Many women find themselves involved with married men. If you’ve found yourself in this relationship rut, then please, pause and take this advice to heart.
Don’t take his word for it and think of his wife:
Despite all that he would have told you, remember you’re only hearing his side of the story. And he is allowing you to see what he wants you to see. Consider his wife who has been married to him for however many years, took care him when he was ill, made sacrifices for him and so forth. What are your actions doing to her? Moreover, he is allowing you to intrude in his marriage, which is really “HER TURF.” That doesn’t say anything about her, but speaks volumes about what he ultimately thinks of you.
There are no guarantees:
Even if your married man decided to leave his wife and family for you, that doesn’t guarantee relationship success. If he is willing to have an affair with you, he will also do it to you. If he’s living this deception with you today, how could you ever trust him if you did get into a legitimate relationship with him? You already know he’s a liar, because he’s living a lie with his wife. How can you be sure whether you’re the only “other woman” he has? Entertain the possibility that he is lying to you, and that you are being used.
Think about STDs – You’re not the only one:
Many times, married men still have sexual intercourse with their wives and or other females as well. And of course, they are not going to let you know this. Now, let’s say one of his other women has an STD, and unknowing to him, he has sexual intercourse with her, guess who’s next in line for it? Understand that because he’s sexing you, doesn’t mean he’s staying away from others.
Bring the relationship to an end
You will hurt, you will feel broken-hearted, but ultimately, you’ll be better off for this decision. Take some time to get really clear with yourself about who you are and what you want. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in this world, is the one you have with yourself. And eventually, you’ll fall in love again with someone who’s willing to make you first in his life
Ken Pile is the Editor of ASK THE LOVE DOCTOR 246; a blog and online community, designed to give women a better insight about love and relationships from the point of view of a man. Find him on Facebook at Ask The Love Doctor 246
That sex is of primary importance to a man goes without refute. While we may accurately blame socialization and culture for much of what most males practice today in terms of sexual behaviour, I honestly believe that the sexual DNA of the male places sex right up there with breathing. In other words, sex is an indelible part of who he is. Through his sexuality, a man is defined and affirmed. But what does this have to do with his ability to stay faithful to one woman?
There is a popular school of thought, I’m sure invented and promoted by men, that when it comes to the male sex-drive, a man is simply unable to help himself. And many men hold this driven-by-my-primal-sexual-instinct dogma as gospel, especially when attempting to justify their cheating ways. Whether or not we swallow the idea, it is pretty clear to many of us women that the male sex-drive is a distinct animal with a life of its own.
Yes; men love sex and we women generally speaking don’t have a problem with this. We just want that our man only loves it with us. In putting their super-charged sexuality into operation, it would appear that some men have simply learned dysfunctional ways of handling their overpowering need to connect. Men don’t have an innate inability to commit to one woman; it just sometimes serves their social purposes not to. When we examine the human sex-drive in both men and women, we can’t help but notice how it reflects our God-designed need and capacity for intimacy. This is literally spelt out in the physical, emotional and spiritual connection which is experienced during intercourse. Because the inherent nature of sex exposes our limitations and vulnerabilities, some men recoil from this by erecting what I term psychological barriers; a major one being “the other woman”.
One of man’s best-kept secrets is therefore the guard or mask of the “player-personality” who refuses to commit or settle down. This has become a useful construct designed to give men the appearance of being in super control of their sexuality and emotions. Regretfully, many of us women have erroneously schooled them from boyhood days to behave in this way by discouraging them from displaying emotion for fear that this would feminize them. A man may never articulate this but sometimes he cheats because he’s afraid to “give all” to his partner.
Men will therefore seek to retain what they perceive to be sexual power by not surrendering their vulnerability to one woman. A man’s natural drive for human connection may propel him to seek out intimacy through sex; his super sex-drive does have a purpose. His dysfunctional way of acting this out, however, encourages him to hold out on the woman with whom he is involved and to hold on to flawed concepts of power and self-preservation. This results in a string of sexual encounters which often leads to a cycle of shallow, connectionless sex. Ironically, this “multi-partner-mode” while at the surface can bring a high, fails to bring any lasting sexual fulfillment and so the cycle of cheating continues.
