Two years into relationship and have never had sex
Hi everyone, hope you are all well!
So I am a 26 year old male and I have been with my boyfriend (23) for more than 2 years and absolutely love him to bits.
When we first started dating, he was quite up front about his difficulty to have sex, as he unfortunately was a victim of sexual abuse when he was a young teenager. He also was up front about reassuring me that with his exes he always had sex, and that he was experienced in it all. For the first 12 months or so I kept trying to initiate sex and he kept ignoring it, or just generally rejected me. So I decided to talk to him and just reassure him that I was fully supportive and would take it as slow as he wanted. But this didn't change anything between us.
With my sexual frustration at all time high, after the 12 months or so, I said to him that I was going to leave it totally up to him to come to me when he is ready. Another 12 months later and nothing has changed, actually it has become worse. We probably fool around once a week or even once a fortnight.
Before dating my boyfriend, the longest I went without sex was about 2 weeks. I also called it off with a guy who was essentially a friend with benefits and we had the BEST sex of my life, he just didn't want a relationship and I did.
Im reaching out for a bit of help and advice as to how I should approach the situation again as I really really would like to have sex. The situation is particularly delicate due to his past sexual abuse. Should I suggest we or he see a councillor/therapist? Or what if he just never wants to have sex? Should I suggest that I could have sex with other guys? Im open to any and all suggestions.
I'm a bit stuck as I really love my boyfriend and see a future with him, but sex is so important to me to be able to be completely happy.
Hope anyone can offer words of advice or even just open chat with me.
Yes, I can definitely see loads of things in common, but there are some differences too.
Dizzy talks about power, he is exactly right in my experience. Dealing with trauma takes time and I think there are layers to it. Personality comes into it - like when I am threatened I freeze then hide or run away, he sounds like he is a bit of a fighter. There are things that bring the memory back. Those memories bring the threat back with them. My reaction is that I am there but not all there, my heart isn't in it. At worst and rarely I view the scene from above. Not great for my boyfriend of the time. If trauma is happening to your partner he is not in control and it would be scary, scary enough for him to avoid the situation i'd guess. The problem is not that I don't like or want sex, the problem is that I have learned to avoid because when that freezing thing happens I feel like I have let him down, and have. I found that it is not always a problem, but my partners worry about hurting me which is a bit of a waste, because the opportunity doesn't happen every day. There was a benefit to the controlling side of my ex because with me having the conversation and letting him know what he could do, he was more confident to make a move and be assertive.
One thing I do which makes me hard to read by others is being quiet, sounds like that is something similar. I don't like it when people are direct and just say it, but it does work and I appreciate that it works, timing is the key. I don't think that this is a different conversation to other things you want to do together - just like you say, it is getting started and stopping before it is too overwhelming.
My ex was very controlling, still has a go from time to time (living in a small town), that sounds more like your partner than you. Are you prepared for fallout? How the relationship might go after? Mine left rather then compromise or even have the honest conversation. Afterwards at a low point he opened up about it all, but then it was too late because he was with someone else which was a shame because we sorted a lot of stuff.
So I agree on therapy in that it might help, but there is no guarantee, people are complicated. What about you? could it help to have a psychologist assist to unpack, understand, and to support to try some new things out?
Livetogive; You sound like me for nearly 3 yrs with my ex. You can't take responsibility for the whole relationship. You asked if there was something you could do to "..bring out his assertiveness sexually.." The answer to this can only come from your partner. He's the one with the answer. It's clear you love this man and support him wholly. How does he support you?
Each one of us has a right to experience sexual pleasure and be held in the arms of the one we love afterwards if that's what we want. In my case, I found out my ex had been using sex aids to bring him to climax behind my back for 2 yrs. When I told him I wasn't shocked and would support him, he withdrew and rejected me. I felt as though he'd been having an affair; it broke my heart and made me feel less than the inanimate objects he preferred. (tears..)
