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Hello blogging world!  Can we talk?

I’m looking for some feedback that both applies to my situation and to relationships in general.    First let me back up and give a little background.

I am in an affair recovery mode relationship.   That feels really weird to say.  I feel like I’m attending my first 12 step meeting.   Though I have great respect for what those programs accomplish in people’s lives, it does feel strange making that statement so matter of factly.    But.. it’s very relevant to the problem I’m having.   However, it’s not the only contributing factor to the problem.   I know this problem exists for couples who are not also fighting to overcome the fall out of cheating in the relationship.

The problem or the challenge is reconciling an understanding of the male sex drive and all it’s glorious aspects with all of the complications it can create in a relationship for both men and women.   It is one thing to know something and another thing entirely to cope with the understanding of it.  In my opinion many people know and accept that the needs and wants of men and women are different but understanding how to apply and live with those differences is something that many of us struggle with.   Think of the whole men are from mars, women are from venus, phenomenon.

So lets dive into the problem I am having.  This is not just a nagging unsettled issue, it is becoming a major road block in my day to day life and my relationship.  For almost 15 months I have read extensively, watched videos, and combed the internet in search of help, answers and a path forward following the affairs of my man through out our first 7 years together.   The one consistent fact that I encounter, over and over again is that the male sex drive is incredibly high and demanding.   From there we branch out into many different directions, problems, and threads of advice on the topic.

I have read countless accounts on the myth of monogamy.  That it’s unnatural for a man and creates deep seated issues within him.  I have read religious writings on the topic and I’ve listened to self help tapes and lectures on line about the topic all of which stress the urges of a man and the battle to fight the sinful nature.  I’ve heard ministers admit to lusting after females daily even if they don’t act on it.  I’ve read the countless comments of men who talk about their fantasies, the images they can’t control and their pleasure in looking at and wanting the females they encounter every day in every walk of life.  I’ve read those who feel entitled to sexual release and who act on their impulses whether committed to a relationship or not and I’ve read those who abstain from acting but who sound miserable in their monogamous prisons.  I’ve read the accounts of men who swear that their love for their partner is enough to sustain them and that they would never act out in such a way but who also say that while they control their actions they can not control their thoughts.   I’ve read lectures on the many roles of women and how we are suppose to be strong and help them over come it all, to keep them satisfied, to “understand” their base nature and be compassionate.   The Godly duties of women.   I’ve read from women who adjust to this male drive by taking advantage of it.  Giving sex to get the things they want all while viewing men as weak creatures who make decisions form their JEANS.  Women who reject it and women who resign themselves to it.

I have read and heard enough to make me scream, to make my head spin clean off my body but I have yet to find anything about the male sexual nature to give me hope and comfort in my quest to believe in relationships, trust and safety again.

It is a plain and simple fact that men have this drive and all the thoughts and desires that go with it.  It is a plain and simple fact that even the best of men struggle with their thoughts, let alone their actions.   And so, this being a fact, can someone please tell me how I’m suppose to live with that knowledge, combined with the knowledge that my partner has known multiple women during our relationship, combined with the knowledge that he remains very sexually driven and still find any sense of safety or comfort to build on?

I’m not being sarcastic.   For example.  How does a women truly feel sexy when she is aware that she’s but one drop in the bucket of sexual thoughts he has had that day or in the past couple of days?   That he can be at her side and still secretly lust for the young hottie that just walked by whom she hasn’t been able to compete with for at least a decade?  How does a woman feel sexually motivated when she is keenly aware that the slightest brush of body parts  or site of bare skin, ignites a mans urge to find sexual release?  That emotion may be a side benefit of his actions but by no means a requirement for the sexual act.  How does a woman keep a fire burning when a man is so driven by his need for satisfaction of these urges that he remains oblivious to his actions or her needs?

Here is a simple example.  The other evening on the way home my mate sent me a text asking if I’d be under the tree naked when he got home.   On the surface that’s a sexy sweet text.  At the right time it might have led me to be waiting under the tree.   However, in my situation sexuality is already complicated by betrayals and a growing frustration inside of me that needs are not being met emotionally in the frame of our daily lives, in a way that allows me to express myself sexually.   So, for me it creates an instant dilemma.    If I respond with something sexy then it is immediately assumed that I’m primed for sex.   If I don’t follow through then I have led him on.  If I respond negatively I’ve rejected him and hurt his feelings.   I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.   What I did was find a way to divert it.   Having a child in the house I replied with… lol, and wouldn’t “sally” think I’m crazy!  What do you want to do about dinner baby?

The response I got was,  how about a big italian sausage stuffed with cream?   Wonderful.   Now the dilemma deepens.   First, is this a major offense?  No, not at all.  From time to time there is nothing wrong with crude innuendo.   But, in our ongoing situation I’ve tried every way possible to talk about the things I need and the ways to seduce me or set the stage.   I’ve talked over and over again about the groping and grinding and sexual remarks and tried to make him understand that in light of our entire situation he’s pushing me away, closing me down instead of helping me.   We just had a conversation one week prior to this event that led to a fight, that led to me soothing his ego and trying to explain myself once again which was followed by him STILL trying to move in sexually which made me cry.   I don’t think he even knew why I was crying or actually whether he even knew there were tears streaming down my face as he tried to kiss his way down my neck and closer to my breasts but at least he didn’t push the issue of sex that night and instead just hugged me for a while.   So when a week later he set the stage for our Friday night with these texts I felt instantly hurt,  hopeless that he will ever get it, and pressured to decide whether to just go with it and try to have sex that night or whether to express my feelings.   I expressed my feelings by saying I was sorry I didn’t respond more positively and that I think we need some help, because obviously we can’t solve this on our own.   But what it got me in return was a couple of texts about how he was only joking! followed by how I was confusing him with my comments and must not want this relationship and how even Christmas seemed stupid now.

