Desperate at Dawn
Hi I'm from Auckland New Zealand and I just found your website.
I'm happily married for 19 years. A and I have 3 lovely daughters. I love my family and my marriage and I don't want to change any of that. I love A and she loves me.
But something has been wrong for many years and I never knew what. Then last year I read the book Sex at Dawn and everything went KABOOM. I suppose everyone here has read it. It's about the scientific evidence that we all need multiple sexual partners to be true to our biological nature to stay healthy. Now I know at last what was wrong in my life and is still wrong and why I suffer so much. Sexual monogamy is like not getting enough fresh air or vitamins or sleep not satisfying one of the basic requirements for health.
I've been depressed on and off for many years and that's been so bad for the ones I love most. I've done socially embarrassing sexual things over years and years all I am grateful for is I've never deliberately hurt anyone. Now I know there's actually nothing wrong with me I'm a normal human male with a good sex drive and nowhere to take it. Like they say in the book monogamy is like committing myself to eating my favorite meal bangers and mash for the rest of my life. I have never been able to admit to myself until last year that I like almost everyone on the planet need more than one sex partner. I've never been unfaithful to her but at what a price.
Our sex life is more than good it's great. I have no problem with sex with A it gets better every year. She says so too. Sometimes we laugh with pleasure after coming sometimes she cries and laughs at the same time. Our sex together is really satisfying it's deep. But what do I do with the hunger/loneliness that remains in the middle of the night after even the best sex? I masturbate until I'm empty but it's only temporary relief more bangers and mash.
This endless hunger has seriously messed up my life in many ways. I've finally understood how I obsess about sex like a starving man obsesses about food. It eats up my energy distracts me from doing creative and fun and sociable things. I'm in a dead end job because I can't get it together to move on. Haven't been able to for years focusing all my attention on how to download more porn how to meet up with women all things to do with sex without actually having sex.
I realized many years ago all this was making me feel alienated from others especially from A. I felt like I was disgusting something wrong with me. Normal guys are up front about sex and joking about it not to mention actually having sex. I can't open up to others in a natural way because I feel I'm always hiding such a huge part of me. I can't seem to make close friends definitely not with women because I have a secret to hide. That's alienation feeling I'm different from others.
But I'm married and supposed to be content you know true love not for ever looking for more. And all it's been all this time is I'm starved of normal multi-partner sex. It was such a relief to read that in Sex at Dawn. I'm normal! The rest of "civilized" society must also be starving but maybe they cope with it in other ways? Do other people feel as alienated as me? As depressed as desperate? And A how I long to be honest with her.
After reading Sex at Dawn I got A to read it too and I was really hopeful we would talk. As they say in the book renegotiate our relationship. I craved cutting though the alienation at last to be soul mates with her to open up to her and be who I am and be loved for being me. I can't tell you how much I hoped. But though she enjoyed the book and even agreed with it she said we live in a monogamous society and sex with anyone outside our marriage would mean the end of it. End of story. I was gutted.
I should explain she is very jealous of anything I have to do with the opposite sex. I long ago stopped mentioning anything about women I interact with at work or church or sport it's not worth the hassle. She goes all quiet and then days or weeks later if we have any disagreement or argument she would bring it up in such a bitter way I think she's been stewing all that time.
After she finished Sex at Dawn I had the courage to say I need more sex partners. She went ballistic it was very ugly in front of the girls. I thought it was over between us. I can't remember ever feeling so crap it was a total disaster. I backed right off and things have settled down but I don't know if down under there is some permanent damage to our relationship like maybe she feels she can't trust me anymore. That hurts the most the thought she might not trust me. To be fair I have it coming to me after all these years of not communicating.
This jealousy thing she really loses it. When she gets into a rage there is nothing I can do. I feel totally gutted but I try to stay calm and rational. One can't have two adults out of control at the same time. A's sulk can go on for days I feel sorry for the girls. But then she eventually settles down it's like she surfaces. She says she's sorry for making such a fuss and I'm a good man and she should appreciate me more. And I look at her and think to myself you've had a good rant mate now what do I do with all the stress inside me? Sometimes I just want to drink till I'm numb.
Now here I read on the net about people loving each other freely it looks like heaven. Friends with benefits. Why not? Just nice and cozy and friendly zero guilt. I have to be really honest and say I'm not sure I need or want deeply emotional relationships. At the moment the sex is so urgent it's all I can think about. I'm more hungry than lonely. That could change though once I meet my basic biological need. But it's not going to happen is it?