Men, through personal coaching and self-discipline, can be taught to relinquish these limiting notions of their sexuality. They can unlearn the concept of sex as a display only of dominance and power. Even the language of sex as we focus on “penile-penetration” provides a sense of imbalance to the act of sex which as one friend puts it, should also be thought of in terms of “vaginal-envelopment”. Only when men become comfortable with the concept of surrendering their sexual power, will the idea of commitment to one woman take on new meaning and significance.
I believe that a marriage relationship can be that place where a man is forced to finally “grow up” sexually and emotionally but this is not necessarily automatic. While I will not excuse men for their philandering ways, many times we women enable this behavior by settling for it both in and outside of marriage. We literally think that it comes with the territory and even when unhappy, our silence communicates our acceptance of such.
As women we must remain resolute in communicating our expectations in our relationships. This includes our expectations for sexual fidelity. We must not settle for less by allowing our men to think that we will just be their dispensable “sex objects”. The man, who is strong enough to recognize that “becoming one” is an addition and not a subtraction, is on the road to a more meaningful sexual relationship, especially if his partner is on the same sexual page.
While the issue of infidelity spans both male and female behaviour, there can be no argument with the premise that a larger percentage of men cheat. The issue of female infidelity is admittedly a distinct creature deserving its own examination and I will give it individual attention in a subsequent article. When it comes to intimate relationships, however, men and cheating seem to fit almost like hand in glove. Admittedly, there should be no cookie-cutter approach to this cheating phenomenon. Mild statements like “men will be men” to the more anger-laced “all men are dogs”, point to a range of attitudes from belligerent acceptance to intense bitterness. Women, the world over, are not happy with this state of relationship-affairs; so while men continue to cheat, women also continue to ask why.
Although hesitant to admit this, some men cheat out of emotional neediness and an inability to handle negativity. The perpetuated image of the rational, logical, secure male is often based on fictitious social stereotypes. Because males from childhood are socialized to be less vocal about their feelings this results in an adult discomfort with articulating pain. When a man is faced with a challenge, instead of talking about it, he turns to what defines him, his sexuality, to seek comfort. When the source of this pain is perceived to be his wife, woman or home situation, he therefore looks for emotional solace in the arms of someone else who can give him the unconditional emotional support he craves. In literal terms this means finding a woman who will butter his ego and still give rip-roaring sex, while remaining silent about his flaws or mistakes. While sex becomes a natural outflow of this extra-marital emotional bonding, it was, however, never the primary motivator.
Then there are those who cheat because of an insatiable need for sexual variety. Such men believe in having their sexual needs met at all costs and will often assert, without apology, that their wives/women were unwilling or unable to keep them sexually satisfied. Their sexual complaints may include issues like a failure to perform oral sex, a refusal to perform anal sex, insufficient sexual episodes in the relationship, or even a lack of enthusiastic participation in various states of physical contortion.
For the wife who may be bending over backward to meet her spouse’s sexual needs but still finds herself the victim of infidelity, the issue is about more than just sexual quality. In fact, research confirms that a large percentage of cheaters continue to enjoy their sex lives at home; especially when such infidelity is a secret. Since male sex is often about the chase and the conquest, and not just the act of sex, some men cheat in an effort to re-create this preferred hunting scenario; in fact they often become serial cheaters who allow their lives to be overtaken by indiscipline.
Because They Can
Unfortunately, some men cheat because they are enabled by the women in their lives. Because women tend to be the nurturers in their relationships, this often influences them to take total responsibility for the health of the relationship. In this scenario, a man is absolved of his need to work just as hard as his wife, to keep their relationship thriving. The relationship then becomes lopsided and out of balance. There is no pressure therefore for a man to live out his vows or to practice relationship integrity. He knows that when it comes to the survival of the relationship, that his wife will be the one to make all the sacrifices. He knows that every time he slips and falls into the arms of another woman, he will be forgiven and welcomed back. The relationship may also be governed by financial or emotional dependence on the part of the woman. There can also be an unspoken but very real social expectation, which validates these philandering ways with an attitude which states that “men will be men”. Because he is not challenged to change, his cheating ways remain.
While these few reasons posed are not exhaustive by any means, they can provide a reference point for understanding why the men in our lives may cheat. The critical decision remains with the woman who must assess her own relationship and self-worth to determine whether or not she is willing to literally live with this continued state of affairs.
The idea of “bouncing back” from an affair actually doesn’t sit very well with me. It seems somehow to suggest a happy, cheerful recovery period and belies the stress inherent in dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. When I think of the movement past an affair, I tend to think more of a difficult, painful, reluctant crawl back to wherever that couple was before or hopefully to an even better place.
