My Guilt Over Sexuality Ruins My Relationships

I think today I came to an important conclusion about myself:  I can be a very sexual person - I like sex when it is with the right person - no, I LOVE sex - I can be very passionate.  But, then, as I start to get really into exploring my sexuality and my likes and dislikes and trying things with my partner, I start to feel guilty about feeling so sexual.  Why is that?  Is there anything wrong with being sexual and sensual?  Once I start feeling guilty about my interest in sexual and sensual pleasures, than I get neurotic and sensitive and, for me, I can't open up and enjoy making love as much.  I feel dirty - what the heck is that about?  I am having to say to myself over and over - there is nothing wrong with feeling sexy, being sexy and enjoying sex, especially when it is with the right person!  But the thoughts creep in and I have to shove them out - I start to think the relationship is all about sex and that there is nothing there but sex and physical and my partner is only interested in me because of sex - it's crazy!  The first man that I ever made love to almost 20 years ago- lordy be - our chemistry was explosive - a touch on my hand and I was turned on - just thinking about him touching me turned me on!  Whew!  This problem with me being UNcomfortable with my sexuality played a big part in me finally breaking up with him - thinking it was all about sex and he didn't care about me otherwise. 

About 2 years ago, we started talking through e-mail and I found out that he had really loved me, and in fact, was planning to ask me to move in with him and eventually marry him.  Wow!  I wish I could go back, but I can't, but don't want this issue of mine to be a problem to hurt any future intimate relationships.  I think this problem has affected my sexual responsiveness in my marriage too - I think that I finally worked through that with a counselor BUT by the time this issue was no longer hindering my response - we had developed much more serious problems that were affecting me in the bedroom (a whole other issue for another group - lonely and married, etc....).

Someone out there - share your feelings about this - is this a problem for anyone else??  What's the solution??

DorothyofOz DorothyofOz
41-45, F
13 Responses Feb 10, 2009

I am no pro, Dorothy, but I have been around for a while, and I have been paying attention to life. Early lessons that sex was ‘bad’ might be causing some mental stress, and confusion with what you have come to believe, and if so, you might try to sort-out what you’ve been taught, and reconcile your beliefs. Being abused as a child, even mildly, can cause insecurity and a low self-worth, which is what your doubts about your boyfriend sounds like to me (“... thinking it was all about sex and he didn't care about me otherwise.”), with you some how thinking that that was the only desirable thing about you. All good stuff for therapy—get it if you can.<br />
I think that the important thing is not to focus on where you are now, but how you got here; I think that this is just the kind of thing that Aristotle had in mind when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”—and not just about sex.<br />
You seem to be a thoughtful and considerate person, Dorothy, and you deserve to find happiness; I sure hope that you do.

I have never been married, but I can fully relate to everything you wrote here. I have a love/hate feeling about my own sexuality, and I don't have a clue how to deal with it so I just shut it out. Are you still in counseling? Is it still helping?

Hmmmmmmmm Dorothy I am no therapist but from reading what happened when you were younger could be affecting you now.. I am glad your working out these issues,.. Hope that you some day can feel relaxed and enjoy this wonderful thing God has created......<br />
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I also have to add that relationships are not just about sex need the romance the affection the passion the love all this wrapped up so that you can enjoy !<br />
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Guilt is the devil dressed up....... God Bless !

G1 - It does make sense... along those same lines, I think, after living with someone that seems to have an underlying motive for anything positive that they do in the relationship - as a way to get sex - that it makes you doubt yourself as anything more than the most available chance for them to have sex - like it doesn't matter if it's YOU (specifically), just that it is someone, and you happen to be the most accessible someone at the moment. That, to me, makes me feel VERY UN-sexy - I would like to think it isn't about having sex, but about having sex (or even better, making love) with ME - specifically - I don't know if everyone feels that way - but that is how I feel. And that isn't about the relationship being perfect or not having its problems - it's about intimacy which can only happen when it is about the person - not the actual ACT - but the person AND the act with THAT person....<br />
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does THAT make sense or am I crazy? warped? deluded?

