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If your SO was sexually abused as a child is it ok to refuse to have sex in your marriage? I am asking because my SO says yes, I have no right to expect her to have sex as her body is hers. Thoughts?
demisis demisis 36-40, M 39 Answers Jul 26, 2010

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she CAN refuse sex-everyone has that right, but I think maybie she needs your support and patience to seek therapy. It can take a while to find a good therapist-don't going jumping on her after she comes through the door after her first appointment.

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I would ask you - do you see the current situation as being dismissed and therefore not fully addressed by "excuse"? Or do you look at your wife with compassion and a desire to understand what is happening in her mind and heart to affect the present?<br />
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For those who say "she lied" and therefore grounds for divorce - I believe one of the tenets of love is compassion and understanding. If you married her under the guise of love and fail now to give compassion and understanding you are just as "guilty" as she is.<br />
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Never the less, it does not matter who "lied" or who is lacking in compassion. What matters is you both look at the situation and DECIDE to correct what ever is happening between you.<br />
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Neither one of you is right. If you spend your time playing the who is right game you will both loose.<br />
The only "right" thing here is to determine if your marriage is worthy of your attention. If so, then you will set aside your ego and she will set aside hers so that you can come to a resolution for your marriage. That resolution may or may not serve you personally. It is the MARRIAGE that needs serving if you will survive as a couple.<br />
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Please consider this. Your relationship and marriage is a separate living thing from your own personal ego desires. If you can both honor that marriage and your relationship then your ego needs will no longer be attractive to you and you will both thrive.

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I think you should have discussed this before committing to marriage. Your SO needs significant help.

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while i think that the husband needs to be sensitive to the fact that his wife has been abused, the wife has an obligation not only to herself, but to her husband to do whatever it takes to make herself and her marriage healthy. having been in abusive relationships myself, it took going to therapy for me to heal and is most likely what the wife in this scenario needs as well.

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Her body is hers, and what a great great shame that she is unable to enjoy it. <br />
Her abusers have taken this away from her, and will continue to do so until she is able to sort this out, by whatever means works... <br />
Refusing to have sex in marriage is never healthy, it takes sex from the wonderfully liberating pleasure filled experience that it is and makes it a power tool, used for control and personal gain, which is what was used on her when she was young. There is a big difference between loving sexual experiences within a happy relationship and the controlling sex of abuse...<br />
wishing you both healing and peace, you both deserve this...<br />
hugs<br />
G

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Sexual abuse can have a profound effect on some one's life. I would suggest that the two of you go and see a counselor together and maybe she see one alone. Putting pressure on her may make her pull away even more. Being her husband I am going to assume that the two of you have had sex before, and if so, what has changed that now she doesn't want to be intimate? maybe you should think about that.

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I believe the real issue is that she does not really love you. That is why she is refusing sex.

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wow, way to make it about "you" and have zero empathy for her real issues. and what a terrible guess to make for the H that wrote here asking for information and empathy himself. really really harsh and terrible response. I can't believe two people even liked it. What right did you have to say something sooo unloving to a complete stranger about a person and situation you don't know anything about. Why do men always make it about them? Isn't a terrible history of sexual abuse, assault or rape - even multiple rapes reason enough to feel unsafe with our bodies. Men get raped as well and end up with the same feelings you know. wow, I can't believe how unfeeling and selfish and self servicing and just plain stupid this response was. What a hottible leap to make. We are talking about people with real feelings here. How could you tell this man, without any feelings that his wife doesn't love him? I dislike you a lot. and I hope he blows you off. You have no right saying this to him.

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Ok, there are two sides here. She should have told you before you were married. That wasn't fair. <br />
But if you love her, you will be understanding. <br />
And if she loves you, she will go and get counselling and sort it through.

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Of course previous sexual abuse is an explanation for why she feels the way she does. However, as part of a committed relationship and marriage, she lied and misled you if she married you without first disclosing this to you and to subsequently use it as an excuse for not having sex is certainly grounds for divorce, separation, and lot of unhappiness on your part.<br />
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It sounds as if you need to give her an ultimatum -- get help, get well, or get out. Her marriage to you was based on a lie. Your entire relationship was based on a lie. While she should certainly be able to expect a certain amount of empathy from you for her abuse, the abuse does not give her a free pass for lies and deceit, not does the abuse give her a valid excuse not to live up to the expectations of her partner and spouse.<br />
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It seems to me that you have every right and reason to walk away from this marriage if that is what you want. Somehow I doubt that is the answer you seek. If she is unwilling and unable to resolve these problems from her past and live up to the obligations of a spouse regarding sex and intimacy, you may have to end the marriage and walk away.

