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I've been lurking on this forum for weeks now, reading the posts in all the areas. I've read many of the articles by Dr. Harley. But I may have missed something in my surfing around regarding meeting a spouses sexual needs that would answer my questions; if I have, could someone please direct me? Thanks in advance.

My situation is this: My H had an affair with a co-worker last year. We have been in marriage counselling for almost a year, and one of the issues that my H keeps bringing up is that he felt, and still feels, that his sexual needs are not met in our marriage.

Now, I can accept the fact that people do have different needs, at different times. What I am having a problem with, is that his sexual needs are SO different from mine. (And I'm talking both in terms of frequency, as well as variety.)

First, my H spends time, usually early in the morning while I am still asleep, visiting various porno sites on the Internet, although I would not say that he is addicted to them. It does bother me that he looks at these sites, and I have told him so in the past, although I have tried to refrain from doing so in a LB manner. One of the things that I am concerned about, and that I have pointed out to him, is that our two children use the same computer, and I don't want them accessing those sites. Also, I find it demeaning to think that he seems to think that he needs to visit those sites to get sexual fulfillment. He doesn't seem to feel the need to buy magazines, etc., but he refuses to quit visiting the internet sites.

The other issue is, I guess, less clear cut. My H has expressed interest in sexual practices that I, in all conscience, do not believe I can participate in. I'm sorry, but IMO, these activities are perverted, and I'm afraid that I let my H know that this is how I feel, in no uncertain terms. Major LB, I'm afraid.

The OW, on the other hand, took part in these activities wholeheartedly. So, I feel that, in many ways, I am being forced to "compete" with this woman, and that to level the playing field, I will have to participate in activities that make me ill to just think about.

Has anyone else had to deal with these issues? How can I make my H understand that I am not rejecting him, it's the behavior that I can't stomach?

I do know that the emotional connection between the OW and my H is still there, and the sexual connection is always lurking there in the background, too.

I have to admit, that I am afraid that if I can't swallow my distaste for these activities, I am going to permanently lose him. And I'm even reaching the point where I'm beginning to think that if he and I are so incompatible, sexually, that maybe we would be better off apart.


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Question?

Is your distaste for some of these practices based on religious beliefs, or personal feelings?

I don't feel you should ever do something you don't want to do or that makes you uncomfortable or disgusted. Maybe through communication you can find a mutual ground. You can come up with ways to give him the variety he feels he needs that you can be comfortable with.

No one can tell you that you should change the way you feel, not even your husband, but you may find that you can both be fulfilled and adventurous within your personal limits.

I can assure you that you will be hard pressed to find any man that doesn't enjoy the things that I believe you are speaking of, atleast when it comes to him being on the receiving end. Sometimes men have to work at not being selfish about it.


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Raven,

The thing I would really wonder about is how enthusiastic you are about the activities you are willing to engage in. Although it is commonly accepted that men are only interested in sex, this is wery wrong. The truth is that men are really interested in intimacy with one woman who they truly love and one of the ways this desire is shown is by engaging in sex with a woman. The man believes that he has found true intimacy with a woman when she shows enthusiastic approval for his lovemaking.

If a woman refuses her husband's advances or accepts them with a "ok, but get this over with quickly" attitude, the man's need for intimacy is unmet. The man will be physically satisfied, but will still be emotionally empty, but will never admit this. If you remember a time where you had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience and let your husband know, didn't you find that afterwards he was much more open to conversation than normal?

I don't have a lot of information about your situation, but try this: As soon as you can arrange it, have the kids at a babysitter's at the time your husband comes home, meet him at the door in the sexiest lingerie you can find, engage in whatever sexual activity you do feel comfortable with, let him know in no uncertain terms how much you enjoyed this and let him know that you are going to need this at least 4-5 times a week. After about 2-3 weeks of this, I would be willing to bet that your husband's computer usage is significantly less.

Remember, your husband's ego is inextricably intertwined with his sexuality. If he finds that his wife is enthralled with him, he may tend to find the computer cannot compete with a warm, receptive wife.

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.
John


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To Essyboo and John:

Well, actually my distaste comes from both my religious beliefs and my personal upbringing (the two are so tied together that they're hard to seperate, if you KWIM).

I'm not naive, or uneducated; I realize that what my husband wants would not be viewed as out of the ordinary for a lot of people, but, for me, they are just NOT acceptable.

