Unhappy sex life: Would you see a sex therapist?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by petite, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. petite

    petite New Member

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    If you were happy with every other aspect of your relationship or marriage except the sex, and there were no health issues that prevented either of you from having sex, would you suggest seeing a sex therapist or a relationship counselor together to fix the problem? Why or why not?

    Also, do you consider your sex life to be important enough to do something drastic like that? What else would you do?
     
  2. petite

    petite New Member

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    I'll go first since it's my thread:

    A thread here on LPSG about married men whose sex lives have deteriorated started a discussion between TheBF and me. I asked him, "If I stopped having sex with you, how long would it be before you took drastic measures, like seeing a sex therapist or suggesting polyamory?"

    He said six months before he suggested seeing professional help! My answer was 2-3 months before I suggested relationship counseling or a sex therapist, 6 months before I suggested polyamory (assuming that there wasn't extenuating circumstances like health issues that prevented him from having sex with me and vice versa for this hypothetical scenario).

    So I asked him why he wouldn't suggest seeing a sex therapist earlier to address the problem, and he said that men just don't do that, that it isn't manly. I asked him which was more important, manliness or your sex life, and he agreed that it was more important to have a good sex life, but he still didn't think that he'd do anything drastic like that until it had been six months.

    Is it just me, or does that seem like waiting too long?
     
    #2 petite, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  3. badgirl22

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    In hind sight I'd say do it as soon as possible. My sex life with my ex husband sucked right from the start. He was fingering me and I moved his hand slightlyto a better place. His reaction was not what I expected. He got extremely angry and said, "no one ever complained before." Me, I was used to communicating in bed. I mean, how else are you supposed to figure out whats right for each? He never touched my pussy again with his fingers for the next 13 years no matter how much I told him I loved it (it's my favorite thing). Thought I could fix our sex life over time with communication and trust. Nope, just went from bad to worse. When I finally told him I was done, needed to get laid (we had sex like once or twice a year and it was all about him) he said he was willing to see someone. But, by that time I was so disgusted with him there was no way I was going to go through that. I wanted a man who just already knew what to do to please a women.

    Had I realized how devestating that was going to be to our marriage (and my self image) I'd have gone to a sex therapist immediately. The first time I had sex after telling him I was going to (actually it was after spending some time on LPSG that I realized I needed to go out and get laid) I was amazed at how wonderful it was. I'd forgotten how much I loved it and how great it could be. Everyone deserves a fulfilling sex life - If it's not great, fix it. It's not going to get better on it's own. The stresses of life get mixed in and things just get worse.
     
    #3 badgirl22, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  4. irox19

    irox19 New Member

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    Wow Badgrrl...thank you for sharing your experience. Hindsight is a crazy thing...would you have stayed in the relationship much longer after that first experience when he got angry?

    I would definitely be open to therapy...but it would depend on the relationship and if i were with the right person to begin with. Although I was with my ex for 7 years and we were engaged, the fact that I knew deep down we wouldn't always stay together kept me from trying to fix things via counseling. Sex started to go downhill two months after we were engaged (by then we were together 5 years)...when he started teasing me out of bed about my dirty talk. He NEVER talked dirty and I needed it so so so bad. So instead, he started joking about the things I said and I became so self-conscious and like you Badgrrl, with time I just became disgusted with him and hated to ever have sex. Sad.
     
  5. Pitbull

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    Guy answering here
    Probably a relationship counselor but not a sex therapist.
    Sex therapist sounds like you don't know what you are doing in bed and need some help.
    In the situation you outlined - As a man - I would say you need the therapy and I just need the sex.

    As for BadGirl22's situation.
    We men can be stubborn and stupid.
    I would like to think that I would do whatever necessary to improve a bad relationship and make my woman happy but often I get the feeling that I am the exception not only among men but women too.
    People often are just too selfish and think only of themselves and not their partner.
    Problem is that when you are in a relationship it isn't "You" or
    "Me" but "Us" that comes first. And if both take care of "Us" then it is better for the "You" and "Me"

    I don't know how long I would go with no sex in a committed relationship.
    Last time was nearly 5 years with maybe 5 times.
    But my wife had cancer and that put the sex drive in park.
    I put all my needs aside.
     