When a relationship which is designed to be sexually exclusive, is threatened by a third party, then that relationship runs the risk of becoming unglued at the seams. Sex with an “outside” partner, threatens the core of what marriage stands for; the idea of forsaking all others. While there are a variety of reasons why people cheat, if a coupe desires to move beyond the affair, then there is the need for honest reflection, to determine why the affair happened.
People cheat for a variety of reasons including relationship neglect, boredom, sexual dissatisfaction, emotional disconnection, sexual greed, unhappiness, low self-esteem, and this list goes on. This knowledge of “why” is critical because it identifies the relationship’s weaknesses. If the couple intends to go forward, this information will be necessary to preserve relationship health and to safeguard it against future threats. This of course assumes that the underlying issues are exposed and remedied through honest and open communication.
While a knowledge of what made the relationship vulnerable to infidelity is great, the reason for cheating should not be used to excuse the act. In other words, the partner who understands why he/she cheated must also be willing to assume responsibility for the affair. It is therefore never kosher to intimate that your partner made you do it. The guilty party must own up to a moment of weakness, bad judgment, a lack of integrity, selfishness and the like. Admitting where you went wrong is critical to the experience of forgiveness.
Forgiveness should be seen as a mutual, active process and not as a one-time event. The words “I forgive you” must never be forced or said prematurely. The victim of infidelity needs to be given time to grieve the relationship which was. This grieving process is experienced differently by individuals and may be evidenced by emotional and sexual withdrawal, depression, anger, rage, crying or sessions of screaming and throwing things. Whatever the case, it is critical that the victim of infidelity is allowed to vent before there is even am attempt at “fixing” things.
This venting is also often a process and not a one-off event which is characterized by the convenient forgetting of all that has occurred. An affair forever changes a relationship and even though healing is possible, what was lost can never be regained and as painful as this might be for both parties to accept, it must be, if there is to be true progress. This process may be assisted through counseling, therapy or personal pursuits like journaling which help to clarify difficult emotions.
Redefining the damaged relationship is necessary and should be seen as an on-going part of the healing process. Deciding together how you want your new relationship to look is going to be a major step in getting your couple groove back. Since an affair involves a fair amount of deceit, then coming clean about all aspects of the affair will be critical to moving forward. This means a new commitment to honesty and accountability, in an attempt to rebuild trust. Questions are to be expected and should be answered candidly.
Since rekindling a healthy sex life is likely to be more challenging, the guilty party should take the cue from his/her partner. While sex itself can be a great healer, it should never be forced prematurely. At the same time, carving out special time together for meaningful communication, attentiveness, romantic gestures and the like, are useful strategies for reconnecting as a couple.
As human beings we all have an overpowering need for human connection. We want to feel as though we matter. It is important that we are affirmed and that our worth is validated. Most of us therefore enter marriage expecting that our spouse will meet our deep need for love and acceptance. In an ideal world where we all came from well-adjusted families, this would probably be true. Since, however, we enter marriage with our own individual, often flawed emotional life-scripts; sometimes we are not exactly poised to meet someone else’s emotional needs. This is especially so, if when growing up ours were not met.
In other words, inadequate parenting or abuse, can affect our ability to reach out to someone else. So while our spouse may have a valid need, we may not be in an emotionally healthy place to either recognize or meet that need. Additionally, unmatched marital expectations, different socialization, poor communication, even gender-influenced ways of relating, can contribute to emotional disconnection in marriage or other committed relationships.
This leads us to the issue of emotional infidelity. In the same way that we pursue extra-marital sex because we need to have specific needs met, we also pursue extra-marital, emotional attachments because a basic need may not be met in our marriage. In the same way that sexual exclusivity defines marriage, there should also be a peculiar or distinctive quality to the emotional intimacy which should characterize our marriage or committed relationship.
Does this mean that we should not have meaningful friendships outside of our primary relationship or marriage? I don’t think so necessarily, but when such friendships are with the opposite sex, we have to exercise clear controls for ensuring that such relationships do not cross the emotional boundaries which could harm our primary relationship.
