Marriage Builders®
Posted By: emk newlywed sexual problems causing fights - 06/16/07 01:04 AM
hi, i just want to start off by saying i'm 24, my wife 23, and we've been married less than a year. we've been together almost 5 years. for the first 3, the sex was great and plentiful. every since we got engaged, it's all gone downhill. every since we got married last august, we're doing good to have sex once a week. i feel this is odd for a young, newlywed couple.

the problems started not too long after my wife had a car accident involving removal of her spleen. she often complains that it hurts occasionally during sex. we've found some methods to ease the pain, but apparently having sex often isn't comfortable. she's promised to see a doctor, but is too stubborn to go now.

my problem is, it's hard to transition from an almost daily thing, to something that happens 3-4 times a month now. being a young man, i still need to have encounters, and i feel she should have the same wants and desires. it also makes me feel as though i'm unwanted when i'm turned down or denied sex from my own wife.

we just got into it again and i can't take it anymore. what do i need to do? we've talked about it several times, but it always ends up in a big fight with no winner

First, you need to understand that if it's uncomfortable for her, it's uncomfortable for her. It's likely that she did enjoy sex with you very much and that simply isn't the case anymore. Chances are at the onset, she missed it as much as you did and was as dissappointed as you were. This is something beyond her control.

But it's very possible that your pressure to plow through her discomfort for your pleasure has torn down those views completely. The fact that you are pushing and insisting on doing something that causes her discomfort or perhaps even pain is probably destroying her emotionally. I can't imagine how she is feeling during the act and moment. She probably feels like she is just a piece of meat before you and cannot understand why you are not concerned about her pain and discomfort.

Does that mean you simply have to do without from here on out? Not at all. This is not a free pass for her to just turn things off. It's very likely the doctor can do something to help make this an enjoyable experience for her again. But likely she is embarrassed to go to the doctor and talk about this. Consider how many men don't seek help for ED because of embarrassment. Does she have an OBGYN?

So, the question now becomes how do you get from where you are today to where you want to be.

My opinion...

1. Be understanding and stop pushing.

2. Do some sweet things for her, things to make her feel attractive. Every morning when you wake up say something really sweet to her. Every day when you get home, say something nice. Every night before you go to bed tell her how happy you are to be married to her. And not in a fake patriotic way.

3. Have at least an encounter or two where you just hold her, run your fingers down her kneck or whatever she likes, kiss her with NO expectations whatsoever for sex. No comments, no wishes, nothing. Just show her affection. The first time or two she will likely be shocked because she'll be convinced that is what you are after.

4. Avoid the topic for at least a few weeks. This doesn't mean you can't have sex with her at all. But definitely don't bring it up, don't make any comments, if you try to initiate and she pushes back you stop in your tracks and rather than showing you are unhappy you just hold her and tell her how much you care about her.

I'm assuming you've read Dr. Harley's Basic Concepts which are free here. What you're doing is building up deposits in your love bank? You are repairing your wife emotionally and bringing her back to a state where she will be eager to find a solution to this problem.

Once you've covered your overdrafts from your love bank, then it may be time to gently approach the topic of her seeing her doctor. My guess is that if you take all of the pressure off of her, help her to feel attractive, court her the way you did before you were married or even engaged she would likely reach the point where she wants to go to the doctor without you pushing. It might not take as long as you think.

I'm the product of 3 divorces so what do I know <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />. Maybe nothing at all. For what it's worth, that's just my opinion.
Posted By: BWS71 Re: newlywed sexual problems causing fights - 06/17/07 07:17 AM

I can understand your frustration. Something that is very important to you that your new wife did with you often before now is not happening enough for your needs. You're hurt, frustrated, disappointed and you feel rejected. All very understandable. This is how we all feel when our emotional needs are not being met - whatever those needs may be. No need to feel guilty on top of all that. You're experiencing something very common.

Unfortunately you are also dealing with your feelings in a very common.. and unproductive way. No need to take offense at what I'm saying. Many of us react the way you are until we learn new and better ways of dealing with our negative feelings.

