Sex-Loving Guy Marries Sex-Avoiding Gal

Naked couple in bed having problemsMark and Stacey are married. Mark wants sex every day. But Stacey isn’t on the same page — at all. Says Mark,

I have a strong sex drive, so if it were up to me, we’d do it every day, the way we used to when we were dating. Now, not only do I not get my sexual needs met, but I feel rejected because most of the time I get shot down when I initiate.

When Mark approaches, Stacey feels repulsed:

I know we don’t have sex as much as Mark likes, but for me to want to make love, I have to feel emotionally connected to him and, to be honest, most of the time, I just don’t… I constantly feel pressure to satisfy him. It’s like raw sex is the only thing he wants from me. It’s gotten to the point where any time he touches me I freeze up — I’m afraid to respond even affectionately because if I do, he thinks it’s an invitation to sex.

Richard Schwartz is a therapist who has worked with Mark and Stacey. The way he helped them could help others. You can see the whole story on the Alternet. But here are some highlights:

Dr. Schwartz asked Mark and Stacey to get in touch with their inner worlds of emotion, desire and vulnerability so they could better understand what was broken, lovingly share what they’d learned with each other, and heal.

He asked Stacey to focus on the voice of repulsion in her head.

She said she sensed it in the back of her head. As she focused there, I suggested she ask it why it felt such revulsion for Mark and for sex? Putting her hands up as if to push the entire subject away, she said the voice was really disgusted by the whole thing — sweaty, naked bodies, ugly, hairy genitals, revolting fluids, and ridiculous animal noises. Stacey’s face was scrunched up in a look of loathing as she spoke, when suddenly she stopped cold and put her hands over her eyes. “Oh my God, it’s my mother!” she cried out. “It’s my mother’s voice in me!”

Dr. Schwartz says these voices are often trying to protect us from something. He told Stacey to “Sit quietly, breathe evenly, and go inside. Ask the mother part what it’s afraid will happen if it doesn’t keep you so repulsed by sex.”

After a moment, Stacey had a vivid image of herself as a 6-year-old girl in the bathroom. Her father was helping her undress to take a bath, and as she watched the scene play out, she could see something wrong about it. Her father was looking at her in a funny way, once she was naked, his voice sounded different, and he trembled slightly. She sensed again the fear and confusion she’d felt then–the feeling that something bad was happening, and that it had something to do with her being naked.

Stacey began to understand that Mark’s sexual desire scared Stacey’s little girl, so “mom” smothered her sexual feelings.

Dr. Schwartz went through the same process with Mark:

He closed his eyes and said he noticed a voice saying that he needed and deserved lots of sex. That voice called itself “The Stud,” and it looked like a very buff, very macho, very tan version of himself. Mark said The Stud bombarded him with images of himself having sex in numerous hot and ingenious ways with his wife and other women, who panted and moaned.

“Ask The Stud,” I said, “what it’s afraid would happen if you don’t get to have sex all the time.”

As a 13-year-old in the boys’ locker room he’d had small protuberances at his nipples. The other boys had ridiculed him mercilessly, calling him “Tits,” asking him when he was going to buy a bra, and telling him he was really a girl. At such a vulnerable age, this kind of abuse was deeply traumatic to a young boy’s developing sense of his own manhood. It was then that The Stud stepped into its role and the devastated 13-year-old was exiled. Never again, vowed The Stud, would he let anybody doubt Mark’s masculinity, and it pushed him to seduce as many girls as he could.

Mark had actually resisted the urge to have affairs because he wanted to make his marriage work. But the voices were there.

Dr. Schwartz suggested that sex and “studly” sex fantasies helped him feel he had value, strength, and personal agency.

But the obsession with those “strong” or “hard” traits left him oblivious to the person he was having sex with. And that left Stacey even more disinterested, because she didn’t enjoy sex with someone who wasn’t really “with her,” and who didn’t seem to care who was there.

Dr. Swartz asked Mark to go into that locker room and be with his thirteen-year-old self, reflecting, “I’m still awed by the way people unerringly know just what to do to heal these wounded inner parts.”

Mark said the 13-year-old,

Looked up with fear and embarrassment, thinking that this strong, athletic man would also make fun of him… (But Mark) gently told the boy that there was nothing wrong with him or his body, that the appearance of his breasts was due to hormonal changes and they’d soon look perfectly normal. Other boys were also insecure about their bodies, Mark pointed out. “And anyway, I love you,” he said to the boy. At this, the boy dropped his guard and burst into tears. Mark put his arm around the boy and took him out of the locker room, to a safe and pleasant place.