My H has known my feelings about what I feel are acceptable or not acceptable areas since before we were married, and my feelings about this have not become more liberal over the past 14 years; in fact, if anything, I feel more strongly about this now than I did before his affair.

I do try to be enthusiastic about our sex life, but my H claims that it is too limiting (his words were "Too little, too late"), and that that is at least part of the reason for the EMR.

I know from reading Dr. Harley's articles, that men put sexual fulfilment at the top of their emotional needs, so I belive my H when he says that this is VERY important to him. I just wish that there was a way to reconcile HIS emotional needs with MY emotional needs in this area.

And, actually, my H is not at all selfish when it comes to my sexual needs. The problem is, for me anyway, is that he wants to do things that I just CANNOT do, no matter how pleasurable they might be, for me or for him. And my inclination to take part in these activities certainly wasn't increased by his actions over the past year.

As I said in my original post, I may just have to accept the fact that HIS needs and MY needs are incompatible in this area. If this is, in fact the case, then I guess we're going to have to decide if this is going to be a marriage breaker...


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Raven,

I think that I may see the problem here. You stated, "I'm not naive, or uneducated; I realize that what my husband wants would not be viewed as out of the ordinary for a lot of people, but, for me, they are just NOT acceptable. My H has known my feelings about what I feel are acceptable or not acceptable areas since before we were married, and my feelings about this have not become more liberal over the past 14 years; in fact, if anything, I feel more strongly about this now than I did before his affair."

First of all, your husband's affair was completely and totally wrong and I in no way condone it or think it is acceptable. But I want you to realize that many of your long held beliefs about prohibited sex practices may not be based on scripture. I also for a long time believed that certain sexual acts were not accepted in the Bible (I am assuming that your beliefs are based on Christianity.) But if you will look at the Bible and the Bible only, there are little if any restrictions on what a husband and wife can do within their marriage. If you look at the Song of Solomon carefully, you will find not-so-veiled references to many activities which might surprise you.

Remember, God is the one who came up with the idea of sex. It was designed for the enjoyment of people made in his image. He could have made us just like animals who can engage in intercourse in just a few seconds for the sole purpose of procreation. Have you ever considered that humans are the only creatures who make love face to face, or that a woman is the only female creature who truly has an orgasm, or that the man is the only male mammal without a penile bone? God has made your body in a manner which is capable for the celebration of your marriage in a physical way.

Now you have a choice to make. You can continue in this belief that there are just certain things that you will not do, or you can decide that cherishing, redeeming, and celebrating your marriage are important enough for you to question long-held beliefs. After a lot of study on this subject I have found that the only restrictions on marital sexual activity are, 1) It must not involve other people, even looking at others involved in sex, 2) It must not be physically harmful, 3) It must not be selfish.

Now you might be thinking that your husband's insistence that you engage in activities that you are not comfortable with is selfish, but your refusal is also selfish. I suggest that you attempt some kind of compromise. I think that if you make a move to meet your husband somewhere in the middle, you will find that he is not nearly as unreasonable as you think. And you never know, you just might find out that you actually like some of his suggestions.

Remember, the only sin in the bedroom is selfishness. Before you refuse your husband, ask yourself if you are being selfish. Also, try to find a book called "Becoming One" by Joe Beam. It should be in any Christian Bookstore.

May the Lord Bless YOu and Keep You
John


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I can understand how you feel when it comes to personal beliefs, but when it comes to religious beliefs I do and I don't. You are married and God created intimacy as a gift to you and H. I however do not feel as though this should be the determination of whether you stay together. I know this is a very important need for him. So I think that you should try something.

When he wakes up in the morning and he's online how about getting into something really nice and coming into the room. And when he looks up, just climb on his lap while he's still in the chair. Take it from their and do your thing. Just be spontaneous!

You also may want to think about changing the light bulb color in the room one night. Have him sit at the edge of the bed and then blindfold him. Turn on some music and then remove the blindfold. Perform a little seductive dance for him as you take his clothing off and then yours.

Hmmm, what else? Maybe buy 5 Satin scarves and wrap it up as a gift. Give him the gift just before bed. And when he asked what they are for, tell him it is for him to tie your legs, tie your hands, blindfold your eyes, and for him to have his way with you.

You want to keep the excitement and the spontaneous part alive. Then in time maybe you'll feel more comfortable with your husband and be willing to explore. But only when your ready. If its not involving a third person, an animal, or something of the sort, there is not much that you can't do.

Just a couple of ideas...

Pray on this and I'll also be praying for you!