It's well and good if you're willing to support him to the ends of the earth, but it has to work both ways. I must also reiterate what Eleanor Roosevelt said; "No-one can control you unless you give them permission first"
My ex wanted an easy ride with a child-like partner (me) to dominate with passive/aggressive tactics. What he gave me was just another form of abuse. Giving unconditionally is a child concept that allows a child to survive being 'small'; they trust indiscriminately because they have to. In abusive situations, children blame themselves for not being good enough to make someone they love treat them better. They choose to see the good in everyone because seeing the bad is traumatic. They see no escape other than trying to change themselves to please the adult, to feel safe and loved in return.
Are you ignoring his rage and control because you don't want to lose him? Are you placing his unwillingness to progress to intercourse above your right to want the same for yourself? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Please stop focusing on him and acknowledge your own pain as paramount. How is he going to support you? Ask him that question and see if he diverts the conversation away from you?
I hope you get something out of this LTG...Dizzy
Rob; I'd like to address your post next if that's ok
I've read a book by Peter Levine called; 'Trauma - Waking the Tiger' It's an amazing read for sufferers of anxiety and panic from trauma, but it's not for everyone. I'm for science and research (geek?) to explain the biochemical and neurological reasons for my mental health issues.
You talked about your problems with freezing, hiding and running. Prior to reading Levine's book, I didn't understand why I froze in some circumstances, but fought in others. I couldn't ask the electrician to take his boots off inside my home because I was a bumbling mess, yet I stood up to my son's abusive boss with a fiery protective scorn. I spoke without missing a beat of his legal requirements and what I'd do if he refused. He even stared me down with intimidation and a steely arrogant gaze right in my face. I didn't blink an eyelid. How could this be?
Trauma has frozen me in a state of being someone's 'prey', yet will place myself in harms way to protect my son; survival of the species and blood line?
Levine's book helped to see myself as an animal first. His knowledge of why we freeze was a relief to read. It explained not only why it happens, but how to free myself from it's grasp. It also explained the dynamics between my ex and I.
Everything you wrote in your first paragraph (last entry) is not only understandable, but so honest and courageous. Most of all, I'm proud of you for asking for what you wanted. Benefit or not, that's a difficult thing to do sometimes. You risked rejection and, this is a form of fighting for yourself. Well done!
Livetogive...I hope I didn't go too far in pushing you to acknowledge yourself. I'm a protective person and want you to be happy with your right to be sexually equal. I suppose I 'felt' for you being in similar circumstances to me. My hurt and (on-going) pain, interfered with my objectivity...I'm sorry. Power and control is complex, especially when it involves love and companionship.
Thanks guys, thanks for helping me provoke some thoughts as to how to deal with and address all of this.
Rob, my partner is very much a fighter. Not in the sense that he will fight the bad things that have happened to him, but more that he will fight with those that try to help him with it because it is different to how he currently deals with it (ignores it entirely and avoids all possible sexual interaction where possible). I dont know if I would ever be ready for the possibly fallout. I just keep thinking of all the possible outcomes.. where the bad seem to heavily outweigh the good which is why I havent really acted on it much more than trying to talk about it.
Maybe the therapy could be a good happy medium where we are both able to have our input with someone there to moderate. He is the kind of person that doesnt get angry around people he doesnt know that well.
Dizzy, you are right. I do feel like I have been putting him first in absolutely everything all the time right from the beginning. This should be a two way street. I am as much a part of this relationship as he is. I havent ever really thought about it in that way because of the delicateness of the situation. Me taking a cautious approach to thing is warranted, but not giving in to it entirely, because that again would be relinquishing power to his attacker. I think trying to help him talk about it and deal with it may also empower him to regain that control over his past. I may be able to help him see that he is able to regain control over today and the future.
"Are you ignoring his rage and control because you don't want to lose him? Are you placing his unwillingness to progress to intercourse above your right to want the same for yourself? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Please stop focusing on him and acknowledge your own pain as paramount. How is he going to support you? Ask him that question and see if he diverts the conversation away from you?"
Yes. Yes and yes (unfortunately).
When I have tried to bring it up in the past, his rage just overpowers the conversation so I quickly shut it down to avoid it. I just get afraid that I will make things bad for him, and that I will be the reason he will never make any progress. Again, taking this on myself. I just get the impression that if/when I bring it up, he will get really angry and just say that he wants out of the relationship.
Thanks again guys.. I really appreciate it 🙂