So what exactly does an inappropriate emotional attachment look like and is it always dangerous? Deep, opposite sex, emotional friendships are indicated and become lethal in a number of scenarios. These include when:
1. The relationship replaces the deep, meaningful communication which should take place between a couple
2. The friendship causes divided loyalty in the marriage or primary relationship, where the partner prefers to spend time sharing with his/her friend as opposed to sharing with his/her spouse or partner
3. The connection fosters sexual attraction. It is known that the more we open up to someone we feel emotionally connected to, the more vulnerable we are to becoming sexually involved with that person; in this way emotional infidelity becomes a precursor to sexual infidelity
4. The spouse feels uncomfortable or threatened by the friendship and perceives that the intimacy of the marriage or relationship is under threat
5. The emotional tie is accompanied by flirting, touching, or sexual innuendo but stops short of actual intercourse. This can encourage the guilty spouse to be misguided into thinking that nothing wrong is being done while the marriage is actually being steadily eroded.
Guarding Against Emotional Infidelity
Preserving the emotional sanctity of the marriage may not be a big deal for couples who have solid relationships and connect regularly. For those with communication challenges, or for relationships with tensions or unmet needs, greater vigilance may be required. Whatever the state of the relationship, however, some thought and discipline is needed if the uniqueness of the marriage or committed relationship is to be preserved. The following tips should be helpful.
1. Be open and honest with your partner about your expectations in the relationship; share your feelings about the issue of your emotional needs and please make them known in detail.
2. Cultivate a close relationship by spending more time together. If you are tending your relationship, then it will be very difficult for your relationship to be intruded upon by any outside source.
3. Set rules with respect to boundaries with friends of the opposite sex. Insist that any close friend also becomes a friend of the couple.
4. As a couple, agree not to have secret liaisons like lunches or after-work dinners with someone either of you feel emotionally attracted to.
5. Practice disclosure when appropriate, if you feel yourself drawn to someone other than your spouse or partner. Being open about extra-marital attraction, dis-empowers it and encourages accountability in the relationship.
6. Don’t expect your partner to meet your every need. Seeking ways to develop yourself or to enjoy your own company lifts some of the responsibility and weight from your partner and makes you less emotionally vulnerable to others.
While the propensity for men to roam the virtual hills of life in search of a sexual utopia has been well-documented, it is important that we dissect this practice, if we hope to get close to understanding this mysterious thing called male sexuality. That sex is of primary importance to a man goes without refute. While we may accurately blame socialization and culture for much of what most males practice today in terms of sexual behaviour, I honestly believe that the sexual DNA of the male pits sex right up there with breathing oxygen. In other words, it is an indelible part of who he is. Through sex, a man is defined and affirmed. Through his sexuality, his identity is made concrete. Is this merely a western socio-cultural phenomenon or is this part and parcel of the spiritual or essential make-up of a man? And what does this have to do with his ability to stay faithful to one woman?
While space and time does not allow me to delve into all of the pathologies that may contribute to male promiscuity or failure to be satisfied by one sexual partner, it is perhaps necessary that we re-examine a few ideas being bandied around out there. There is a popular school of thought, I’m sure invented and promoted by men, that when it comes to their sex-drive and sexual needs, basically they can’t help themselves. And many men hold this driven-by-my-primal-sexual-instinct dogma as gospel; particularly handy when attempting to justify their cheating ways. Whether or not we swallow the idea, it is pretty clear to many of us women that the male sex-drive is a distinct animal with a life of its own.
No matter how great the sexual encounter, it’s amazing that a few hours later a man still wants more! Yes; men love sex and we women generally speaking don’t have a problem with this notion. We just want that our man only loves it with us! In putting their super-charged sexuality into operation, I believe that quite a few men have simply learned dysfunctional ways of handling their overpowering need to connect. Men don’t have an innate inability to commit to one woman; it just sometimes serves their social purposes not to.
When we examine the human sex-drive in both men and women, we can’t help but notice how it reflects our God-designed need for intimacy. This is literally spelt out in the physical, emotional and spiritual connection which is experienced during intercourse. I believe, however, that since sex is a disrobing, naked moment (literally and otherwise) inherent in the act is the ability to expose both strengths and weaknesses.
Because the inherent nature of sex strips us, exposing our limitations and vulnerabilities, many men recoil from this by erecting what I call psychological guards; a major one being “the other woman”. One of man’s best-kept secrets is therefore the guard or mask of the “player-personality” who refuses to commit or settle down. This has become a useful social construct designed to give men the appearance of being in super control of their sexuality and their emotions. Regretfully, many of us women have erroneously schooled them from boyhood days to behave in this way, by discouraging them from displaying emotion for fear that this would feminize them or make them appear “soft”.