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With men, no matter how perverted or whatever claims they have to particular needs, the bottom line is getting the semen out.

If you can do that often in ways that you feel comfortable with, your husband will gradually start to lose his "need" for various thrills. He will slowly become associated with whatever you are doing. The same way the Pavlov experiements worked when he would ring a bell before a meal and the dog would automatically salivate for his dinner. Eventually, just ringing the bell with no food made the dog salivate anyway.

Right now, your husband feels that he needs all sorts of "kicks" to have enough excitement to enjoy the sexual experience. But the bottom line is the semen getting out of the system. Once it is, Elvis has left the building, interest in things sexual is gone for most men.

After enough experiences like this with you, he will associate you with the releases, no matter how tame the method may have been. Eventually, he will begin to believe that he really doesn't need all of these other things for enjoyment.

But as long as you rarely are the cause of this release or only participate when the mood is right, your pain will only increase.

Again, the bottom line is semen leaving his body. You don't have to have sexual intercourse to accomplish that.


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First of all, and I have maintained this over many other posts, so I'll bring it up again... time spent on porn has very little do with sexual satisfaction. Masturbation, (the only use I can see for porn) especially for men can be used as a totally non-sexual release. I do understand about fears regarding the kids getting into it by accident. There are programs that help filter this stuff and make the pc more kid friendly. Many porn sites have links to this software and your H should be able to find it pretty easily.

Apart from that, many of the above posts are very good, better than I could have come up with... (I had forgotten about the Song of Solomon thing)

Also...

Before EMA and for a short time afterwards, sex was right up there on the emotional needs list. Once W started meeting these needs for physical intimacy, and it wasn't such a 'void' for me, the importance dropped significantly. Now it's right down there at the bottom. It's not all that frequent, but when it happens, it's great and I'm no longer insecure about it.

One thing offended me greatly though:

"With men, no matter how perverted or whatever claims they have to particular needs, the bottom line is getting the semen out."

As a man I take great exception to this. Not only is it far from the truth for me, but I believe that it is false for the majority of men out there. Sexual fulfilment may occupy a high rung on the importance ladder, but I believe that it's a case of a physical manifestation of emotional issues... not just a primal need to ejaculate. Hey, I'm not saying that I, as a male, never get that feeling, but that's when I turn the pc on. I do not view my wife as an object. When I am with her in bed, my thoughts revolve around love and sharing pleasure. NOT about gettting my rocks off. Regardless of how perverted we may or may not get, btw.

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I will have to agree with Souloss'ExH. Intimacy is not just about getting the semen out. It's about becoming one in the spirit. It is a beautiful thing. It's not only for pleasures of the body, but also for the mind.

If it was only for that, us women wouldn't complain when men just get right to it, so to speak. The same pampering that women want, men want too. It's fair as long as their is an understanding that no one is being forced to do anything they do want as in Ravenhair's case.

Hope this thread is helping....

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Thanks to everyone for their posts. But I think that maybe I need to clear up a couple of misconceptions or miscommunications here.

First, regarding the Internet porno: Yes, I personally find these sites demeaning, but my main concern is that the kids will stumble onto them on the computer. The fact that my husband uses them irritates me, but I'm not stressing out about it in a major way. No more than I would if he were to bring home Playboy or Penthouse or Hustler. I don't understand the need my husband has to visit these sites, and I find it hypocritical, to say the least, in a man who professes to be a Christian, but I don't think that the visits are, in any way, a major problem for our marriage.

Second: My husband and I have, and always have had, an active sex life. It's not like I am refusing, or have in the past refused, to participate in sexual contact, or limiting him to once or twice a week, or less. We have sex regularly, and I am a willing and active participant--I just have my own, personal, restrictions on what I find to be "acceptable" practices.

What I am concerned about, is that my husband wants to engage in sexual practices that I do not feel comfortable with. These are things (and I'm not just talking positions) that I have never felt comfortable about, and that I feel even less willing (if that's possible) to participate in, now that I know that he did them with the OW.

I guess what I'm feeling here, is that I'm being "pressured", to do things that the very thought of almost makes me physically ill, in the hopes of meeting my husband's "sexual" needs. I guess what I'm feeling here is resentment that my husband's sexual needs should take precedent over my own personal beliefs about what is wrong or right.

I guess I wasn't really looking for answers, just trying to vent a little.


