Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Not About Sex

Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry (my fav)

After reading some information another blogger came across, I asked myself the age old question,

"How can this not be about sex?"

This concept can't ever seem to reconcile itself in my heart.  I've read the research, heard the heartfelt sorrow and listened to my therapists say the same thing, "it isn't about sex.  it isn't about sex. it isn't about sex."

Sure, emotional distance was apparent in our relationship.  But what was the reason for the lack of emotional intimacy?  Like the research says, I felt a craggy gap in our communication, empathy, depth and connectedness as a couple.

But, I don' t think it was really that, that killed our marriage.  Every relationship experiences these issues.  In our relationship, the core seems to be more about interpersonal skills and the vulnerability that leads to good change.  When you feel disconnected what do you do?  When there is a lack of emotional/physical intimacy, how do you rebuild?  When communication is less than stellar, how do you repair it?  When you don't want to be committed in a marriage anymore, how do you end a relationship?  When feelings are hurt, how do you express and respond?  How do you deeply love someone?

He choose instead of recognizing hard things and making hard choices or hard changes to escape.  I think escape is the opposite of unity. Escape seemed the path of least resistance and so he choose to risk not only his marriage and family but also our lives.  He choose Russian Roulette.

Sex may not have been the number one factor that lead him onto his empty path of infidelity but I can't help but think...

"If it's not about sex, then why in that hidden moment when two bodies meet is it undeniably the act of sex?"


  1. Do you ever just wish your husband was an alcoholic instead? I sometimes do. I think the lines of what is addiction would be easier to define. And yet, I think I should never hope for something I haven't experienced. It's probably a lot worse than I think.

    1. The insanity part of me wishes a lot of things. Haha!

  2. this brings up such a deep vulnerability. I am on the other side of sex/porn addiction, and my ex was the one who had been dealing with this for 10+ years. There are so many addictions out there and I can so relate to Marlee ^ and us wanting to deal with a different kind of addiction, an "easier" one that didn't directly involve us, the partner.

    I can't even read "50 shades of gray" yet, due to the explicit nature of sex and dark and twisty that everyone is raving about. My exes addicitons and what it brought into my life have really affected me, and it kind of sucks.

    I admire you, scabs, for digging in deep. Relationships are tough, esp when you are battling addictions and demons of and with another.

    xoxo. :)

    1. Stacia- I think many of us have seen a counselor about our sexual issues related to this, so the idea that everyone is raving about 50 Shades of Gray is mind-boggling to me. Here I am, paying top dollar to get over my sexual issues, while all these other women are reading about non-traditional sexual behavior and objectification of women for entertainment. I say- if the book makes you uncomfortable, it doesn't mean your a prude, it just means we've set a new standard for ourselves about what we will tolerate when it comes to men and sexual dominion.

      Wow. There was my two cents!

    2. Pain from the sexual betrayal leaves me feeling bloody, raw and tender. Like the worst road rash. Peeling away my skin, my protective layer. I feel like a woman with no skin. Exposed to every element. And when they say it isn't about sex...then why did sex become the outlet? Why when there were problems, escape became the answer? It is not in my nature to escape and that is why i do not understand it. A million questions that begin with "why" for Mr. Scabs and his answer is simple, "because i was stupid."

      As for the book, movies, commercials,songs etc....I think Jane is right, I have set a new standard for myself and my sexuality.

    3. I think the appeal of 50 Shades is the novelty to most women who haven't had to encounter that type of sex in their lives. As someone who was an unwilling victim to a lot of that type of stuff during a brief abusive marriage, I stay far, FAR away from those "novels". It doesn't make me a prude, by any means. It makes me a survivor of things those women don't understand. So while it can be an "innocent" yet salacious read for some, for others who have been touched negatively by BDSM, it's a trigger for nightmares and flashbacks. Personally I have to keep any type of pain out of my bedroom activities lest I fall into an emotional coma my spouse doesn't really understand.

