Balancing Desire and Realistic Expectations in a Relationship

z3phyr

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Iet me start this by asserting that i'm a person who is often very overly hypervigilant about metacognition, and that OCD really doesn't help (lots of 'checking' whether I'm thinking about something 'correctly'). I'm putting this here just because my checking has been pretty active lately and I'm unsure if some of the worries I bring up here fall under the category of checking.

I'm 22 and generally a bit hypersexual when not in a slump due to triggering concepts/actions. I had a flashback for the first time in a while last week and since then have been slowly getting my feet back on the ground when it comes to physical intimacy with my partner.
The slow baby steps of slowly allowing desire for physical intimacy part is going fine frankly. I'm someone who really loves physical affection and so even though it's been weird to avoid cuddling or certain kinds of touch, this is something I've gone through the process of many times before. Desire for closeness always finds its way back to me effortlessly with time. But what's more complicated is my sex drive.
I'm worried I may be too obsessive about sex, or also putting my expectations of sex too high. It's always been this kind of godly-like powerful experience to me capable of inducing ecstacy or horror. Lately (as in over the past couple months) I've I've getting more hypersexual and exploratory when it comes to sex and its been great, but it also comes with me just thinking obsessively about sex. And due to the fact that my girlfriend has a lower sex drive, I usually just sit with my horny feelings and wait till she wants to do something because I fear that if I take care of it myself, that I won't be horny when she's horny and miss my opportunity for a good time. I feel at times like I want to have sex just to prove that I can do it. Not in the way of like to prove I have social status/game or whatever, but to prove to myself that I've healed enough to do something I've always wanted but feared, and I think sometimes I'll jump at *any* opportunity to have sex. I'm starting to wonder where these desires are rooted and that I could be at risk of building up a maladaptive way of approaching sex. I can't tell if it's just me being hypersexual and feeling this shroud of guilt cast over me due to the shame I associate with sexual desire, or if I'm genuinely at risk of developing some unhealthy behaviors. I've tried searching around for others who feel this way but I mostly just found people talking about tying sex to self worth because they wanna be seen as desirable. I'm not sure if that's quite what I'm doing. I have a legitimate desire to make sex as exciting and fun and pleasurable as possible, and I feel dissatisfied, upset, and confused when my reality doesn't match my daydream. It's like I want having sex to be the most amazing and pleasurable and decadent reward for all the sexual repression and suppression I've felt over the years. Am I setting my standards for sex too high or letting them take over my life? I don't know.
And before anyone suggests I need to spice up my sex life in order to make it more satisfying, that's already what I'm doing. But it comes with so much trial and error because that's natural. I've had some absolutely amazing nights with my girlfriend and some so/so or just nice ones as well. I don't think anything is wrong with her ability to pleasure me so please don't suggest that.
 
Iet me start this by asserting that i'm a person who is often very overly hypervigilant about metacognition, and that OCD really doesn't help (lots of 'checking' whether I'm thinking about something 'correctly'). I'm putting this here just because my checking has been pretty active lately and I'm unsure if some of the worries I bring up here fall under the category of checking.

I'm 22 and generally a bit hypersexual when not in a slump due to triggering concepts/actions. I had a flashback for the first time in a while last week and since then have been slowly getting my feet back on the ground when it comes to physical intimacy with my partner.
The slow baby steps of slowly allowing desire for physical intimacy part is going fine frankly. I'm someone who really loves physical affection and so even though it's been weird to avoid cuddling or certain kinds of touch, this is something I've gone through the process of many times before. Desire for closeness always finds its way back to me effortlessly with time. But what's more complicated is my sex drive.
I'm worried I may be too obsessive about sex, or also putting my expectations of sex too high. It's always been this kind of godly-like powerful experience to me capable of inducing ecstacy or horror. Lately (as in over the past couple months) I've I've getting more hypersexual and exploratory when it comes to sex and its been great, but it also comes with me just thinking obsessively about sex. And due to the fact that my girlfriend has a lower sex drive, I usually just sit with my horny feelings and wait till she wants to do something because I fear that if I take care of it myself, that I won't be horny when she's horny and miss my opportunity for a good time. I feel at times like I want to have sex just to prove that I can do it. Not in the way of like to prove I have social status/game or whatever, but to prove to myself that I've healed enough to do something I've always wanted but feared, and I think sometimes I'll jump at *any* opportunity to have sex. I'm starting to wonder where these desires are rooted and that I could be at risk of building up a maladaptive way of approaching sex. I can't tell if it's just me being hypersexual and feeling this shroud of guilt cast over me due to the shame I associate with sexual desire, or if I'm genuinely at risk of developing some unhealthy behaviors. I've tried searching around for others who feel this way but I mostly just found people talking about tying sex to self worth because they wanna be seen as desirable. I'm not sure if that's quite what I'm doing. I have a legitimate desire to make sex as exciting and fun and pleasurable as possible, and I feel dissatisfied, upset, and confused when my reality doesn't match my daydream. It's like I want having sex to be the most amazing and pleasurable and decadent reward for all the sexual repression and suppression I've felt over the years. Am I setting my standards for sex too high or letting them take over my life? I don't know.
And before anyone suggests I need to spice up my sex life in order to make it more satisfying, that's already what I'm doing. But it comes with so much trial and error because that's natural. I've had some absolutely amazing nights with my girlfriend and some so/so or just nice ones as well. I don't think anything is wrong with her ability to pleasure me so please don't suggest that.
I forgot to say that the reason why I'm thinking so much about my own relationship with sex is because I'm unsure whether I'm ready or not to do sexual things again w my girlfriend. I've talked w her about it and I think testing the waters with elements of sex (sensual touch, roleplay, dirty talk) might be a good way of gauging this. I'm just so terrified of hurting myself again. When it comes to my sexual assault, I had agreed and went along with what someone else I cared about said, and because of that I get so scared that that's gonna happen again. Even though I was only 10 when I was assaulted and didn't understand the gravity of what I was getting myself into. You can see how this easily leads to the idea that trying something consentual and new could still be extremely dangerous.
 