Once again, I dropped my feelings and reassured him that wanting to get help has nothing to do with not loving him anymore.  The rest of the night was awkward and strained and I found a way to meet his needs the following day in order to avoid yet another strained day and night.

I’m sorry if I sound bitchy on this topic but that is just WRONG.  How do I build trust in him and desire in him when it is fact that the male sex drive controls most if not all men and clearly controls my man.   He thinks he does well not to push the issue.  He thinks he is making sacrifices by not having sex as much as he wants to.   He would prefer 4 or 5 times a week.   I am more comfortable with 2 times per week of good satisfying intimacy and maybe throwing in a quickie here and there out of spontaneity.  My problem is the moment I feel I HAVE to perform, all of my desire leaves me.  I can feel sexual all day,  but the moment he gets grabby or if we don’t have sufficient ‘connection”  created to fan the fire, it dies.  Just like that.  And somehow, even though he’s not abusive, and he doesnt threaten and he doesn’t whine too loudly, he still makes me feel guilty.  Obligated.  He withdraws, his body language takes on new meaning.

In fact, everything about him makes me feel obligated.   He’s a man who in his past has been heavily oriented to entitlement. He will admit this.   He felt the world owed him something and has always wanted to be the object of adoration and envy to those around him.   All part of his sexual addiction to affairs and validation over the years. All of his behavior whether sexual, business, relating to family etc. has been steeped in this entitlement attitude.   He is trying hard not to be that way but it still comes out. And I still feel it, sense it, permeating every day off of him.   And because he has cheated on me I feel constantly threatened that his personal weaknesses in this area will drive him to cheat again.

Today he’s out of town.   I miss having him here but at the same time it’s like taking a deep breath, the house is more stress free for me.   I can take a shower and not put on makeup again because there is no one here judging my appearance and comparing it to all the sexual images he’s had through out the day or those he sees on TV or the image of the woman that he feels he needs in his life.  I’ve been fighting bronchitis for 3 weeks.  Tonight I can go to bed in warm PJ’s and not worry about how unsexy he finds it.   Don’t get me wrong I love a thin silk chemise night gown.  I hate being  held down in bed by pajamas but on a night when I feel poorly and chilled to the bone I like the safety of putting on my silky long john pants and a warm sweatshirt and being able to go to bed that way if I want to.   But he’s made it clear dozens of times, talking about his ex wife and other frumpy women that he expects a woman to look good.  Pretty much all the time.   Sweats to bed are the biggest turn off there is.

I get it.  A man doesn’t want a woman to come to bed in curlers with mud mask on her face every night.   But at some point the lack of freedom to do those things once in a while begins to make me feel like I’m in performance mode all the time.  Unable to just be me.   That I must be sexual and ready and willing all the time.

I’ve tried to explain the need for non sexual touch, flirtation and seductions and mental stimulation.   I don’t mind being goosed, or having my bottom pinched or patted in passing.  I don’t mind a playful grab or grope or a flirty comment.  All those things build desire when applied throughout the day or over time.   But there’s something disturbingly invasive about not being able to hug and kiss your man without having his hands down your pants in less than 60 seconds.   Not being able to have a back rub without eventually having him on top of you bumping and grinding to sticking his hand between your legs or licking the curve of your butt.   ALL Great things, when applied at the right time in the right spirit.  But the lack of being touched simply for the sake of being loved, makes a woman feel like a piece of meat!  It’s invasive,  it’s rude, it’s unsettling.    Take away the fact that it’s just violation of personal space but what about those moments you are not at your freshest?The last thing you want is your man sticking his hands in your pants as though he owns every inch of your body because his desire to satisfy his urges negates any personal rights to your own body.

As you can tell the more I write the more frustrated I become.  I hold this in so often.   I try to discuss it and get no where.  He is a master manipulator at turning things around to be about him and his feelings.   He has never been tought how to navigate empathy or to nurture someone else when they need it.

But, while this is specific to my situation I know it’s also a real issue for others as well.   So I’m going to go back to my main question.  Knowing all of these things about a mans sex drive and his inability to stop the images that sneak into his mind or the desires that are sparked in his loins.   HOW does a woman accept all of those things and still find it in her to feel sexy? How do you trust that any man can remain faithful? How do you adapt to knowing that a lot of the time you are just filling a purpose?    Once you outgrow the young girl fantasy that true love makes a man only want the one he loves  and  once you have experienced that even if a man loves you he can still act on his sexual impulses with another,  then you have to face the reality of nature and when that happens how do you adjust to this hard reality and still feel the same sexual vibrancy you once felt??  When both confidence and desire are beaten all to hell inside you,  then how do you reconcile the realities of male sexuality?

Please, please  I need real feedback.    Someone open up their heart and mind and tell me their own experiences in this area because it is tearing me apart from the inside out.   I have always been a very sensual sexual person and it is dying inside of me while I battle to reach some kind of acceptance in my heart.