The importance of sex
So, some of you may remember that my husband is struggling with this poly thing. There is so much there—my mental health crisis of last year, my sexual abuse history, which has dogged us our entire relationship, and now my discovery that I am poly. It's a lot. Most men would have run for cover a LONG time ago. And as you may know, I struggle with either denying an important part of myself for him, which, in truth, contributed greatly to this whole mess (albeit in a much different form, see below), or committing to do what is right by me in the hopes that it is indeed what is right by us in the long run, which I truly believe to be the case.
It would help if you all understood some of my background. I have, on more than one occasion, said that I could be asexual. In truth, that was just because sex terrified me d/t my lengthy abuse history. One day, my therapist made a comment about how maybe I'm meant to be asexual. And when I heard him say it, I knew that it wasn't okay with me, no matter how much I thought I could sacrifice. Fast forward a few years, and a few valiant but unsuccessful efforts to “fix” our sexual issues created by my abuse, and I meet my boyfriend. He too is an abuse survivor, so I knew he would get it. To be fair, my husband tried really hard, but I knew he never could (for which I am very grateful for his sake). I also want to be clear that in no way do I view my bf as a substitute for my husband. It is very clear to both of us that polyamory will never work if our relationship is not strong, if we are not the focus.
My bf and I did have sex, but it was much more about connection than it was about sex. We were both trying to emerge from a very dark place at the time too, so, voila, more connection.
I have since had more suitors, one of whom I feel has pressured the sex issue, although he's been very understanding when I've set limits. And that right there is new!!!!!! I never would have set limits with my husband—I thought that in order to keep him, I was obliged to have sex with him (this still makes me very sad).
My dh understandably feels like he blazed the trail with his patience and understanding all of these years, and now these other men are benefiting. He is very focused on the sexual piece of any relationship I may have. It seems pretty clear to me that he worries that he isn't “enough”, and I don't know how to assure him that it isn't that at all. I feel free to explore my sexuality at my own pace now, and yes, that includes other men, but it primarily involves him!!!!!! And I've tried to reassure him that no matter how great the sex was with these men, it is to him I want to come home. But that just implies that he's not “good at it”, which isn't true. How the hell would I know? Until recently sex=fear, so when it feels good, I'm thrilled. And it feels very good with him, I know that and that is so nice!!!
He says that he has no problem with my being emotionally intimate with these other men—it is only the sexual piece that bothers him. How do I help him to understand????? When he says “why do you need to have sex with them?” I don't know how to respond.
I don't “need” to (or maybe I do, I don't know, as I said, it is such a significant want that it feels like a need). The way I understand it is that I didn't “need” to have sex with him either, but I wanted to, as an expression of how I feel about him.
What I want is for him to know how amazingly important he is to me. I think to myself how I could stay with him if we never had sex again, but I'm afraid all he hears is that this indicates that he's not good enough. Quite the contrary, it indicates how deeply I love him.
We'd love thoughts and feedback (he's reading over my shoulder ;-)).