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-   -   How do I heal a psychological disconnect between sex and emotional bonding? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2022)

midnightsun 01-22-2010 02:12 AM

How do I heal a psychological disconnect between sex and emotional bonding?
Background: I have *always* been an extremely sensitive, emotionally intuitive person. I have always reserved sexual interaction for individuals with whom I feel a deep attraction and "chemistry" with and with whom I have developed a preliminary bond. I also prefer to have developed (or at least forsee developing) a meaningful bond with them.

My husband (Stewy on the board) and I have been married a little over 8 years now and known each other for 9. About 4 years ago we began discussing the idea of involving other people in our sex life. I advised him then that I am "not capable" of having sex with someone that I don't feel that attraction, chemistry and preliminary emotional bond with. I placed that as a requirement on me participating in any sexual encounters with others, male or female.

Given that boundary, there shouldn't have been an issue. However, as I mentioned in my introductory post, Stewy's criteria of attraction are far wider than mine and, although he is not into "casual" sex with people he doesn't care anything for, he is capable of developing a preliminary bond much faster with a far larger demographic of individuals.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that I'm submissive by nature. It is my driving force to wish to please others and to take pleasure in the process of them getting their needs met, my husband and my children being those people who's needs are most important to me, to the point of being paramount to my own. As we began to explore the idea of widening our sexual horizons together, we also encountered the dominant/submissive concept and were naturally drawn to it. Of COURSE, I ended up finding the role of submissive to fit my personality and sexual needs best.

Unfortunately, neither of us did much research into D/S at that point. When my husband became attracted to individuals that I did NOT, and time began to drag on with no potential partners meeting my "high standards" he began to get frustrated. He put pressure on me to lower my standards and stop being so "picky." As my "Dom" he gave me instructions that if I had an "opportunity" or we had an "opportunity" to have an encounter with someone I felt "comfortable" with, to take it.

Wanting to please him, wanting him to be fulfilled, I crossed a threshold I never should have crossed with people with whom I was NOT attracted to, did NOT have chemistry with and had NO bond with whatsoever. That was a couple of years ago and since then, I have crossed that threshold repeatedly. The result being that the connection between sex and emotional bonding was severed for me... however I was not fully AWARE of the disconnect until this week. When I realized the full extent of it, I was devastated.

To make matters worse, it became clear to me that the disconnect wasn't compartmentalized... it had carried over into the sexual and emotional aspects of my marriage as well. I have no clue where to begin to try and repair the damage, or whether it's even repairable. He and I have been discussing finding permanent polyamorous partners up until this point, and now we're completely confused about whether that would help or hurt the situation.

Up until now, neither of us have had any long-term secondary sexual partners that we've had a deep bond with. I have formed emotional bonds to other non-sexual partners, and I have FWB's that have been primarily sexual but they are both FRIENDS with whom I at least feel *some* connection.

So, the crux of the debate is... the Disconnect (as I call it) happened not within the context of one-on-one sex with my husband and I. It happened in the context of non-monogamy. So, if we "close" our marriage to the possibility of polyamory and exclude possible sexual interaction with others that I have a deep bond with, would it still be possible to reconnect the association between sex and emotional bonding for me?

Also, there's clearly a trust issue that now needs to be resolved because I entrusted Stewy with considering my emotional needs and psychological well-being as my Dom and was let down... repeatedly (even tho I reiterrated my needs to him frequently.)

My instinct is that I need to address the problem where it began... outside of our marriage. That I need to find at least one other partner and for sex with that person to ONLY be associated with a deep, emotional connection. It would probably help if sex between my husband and I ONLY happened when there is a simultaneous emotional connection between us. That *sometimes* happens now, but it is more the exception than the rule since the Disconnect. I see that as being hard to accomplish given that he has a much higher sex drive than me and my nature being to want to please him and give him what he needs, even if it's to my own detriment.

He fears that if I have lost that association with him, and I find it with another person, that it will prevent me from being able to repair my bond with him. He fears further damage to our marriage and losing each other altogether.

We're seeking input, feedback, thoughts from anyone and everyone who may have ideas as to what to do from here. Especially anyone who may have personal experience in the matter.

Whew... hope you aren't all asleep after reading my lengthy post!!! Even if no one has any ideas, thanks for listening. :p

LovingRadiance 01-22-2010 02:30 AM

I have LOADS of experience with it.
But I'm loathe to respond since I'm also not an "unknown poster"....