The weird thing is since reading Sex at Dawn I've felt more love for A than ever and for my kids too. So many times I come home from work now and I see them and I think I love my family. It feels so good here. I think it's because I now know I choose A to share my life with. She is it. She is my special other we have shared so much I never want to lose her. She had my babies. How can I tell her I'm famished I'm dying for sex with others. It's nothing to do with her she's great and even if she's not always the greatest I love her as she is. I know her so well she is inside me. Nothing can change that.
OK so why don't I have an affair?
A few years ago our neighbors were getting divorced. We were good friends their daughter played with ours we went to church camp together. A and I were really sad we said why can't they work things out? Then one evening I was in their driveway rounding up my girls for tea and she (the neighbor) arrived from work and I could see how stressed she was. I said something and she got tears in her eyes so I put my arm round her shoulder. But then she kissed me I was completely surprised. I said no we can't do this and left. Up to that point I had never found her particularly attractive she was just a friendly neighbor.
I could not tell A what had happened I knew she would say how long has this been going on and do you want a divorce? Her jealousy would explode. I tried to forget what happened but then I was completely impotent for a week. For the first time in my life I could not get it up. I lied to A that it was work stress. The lesson I learned was there is absolutely no way I can think of cheating on A without it affecting our sex life. It has to be completely open and honest. Either she has to encourage me to find sex outside our marriage with genuine love and respect for my needs or it won't work.
I've thought long and hard about the other way round what I would think of A with another man (or woman!). I honestly can't say it upsets me at all. I don't seem to have the same jealousy in me it's much more important to me that she is happy. I don't want this to sound cheesy it's just the way it is. I can't bring myself to feel anything but warm fuzzies thinking of A having pleasure with someone else even if he's a hairy ape and twice my size where it counts. I know she loves me again I'm not trying to be sentimental she just does and I trust that feeling.
Another thing is creeping in since reading Sex at Dawn which I should mention and that is now it sometimes feels to me A is the one standing between me and the joy I could have. Imagine if I wasn't preoccupied all the time? Sometimes we have a conversation and I'm only listening with half my brain the other half is thinking sex sex sex. That's what hunger does. I feel resentment for the first time in our life together. I don't want to live the rest of my life in desperation. I try not to show my anger but I guess it must come through sometimes. It's a mess.
If only she could understand how opening our relationship would be good for everyone. I can feel under the surface the energy and enthusiasm and love it would unleash in my life. It wouldn't take much it's not as if I'd be spending all my time away from home. Just the thought of being an autonomous sexual being just the hope of that would already be enough to make be bounce with joy all day long. Just the hope.
Isn't that what she wants too? If not outside sex for herself that's her own choice then for the better man and husband and father I would be. She probably has no idea how deeply I would respect her if she said to me go and find the sex you need I love you and admire you and trust you. I'd worship her. Oh my god I'd be able to hold my head up high and look people in the eye for the first time in my life. It seems so simple so easy. But I'd have to see respect in her eyes she couldn't fake it or everything would turn to custard.
I'm trapped. Thanks for listening. It all just came out sorry.
Do I have to destroy my life to get what I can't help needing?
You're going to have to tell her all of that, especially the part about how much more happy and fulfilled you'll be when you're not being dogged by this unmet need. And the part about how your relationship with her should be expected to blossom in all kinds of new ways because you'll be so much happier and freer. Tell her all of this. Even though it will be difficult, tell her.
Make sure you tell her again and again that she's not in any way insufficient or inadequate. Make sure she really understands how precious she is to you. But tell her.
My partner of fifteen years and I are really solid and happy with one another, even as I am exploring loving intimacy outside of our dyad. He's cool with it. We're good. I even sort of have a girl friend! Well, "sort of" because we haven't been face-to-face yet, as she lives very far away. But we're really close, good friends who also share a romantic attraction. ... And about two weeks from now I'm taking a multi-day trip with an old boyfriend I haven't seen in 16-17 years! A man I'm still in love with after all of these years. (Though perhaps we'll just be good friends?)
Hi and welcome to the forum :)
You are having what is called New Relationship Energy with a book that does not apply or apeal to everyone....I know it's hard to believe LOL! Remember, this is a pop culture book and was never submitted to any scientific journal for peer review (kind of like a Micheal Moore documentary).
So, instead of trying to convince her of a theory that works for you perhaps start thinking of the greater good. Start talking to her bluntly about what you need, listen to what she needs and think of the overall health of your family. Maybe it is time to push her and see how she really reacts, maybe it's time to go separate ways.
