy to him. But I think he would struggle. It seems selfish to be worried about our sex life when our daughter has suffered so much. I think he would worry about being judged.

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:20:08

I am not saying he is abnormal. I just want to move forward. It may seem like a long time but with court and stuff it went on for quite a while. And we have been trying to resume things for a few months.

izzyizin Wed 09-Jan-13 19:17:33

As Cogito has said, three years is a very long time to stay in such a dark place.

Would your dh be willing to engage in individual therapy such as that which you have found helpful?

If not, all you can do is muster the courage to talk frankly to him expressing your fears and hopes for the future, or perhaps you may find it easier to articulate your thoughts on paper for him to read?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 19:09:11

You misunderstand. I'm saying that he has difficulties precisely because he is not abusive. Any decent man should and would withdraw if his sexual partner backed off when he touched her. Realise you can only give a pencil sketch of the problem but I don't think his behaviour is especially abnormal.

Three years is a long time to still be traumatised to this extent

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:03:35

I think you misunderstand, cogito, He is very tender and in no way abusive. We are both pulling ourselves out of a trauma that nearly destroyed us. I think we both understand that and each others screw ups - we love each other very much, I was asking if anyone had an idea of how we could move forward.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 19:00:15

If he instigates sex and you back off then it's no wonder that he has problems. You do understand that it would be utterly wrong of him to carry on having sex with an unwilling partner?

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:59:53

Ambivalent means that I want us to be ' normal' again but I dont feel to lead the journey.

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:57:50

That's the problem, I can't, because by doing so I will sort of put myself in a position of taking charge and I don't want to. I want him to because it seems too scary. And he feel the Sami I am pretty sure. In all honesty I would like us to have a sexual relationship again because it would feel like we had overcome things, rather than because I feel sexual. He does try to instigate touching me but I just back off, partly confused because I know he can't follow through, and partly because it just feels too difficult.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 18:57:19

It's a sexual release rather than a physical one. What does 'ambivalent' mean in practical terms for you?

MerryMarigold Wed 09-Jan-13 18:52:46

So sorry to hear about this. Very sad for you.

I totally understand the masturbation thing as my dh has had some similar problems. It does help for me to do it to him (as it were) in order to get him close and maintain the erection. Have you tried this?

Have you been honest that this is a real problem for you and encourage him to seek help? What was his response?

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:48:31

I think most men madturbate as a physical release as much as anything? We were both too caught up in the horror of our lives to consider anything sexual. Does that explain it better?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 18:46:41

How is he repulsed by sexual contact but at the same time able to masturbate?

Espresso2000 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:40:14

3 years ago we found out our young daughter was being sexually abused by someone close to us. It was a horrendous trauma for all of us and we had a few sessions of counselling which were helpful. We were both repulsed by the idea of any sort of sexual contact though until about a year ago, but things have been fairly disastrous, and my DH has been unable to maintain an erection - I think he is still in a darker place than me ( I have had some very helpful individual psychotherapy recently, he hasn't).

We tried having a sexual relationship around his difficulties, but I find it difficult in that he won't acknowledge the problem, acts like there is none and then makes some excuse about the inability to maintain his erection. If he was honest I think I would feel supportive, but I need to feel safe and supported to reinstigate things, and I'm just left feeling confused. I think the issues are probably a mixture of trauma related and also that he has had several years of masturbating when we weren't having sex at all, and he has got used to the different sensation, but as he won't acknowledge it I don't know. Part of me wants to discuss things and try to fix it, but at the same time I'm still ambivalent about sex and intimacy - I think we both want the other one to fix things. Does anyone have any words of wisdom?

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