I fear that anything I say will be percieved as "taking sides" and I don't think THAT will help anything.

LovingRadiance 01-22-2010 02:44 AM


Originally Posted by midnightsun (Post 20655)
My instinct is that I need to address the problem where it began... outside of our marriage.

Ok, I failed. BUT I am limiting my comments AT LEAST until others start posting, to this short one.

I beg to differ on this sentence and I think you need to REALLY be a bit more introspective about it.

This problem DID begin INSIDE of your marriage.
It wasn't a problem with ANY of the people you slept with, it was a problem with respect/trust/communication in one form or another-WITHIN your marriage between yourself and your husband.

Polyamory really hasn't anything to do with the ACTUAL problem. The ACTUAL problem created HUGE symptoms when you opened your marriage. But an open marriage wasn't the problem. You may cure the symptom by going back to a closed marriage-but you still need to cure the ACTUAL problem-which is a respect/trust/communication/boundary? issue between yourself and your husband.

No outside person can create OR TAKE AWAY your "connection" to your husband but you and he. No matter HOW many connections you make, that won't take away from or give to him any more or less connection with you.

Ok-that's it on my experience. AS I said-I DO have a LOT of experience on the topic (personal experience not training). But unless Stewy posts a request for me to share it-I think it's best I keep my mouth shut....

midnightsun 01-22-2010 02:46 AM

Well, LR... I should qualify my post by saying that the one thing we both agree on is that repairing the bond between us is the priority. We have spent the better part of the last 24 hours contemplating the "what if's..."

What if it can only be repaired outside our marriage?
What if it can't be repaired?
What if it can be repaired within our marriage but additional relationships would neither hurt nor help?
What if repairing it outside our marriage makes him feel insecure? Who's needs do we prioritize?

I discussed your concern w/Stewy and he responded that the purpose of posting for input was exactly for that... input. That we need, and will value ALL input. Especially yours.

Our goal is that the bond be repaired, HOW it gets repaired is of secondary importance. So, we BOTH welcome any and all perspectives.

midnightsun 01-22-2010 02:53 AM

LOL! Yeah, but at least you managed to make it for a few minutes!! :eek: So, you succeeded for awhile. You're right, it did start within the marriage. That's an excellent point. Why that didn't occur to me is beyond me... I guess that's why we needed to post it here. Too close to it to see what's in front of our faces.

LovingRadiance 01-22-2010 02:56 AM

K, so to both of you-Maca and I have a class from 6-9 tonight. I HAVE to get the hell out of here before I end up being late.
I'll work on how to reply BEST. There ARE answers.

One more thing-you are both in HYPER ADD mode.
(at least it sounds that way).
The whole
"this way or that way" when in truth there are as many possible solutions as there are colors in that little button on the computer that lets you create your own font color....

Don't focus on "well it's all or nothing".

As I said to Stewy in December-just because something won't work in THIS moment-doesn't mean it will NEVER work-it means you have to find a CREATIVE ADAPTIVE solution... (yes that term IS from the book you ordered MS and you need to READ it).

As a favor-I sent an email to a wide range of posters, and asked that they feel free to pass it on to other posters that they know (pm's often will go to a persons email and they will see it even if they aren't logged in here-and God knows how many of you have your email forwarded to your phone)to come answer and give their thoughts. Hopefully a few will reply tonight.

Good luck.

midnightsun 01-22-2010 03:02 AM

Thank you!!!! Have a good class. :)

Blaidwynn 01-22-2010 04:06 AM

My wife and I have a few ideas that may just help put you on the road back where you want to go but we are still getting our thoughts in order.

MonoVCPHG 01-22-2010 05:09 AM

I've got to admit I am way out of my depth and think much differently about the fragility of connection. I do believe others can take that away and have experienced this in short term and long term ways. My recommendation..seek professional help. Counselling with the right person did wonders for me. All too often people try desperately to avoid the help of pros. Keep that option in mind.


redpepper 01-22-2010 06:19 AM

Hi there. I just read this and frankly it has sent a chill down my spine. I feel like I want to vomit when I think of a Dom making you have sex with people you don't want to. Speaking as a Dom I would NEVER do that. I am absolutely appalled and speechless. You'll have to wait for my response.

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