    4. very good point Brooke. You speak the truth.

  3. I read this post this morning and have been thinking....about all that you wrote. I honestly have the same thoughts...all that I've read and heard that it's not about the sex makes sense to a certain extent but then sometimes I think what the heck-it's all about sex.... All I have are my feelings and thoughts...and I write them here with the realization that I struggle with the same questions.... For me my husband put my life at risk with the "act of sex". Lust addiction seems to be about sex-to me. It's an escape from life through sex. I think-although the desire to escape is not about the sex-it's about the misplaced effort to not feel negative emotions and escape them. The act of sex is still what lust addiction leads too. (an alcoholic can say his addiction is not about teh alcohol-it's about escaping pain and running to the drink-to me it's still somewhat about the alcohol)....To me the act of sex-and making love are two different things. One is what sex addicts do to escape pain. This act of sex- my husband found at a young age and it escalated to an addiction. The other-making love-is what happens when broken communication is rebuilt...when there's hurt and communication heals the heart-when both spouses listen, validate, and love deeply emotionally-which leads to the act of sexual intimacy and love making at times-instead of just two bodies connecting in the darkness of lust and no connection other than body parts. The connection of body parts is what my husbands sex addiction is...-just physical connection-and escape from pain. The connection of body parts and hearts-an emotional and physical connection-doesn't happen with lust addiction. Lust addiction is about sex I think...just the act of it driven by a desire to escape life.

    I feel better sometimes when I consider that my husband has had sex with ten thousand women-the act.... He didn't make love...he didn't deeply look into thier eyes and connect emotionally with them. He didn't listen to them-repair thier broken hearts with kindness. He used them for the act.

    His addiciton is all about sex-to me and his escape to it as he didn't wnat to experience emotional stress or pain...To me the act-when espcaping...versus the act when connecting emotinally are so different. One driven by lust and one by love.

    At times I am able to think of this way...and other times I can't get my brain about the feeling that comes that his addiction is all about sex and nothing else.

    It's hard for me to relate as a woman without an addiction. I would not consider having sex with a man I didn't feel safe with or feel deeply connected to emotionally (at this point in my life). It doesn't make sense to particpate in an act of sex to escape pain...that would instead create pain for me.

    Ok so I've rambled...and still at the end of this I know that in a week I'll be mulling this around in my brain again trying to understand-really understand how lust addicotin is not about the sex. Hopefully someday I can lay this to rest. Peggy

  4. I think it must be about husband when he cheated with whomever he could find, didn't do it because of communication problems...he did it because he wanted different experiences:-(

    1. Funny, cause I just ran across another bloggers thread asking why people cheat. The reasons run all over the place. And I guess thats what I'm seeing here too with the comments and emails I've gotten about this post. We have have similar stories and yet every story is so different.

      I've been trying to excavate the "what" that pushes someone (particularity Mr Scabs) into cheating. If that isn't addressed, if mr scabs doesn't develop the skills he needs to take care of his own needs than I can't imagine repairing a life together. It is these core things I"ve been exploring lately

  5. Scabs i too cannot wrap my head around the fact that its not meant to be about sex.

    It is about sex..else as an escape he could have chosen alcohol or drugs or gambling or food or so many other things.

    But ,no, he chose sex so it IS about sex.

    Scabs you know me from my comments on your ther posts..i am the woman whom the married elsewhere SA told he was divorcing his wife , had a mock separation from the wife and i discovered he had deceived me totally about his marriage and indulged in everything from porn to prostitution.

    Maybe, since i was on the other side of the story i can offer a perspective.

    When we think that with all the women other than the wife it was not making love or there was no connect and it was only sex please believe me it isnt so.

    Oh, he connects emotionally and how !!!!

    He gave me a ring and recited his marriage vows in a hotel room telling me that since the divorce wasnt coming thru because of some technicality this would hold me till then.