Yes they do - I think mine are a combo. - between being raised Southern Baptist and told to wait - but not really told why except that God wants you to - and there is more to it than that! Growing up being told to wait - wait - wait - then get married and say YES YES YES - hard to switch over....<br />
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AND, then I have always had some body image issues... (still working on THAT! LOL!)<br />
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AND, then, my brother and I were both sexually molested by a baby-sitter - I was in about 5th grade or so - and never told - I didn't know my brother had endured the same thing... so, I felt "bad" for it feeling "good" at the time - and that just made things worse... at that age, you can't be sexualized and really understand the feelings - so then when you have those feelings again - later in life, you associate them with something "wrong" and "dirty" I think - anyway, I am sure that has played some role in my issues.<br />
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Good thing I have enjoyed sex - because I could be a lot worse off, huh?!<br />
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Thanks for the comments CJ and WP - as always, great insights!

Anything for you lovely Aly !!!!!!

I do believe accepting and loving yourself is probably key to so many things that "ail" us in our lives. God made us a certain way - if he didn't intend for us to be that way - he wouldn't have put the passion in us - for whatever... I am continuing to work on my self-confidence - my feelings of self-worth - so used to them being tied into other human beings - but we can't really do that, can we? Because other human beings are struggling with their own issues too - issues that will taint how they relate to us - and then that taints how we see ourselves?! Can't let that be the case because then it is a losing battle - I have to decide who I am and what is acceptable to ME - only other entity that needs to be in on that, imo, is God!<br />
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I am not sure that I realized much of the above until I just wrote it... hmmm.... a little a-ha moment!<br />
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Thanks CJ

I guess the solution you gotta find and love yourself......

B - I really like your analogy - it gives a better picture to how I see life anyway - I guess I felt like the spokes may look the "same" length but their lengths would be individually unique - so the equalizer is probably a better analogy. I completely agree that we all have to determine the "balance" we need in each area of our lives and what is good for me in one area may not be enough or even necessary in another person's life.<br />
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So defining what balance is for each of us comes first, I guess then we have to attain it. And I sometimes think that is an endless job!<br />
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As ever, thank you for your sight B!

lady dot<br />
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I know that the spokes do not have to be equally long for balance.<br />
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this is more like an equaliser on an amplifier. i need more bass, you may need more treble, etc. there is no "wrong" setting<br />
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catholic monks have no sexual drive or have suppressed them totally. this works for them. i din't understand it but it still exists.<br />
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your peace is connected to a high state of sensuality and sexual drive. this is your balance setting on this element in your life, accept it, embrace it and know that God made you so. you are perfect.<br />
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there is no guilt in this. you are blessed.<br />
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b

Thanks Enna - I do think I have gotten a huge grasp on this problem - writing it down has truly helped - it was like one of those aha moments. I am being counseled by someone that has had a lot of experience with this particular issue. I am already so much more comfortable with the fact that it is okay to like, enjoy and even love sex.<br />
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I am also a big believer in balance in ALL areas of your life. Many years ago, I read this great book called, "The Delicate Balance of a Woman's Self-Image" and in it the author made an analogy about our lives being like a wagon wheel - and each area of our lives was a spoke - no one spoke can be shorter or longer than another - and none can go completely missing either - we have to have balance - and that includes our sexual identity, I believe. So, my wagon wheel is still really out of whack but I think this particular spoke is well on the mend - it's the others that are causing the bumpy ride - in particular, as you know, my marriage so onward I continue to work to make my life the best it can be for me and for my children.....<br />
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Thanks for the comments!

Definitely sounds like an area for some intensive counselling. Understanding your problem is often a great step in resolving it. Best of luck!

I guess one might sign up for a Sex Is OK to Enjoy class...<br />
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Hmmmm, wonder if anyone teaches such a course.