  6. petite

    petite New Member

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    Oh, no, Pitbull, a sex therapist is a relationship therapist who focuses on your sexual relationship. Most people spend the time with a sex therapist talking about your feelings and any issues that you might have together, or issues that might have arisen from previous sexual relationships that might be affecting your relationship now. It could be her feelings of abandonment during an earlier part of the relationship and how that affected her sexual response to you, or issues over finances, or the kids, or anything else in your relationship that might have interfered with your sex life. Sex therapists also give "assignments" or "homework" that is supposed to help reignite the spark and make both of you more open to experimentation and becoming closer. Like if your wife only likes missionary position sex or feels squicky about giving you a blowjob, the therapist gives "homework" to help overcome those feelings and help the two of you become more intimate and adventurous and have a more fulfilling sex life. Most people's complaints about their sex life would be directly addressed by a sex therapist.

    Is that part of the problem? People don't understand what it is a sex therapist does?
     
  7. petite

    petite New Member

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    I've been with men who reacted this badly! It's a very bad sign! A lot of men aren't good communicators, and I'm sure that a lot of women are the same way. That's the reason why I think that if you come across this problem, you need to introduce a neutral third party to help solve the problem since there's something blocking your partner's ability to hear you.

    13 years! You are much more patient than me! I'm so sorry. That's just mean. I'd say he over-reacted a bit!

    After 5 years together he started teasing you about dirty talk? That's terrible. He obviously wasn't taking your sexual needs very seriously. I can't believe the sex started going downhill that quickly after you got engaged after you had been together that long!
     
  8. petite

    petite New Member

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    Ha! Well if the reason why she won't have sex with you is because of an emotional issue between the two of you, then your participation is necessary to improve that part of the relationship! A sex therapist doesn't teach you how to have intercourse, but a sex therapist does help you get past inhibitions and issues that keep you from being sexually satisfied. It's less about the PIV or sexual positions and usually much more about emotions and feelings.

    Wow! That's an extremely low amount of sex! Your situations involved a health issue and you did what most people would do, put your own needs aside for her. You're a good man.

    A lot of people see a sex therapist after recovering from cancer because if your relationship no longer has intimacy due to a health issue like that, sometimes re-establishing it can be difficult and a sex therapist can help with that, kick start a new sexual relationship again.
     
    #8 petite, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  9. Pitbull

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    I would venture to say yes

    The cancer did not end with recovery. :frown1:
     
  10. D_Enorma Scupcakes

    D_Enorma Scupcakes New Member

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    Pitbull - sorry for your loss. Good for you, though, for staying by her side through it all. That's a real man, right there.

    As for petite's question - I'd probably wait 6 months or so before looking for outside help. So far, my wife and I have been blessed with great communication, in and out of the bedroom, but we do go through multi-week dry spells sometimes. Usually, though, it's stress or "that time of the month" or other health-related issues that derail us. The less anxious and worried she is, the more sexual we are.
     
  11. petite

    petite New Member

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    Oh, I am so sorry! I didn't get that from your post! My heart goes out to you!
     
  12. Pitbull

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    Thanks.
    It has been awhile and I am doing OK

    Thanks.
     
    #12 Pitbull, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  13. petite

    petite New Member

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    Six months for you, too?

    I bring up that "it's been a while" to TheBF before a whole week passes, but I suspect that's more "acceptable" for a woman to do than a man.

    I wonder now if TheBF also feels like it would be harder for him to bring up sex as a serious issue because of the stereotype of men who only care about sex and the related stereotype that women don't want sex as much as men do.

    He says that I complain if we go two days without sex (which I think is an exaggeration but it's not far off). He's never complained about how frequently we have sex, ever.

    If I complain that we haven't had sex, it boosts his ego. It doesn't offend him because he loves how much I want him, so hearing me complain that he hasn't been giving me enough cock lately makes him feel really good.