    He asked me to give him a child(i at leats had sense to refuse that)

    We spoke for not less than 3 hours a day no matter which part of the world he was in.

    I have heard everything from him...i am his wife in spirit, his soul mate, his ideal woman,he finds a friend ,guide, counsellor,everything in me,he would stop breathing if i ever left him..blah blah.

    In the 8 years that we were together we had a special term of endearment for each other..we rarely addressed each other with our names..there was just this very very special name we had for each other.

    When i found the dirt in his life ,i found mails to a woman 17 years younger than him(who he picked up from a chatroom and flew 1000 miles to be with the first time and spent the night with)..addressing her with that very same special name we had for each other.

    After discovery and all the entailing drama i yet couldnt leave him..but i stopped the intimate part and continued as a friend.He started talking and sharing some stuff about the other women.At one such time he said this woman "was stupid and had no brains".

    So what is the SA all about?

    Does he crave for an emotional connect with every woman he comes across thinking this is the one and then after a while loses interest?

    Or is it that he fakes the connect to lure them?

    And then since the women believe him and his lies he calls them stupid?

    Scabs, i am nearly at the end om journey and feel i have come a full circle.

    Yes , it is about sex.

    There is an emotional connect with every woman they sleep with ,not as we understand it,but as their sick brains can.

    Yes, even with the hookers ..i found mails where he was inquiring after the hooker's sick mother etc etc.

    I am now wondering whether we should even term this as an addiction..or is it just a deep sense of entitlement that makes them behave this way.

    1. How about lets term it sociopath. Some who's behavior is totally abnormal and they are only concerned with their own needs or desires not caring for who they hurt or destroy. A sociopath pretends to have emotions and feelings of depth. They mimic real life. I call this the "get what I want when I want it" syndrome.

      He sounds sick. It's no wonder you've come out in one piece! You have a strong heart. Have you opened it to loves others again? Or is that still painful?

  6. I think this whole post brought up soooo many valid points! I realize how many negative facets there are to SA/porn addiction that's no wonder it truly wreaks havoc on so many.

    I'm enlightened!!

    Thanks April :)


  7. Scabs,you are bang counsellor said the exact same thing.That he is a sociopath, only he used the term that the medical fraternity used earlier...psychopath.This is after i narrated what the SA had once told me.

    I once asked the SA about the status of his divorce and why it was taking so long.He reiterated that his wife had always wanted a divorce as well but was just being obstructive to needle him.HE then discussed the alimony bit also with me.I had very clearly told the SA that whether she wants a monthly sum or a one time settlement it should be more than adequate to ensure that she can continue to maintain the same manner of living as she did with him.(He is very highly placed in the corporate world ).

    HE then tells me that she is being difficult just to make him suffer and then asks me in a very normal tone..."what would happen if i killed her?"

    He went on to talk about it for a few minutes more.I was totally horrified and speechless.Even as i could get my voice back he had already mentioned a couple of plans.

    I told him i never ever want to hear a word again and if he as much even thinks about this again i would be out of the door and straight to the police.

    Scabs,this yarn when there was no divorce happening at all at his end , as i found out later.

    This was just a story he spun to try and impress upon me about how serious he was about starting a new life with me and to what extent he could think of going to make that happen.

    It was this incident and a couple of others which happened in the next 2 3 months that put me on edge and led me to hack his mail.

    Talk about being sick.

    Scabs, i dont know how i have managed to survive.I am just picking up the pieces of my shattered heart mind and soul but i am sure the cracks will always remain.

    Its just been 2 months since i have stopped all forms of communication.I am ashamed to admit that i have suffered withdrawal symptoms.He was my own version of an addiction.But i am determined that i will not let his sickness get the better of me.

    Just so that you know how an SA can take anyone for a ride let me tell you a little about myself.I am a very highly qualified professional,a well known and respected name in my profession.I earn much more than the SA.I come from a wealthy parents were the childhood was dad and my brother dote on me.I am known to be the most sane stable and sensible person amongst my friends and family.