Many men will therefore seek to retain one-upmanship or what they perceive to be sexual power or superiority by not surrendering their vulnerability to any one woman. A man’s natural drive for human connection (which he may or may not be aware of) propels him to connect through his sexuality or to search for intimacy; his super-sexual drive does have a purpose. His dysfunctional way of acting this out, however, encourages him to hold out on the woman with whom he is involved and to hold on to flawed concepts of power and self-preservation. This results in a string of unsatisfactory sexual encounters which leads to a cycle of shallow, connectionless sex. Ironically, this “multi-partner-mode” while at the surface can bring a high, fails to bring any lasting sexual fulfillment and so the cycle continues.
Men, through personal coaching and counseling, can be taught to relinquish these limiting notions of their sexuality. They can unlearn the concept of sex as a display only of dominance and power. Even the language of sex as we focus on “penile-penetration” provides a sense of imbalance to the act of sex which as one friend of mine puts it, should also be thought of in terms of “vaginal-envelopment”. Only when men become comfortable with the concept of surrendering their sexual power, will the idea of commitment to one woman take on new meaning and significance.
Can a man learn to surrender emotionally without first deciding to commit in a loving, exclusive relationship? I believe that a relationship can be that place where a man is forced to finally “grow up” sexually and emotionally. While I will not excuse men for their philandering ways, many times we women enable this behavior by settling for it in our relationships. We literally think that it comes with the territory and even when unhappy, our silence communicates our acceptance of such. As women we must remain resolute in communicating our emotional expectations in our relationships. This includes our expectations for sexual fidelity. We must not settle for less by allowing our men to think that we will just be their dispensable “sex objects”. Even though some males may go as far as to make a marital commitment, they are unable to come to grips with what this really should mean at the highest level; keeping all their sexual eggs in one basket. At the same time, how we as mothers socialize our male children, also has a significant part to play in their comfort with concepts of emotional exposure and surrender to another person in the context of love.
Many men who hop from bed to bed do not recognize the disconnect which exists between what their bodies want and what they really do need to be emotionally satisfied. It is, therefore, not inherently unnatural for a man to be satisfied with one woman. He was made for this. He doeshave the emotional capacity for this but it is his mind and body which must now be trained to play “catch-up”.
Our new lifestyle radio talk-show “Living Red” begins in earnest tonight by looking at the touchy subject of infidelity. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. What is “Living Red”?
“Living Red”, the campaign, is an initiative of Better Blends Relationship Institute and Red Red Apples. It seeks to encourage us to bring into the open those sensitive issues about relationships and sexuality which many of us still find difficult to discuss. At the same time, the campaign encourages a celebration of our relationships and our sexuality, through accessing the knowledge and skills which we need to make our relationships better.
Living Red, the talk-show by the same name, will help us to examine and confront critical issues which challenge our marriages, our relationships and our families. Red is a signature colour which suggests boldness and tenacity in the face of obstacles. Red is also the colour of love, so as we share on this show, we will expose our own vulnerabilities and needs. We know that this will move us towards becoming better women, men, husbands, wives, partners, mothers, fathers, siblings, friends.
We air each Monday and Thursday night at 11:00 PM (EST) on Blog Talk Radio.
So just follow the link below, by clicking on “Living Red” to hear our first episode.
What happens in a relationship or a marriage when a “special friend” of either the husband or wife becomes too close? What about the best friend issue? Can or should I have a best friend of the opposite sex other than my partner? How close is too close when dealing with the opposite sex?
The next two episodes of “Better Life With DeniseJ” on Blog Talk Radio, will seek to unravel this issue of emotional infidelity. What exactly is emotional adultery or emotional infidelity? What drives this behaviour? How lethal is it? What are the warning signs that my spouse has an inappropriate attachment to someone? What boundaries can couples set up, to guard against it? If our relationship has been threatened by an inappropriate attachment, how can we make it better?
Follow the link to Blog Talk Radio to listen to Parts 1 & 2 of this podcast on the lifestyle radio show “Better Life With DeniseJ”.
“For many men, sexual expression over time becomes habit and impulse driven, leading often to fleeting or diminished pleasure and perhaps increased longing, desire and frustration. “
Many men engage in a set of predictable sexual behaviours.