    I bet that it just doesn't work the other way around. When a man doesn't come onto a woman very frequently, then it lowers her self-esteem becuase men are supposed to be hornier than women, but it doesn't boost her ego if he wants more frequent sex, because then he's just acting like a normal man is supposed to act (I'm not making judgments here, I'm talking about the stereotypes.)

    Chivalrous men like TheBF aren't supposed to push the issue, whereas a woman like me who does push it is considered more desirable as a mate.

    Does that play any role in why a man would let so much time pass before taking drastic action to save the sexual relationship?
     
    #13 petite, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  14. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    I would CONSIDER seeing a therapist, but would like to think that we would be able to solve our problems before it got to that point. I'd be reluctant to see a therapist because I feel I know most of the psychological techniques already. If I couldn't put them into action without a therapist, I'm not sure how an occasional visit to a therapist would help.
     
  15. petite

    petite New Member

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    It might not help, but it really could, and not because the therapist knows any techniques that you don't know or could learn. It's the act of having that neutral third person there, and the act of actually insisting on therapy that makes the difference, not the therapist's techniques.

    The problem with communication between partners isn't usually a technique that the therapist uses that you don't know, in my experience. There are other psychological factors involved when you introduce a third person to the problem that sometimes works when trying to talk to your partner has failed.

    I've only gone the therapy route once with a partner, but it was effective exactly the way that I expected it to be. Sometimes your partner can't hear the truth if it comes from you, especially if you're claiming that you're being treated in an unfair way by him or if it's become an issue so big that he no longer hears you on it. He goes, "Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah," (at least in his head, you can practically hear it) and ignores you again when you bring it up. Hearing a neutral third party whom he doesn't have any emotions invested in basically tell him exactly what you've told him, just in a different way, that can be frustrating for you, but sometimes it's the only way to make a breakthrough to your partner that your issue or your opinion truly has validity because it's come from a person who has some sort of authority and no personal interest invested in that opinion. That neutral position can make it easier for your partner to hear uncomfortable truths or approach the same old issue in a new way.

    Also the act of "going to therapy" shows a level of seriousness about the issue that can get your partner's attention and make him/her realize that you really consider it a big deal in a way that complaining about the problem one more time just doens't get across. So many of the men in that other thread complain about the fact that their wives just don't realize how important sex is to them, no matter how many times they tell her. Well, going to a therapist might get the point across that it really is a big deal to you, it's not just another thing on the list of things that you regularly nag her about. Plus, how is your partner going to take you seriously about whether or not you consider it a big deal, if the only thing that ever happens is you bring the subject up, she shuts you down, and then you give up? That's not acting like the issue is important. Insisting that you have to solve the problem and if you can't solve the problem just between the two of you, that you will bring in professionals to solve it, that treats the problem like it's truly important to you and it cannot go unsolved, and THAT can make your partner more serious about solving the problem, too.

    Plus, there's this interesting phenomenon where people want to be seen in the best light by the therapist, so surprising progress can be made on problems that your partner previously acted like an ass about when it was just between the two of you. Simply realizing how you look or sound to a third person can make someone realize how they're acting. A husband who suggests for the 100th time that his wife try to enjoy oral sex might get laughed at again, but when told by a therapist that she ought to give it a shot, she may become self-aware of how selfish she's been behaving and give that assignment a lot more serious effort.

    Also, sometimes a couple just needs a kick in the pants to make a change, especially if you've fallen into an established routine. If you've stopped having sex ages ago and it's become very infrequent, but you're really happy with your family life and you love your children and otherwise your relationship is great, then maybe having someone else tell your wife to focus on your pleasure tonight and tell you to focus on her pleasure on another specific night might be the impetus that actually makes it happen and kickstart your sex life again, whereas if it was just up to the two of you, you'd let it slide again this week because of the same reasons you did last week, and it gets put off again, just like it did before, week after week until those weeks added up to years.

    There's lots of ways that it could help, and it might not help and turn out to be a huge waste of time, but I think the most important reason to try it is that if talking to your partner hasn't already worked, then your options are 1) Living with an unhappy sex life, 2) Leaving your mate that you're otherwise happy with, or 3) Trying anything else in an attempt to fix it.
     