Balancing Desire and Realistic Expectations in a Relationship <<< Is probably one of the best titles I’ve read in a long time, as it really does seem to be the core upon which everything else is swirling around. So, touching on at least a few of those swirling issues:

1. Self-confidence & ease is going to come from experience… so the overthinking /metacognition? Up until you hit OCD territory… is totally normal. A few thousand times later? Pfft. No thinking needed (also a lot less pressure on any one event to be All The Things but instead each can be recognised under its own merits).

2. No matter who you are, or how perfectly your sex drives line up? There will be times where it’s simply not reasonable to be having sex (like they’re 3,000 miles away, or you’re sick, or she’s just had a baby, or one of you has to pull a double shift, or, or, or). So this will come up, over and over and over and over, again. Don’t expect to find your perfect balance, straight off. It’s an adaptive and changing state that will have different facets & layers to it.

3. Good News! Sex is like every other form of exercise… the more you do it? The more you’re able to do it. Not just physically (although that’s a big part of it), but mentally, emotionally, connectively, desirably, etc.

4. As someone who had to work through a lot of sexual trauma? No single event proved to me that I was healed. Instead there were a few hundred thousand smaller events (and I mean that literally, as a conservative estimate; triggering myself an average of 50 or 100 times a day in various ways, (see below) for an example of what I’m talking about) those numbers start to stack up FAST; with maybe only 5% of which involved actual sex, which then became less than o.o1% of the actual sex I’ve had, over time.).
This is just what I did, surrounding my own issues, just making shit up on the fly. Essentially every time something bothered me, or triggered me? I'd do it more, on purpose, to trigger myself into nudging the boundary further away/ increase what I could do without wigging out. Kept playing with it, and poking at it, as things came up.

Physically - Oral Sex

Gave my mouth a helluva lot of sensory experiences
- Talking with my mouth full, or around ice, or under water
- Singing ditto (mouth full, or around ice, or underwater)
- Eating while walking (That was unexpectedly difficult. When I found that out I refused to eat sitting down for a few weeks, and started carrying lolly-pops and sunflower seeds to really trip my brain out!)
- Playing with my tongue (from flipping it upside down, to spinning spaghetti, to counting my teeth, to clicking).
- Playing with my face (blowing my cheeks out, sucking them in, Elvis lips, etc.)
- Different food textures
- etc.

Gagging
- Trained my throat to swallow thick liquids, to pills, to whole grapes, etc. (I actually researched how drug-mules train themselves to swallow balloons).
- Brushed my teeth & tongue with a washcloth (ironically, works better than a brush).
- Used Chloraseptic (mild topical anesthetic) when necessary.
- etc.

Breath Control
- Swimmers tricks ((One of the primary rules of swimming is that if you can talk? You can breathe. I've actually always used this with panic attacks... But they also came in handy when dealing with my oral sex hangups.)) From gargling to "gulping fishes" (that mixed air & water choking feeling), to snorkeling, to rebreathers. Anything that creates the need to breathe weird, on purpose.
- Singing.
- Whistling
- etc.

(Lastly) Once I was completely copasetic with all the non-sexual aspects of oral anything and everything I could think of... I went on a fellatio mission.
- Researched everything I could about it (lmao, before Internet! That was an adventure)
- Talked to a bunch of people (guys mostly, gay guys even better).
- Took lessons / Practiced with friends
- Learned to breathe through my nose (that was a lightbulb moment! Shazaam. LOL)
- Learned to flip a condom around in my mouth / how to put one on
- etc.