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is marriage only about sex? why are people assuming "she lied" when he didn't state that. If she was sexual at first and not now for some reason, perhaps she is having flashbacks and just needs some help. OR perhaps she was raped again and afraid to tell him. OR I have even know situations where the Husbands friend raped the wife and she was afraid to tell her Husband what happened. There are ANY number of things that can or could be going on and for any of us to assume 1. she doesn't love him. or 2. she agrees to "sex him up" whenever he wants it whether or not it's safe for her OR give her an "ultimattuum" to spread her legs or else...yikes. people. Sex is something between two loving people. Husbands rape their wives as well. an ultimatum is basically saying "let me rape you or I will leave you." Because if she is not a totally willing participant, then it's rape even between Husband and wife. I can't believe the male responses here are so unloving and uncaring and penis-oriented. We love with our hearts, not our dicks folks. Sex should never be an expectation but rather a "gift" whenever it is expressed. ultimatum? if My H ever said "sex me up or I leave" I would be the first to open the door. and HE is leaving himself wide open to charges of rape. Husbands go to jail for raping their wives. insisting on sex, even between a married couple when the wife says no, is rape. and punishable by law. Let's get the neanderthols off this thread. I hope you wife gets some counselling so that SHE can begin to enjoy sex again - NOT just so that YOU can. doesn't she get to have an enjoyable sex life as well? if it's just about you, then use your right hand. OR go hire a hooker. it seems like that's what you are telling this man to treat his wife like. If you don't care if the woman is enjoying it or not, then go get a hooker, use protection and tell your wife so that SHE can leave you! because clearly, in your response, you penis is more important than any feelings you think this man has for his wife - which it seems to me, he does care. Caring is more important than sex. and believe me, sex for me is important in a relationship and I am a survivor of a very sexually violent childhood. healing is possible but it's also optional. She can choose to not heal if she wants, then YOU can choose to leave. but never ever give her a "**** me or I leave" statement. yuck. horrible thing to "advise" this man. maybe HE's the issue. Maybe HE was too forceful or did something to her she asked him not to - or maybe one night she said "stop" and he didn't. That would be enough to shut her down sexually. why assume she is a liar? It takes two to have a good sexual relationship and it many times takes two to have a bad one as well.

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She needs help to use her past to make her stronger instead of living in sexual fear.<br />
I can understand that completely but shes not doing herself any favors or working through her unfortunate issues, also sex is actually very important in a relationship but good on you for being supportive, thaats exactly what she needs

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In order to have a sucessful life and marriage she needs to address it ,and work through it no matter how much therapy it takes....it is possible.

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Is abuse a powerful violation of ones trust and faith? Yes. Does it have lasting impacts on ones life? Yes Should it dominate ones bedroom activities 30 years later. By no means. There are are enough reputable treatments and counseling to deal with the abuse. If the spouse is supportive and caring, the abused should be able to let go and move on. If he or she can't, then they are choosing to use the issue for their own purposes. Sex is a fundamental connection between people who love each other. It should not be hijacked like this.

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Maybe she should not get married and keep her body intact forever? Sex with husband is ex<x>pression of love, not some perverted activity... I a still sure it is a huge and cruel cheating pretending that you a willing lover in order to get marry and then reveal it was only play.... Yes, we all own our bodies... but don't we give our bodies to our loved one as the most precious gifts to love and enjoy... always ready to loving touch... I hate this term REFUSER.... In healthy marriage nobody refuse... just gently discuss that at this particular moment it is not suitable, but very soon it will be.... Am I still so naive for my age? Sex is health and life.... You starting being old stopping sex... The more sex, the healthier you are, the younger you are.... Good luck to all who are reading and please, stay young and healthy! Do not suppress your natural and beautiful desire!

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Yes it o.k. to refuse sex for what ever reason BUT to put the no sex or you are same as my abuser into the contract of marrige is wrong . That is the same as saying YOU take care of me YOU give every thing I will be you're child . I was serverly used as a child by my mother to the point of haveing problems going to the bathroom . My wife and talked this out . We TOGATHER worked this out , But I never took any thing out on her or put condishens {?} on her . Happily married 34 years our bedroom life was great untill she passed away from cancer . Have come to grips to the fact that I will never find nor do I want another lady in my life ...

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there are so many assumption being made here it's frightening. this is why you should never seek important advice from the internet. so...<br />
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1. he doesn't say she didn't "disclose" before they got married.<br />
2. maybe she didn't know until AFTER they got married. I hid my childhood abuse till I was in my 30 and in my 50's, I am still remembering. It's called PTSD. It's not intentional that we "dissociate" from the events, in many cases, it saved our lives and our sanity to lock it away.<br />
3. There are many women who experience an adult rape and THAT triggers the memories of their childhood to come forward - even even a touch during a loving sexual encounter AFTER you say "I do" can trigger the memories to start.<br />
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there is so much NO humanity on this thread, it just makes me mad. a man NOR a woman has a right to "expect" sex in a marriage. it's given freely out of love. I just want to say again...If you feel you have the right to "demand" sex or love from this woman, do us ALL a favor and leave her. She deserves so much better and she also deserves to heal in her own time. What if you broke your back? How woudl YOU feel if she said "you can't **** me so I'm outta here"! <br />
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for better or worse folks or don't get married.

