Elizabeth, I have so many questions that I really do NOT know where to start. What is weighing heavily on my mind ATM is about sex. I have been separated & eventually divorced for quite a while, and I have lost track of time. I started dating and made a real mess of it. I was older, and my only rules of engagement for dating were laid when I was in my teens and early 20’s.
I wanted a REAL relationship/friendship not a series of coffee dates, one night stands or friends with benefits. Actually considered trying that but couldn’t get my head around it. Couldn’t keep my ’emotions’ disengaged. I’ve done a lot of reading and understand now why men can do that more easily and why women find it more difficult. You were talking about this as well the other day.
I met a wonderful man 3 years ago but for many reasons I cannot see a future as a long time life partner. For many reasons. I won’t discuss that now as its very complicated. One important note is that we do NOT have an ‘intimate’ relationship and sex & intimacy is, for me, a very important part of a relationship. He is older and has erectile dysfunction problems. He tried various things that didn’t help – not that he was willing to try more than a couple of times. Fear of failure?
This is a very difficult topic to talk about with a man – it threatens their masculinity terribly.
Sometime ago he told me his problems with sex were because I am overweight. Just what a woman likes to hear – that she is sexually unattractive!! Interestingly enough I have had a couple of short relationships before meeting him in which my weight wasn’t an issue or an inhibiting factor.
Now I come to my dilemma.
I want to maintain the friendship I have with this man and not destroy that with my current situation. A man I met four years ago has reconnected and wants to meet up. He volunteered to ‘give me a massage’ after I was commenting on all my aches and pains from gardening. On one level I want very much for this and am aware that it would probably not stop there. He desires and wants very much to have passionate sex with me, we haven’t been intimate before.
After the drought I’ve been in that is, on one level, very appealing. The reasons that our relationship didn’t progress further 4 years ago are all still there. I don’t want to become emotionally entangled with him which is what I fear would happen if we did have sex. Is it possible for a woman to have her physical needs met and not emotionally bond with the man?
I’m not writing to ask you to tell me what to do or to say it is alright but maybe more to help clarify things in my mind. I’m not very good at being anything other than open and honest, and I think this would probably be very hurtful to my other friend if he found out that I had been out and had some ‘fun”. I fear that my need to be secretive may be destructive to the good friendship I have with the first man. I feel I should clarify things with him first but really don’t know how to do this.
Most of all I don’t want to lose the friendship with this man which is what I fear would happen if I went off and had a fling.
Thank you for your question. I think your question has a couple of parts. The first part is about the lack of sex in a relationship and the second is about whether women can have sex without emotional connection.
What I find interesting is that I feel you have answered your own question. You’ve said to me you struggle with coffee dates and friends with benefits that you have tried all that. So to me reading your question you are telling me that you don’t think you could separate your emotions from you sexuality. The whole question as to whether women can separate their sexuality is hotly debated amongst psychologists, and so there is no easy answer to this question. You need to do what is right for you.
You’ve said that it is difficult for you to have a conversation with your partner about his sexual issues. This is like a big elephant in the room between you. Often when people consider having affairs it is because there is something happening in the primary relationship that can’t or won’t be confronted and the person then has the opportunity for an affair go past them, and they decide to take that opportunity. The affair becomes an escape where emotions are managed, with the other person, so they don’t have to be confronted in the main relationship. Although you aren’t married this is what I see happening here. You need to remember you are a hot blooded women, despite your age or your hormones or whatever else might be happening for you. So if it wasn’t this other guy who had been in your life before tempting you away, it would be someone else. This is because the issues in the main relationship haven’t been addressed.
You need to decide whether you want to step into a closer intimacy with this man you are having the sexual issues with. This means having that difficult conversation with him. Sometimes we can lead ourselves into thinking that a conversation will be a lot harder than it actually is, and of course, the way we approach the conversation can make all the difference. I would advise you to use a shit sandwich. What this means is you say something good – something bad and then something good. So I would advise you to start by picking out things sexually that he does like cuddling you or holding your hand or kissing you and say how special that is. The middle part should be about how hot you get thinking about him, and how you understand that he can’t do more sexually and broach the subject of how he might satisfy you in other ways. Here you should also include that you feel tempted by other people because you really miss having sex and you need to be satisfied. Then the last part could finish by you telling him again that you want to be physical with him, not with anyone else. Just remember having this conversation will move you closer to him, whatever the outcome. If you are not feeling there is a future with this man you need to think about whether you want that or not.
The man who has come into your life after four years who is tempting you. This man you have a history with and you are not sure about him. I suspect, if you decide to see him, that you are entering into the cycle with him. What I suspect has happened in the past is something has happened to cause you not to see him anymore. Whether it was an argument or just an event something cause you to go your separate ways. You the had a four-year pause where you didn’t speak to each other. Now he has reached out, and you are now in the next phase of the cycle where he is pursuing you. For example, he has suggested, he would give you a massage which might lead to more. If you take up his offer, you could have the most wonderful honeymoon with glorious sex. However if nothing between you is resolved from the issues before you will have a buildup phase, and eventually separate again. If this relationship cycle is not in awareness, you can repeat the cycle many times over, and end up in great heartbreak.
I would think very carefully about this man, or in fact, any man you see secretly to satisfy your need. Remember you are expecting this other person to keep your secret, and not everyone can or is willing to be discreet. When people have multiple relationships they can find themselves very addicted, not just because of the sex and the fantasy but because of the secrecy, it can become very complex concealing one person from another and a great distraction if you are trying to emotionally escape, or incredibly draining and exhausting.
This problem you have in your relationship is not going to go away. If it wasn’t this man tempting you with the promise of sex, it would be another man. This is because you have an issue in your relationship about sex that isn’t being resolved. Ultimately you need to think about what you want, and know that the best way to move forward is to be true to yourself.
I empower women to make educated relationship choices, rather than change for their partner.
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