    Forgiving him was not as difficult as forgiving myself for being so gullible and such a fool.I yet am dealing with anger issues on that account.
    I guess everybody has an Achilles' heel.HE was mine.

  8. THis is something i found on a is so very relaevant.its a longish article .Its uncanny

    Many of the women who love psychopaths intuitively know that they’re dealing with a sick man. Yet they feel like they have invested far too much for far too long into the relationship to give up on him. Their self-confidence and sense of reality have been severely undermined. They may tell themselves, hoping against hope, that their love and patience will fix the dangerous man. Or that after spending fifteen years with him, they can’t throw away the entirety of their youth, as if those years together were all for nothing.

    As Sandra Brown M.A. puts it in Women Who Love Psychopaths, nobody escapes completely unscathed from such a toxic relationship. However, the harm is not linear: in other words, it’s not necessarily true that the longer you are with a psychopath the more you are harmed. Even short-term relationships with a disordered man can be very harmful. Conversely, even women who have spent 20 years with a psychopath can escape those toxic bonds and emerge better and stronger from them.

    However, the damage seems to get worse from the time you realize you’re with a psychopath or disordered man and come to accept his abuse: the pathological lying, the gaslighting, the cheating, the putdowns, the threats and the relentless chipping away at your self-esteem. Women who stay with known psychopaths, or with men they know to be very bad, adapt to increasing dosages of harm. This can severely damage their own personalities and the way they interact with others, sometimes beyond repair.

    On the positive side, even if you’ve spent many years with a psychopath, you can escape this toxic relationship. Chances are, you used to be a strong person. In previous posts we’ve seen that psychopaths prefer to seduce extraverted, accomplished and confident women. They could easily prey upon passive and weak women. But they prefer the challenge of destroying a strong person instead. We’ve seen how psychopaths use their partners’ strengths against them. They use women’s trust to deceive and cheat on them as well as, more generally, to play mind games. They isolate previously sociable women. They undermine the confidence of women with high self-esteem by focusing on their real or imaginary weaknesses. It’s not unusual to develop neuroses, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders while involved with a psychopath. He will even cultivate those maladies, and lead you to focus obsessively on them rather than on your strengths and achievements, to keep you under his thumb.

  9. We’ve seen how psychopaths use women’s capacity to love and their tenacity–their high emotional investment in the relationship–to keep them on the hook. They lure them with strategic withdrawals and empty promises to improve, which are belied by consistent, though often hidden, abuse. They dangle whatever women want most in life before their eyes–true love, fidelity, commitment, a happy life together, returning to the romantic and exciting honeymoon phase of the relationship–only to make conditional demands, that erode their partners’ dignity and self-respect.

    To counteract these strategies and reclaim your life, you need to reassert your agency, your strength and your boundaries. You need to recognize that you’re not just a passive victim of the psychopath’s control, even if you were, indeed, victimized by him. You have agency. You willingly began the relationship with the psychopath. You willingly stayed with him despite seeing red flags early on in the relationship. You may have willingly taken him back after discovering that he repeatedly cheated and lied. You may have also engaged in some immoral behavior to keep him in your life. You may have hurt or neglected those who loved you for his sake. Each step you took as a couple was not just his own doing. It was also yours. Sandra Brown points out that seeing yourself as an agent in your life decisions doesn’t imply denying the fact that the psychopath has hurt you or minimize the extent of your pain. It just shows you that you have the power to determine your life choices. Just as you chose to become involved and stay with a psychopath, you also have the power to disengage from him for good. (How to spot a dangerous man, 32)

    To understand why you made such poor and self-defeating choices, you need to assess realistically both your strengths and your weaknesses. In earlier posts, I identified some of the potential weaknesses of women who get involved with psychopaths, which led them down a self-destructive path. The main one is an unrealistic and dichotomous view of themselves, which is narcissistically inflated (as better than other women) in some ways, and too weak (as less than other women) in others. You don’t need a psychopath to identify your qualities and flaws. You don’t need his manipulative criticisms that undermine your self-confidence. You don’t need his fake and conditional flattery to feel good about yourself. You know who you are. And, deep inside, after so much mistreatment at his hands, you also know that it’s clearly in your best interest to leave the dangerous man and end the sick relationship with him. Your self-preservation, not just your self-esteem, is at stake.