While many of us may be familiar with C.P.R as a life-saving technique, in the context of my discussion, it takes on a whole new definition which I’m sure will easily resonate with my female reading-audience. Male “relationship-behaviour” has been governed for centuries by what I term the three pillars of male sexuality. For the purposes of this article, this behaviour is represented by the letters CPR, which in turn stand for Chase, Penetrate and Retreat. These “pillars” are in fact, a series of collective-behaviours which have become familiar themes in today’s male-female relationships.
While phrases like “a leopard doesn’t change its spots” and the less complimentary “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, represent familiar male-bashing statements mouthed by angry and hurting women, they aren’t without some historical merit. Let’s face it, men have been Chasing, Penetrating and Retreating for eons. Lest I be accused of joining the male-bashing trend, let me hasten to post my official disclaimer. Of course all men are not lacking in relationship integrity and several of them remain faithful to their wives and long-term partners. There; I’ve said it. But this article is not about this minority.
There is the belief, grounded in yarns of evidence, that many men retreat from a potential relationship after they have sexually conquered their target. There is also the view that they retreat after they have grown bored of repeatedly conquering the same familiar turf. But I am getting ahead of myself here. Before we delve into dissecting the R of male sexual behaviour, (the retreat phenomenon) it’s necessary for us to first examine the C in the new CPR.
For a man, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of a fresh chase.
Men are naturally competitive; make no bones about it. Their friendly neighbourhood hormone testosterone guarantees this. As such, they thrive on the thrill of the chase. Chasing a woman provides them with the distinct possibility of winning and winning brings with it the idea of being a conqueror; of being better than the other less successful, paltry men who lost. What a tremendous ego boost! (I believe this is why men can’t handle being cheated on by a woman; it eats at what they believe about their own sexual superiority).
The problem with this stage of male sexual development is that several men never make it past it. They are so affirmed by the activity of the chase, that they seek to perpetuate it again and again and again ad nauseum. Such men therefore never “grow up” emotionally to recognise that since they’ve already won their prize, it’s time for a redefinition of that relationship on fresh terms. Instead, they become addicted to the dopamine thrill of chasing and hopefully conquering skirts. This is of course done while the primary or initial relationship is allowed to perish by the wayside as it is chemically unable to provide the rush which a new pair of legs can bring.
The chase, as encouraging as it is, would cease to hold its powerful allure without the distinct possibility of the pot of gold at the end of the figurative rainbow. Yeah, chasing does have a distinct goal. And it’s definitely not about running around in perpetual circles like the playful dog actually trying to catch its own tail. The goal of chasing ultimately is penetration. And please don’t think that I’m only referring to the literal penetration of the vagina by the penis. Of course that’s where it all starts and that’s where the fun is for many a man.
Be that as it may, penetration is also about using the penis to dominate a woman. Men are pros at using their sexual prowess, sexiness, sexual charm, whatever you call it, to suck the living sensibilities out of otherwise smart, educated, right-thinking women. Why else would some smart women end up as the “relationship slaves” to the worst booty-playing, Casanovas around? They fall prey to the power of the perpetual penis of course.
What many women fail to recognize is that surrendering their sexual power to a man, brings with it a certain level of emotional dependency; no matter how casual they purport to be about sex. That’s why the apple shouldn’t be given up indiscriminately without serious commitment; especially if what a woman is looking for is longevity or permanence. Face it girls, once you hand it over, there’s no looking back and that relationship will be forever changed. Sex just has the inherent power to do that to us.
The man, who is intent on using women to boost his sexual ego, has to find a way to keep reproducing this preferred scenario. This brings us to the R in our triad. Having chased and having penetrated, the only recourse allowed for the repeat of this entire charade with another woman, is for him to retreat; literally.
While women will have sex and long for repeated connection and emotional engagement; men will have sex and bolt like lightening, eventually. A woman’s sexual affirmation is grounded in her ability to care and connect. While men are also wired for this genetically in that they are similarly affected by the hormone Oxytocin, they have been socially trained to value disengagement and their freedom. As a result, they love to hit and run.
Unfulfillment occurs when relationship expectations go unmet.