After Dr. Schwartz went through a similar process with his wife, he brought Mark and Stacy back together to share their stories in a loving and compassionate way that brought empathy and understanding.

As Dr. Schwartz described it:

As the polarization between parts diminishes within a person, so it diminishes between partners. Stacey was no longer afraid of Mark’s stud. In fact, she was surprised to discover a formerly hidden “hot babe” part of herself that could sometimes meet or even exceed the energy of Mark’s stud. Mark said that whereas all his previous sexual experience had been dominated by his stud’s frenzied aggressiveness, now he’d come to also enjoy the softer, slower kind of sex that Stacey preferred. His stud was less agitated and more sensual. It no longer hijacked him and took him away into fantasy worlds, so he was more responsive to Stacey’s moods.

Maybe we could all take a look at ourselves and get in touch with where we need healing for ourselves and our relationships in order to live happier, healthier lives.

You can read the entire article here.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Wanting “X” from Sex, but Doing “Y”
Turning on the Sex Goddess
How To Suppress A Woman’s Desire

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 28, 2013, in men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. This was such an interesting article. Healing your inner child is such an important thing for all of us to do as humans. Having a wounded inner child not only hurts you and your vulnerability but others around you that care for you. I feel as though every single person on this planet has some type of wounded inner child. Being intimate with someone like that for a lot of people is a very scary and sacred thing, a big reason why intimacy is so hard for a lot of us humans is because at a very young age we are shamed as sexual beings, at least for women that is. For men, they are forced into this position of toxic masculinity at a very young age. What they are taught is that sex is a thing to be won, the more of it you have the more “man” you are. This misalignment in views of sex causes HUGE misunderstandings between men and women, creating situations like in this article.

  2. This is sad. I believe that we should be able to feel safe and be able to trust our dads. I could relate to this not in the exact same way but a bit different, My culture is very conservative and especially my parents so every time the sex talk comes up, it’s always so negative pushing me away from it and trying to suppress those feelings. And I usually find myself fight that feeling and ignoring feeling grossed out that I even feel it.

  3. Victoria Butterfield

    This was a very interesting article and it shows how the shaming of women’s sexuality links to their lives by always putting down themselves and seeing sex as bad and wrong. the psychological damage is very interesting and I wonder how common it is.

  4. This was an interesting article. One thing that has been “bugging” me about myself is that I kind of lead a double life of sorts — to friends and acquaintances I am the guy that looks like I have a high sex drive, sex everyday, everywhere, but in reality I don’t really care much about sex. With previous girlfriends I have always been the one with the low sex drive, and they were the ones with the high sex drive. I have always wanted an emotional connection to be happy in a relationship, and one of my longest relationships was with a gal who also had a low sex drive, so it felt like no pressure was put on me in that one aspect — if it happened it happened, and if it didn’t, well that didn’t matter to me. I liked reading that Mark and Stacey looked back as to why they were the way they were… I may have to do the same thing, however, right now, I am still happy with my level of sex drive (existent, but not important).

    • I can relate. And oddly on both sides of it. I was actually pretty interested in sexuality when I was young, but after undergoing a lot of repression I ended up pretty much asexual by my 20s. And yet you wouldn’t know that from how I behaved with my boyfriends. I thought that sex was really important to them and so I acted like I was really into sex. So they probably had a very different idea of who I was, compared to how I really was. I have a higher sex drive now because I’ve done a fair amount of work, But nothing like I was preteen. But I really appreciate your sharing your experience. And I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having a low sex drive so long as you and your partner match. (and the fact that I’m pissed off at our sexually repressed the culture.) A lot of women would probably be grateful to find someone like you because of the high levels of sexual dysfunction in our culture.

  5. I could somewhat relate to this article speaking from experience with my boyfriend. Except I was the one that had more of a sex drive instead of him and we didn’t not have it for the same reasons as the people in the article. But I feel that this happens a lot in relationships. That couples do not really communicate on the issue of what they really want or they cannot tell what is really bothering each other. I think that what the doctor did was great he made it step by side so they can figure out what the real issue is at large.Communication is very important