    Exercising your agency also implies reasserting your strength and your boundaries. If you stayed with a psychopathic partner it’s because he undermined the strength that he originally admired in you and that drew him to you, like a parasite to its host, to destroy you. You can find that inner strength again to live your life free of him. The longer you will be away from his noxious influence, the stronger you will grow.

    The psychopath has strung you along by eroding your boundaries: your moral sense of right and wrong, your sexual boundaries and your empathy. When you draw the line and say no more and mean it, the psychopath loses and you win. By way of contrast, each time you do what he tells you, each time you override your intuition to believe his lies, each time you violate your sense of right and wrong, each time you neglect or hurt those who care about you, each time you engage in perverse sexual acts just to please him, he wins and you lose.

  10. he women who stay with psychopaths may be strong women, as Brown’s research indicates. Yet many of them lack sufficiently strong boundaries. They may be strong in other areas of life. But they become weak as far as their personal relations with the psychopath are concerned. These, unfortunately, become the fulcrum of their existence. Staying with a psychopath indicates that they’re willing to compromise their values, their relationships and their standards just to keep and please a disordered man.

    To reclaim your autonomy and your strength, you need to reassert your boundaries. The negative experience with the psychopath has no doubt made you more aware than ever of what you stand for since you were repeatedly pressured by him to lower your standards and to violate your principles. Each time you did that it hurt because you lost not only part of your values, but also–and more importantly–part of yourself.

    Asserting the limits of the person you are and of what you stand for constitutes an essential step towards rejecting the psychopath. Most likely, he won’t even stay with you if you assert yourself and don’t give in a single inch to him anymore. As a narcissist, he can’t tolerate any real equality in a romantic relationship. He has to be “top dog.” He constantly reaffirms this status through the power he exercises over you, his family and his acquaintances. Because he doesn’t regard you (or anyone else) as his equal, the psychopath can’t offer you genuine respect for your values, your activities, your needs and your identity. His fake charm, his controlling and possessive attention, his disingenuous and manipulative flattery and the empty romantic gestures he made (mostly in the beginning of the relationship) are not the same thing as genuine love, mutual caring and respect.

    As we’ve seen, a psychopath is incapable of having a caring and equal relationship with anyone. For this reason, psychopaths seek women who are strong but exceedingly flexible; women whose boundaries they can erode and whose identities they can distort. If you regain your sense of identity and boundaries, you become much less vulnerable to psychopathic seduction and control. Psychopaths are parasites who want to suck the lifeblood–the emotions, the confidence and the strength–out of you. They violate your sense of self, through what psychologists call “enmeshment.” As your identity blends into his, your whole life revolves around meeting his ever-changing needs. The more you violate what you stand for and who you are to please the psychopath, the more you dissolve into the dangerous relationship with him. As Sandra Brown states,

    “Boundaries are indicators of where we start and end, and where other people start and end. We set limits–or boundaries–in relationships to protect our bodily selves and dignity… Drawing your identity from a dangerous man… can have disastrous outcomes.” (How to spot a dangerous man, 201).

    Not every misfortunate experience has a silver lining. Some, like fatal illnesses, may be purely tragic. Fortunately, overcoming a relationship with a dangerous man is one of those life experiences that does have a silver lining. After having been involved with a psychopath, for whom “love” means conquest, ownership and dominance, a normal relationship with a decent, respectful and honest partner will seem almost miraculous by comparison. Nothing about healthy human bonds can ever be taken for granted again after one has experienced the worst life has to offer.