    #15 petite, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  16. HiddenLacey

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    I started reading all of the other replies then realized that I should post my response and then read everyone elses so that I answer truthfully without being affected by their posts.

    My answer is I seriously doubt it. I am of the personal opinion that when the spark is gone, it's gone. There is no coming back from that. Nothing that anyone says to me is going to make me desire that partner again. I do believe that relantionships have ups and downs. Sometimes circumstances can bring two people closer together or push them further apart. If I reach the point where I am no longer interested in sex with that person, I'm not going to change my mind. Desire isn't a switch, not for me.
     
  17. petite

    petite New Member

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    That's entirely possible that it can't be switched back on! I've never had a relationship where we stopped having sex for a very long period of time without actual distance preventing us from having sex with one another (my longest dry spell ever was 6 weeks when one bf held out on me, and I once held out on my bf for 2 months once), but there was one relationship where there wasn't any passion, just regular sex, for about 2 years. Sex was like clockwork 2-3 times a week, 1-2 orgasms each time, only in bed in the missionary position, no oral sex or foreplay. It was boring. I tried to rekindle the spark that originally brought us together, but it didn't work. I think his sex drive was just lower than mine and he was satisfied with less excitement than I was.

    I think what I would do now depend on things like TheBaby. Before this relationship, if our sex life died, I would strongly consider just ending the relationship, especially since my one attempt at creating a spark failed so miserably, but we're going to become a family soon, and soon my relationship with TheBF won't just be as a man and a woman, it will also be as a mother and father, and my desire to keep our family together would make me try much harder to make the sexual component of our relationship work. It's difficult for me to imagine not wanting to have sex with him, simply because I'm in my mid-thirties and I've never gone more than 3 months without sex since I turned 18, so I doubt that suddenly I'm going to become chaste, but trying to imagine a hypothetical situation where it mgiht happen, with TheBF I would want to at least try, not only because of TheBaby, but also because our sex life is so good, and that's so rare, finding this kind of chemistry, that I bet I will think that trying to regain that spark is worth the risk that my efforts will fail. I wouldn't have wanted to given up without trying. I'm sure that I would have too many regrets.
     
    #17 petite, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  18. HiddenLacey

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    Knowing the years that I have put into relantionships I will never leave one feeling like I didn't try. If there's ever someone who doesn't give up on their partner it's me. There comes a point where I realize as a person that there is simply nothing I can do.

    Talking to anyone else about it only inforces the things that I already know in my heart. I'm definitely not going to pay someone to tell me something I already know.

    It may work for some people and I feel very happy for them and send them best wishes. I just don't believe a third party helps when there is no help for the situation. Of course this is just my personal opinion on the matter.

    Edit: And actually if I were with someone and we had children together I would be less likely to try to work on the relantionship for as long as I have as a single person. I feel as though I would owe it to any children to get them out of the situation. Of course it depends on what type of situation we are talking about. Partners have strife and bad days and problems in a relantionship. I would just never want to have children be subjected to violent/ abrasive parental unhappiness.
     
    #18 HiddenLacey, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2010
  19. petite

    petite New Member

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    If you already know that a relationship is over, then I think the best thing to do is just to end it with as little pain as possible. I was talking about a hypothetical situation where everything else in the relationship is satisfying and desirable and good except for the sexual component, which for a lot of people is worth staying and trying to fix. I definitely don't believe there's any point in trying to fix a relationship if you feel that it's too broken to be fixed or if you feel like both of you would be happier apart from one another or if there's no point in trying, but that's not the hypothetical situation I was talking about.
     
  20. HiddenLacey

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    Oh no, I read that. I don't ever see myself being in a situation where everything is perfect and happy other than the sex. So I replied based on life experience.

    I'm not sure I understand why two happy people who loved one another would not want to have sex (the exception being sickness, death, time apart, etc.) I feel unable to reply given I have not experienced those circumstances.
     
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