  6. I know many people could relate to this. I can, but as in my part of the story I wasn’t married so it just resulted in just breaking up with that person and just forgetting all about the insecurities we both faced. It caught my attention that as for Mark and Stacey, Mark only thought about himself and nothing or no one else when getting intimate. I believe in having to think of your significant other and making them happy in many ways including intimate. I believe that when it comes to having sex or making love women tend to be much more sensitive much more than men. A lot of men have the mentality of just thinking about their pleasure and not much about their partners. Which creates some tension in the relationship. Having read both their sides of the story (Mark and Stacey) makes me wonder how many couples actually take the time to rethink and make that move of going with a specialist for both their sakes. Its interesting in how both of them had something traumatic in their lives that was the cause of how they reacted now. And Im sure that going through this whole process was so helpful with listening what one another had to say, and the reasons for why they acted this way. Makes me think of the well known quote, “Happy wife, Happy life” If the woman isn’t happy no one is . haha

  7. It was very interesting to read about the cause of his and her sex anxieties if you will. Who would have guessed that the contributing factors to him wanting to constantly have sex and she not wanting to, lead back to insecurities as youth. It was interesting to read that Mark was trying to fill this void by insisting on sex while Stacey was trying to by not having any. The story of Mark and Stacey works as an examples to help us look into our past and see if there was any key experiences that we have had that doesn’t only affect us intimately but with any other issues we may face in our present lives. However I feel that unless these other reasons I will express also lead back to childhood memories that they also contribute to how people feel sexually. These other examples of ways people may feel when it comes to sex can also be contributed by the fact that having sex may be a way to relieve you from stress. Also it can work the other way around that stress can cause you to feel sexually restrained. Also some people actually feel sexually UN-attracted to the other person any more but are afraid of letting the other person down. Sometimes people are forced into sex or out of sex over guilt and have to disregard their own feelings.

  8. This story was very easy for me to relate to my current lifestyle with my boyfriend. We have been together for three years and have never really been able to connect on the same page emotionally and sexually. There has been a lot of damage in my past both romantic endeavors and within my own family relationships that made it hard for a person like me to be with a person like him. He grew up in a house of male dominance and little respect for a woman and what she has to offer the world besides sexual intercourse and objectification. i come from a family where the sexual lives of both my parents with each other or not was made openly known to both my brother and myself. Both of my parents are strong natured and are powerful individuals that shaped me into quite a formidable opponent for my chauvinistic boyfriend. He had cheated on me several times, been addicted to porn and sought attention from the highschool girl to the soccer mom. It made me very unstable and unsure of myself, of my own sexiness and self worth. I never knew what to feel when I looked in the mirror other than what was I missing? what was it he was looking for? It took him years to see or even recognize the serious damages he had made to our love life and our relationship as a core. I think the sex life of a couple is so delicate, fragile and intimate that it balances several spheres of two individual’s lives to create one harmonious being.

  9. I feel like this is an issue that happens in a lot of relationships and marriages. Sometimes in relationships in the beginning It can be all good and flirty and still trying to learn your partner, so once that first kiss happens you then kind of prepare yourself for that net big step which is sex. Once you have sex that first time you make sure that it is absolutely the best and you do things you have never done before to make your partner be like “wow”. There are some cases where from relationship to marriage the sex is still steaming hot and gets better and better. I think once in a relationship after you have kind of “burned” yourself out on having sex, when its time for marriage its all great at the beginning and then you feel that you already have him/her so its no need to press the issue of sex or having sex as much. Also a big factor in a situation where sex went from a 10 to a 2, all depends on the him or her. Its definitely people out her in the world that love to have sex all day and everyday and know how to keep it at a level 10. I have friends that say there sex was booming in the beginning and now its horrible and boring. I think only the people engaging can make it boring, its okay to brighten it up a little bit or try something new:). I loved this story and post.

  10. I do not really know how to respond to this. I know this issue happens a lot because I have friends who married at an early age and they all say the same thing. Thier sex life has really went down hill. What I would like to know is what are some methods people can figure these issues out on there own.

  11. Here is an interesting analogy that might help explain future audience.
    Imagine yourself for a moment that you are multitasking on the internet. You know, those homepages you split into multiple tabs? You have to focus your attention on these tabs all at once. This mirrors the example of how women have to worry about children relationships with their friends, finance, etc etc. So sex is really a low priority and when she is pressured to go into that window in the web browser she will feel like sshe is being forced to use a window she does not feel like using. So she closes that window for a while. For this reason that women do not have a high sex drive (low testosterone) this is how it is with them. Oestrogen plays a different role in the way this works though.
    For men, since the roles started shifting, they are mainly competing and stuff like that. And because they naturally have high testosterone. They do not usually prioritise and therefore this makes them view sex as ood and water.

  12. Hey how’s things? 🙂
    What a great post and very interesting story and outcome.Have a great day, hugs and nite from Oz, Paula xxx

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