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Let's Talk About Sex Baby....

Discussion in 'Supporter Relationships' started by ldj, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. ldj

    ldj Active Member

    Hello new forum friends! This is a plea to those of you in long-term relationships (particularly if you or your other half's PTSD is combat-related, because that is what my sufferer has, so you may be able to relate better). I need support/advice/guidance/opinions/a glimmer of hope/reassurance/whatever reaction you have to this.....!

    Who else isn't getting any sex or intimacy of any kind? Quick show of hands?? (or the cyberspace equivalent anyway!) I'm a pretty patient, reasonable, empathetic person, so I completely understand that because he's feeling angry and depressed and confused, he's withdrawn and pulled away from me. Why on earth should he feel like sex when his head's in such a mess? But equally, there are posts on here where people say, despite the emotional distance, cold silences or absences, sex is actually the one thing they do still have that keeps them going and provides some relief amid the doom and gloom. So, should I be doing more to try to coax him out of his dark cave and rekindle some passion in our lives??

    It's 'only' been just over a month (I've gone far longer without when I was single), but when you're in a close, loving relationship that feels like an eternity. And it's such a contrast to what we enjoyed before. It's not just the sex I miss, there's no affection or intimacy at all. Full stop. Nada.

    If I hug him, he'll just passively stand there and be held until I let go - there's no returning warmth in his arms. If I kiss him, he'll either purse his lips tight together so I just get a peck, or sometimes he'll even turn his head so I just get his cheek. If I try snuggling on the sofa, massaging his shoulders, feet, stroking his arm, playing with his hands, touching his arm as we talk, whatever contact i make... there's nothing in response. So I've taken all these signals to mean he's clearly not interested in being physically close to me right now, and I haven't attempted to instigate sex. But should I be doing more?

    It doesn't help that we're in separate bedrooms (to help him sleep better) Not that sex is limited to the bedroom, but we're missing out on that opportunity to lie together and be close in a non-sexual way; to cuddle, chat about stuff, just feel intimate and connected, whether or not it leads to anything. All that is missing. I feel so distant from him. :unsure:
    Dominik24 and AngelkeeperJ/AKJ like this.
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  3. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    This is a really great article

    Young vets: Trouble in the bedroom

    A few of my favorite quotes from it

    That fiery, playful sex that people have with their partners is a huge, positive buffer to all the other stuff you go through in life,” said U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs psychologist Linda Mona, who runs an intimacy clinic at the VA medical center in Long Beach.

    “Life is hard. Sex and relating to others in that way is such an awesome buffer ... to nourish you. When that goes away, it’s one less protective factor to help you through life.”

    "Medication is a factor. By one account, the average number of prescription drugs used by America’s veterans is 17."

    "The combination of physical wounds, emotional trauma and a sometimes full battery of medications is taking a toll on the sex lives of America’s youngest generation of military veterans."

    "As for PTSD, psychologists have long known that it can derail sexual performance. A San Diego VA study in 2010 found that the emotional numbness that can come with PTSD — separate from other symptoms such as flashbacks and anxiety, for example — is the key predictor of problems in the bedroom."
    Mytime and TreeHugger like this.
  4. Sweetpea76

    Sweetpea76 Semper ubi sub ubi. Moderator Donated

    I've found the lack of sex thing to be cyclical, depending on how symptomatic my vet is, or since he is injured physically as well, what his pain level is like.

    Sometimes he can't get enough of me, sometimes it's a no-go at this station.

    Usually if I try to initiate a few times and get the cold shoulder, I let him intitiate when he's ready the next time. Usually I don't have to put much effort into initiation... so if he's not into it, I know he isn't feeling well. Sometimes that means dry spells, but that's just the way it is.
    Friday, Mytime and Beautifulmess like this.
  5. Hope69

    Hope69 Well-Known Member Premium Member Donated

    It sounds like you really need affection and intimacy, which is normal. I can understand when PTSD is full on that the urge goes underground, but just because there is a drought doesn't mean you don't need water. If your partner really isn't available for sexual intimacy, it would be good to find some compromise, at least affection. It might also help with him to give back to another, sometimes that pulls us put of our self involved pain. I hope you can both work through this together.
    Mytime, Beautifulmess and Zoogal like this.
  6. ldj

    ldj Active Member

    @Friday - thanks so much for the link to that article, was an interesting and helpful read.
    @Sweetpea76 - my vet isn't injured, so pain isn't an issue. But yes, I agree with what you say about not needing to make much effort to initiate anything to know whether he's in the mood or not - mine wouldn't usually need much encouragement either, which is why it's so obvious he's not wanting anything now. But I guess I have to take reassurance from the fact that, on the occasions that he was responsive before this month-long drought started, it was amazingly wonderful! So that's something.
    @Hope69 - thanks for the encouragement, I guess I have to be patient. It's early days for us, it's only been around a month since he told me (or even realised himself) that he's got PTSD. He's just started antidepressants, so that could be a factor. I'll muddle through the dry spell and look forward to the rain when it comes.
  7. questionsaboutrel

    questionsaboutrel New Member

    For mine - it's frustrating that compared to other relationships, I feel like we definitely won't have sex unless he initiates. Otherwise, he is definitely not in the "mood." I do think PTSD is a factor in this, since from the stories he has told me, he was quite a player in earlier days... Or, as I have read about PTSD sufferers (particularly combat-related), it may be easier to connect sexually with someone that you're NOT in a long-term relationship with, since there are less emotional connotations.

    It is hard, since I know that when we're able to have sex, it's a huge intimacy boost for me - I feel like he is revealing parts of himself that are only for me, and since I'm not necessarily getting that intimacy everywhere else in our relationship, that kind of bonding becomes important.

    I think what you mentioned about antidepressants are important - those have a big libido factor. If I were you, I might try to have an affectionate routine that may lead to sexuality or is intimate and personal for your vet, something that is about closeness between you but isn't so overtly sexual that your vet may feel pressure to have sex. I think the social pressure and anxiety factors of PTSD are hard for many sufferers to communicate. For an example of this kind of routine, I like to rub my guy's chest and stomach while we're sitting in bed. It's something that could just be relaxing before bed, but it also sometimes gets him aroused. Either way, there is not a lot of pressure for him and he maintains control of the choice, which I know is important.
    Mytime likes this.
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