Just keep you thoughts clear about the reality of your situation. Sometimes the grass looks much greener on the other side and sometimes it is. Other times you end up looking back thinking what the fuck did I just give up.
In this light, it's not hard to see that monogamy has both an advantage and a disadvantage to the health of the community.
Too rigid a pair bond and the community itself loses its glue. Too little glue in the parental pair, and Mama is on her own, somewhat.
Thanks River and MonoVCPHG. It's not easy. You've given me a bit of hope again. Funny how long one can live on hope like living on love and fresh air. :)
I think you may have summed up the reason prostitution is one of the worlds oldest profession.
Do you think your unfulfilled desires caused the depression or the depression caused you to look for something to pull you out of the depression.
I started a thread a while back in the General Discussions page ...Restless Heart Syndrome ....If on the off chance you read it ....I'd like to hear any comments you might have ....
I've highlighted some of your words above because I am worried. The hunger and alienation you describe seem to go far beyond a desire for multiple sex partners. From your description, it feels compulsive. Something feels broken within you. It's been my experience that kind of desperate search is often used to cover up something even more terrifying. Have you ever spoken with a reputable therapist about this?
I'm so glad you found a community that seems like a good fit for you. That's always an amazing thing to discover! I know when I came out as a lesbian and found my 'people' it was a great thing. I learned so much. But finding that community did not fix my underlying problems of not knowing how to communicate or understanding my feelings.
And in a similar way, poly can't fix what ails you. It won't make you whole, fix your broken-ness. Poly won't fix your marriage.
You're now 'normal'. Great! Now for the work.
Who are you? What do you want? What need does multiple sex partners fill for you? What role do you see for these partners? What do you want your marrige to look like? What kind of a spouse do you want to be? What kind of a father? What kind of a partner?
Poly, if one is very lucky and works ridiculously hard, offers the opportunity to be better versions of ourselves. But so does mediation, prayer, or study.
Get to know yourself and why you have such hunger for more sex partners, why you experience such painful alienation. I feel your pain so clearly in your words. Having more sex with more people without addressing the why just means you have more sex with more people - you are still stuck with you.
Opening up your marriage may indeed help you but I fear that without some understanding of where this personal drive comes from, you will blow up your marriage, harm your relationship with your kids, and damage yourself.
Best of luck to you. I'm pulling for you.
Thanks for that thoughtful replies dingedheart and opalescent. I've been away a few days hence the late response. You are right of course there are many things inside that could do with a good hard look and a sympathetic self hug. Your posts made me think again about alienation.
I was with friends and acquaintances and some people I did not know this weekend and kind of watching myself seeing where I fit in who I like and who likes me. And my conclusion is that people generally like me and want to be friends. I'm not alienated in that sense I have a fairly good self image and confidence. I'm sociable and have a good time with my mates and new faces equally. The alienation is the regret with which I see myself sometimes do desperate things as a substitute for good old fashioned nooky. I'm disgusted with myself for that and it makes me feel lonely.
At this event there was lots of opportunity for socializing between sessions. A was there too and we had a great time chatting and laughing together and separately with lots of people. At one point someone brought chocolate brownies and I gave her hug. I could feel how I do that sort of thing spontaneously and I know its good and right because of her relaxed response. That's who I am I'm affectionate and people are OK with that and I'm OK with that. Then I looked at her and thought how nice it would be to have sex. It's not as if I'm in love with her it's just that I find women attractive. If you're lesbian opalescent you'd probably agree. :)
I guess what I was trying to say in my original post is the need for simple friendly affectionate sex with a wider network now feels like a basic unmet need like someone in solitary confinement craves company of any sort. The alienation comes from the stupid but understandable things I've done in unsuccessful attempts to ease the pain and especially from not having anyone to confide in. Of course the most important person in my life I should be talking to is A but as I've said it's not easy with her insistence on monogamy which I have to respect.
As for depression I think it's nothing more than suppressed frustration. I have lots of good things going on in my life and I don't dwell on negatives. But there's this hunger that I didn't understand until I read Sex at Dawn. It's so damn simple. I'm a human male and my engine runs on testosterone. I'll go look at the Restless Heart Syndrome thread now.
I'm not disagreeing with anything either of you've said about exploring the basic drivers. I'm just worried that I made myself sound a bit more crazy than I really am in trying to communicate my feelings. Not always easy for a bloke.
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