What they fail to recognise is that sex has been reduced by them, to an impulse and a habit. While they are fooled into thinking that this makes them better lovers, somewhat like practice makes perfect, it actually reduces the potency of their sexual encounters because sex is reduced to just a “can’t help myself” animal instinct, devoid of deep thought or commitment. Despite the commonality of this practice, this is not what sex was meant to be. Is it any wonder that such men find themselves trapped in repeated quests for a sexual utopia which they never, ever find? In the wise words of the quotation referenced at the start of this article, they can then become trapped in a cycle of “fleeting or diminished pleasure and perhaps increased longing, desire and frustration.”
The worst part of the retreat syndrome is when a man uses his primary relationship as a ground-zero or home-base, from where he will venture out to get his thrills and then return. What is even worst is when such behaviour is facilitated by women, who pride themselves in being the main-lady/wife, or who will tolerate this because of financial or emotional dependency. This adds a whole other dynamic to the CPR problem as the lack of emotional fulfillment for the woman begins to negatively affect the sexual relationship. How many husbands continue to have affairs because their wives, while miserable and unhappy with their philandering ways, refuse to do anything about it? And how many women are really happy with the prospect of sharing or losing their man to the arms of another woman?
So male sexual CPR is not all that a guy may think it is. It doesn’t make him a better lover; not by a long shot. It instead creates a void which forces him to repeat behaviour which never satisfies. For women trapped by these CPR experts it may be time to pause and re-evaluate your relationship expectations and your sense of worth. Are you content to be just another cheap thrill? Are you ever going to get the nerve to make your relationship demands known or will you ever be strong enough to leave if they remain unfulfilled?
For the guy who is limited in his sexual repertoire because he is afraid of serious commitment and vulnerability to one woman, he may find that his game of CPR comes back to haunt him when he finds himself smack dab in the arms of a woman he finally thinks he can’t live without. Even when commitment or marriage seems like a distinct possibility, he may very well have to work doubly hard at breaking free from a life-time of a mismanaged sexuality.
There is so much about today’s lifestyle that is bringing significant changes to our relationships. We are admittedly a whole lot busier and spend far more time on the road. We do little face-to-face communication and possess a slew of technological gizmos and gadgets. We are also avid consumers of entertainment and have grown accustomed to hyper-stimulation. In other words, we get bored easily and seem to need a constant stream of new excitement. Is it any surprise then that our new mode of living would have an impact on our intimate relationships? It has actually changed things so much that it has affected even the way individuals in relationships cheat or bring harm to their intimate relationships. This leads us to the touchy issue of porn.
There has been perhaps no other time in history, where pornography has been so readily available to everyone, than today. With the click of a mouse, any of us can have access to over 1.3 million porn sites. Reputable research agencies have estimated that every second, 28, 258 internet users are viewing pornography while per second, 372 users are typing adult “sex terms” into search engines in search of sexual titillation. At the same time, every 39 minutes a new porn video is being made in the US, while every second $3,074. 64, is also being spent on porn (and this has nothing to do with other regions of the world). In the US alone, porn (internet and video) has been known to rake in over $13.33 billion dollars in revenue. So this is a huge business. While these statistics alone boggle the mind, they allow us to know the depth of involvement of porn in our daily lives. Undeniably, this level of involvement will impact marriages, other relationships, secular leaders, religious leaders, politicians, children, teens and the list is inexhaustible.
Some of the fall-outs as a result of involvement with porn have been: the destruction of marital intimacy, porn-addiction, masturbation-addiction, infidelity, divorce, financial ruin, job-loss, sexual desensitization, sex-crimes and the most unlikely; sexual and arousal dysfunction. While this article will not attempt to deal with all of these issues, it will look briefly at how porn hurts our sex/love-lives. This is particularly necessary, since so many relationship-advocates, “sexperts” and therapists are today advising couples to turn to porn to get their groove on; especially when boredom has set in and there is the need to spice things up a bit. This practice is in fact lethal to the relationship and so many conveniently neglect to mention how potentially addictive and destructive porn can be.
Porn Warps Reality
Pornography is based and thrives on a skewed perception of reality. In the porn-world most women are overt or closet nymphomaniacs who will do any and everything to get laid. They are like dogs in heat who enjoy being raped, abused, having multiple sexual partners (often of both sexes) and who will be any man’s sex –slave; once his penis is big enough. Men on the other hand are depicted as “ever-ready” sexual studs with over-grown organs whose lives are consumed by sex with large numbers of women in high-risk scenarios.