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The fact that your H knew about your preferences before marriage and decided to marry you anyway disturbs me. If his needs for certain sexual activities was so strong, he shouldn't have married you. He was dishonest with himself and you when he married you. Now that he's got you committed, he's playing hardball by bringing the OW into the picture. Like, do what I want or else I'll find someone who will do it. Sorry, he knew what he was getting. Deal with it!

It would be no different if the both of you decided not to have children (or alternatively that you did want children), then the other person changed their mind. Because he knew about your preferences in advance, he has no right to insist you perform, IMO. Asking you to change yourself to suit him now, after the fact, is unfair to you. It is ok to ask, of course, but since he knew the goods he was getting when he got married, his choices now are a double betrayal. You were honest with him, and now he is bailing on his promise. He is the one who needs to deal, not you.

The suggestions of the people here that you come up with some kind of mental rationalization to "overcome" your beliefs in order to meet your H's new needs is disrespectful. Just because lots of other people "do" certain things doesn't mean you have to. Like I said, you were up front with your H before you got married. If he decides now that he is going to change the rules after the fact, it is his problem. His "needs" do not outweigh yours, and you should not be asked to compromise something you were upfront about since the beginning of your relationship.

If he wants to find someone who does X or Y or Z in bed, fine. He'll figure out (eventually) that it is much, much harder to find someone who will do A-W with the other 23 hours of the day.

Isit2late said: "Now you have a choice to make. You can continue in this belief that there are just certain things that you will not do, or you can decide that cherishing, redeeming, and celebrating your marriage are important enough for you to question long-held beliefs."

Hmm, since when does cherishing and celebrating your marriage have to do with letting someone else's sexual practices overwhelm your beliefs? Her H is the one who has not cherished his marriage. What you are saying is that her sticking to her original agreement is somehow a failure on her part to cherish her marriage. Bull. Sounds like her H, in his quest for the perfect b**wjob, or whatever, has decided to throw out his commitment. Simple as that. Also, couching certain sexual practices as an emotional need gives people like him the justification to go out and do exactly what he is doing too. Getting a b**wjob, or whatever, is not an emotional need.

Anyway, he knew what the rules were before he got married. It is just too bad for him if he decided he doesn't want to follow them anymore. I'm sad for you, Ravenhair, that your H has decided not to stick to your original agreement. In the long run, though, I'm sure you will feel better about yourself if you don't let your H bully you, coerce, or intimidate you with the idea of a OW in order to get you to change your beliefs.



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To TheStudent:

Thank you! You just expressed, much more eloquently, what I was trying to say...

I am feeling coerced by my husband. Even though he has not come out directly and said so, I do feel like there's this threat of "do what I want, or else" hanging over my head. And I DO resent that!

Like I said earlier... this whole issue may end up becoming a marriage-breaker, depending on what happens next.

Raven...


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Raven:

Yes, I do believe that our expectations in marriage must change as our level of intimacy changes, and I believe that what was perfectly acceptable yesterday may not be acceptable today and vice versa. It is the willingness to adapt to an ever changing marital relationship that gives us the intimacy that we all need and desire.

Raven, you came here with this topic, "Question about meeting H's sexual needs." This is what we are all trying to help you with. All that I am saying is that if you have these deep seated convictions about certain activities, that is fine, but if you are going to be limited in your marital relationship by them, it might be a good idea to determine the origin of them.

It really sounds as if you are still having a lot of pain from your husband's betrayal, with good reason. Infidelity is probably the most demeaning and degrading experience a person can have. Have you and he spoken to a counselor about this? If not, I would suggest that you try it.

Of Course your husband has no right to threaten you with another affair if you do not accede to his demands, that would be emotional blackmail. But is he really doing this, or is it just your perception? If it is only your perception, then you need to discuss this with your husband at length.

From the exchange here, I really think there are deeper problems than what you have brought up. I applaud you for sticking it out and trying to salvage your marriage, but I really think that you are at a point where you need some additional help to make it through this tough spot.

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.
John


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Cuckold:

quote:
With men....the bottom line is getting the semen out.

Geez. You sound like Chapman in 'The 5 Love Languages". In all fairness, that's a very good book. EXCEPT his absurd assertion about male sex drive. If Chapman was correct, then why would guys want a woman at all? Our hands never complain, they're always in the mood, and they pretty much do whatever we ask.

Yeah, we physically need the release. But we EMOTIONALLY need sexual fulfillment from our wives. That fulfillment means a lot of things, but mostly it means a willing, ENTHUSIASTIC partner.