So, Cha. Taking something that took me’self a few hundred thousand times being triggered, a few thousand times of having sex, over the course of a few years & many partners, and attempting to shoehorn it into a single/specific event/time/person? <low whistle> Talk about contents under pressure!

That said? I had an exactly the same / completely different “prove to myself” going on (that men are awesome /&/ that sex and rape couldn’t be more different)… so I very much understand the impulse to do so. I was super lucky to fall on the promiscuous side of the fence, & to be living in a sexually open culture… so I didn’t have all that pressure landing on one person/relationship. If I’d have happened to have been in a committed relationship? Or had fallen on the anorexic side of the fence? Things would probably have gone very differently for me. So, as it was, I got super lucky to be able to reaffirm my belief in mankind… in a very low stress environment.
 
my current favorite mantra for balancing my desires and my realities is, "let the dream motivate, let reality dictate."

e.g.
i dream of my hubby being my perfect prince charming.
i forgive my prince charming for that uncharming yuckery that keeps coming out his hindside.
 
Balancing Desire and Realistic Expectations in a Relationship <<< Is probably one of the best titles I’ve read in a long time, as it really does seem to be the core upon which everything else is swirling around. So, touching on at least a few of those swirling issues:

1. Self-confidence & ease is going to come from experience… so the overthinking /metacognition? Up until you hit OCD territory… is totally normal. A few thousand times later? Pfft. No thinking needed (also a lot less pressure on any one event to be All The Things but instead each can be recognised under its own merits).

2. No matter who you are, or how perfectly your sex drives line up? There will be times where it’s simply not reasonable to be having sex (like they’re 3,000 miles away, or you’re sick, or she’s just had a baby, or one of you has to pull a double shift, or, or, or). So this will come up, over and over and over and over, again. Don’t expect to find your perfect balance, straight off. It’s an adaptive and changing state that will have different facets & layers to it.

3. Good News! Sex is like every other form of exercise… the more you do it? The more you’re able to do it. Not just physically (although that’s a big part of it), but mentally, emotionally, connectively, desirably, etc.

4. As someone who had to work through a lot of sexual trauma? No single event proved to me that I was healed. Instead there were a few hundred thousand smaller events (and I mean that literally, as a conservative estimate; triggering myself an average of 50 or 100 times a day in various ways, (see below) for an example of what I’m talking about) those numbers start to stack up FAST; with maybe only 5% of which involved actual sex, which then became less than o.o1% of the actual sex I’ve had, over time.).

So, Cha. Taking something that took me’self a few hundred thousand times being triggered, a few thousand times of having sex, over the course of a few years & many partners, and attempting to shoehorn it into a single/specific event/time/person? <low whistle> Talk about contents under pressure!

That said? I had an exactly the same / completely different “prove to myself” going on (that men are awesome /&/ that sex and rape couldn’t be more different)… so I very much understand the impulse to do so. I was super lucky to fall on the promiscuous side of the fence, & to be living in a sexually open culture… so I didn’t have all that pressure landing on one person/relationship. If I’d have happened to have been in a committed relationship? Or had fallen on the anorexic side of the fence? Things would probably have gone very differently for me. So, as it was, I got super lucky to be able to reaffirm my belief in mankind… in a very low stress environment.
Thank you so much for this. I think one main thing I just needed to hear was that I'm not the only one who's ever felt this way or struggled with these issues. And not only that but that it doesnt stay this confusing and turbulent forever. I think I'm just finally approaching some kind of state of equilibrium with sex where I need to come to terms with the fact that it isn't the most horrible harmful thing nor the most ecstatic and flawless thing in the world, and that it's just part of my everyday life now. It makes sense that just being around college culture has made me feel a little insecure and perfectionist about sex, in tandem with my already complicated relationship with sex due to my assault. I feel a lot more level headed looking back on this post now that I'm out of that rut, so I think it's safe to say that my ability to be comfortable with sex, much like my ability to be physically affectionate, will always return with time, self care, and patience. I think I also just need to let myself be sexualy active even if it doesn't mean coming to an orgasm with another person.

No single event proved to me that I was healed. Instead there were a few hundred thousand smaller events
I think I'm still yet to fully wrap my head around this fact, but that with time and patience I'll be able to see this more clearly. It's been about 4 years now that I've been consentually sexually active and I shouldn't downplay the growth I've had through every little step that's gotten me this far.

"Balancing Desire and Realistic Expectations in a Relationship <<< Is probably one of the best titles I’ve read in a long time"
This also made me laugh a little bit because I actually used a suggested title generated by the forum after I typed everything up 😅
 
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