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Read this book - Allies In Healing" by Laura Davis. <br />
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It was written specifically for partners of people who were sexually abused when they were young. <br />
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It will help to give you answers and determine if the two of you can heal together or not. <br />
It is a painful book to read, however it is helpful and can give some understanding and peace.

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If your married they belong to you, they need to please you and you need to please them sexually, as long as your not abusing them its a different situation. Tell them to get over it.

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Yes, sexual abuse is traumatic.<br />
She should have adressed this question BEFORE you got married. She should have honestly told you what was going on, how serious her problem was, and that she may never be willing/abble to have sex with you. Did she talk to you about that?<br />
There are certain expectations that come with marriage, and sex is one of them. Yes, it is her body, but if she knew that she would not fullfil her role of a wife to the fullest, she should have discuss it and not face you with this "surprise" post-factum - that is a sort of a breach of contract.<br />
If you knew about her problem before getting married, then... she may feel justified in her position.<br />
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In any case, it seems that your wife refuses to cooperate and "play the ball." "It is my body" is a childish statement - not a mature response.

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You are right, sexual abuse is traumatic....I should know I have PTSD, panic, anxiety from mine. I have many fears and side effects from it. One of those fears is talking to people about it as is common among SA survivors.
You said the wife should have talked to him before marriage and I am sorry to tell you there are so many things wrong with that statement as well as the rest of your response.
Maybe she should have but you have to think it may not have been possible for her. Also you say that she should have mentioned how serious her problem was....She probably did not know how serious it was and she probably was willing and able to have relations with him but problems came later. That is pretty typical for a survivor. Many of us go through serious trauma for many many years and when we finally find someone we would like to join our lives with, that we trust that is when the problems come to a head. when we find a situation and person we are comfortable with that is when it tends to come out.
And last 'it is my body' is NOT A CHILDISH STATEMENT and your ENTIRE response is not a mature response.
I know that someone who has not gone through this is not going to understand and in this instance, I guess, ignorance is bliss.
How wonderful a world you must live in to be able to think things work a certain way all the time and that a marriage will always have status quo. It is not that simple and a history like that is not that easy to 'get over'. There is no refusal to cooperate and 'play ball' this is not a game and how horribly uncaring and unsympathetic do you have to be to say something like that.
Wow. you are a true piece of work.

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Marriage has to be a partnership with open communication. If one partner is unwilling or unable to be a full partner and to communicate, then there is no marriage, however tragic the wife's history and the resulting problems may be. A decision to enter into marriage without full disclosure is a horribly desperate and, quite honestly, selfish act on her part, if the situation is as you describe. I have empathy for the woman who was raped or abused. No one should ever have to experience that. But you and many other women totally lack empathy and understanding for a husband who was brought into marriage dishonestly. Where can trust and caring come from when the very marriage itself is founded on lies and secrets? It cannot. The husband SHOULD seek to get counseling for his wife and for their marriage, but he has every right to feel betrayed and should he decide the situation is beyond repair, to divorce his wife. It may not be the pretty answer you want, but it is simply reality.

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Why do sexual abused women find intimacy with other men while I am dating her. but not me. I am patience, dont push the sex issue. I am the opposite of the men she used to go with. She was abused by her farther from 3 to 20's

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I think your wife and I have something in common. No its not a valid reason, but to her it might seem that way because she really do need to approach the matter and get counseling!<br />
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She should find a sex therapist and you guys should work it out. I know I use to use the same excuse with my husband but that is because I simply did not want to have sex with him because I am/was no longer inlove! Hopefully that is not the stance in your case. Does she give you any clue it might be that??

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I suspect this is the deep truth but she emphatically tells me she loves me. I dont see how someone can love someone and hold the power to make them happy and yet refuse to take ownership of making that happen. I provide everything I can for my wife...we want for nothing...she is a stay at home mom. Anything she even hints about wanting I make happen...but apparently wallowing in self pity trumps loving her husband and making him feel wanted and valuable. Perhaps its shallow for me to need sex to feel that way...but...its the truth. I need to feel physically wanted and cherished. I long for it...is it just too much to need from someone?

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No its not unless a person has this talk with them before they get married. Im not asking but did you have sex before you were married if so why was it OK then but not now. You seem like a kind caring person so hope you can work through this with her

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