David Morgan, consultant clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Portman Clinic in London, has noted that “the more time you spend in this fantasy world, the more difficult it becomes to make the transition to reality. Just like drugs, pornography provides a quick fix, a masturbatory universe people can get stuck in. This can result in their not being able to involve anyone else.”
Porn Destroys Intimacy
Like every other form of cheating, porn encourages its participants to disengage with their partners, in order to become connected with others. Fantasy is so effective because it leads the participant to shed the real world he/she is in, in order to become an active participant in the world that has been “created” for him/her.
Many men have shared that porn has caused them to make unhealthy comparisons between their wives and the women in these videos; and which of us women, without boob jobs, have large breasts that stand erect like torpedoes? Men can also become victims of this when their wives are dissatisfied with penis-size because their husband’s organ fails literally to “measure up” to what they’ve seen. The research is clear in confirming that men who repeatedly use porn are less attracted to their wives.
Porn encourages a fixation on body-parts and when this is transferred to the relationship, real emotional intimacy is affected. The reality is that graphic porn-scenes will remain in the mind; that’s just how our minds work. If we’re thinking so much about an unreal scenario or if we’re involved in cyber-sex, then we’re definitely not connected with our partners but are simply using their body-parts.
Porn Desensitizes Us
Systematic desensitization is a term used in psychology to describe how our constant exposure to a particular negative stimulus, can affect our ability to be affected by it. Research has shown that this is particularly true of men. The more porn a man is exposed to, the more graphic, violent and demeaning he needs it to be to incite arousal. This explains why men whose initiation with porn began with seeming “harmless” lingerie ads a la Victoria Secret and softer porn like Playboy, end up needing sadomasochistic or pedophile-based porn, to elicit an arousal in them. This is in fact how many kinky sexual fetishes are formed; simply because straight-up sex becomes boring and predictable and people begin to suffer from under-stimulation.
Many of today’s so-called swingers (couples who swap sexual partners) admit that this began after repeated viewing of porn together. After allowing their sexual inhibitions to be lowered with respect to viewing other couples having sex, they found it easier to submit to the idea of partner-sharing; suddenly their own partners were not enough.
Decreases Sexual Responsiveness and Arousal
Much of the media-hype surrounding the purported “good-use” of porn, would lead many of us to believe that porn-users are liberated, sexy, in-touch-with-their-sexuality individuals, who have great uninhibited sex-lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Related to the idea of desensitization mentioned previously, repeated porn-use over time, has been found to also reduce a man’s ability to be aroused. This can even affect his ability to maintain an erection.
This is one of the industry’s most closely guarded secrets. It is in fact the fuel used to trap men into more and more graphic, decadent and debased forms of porn use. In other words, for the guy who starts using porn in his teens and hides out to masturbate over a couple of bare-breasted women, if he continues, by the time he reaches his twenties, a woman’s breasts alone will fail to cause an erection. And this trend will continue. Research is in fact confirming that repeated porn-use virtually neutralizes a man’s capacity for sexual arousal. But this is seldom discussed in forums which encourage the use of porn and the industry moguls are, of course, laughing all the way to the bank.
What Should a Couple’s Response Be?
Obviously the issue of porn and its impact on relationships is wide and varied. I could write an entire book about it and this article has really barely scratched the surface. It is however necessary that the couple who is interested in preserving the sanctity and exclusivity of their relationship, set some parameters in place. These should include openness and accountability with respect to internet use, especially if one party has been involved with porn previously.
I do applaud and support couples reading about sex together, watching wholesome documentaries and talking about their likes and dislikes where sex is concerned. However, if it is noted that some fire is missing in the relationship then porn is not the answer. Very often sex fizzles because of unresolved issues in the relationship some of which may have nothing to do directly with sex. These can be related to the handling of finance, the intrusion of in-laws, past abuse issues, hidden or exposed infidelity, lack of sexual knowledge or technique and this list is by no means exhaustive.
Communication is critical therefore and is the first step towards bringing any sexual resolution to the relationship. This does not only include seeking to uncover what may be affecting the sex-life but also a mutual decision about the use of porn in the relationship. If there is nothing really wrong with the sex-life but there is the temptation to use porn as just another form of popular entertainment, then please, pause and re-think this in light of what the research is saying. A couple stands to lose a lot more, than they could possibly gain from the few seconds of titillation which will eventually pale. Your relationship is worth a whole lot more than that. In cases where porn-addiction is already seriously affecting the relationship, then professional help should be sought.