  11. Clearly, in choosing a psychopath you lost part of yourself and wasted part of your life. Such a destructive relationship came at a cost. Fortunately, you still have the power of choice as to how your life will continue. You don’t have to throw away the rest of your life to him. This experience may have weakened you in some respects. But if you utilize it the right way, it can also make you a much stronger person. Whatever time, energy and emotion you spent on the psychopath weren’t completely wasted. They have taught you how to know and defend the limits of your identity and values. They have taught you who to appreciate and love in life and who to reject and keep out. They have revealed your strengths and your limitations. They have made you more independent, since you’ve seen how flattery and criticism by others can function as a form of mind control.

    It’s now up to you to decide if you will allow the psychopath to continue to undermine your dignity and the quality of your life or if you will rely upon your strengths and true love bonds with others to live the kind of moral, honest and fulfilling life that you deserve. The psychopath has kept you under his control by narrowing and intensifying the range of your experiences. You consequently focused only on him and on how to twist yourself, like a fish on a hook, to please him.

    You can reverse this process. You can broaden the sphere of your existence by expanding your interests and focusing on those who deserve your affection. In fact, you can do more than that by helping inform others suffering at the hands of psychopathic partners about this dangerous and camouflaged predator. Making a clinical diagnosis of personality disorders is, of course, only up to experts. But identifying potentially dangerous traits isn’t just for experts. Any of us can be adversely affected when we allow disordered individuals into our lives. Knowledge is the most essential form of self-defense.

    Widespread information about physical and emotional abuse has saved millions of people from domestic violence. Spreading information about psychopathy may help save millions of additional lives from harm. Ironically, the disordered man who wanted to destroy you both morally and emotionally can give your life a higher, more other-regarding purpose. In the past, you may have relegated too many of your decisions to the psychopath. But, ultimately, the power of choice in what you do with the rest of your life lies in your hands, not his. May the new year bring you peace and happiness, free of the toxic relationship with a psychopath.

  12. My apologies Scabs for putting up such a long article but it so echoes what happens to many of us here .

    Especially so after you pointed out that such people are sociopaths.

    This article is my life story.

    The day i told him i wasnt interested in having sex with him since he had shared himself with too many women he picked up a huge fight called me a sex addict and i walked away.

    1. I'm sorry you experienced such craziness. It really is so terrible. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully, some readers may be able use this and recognize these same red flags and be able to break free from such abuse.

      I think it's also important to remember that SA and a psychopaths aren't mutually exclusive...Men or women with sex addictions are not always psychopaths.

      Your life story is full of such craziness, but like the article says you've got the power of choice. we call do. agency is a wonderful gift.

  13. It's not about sex. We have several clients that say this same thing. It is a culmination of the entire addictive process. It is part of the need to retrain the limbic portion of the brain that the addict does not need to act out for survival. The addict has trained their brain to use their addiction, no matter what their drug of choice is: sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. The addict has trained their mind that they need the addiction for survival; recovery threatens survival and an addict needs to learn how to manage it and retrain their addict to realize they don't need the addiction and that they will be fine. You can learn more about the two-part brain

    1. Sure, they have the brains of addicts and it's not about sex. But for me, it most certainly is about sex. and i think we can't deny that it is about sex to a point.

  14. I know this is an old post. But, I think it IS about sex. But, not about the sex that you and I know and love but rather about the dispassionate lust driven sex of an addict. I think that is why the therapists say 'it isn't about sex' because it isn't about OUR sex, our passionate love driven intimacy but rather it is about THEIR sex, their lust driven, objectifying sex. When they heal their brains and recover, and they can discover OUR sex, then this addiction has NOTHING to do with THAT!

    This addiction sucks! (but so does my brother in law's alcohol addiction.) they are all evil...



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Template by Best Web Hosting