That'll ALWAYS beat flying solo, 'hands down'.


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I was under the impression that he was bored and needed outside stimuli to reach erection and orgasm (porn, other women, orgy, whatever the perversion was).

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[This message has been edited by Doug (edited February 15, 2000).]


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[This message has been edited by Doug (edited February 15, 2000).]


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To cuckold:

It's not a matter of my husband having trouble getting or maintaining an erection. We've been having plenty of "plain old vanilla" sex; and it's not even that my H wants to give up "vanilla" sex compltely in lieu of 31 flavors--the dilemma, problem, whatever you want to call it, for me, is the variety that he wants to spice our sex life up with.

If we were just talking about oral sex, I could probably live with it, although I just do not find in enjoyable, and I'm afraid that that lack of enthusiasm has been noticed.

It's some of the other things that my husband has suggested that have got me completely freaked out (and it's not that he hasn't suggested these scenarios throughout our 14 year marriage, he's just suggesting them more often and with more "urgency" over the past year):
Handcuffing and gagging me
"Light" S/M
Videotaping
Inviting someone to watch us
Him watching me with another woman (preferably the OW)
Him watching me with another man (preferably my old college boyfriend)
Anal sex

So, fine... Maybe I am a prude! But, given that my husband has known that I am very conservative, sexually, and that my own personal preferences will not allow me to do these things, I find the fact that he keeps bringing them up to be quite disturbing.


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Raven,

Just my $.02, and it may or may not apply to your husband's "need" for borderline icky sexual stimulation...

Sometimes a person who needs to feel strongly desired seeks out borderline behaviors as a way for the partner to "prove" how strong their desire is. In other words, perhaps he is pushing your limits to have you show how much you love and desire him (i.e. "if she will do THAT then she MUST love and desire me").

Or maybe he just has become desensitized to "normal" sex and needs more adventure. Perhaps there is something racy (but short of the abhorent) that you would be willing to do. Perhaps sex in unusual places (public places where there is some risk of being caught), use of toys, fantasy or role playing, etc.

I do admire your willingness to draw a line that you will not cross. Stick to your guns.


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Welcome, ravenhair.

I'm in a similar position to you at the moment in that my H is interested in some practices that I have a problem with, and I'm terrified he's going to go elsewhere to find them. In my case, they pertain to, shall we say, "alternative spirituality" and my biggest concern is risk of pregnancy (something my H said does not happen when done properly, but this sounds like a teenage boy saying "I promise I'll pull out"). H states he still does not want children (mutually agreed very early on). Contraceptives are apparently verboten in what he wants to do.

That's all I can say about it.

H and I have always been "live and let live" regarding his spiritual practices. I don't choose to practice them, but I don't mind if he does, and he's never minded if I don't. I was willing to try what he wants for the "have more fun in bed" factor, but even though I am pro-choice, it is not a choice I want to have to make, and H does not want children.

I attempted to get information about it, to try to understand, but he just took offense that I didn't embrace the idea enthusiastically, and said it was stupid to even mention it. But he's still reading the material about it.

And now I'm terrified he'll seek someone elsewhere to do this with.

Different people have different needs. I used to date a guy who would only have anal sex. I was resistant, but I had little self esteem and I capitulated. I hated it, I felt degraded, and I broke off with him a month later. Everyone has differing interpretations of what's "perverted" and what's "normal." Each couple has to work it out.

If your H has always known that you won't do this, it's not fair for him to insist on it now.

I'm having a hard time right now, as are you, but the bottom line for me is this: My H has to make his own decision as to whether our marriage is more important than his need for this activity. My concerns are not based on aesthetics, morality or spirituality but on bread-and-butter concerns: I don't want an accidental pregnancy, and since I take the risk if it occurs, I'm entitled to be wary of anything not involving contraception. If he goes elsewhere, he goes elsewhere, and there's nothing I can do about it.

The worst part is the waiting to see what decision he will make. I feel helpless, as do you. I fear disease more than anything else. Yet right now all I can do is sit tight.

One cannot live with a sword of Damocles hanging over one's head. Yet at the same time, we have to make a REASONABLE attempt to accommodate our spouse's sexual needs. In my case, I sought information and discussion and was denied.

TheStudent is dead-on right. These spouses have to decide whether one (or in your case more) sexual practice(s) about which agreement can't be reached are worth sacrificing the rest of the relationship.

It's not easy. Believe me. I'm not having an easy time with this either.


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