I think the previous poster gave you some great suggestions that might work. I say 'might' only because we are all different. Those suggestions may be just what your W needs. They may not. A great rule to live by is 'when in doubt, find out.' How would your wife prefer that you respond to this situation? I trust that she wants you to be happy. She doesn't want you to be frustrated. When you say you guys fight - that tells me that you're not approaching the situation in the most productive way. Have you asked her? Maybe something like, "I'm sorry. I am frustrated. How would be the best way for me to handle this situation for you?"

You made a few very interesting statements. First you said

and i feel she should have the same wants and desires.

Using the word 'should' in reference to another person's wants and desires is a red flag. Why do you feel she should have the same wants and desires as you? Her wants and desires are her's and they are what they are. If one of your wants is for her to want the same thing you want - you may be in for some serious and lasting disappointment. It is unlikely that your W will ever feel exactly the way you do about sex. Her difference in feelings is not good or bad, right or wrong, it is just different. If you are waiting for her to 'get with it' and feel the 'right way', the way you do.... <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> Been there, done that... it don't work.

The next statement you made is actually connected to the first

it also makes me feel as though I'm unwanted when I'm turned down or denied sex from my own wife.

It sounds like when you and your wife have sex you feel loved and cared for. Sex is probably one of your primary emotional needs right now. If sex makes your feel loved then lack of sex as often and in the way you would like means lack of love and affection for you. If your wfie loved you like you love her she would feel and act the way you do... right? Not necessarily true my friend. Your wife likely loves you very very much (though she probably doesn't like feeling like she is disappointing you) - she just isn't expressing it the way you would like it expressed.

The solution to your problem is simple in theory. Understanding and putting the principles in to practice can be tricky. You need to understand emotional needs in general and how they differ dramatically between people. Next you guys need to read up on and use the policy of joint agreement. The gist of it is you need to both identify the problem and come to a solution that you are both enthusiastic about. Don't stop brainstorming until you do.

GL man. Many of us have been in similar situations. Use the Harley stuff. It works.



Good article on sex, especially when it is painful.
Thanks BWS,

You put it so much more eloquently than I could have.

My post was not meant to suggest that this is all your fault emk. I would be very disappointed and frustrated to if I were in your shoes. In my prior marriages, I would very likely have reacted the same way you did.

I think I am slowly learning to better understand women and even then my understanding is probably very basic and flawed in plenty of ways.

BWS articulates a lot of what I was thinking and just didn't say well <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Let us know how things work out.
Posted By: Muffina Re: newlywed sexual problems causing fights - 06/19/07 04:39 PM
emk - my husband and I are having similar problems so I will tell you what I need from my husband to improve our sex life. I need him to not get mad at me when I don't feel like sex and accuse me of not loving him. Everytime he gets mad at me for not having sex with him, the next time he wants sex, I automatically tense up and brace for him to be mean to me and am the opposite of "in the mood". Sex is now something that I associate negativity with - NOT good.

I need foreplay! This takes a LOOONG time and real effort - espicially due to the above problem. My husband expects me to be instantly turned on and ready to go in a second, like he is. My body, and most other women's bodies, don't work like that. We need to be talked to, touched, massaged, carressed, then more sexual touches and eventually leading to sex. My husband tries for two minutes and when he doesn't get the response he wants (me out of my mind with horniness) he gets mad and stops, totally ruining any mood he may have built. He then claims that I don't love him since he doesn't turn me on.

I like thirddivorce's response. I hope my perspective has been helpful.
I need foreplay! This takes a LOOONG time and real effort

I do too, only the roles are reversed - I am the H and my W is the one that likes it over with quickly.

To the original poster, I feel your pain and frustration. My W and I had similar problems when we were 23 and 24. We still have them now that we are 35 and 35! It doesn't have to be this way for you, and I hope it isn't. But for me, I am getting to the point where enough is enough, and trying to get W to go to MC.
Posted By: Alysen Re: newlywed sexual problems causing fights - 07/16/07 11:45 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with previous posters. I was in a car accident this past winter and did a real number on my back. Initially the pain was so bad it was all I could do to stay awake. H became frustrated with this, despite my assurances that my desire had not diminished. It became this cycle where I felt he was "bugging" me to have sex and any time there was a hint that he might want sex, I would brace myself for his reaction when I had to refuse him. It then became this cycle - he would get upset and I would expect for us to have conflict because I wasn't physically able to enjoy sex.

As I've healed, things have improved, but there are still times that I choose to have sex (because I really want to) even when I know my back will object. Sometimes I pay for it (physically) but I choose the right time, especially because I know this is a very important EN for him.
Posted By: jayne241 Re: newlywed sexual problems causing fights - 07/19/07 01:28 AM
Yes, sex can be painful after abdominal surgery. It is possible that time, not painkillers, will be most effective. After I had several abdominal surgeris in a rather short time, I had "adhesions" - basically, I think it's like scar tissue growing between the abdominal organs, kind of stitching them together, and *any* moving around down there is painful. In time they loosen.

For example, after my surgeries urinating was painful - not burning, but just the fact that the bladder was going from full to empty, was a painful change in the shape and position of things. Sex was out of the question. Eventually I was able to try other alternatives - but still, anything *for* me was painful, orgasm was painful. But I was willing to cuddle him and help him and eventually do things for him.

He never asked for anything during that time. He totally waited for me to suggest the next step - he didn't even suggest. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. When I had recovered enough, I was happy to do things to make him feel good, even if my "feeling good" was still too painful.
Posted By: Valentin Re: newlywed sexual problems causing fights - 12/28/07 05:06 PM
Just a little background on my situation. We have been married for 5 months. We have only had sex 4 times since becoming married, and 3 of those were the wedding night/honeymoon.

My W and I are having the same issues, but I can only wish we were having sex once a week. It's more like once every 3 months with us. I am at the point now that I really don't think there is anything we can do. We have tried counseling before we got married, but that didn't work. I have no clue what to do. Every time I bring up the subject of sex she clams up. I'm pretty sure this is because every time that we talk about sex it ends in a fight. It starts out with me asking her what she likes...or saying that I want to get the "flame" back. Then it moves to her telling me that if I want sex to initiate it. Well I've done that in the past, but the sex wasn't that great because I think she's just doing it to make me happy and not because she really wants to. It shows. No emotion, no sparks...its just bland, quiet sex...not love making. I heard once that you have to "be" the behavior that you want to see in other people. So since I wanted her to do oral, and be into sex more...I tried to do it first. And boy did that backfire.

I have friends who have recently separated and one of the issues that they cited was this, and they were having sex more than us...

Valentin, have you looked for a specific counselor who specializes in SF? She obviously has issues with sex, so you are going to have to address it in a respectful way. Using the MB skills you'll learn here, you can help her see the importance to you, and you can learn what she really thinks about it. From there, you can determine ways to meet your needs that don't disrespect her and her issues. Bottom line, it's about communication. You need safe ways to communicate that are "I" statements, not "you" statements, so that she doesn't feel under attack. You will also have to be willing to hear what she feels about you without having to defend yourself.
Catperson is right, but IMO incomplete. By all means find a MC who specializes in SF issues. She may have FOO (family-of-origin) issues that impair her drive or enjoyment. She may require extensive IC.

However - and I say this as someone who has been there and done that - you should either mentally set a time limit for how long you will wait for things to get better, or get an annulment/divorce now if you don't already have kids together. If you go the time limit route, don't tell her - that would come across as an ultimatum, and those don't work. You've only been married for 5 months and sound young - you'll have plenty of time to find someone who can enjoy marital SF.

Trust me, you don't want to sit around for ten years hoping this problem will get better.
As an example - but in no way trying to tell you what you are experiencing - my dad left when I was 12; my 15 year old brother decided to teach me that sex was sinful and to be avoided. I'm almost 50, and I'm still trying to get past the issue of sex being bad.

The ONLY true solution is communication. Talk to your spouse about what you expect out of a marriage and what you expect to contribute. You have to be honest with each other.
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