Posted by: Sam | 2009-07-24

Intimicy issues

Dear doc,
I have realised that I am a very isolated person. I focus a lot on others needs and never my own and am poor at expressing and experiencing my emotions.
Currently I read material on ACA and codependence and the awareness brought relief. I am now seeking recovery.
One thing that is disturbing is my neediness. I long for fatherly love and protection and whish I did not feel this way and this longing at 35.
I endured lots of emotional abuse and watched physical abuse between my father, mother and brothers. One thing that haunts me was the sexual stuff. I was not sexually abuse although I have these issues. I cannot think of sex in a positive way. I always feel guilty for wanting it (although not a lot and only had one partner my entire life, my husband).
My father did talk about sexually inappropriate stuff with me. He spoke about his erection and his sexual problems with my mother to me. I was always very upset and just left. He could see it, yet he never changed his ways. He is dead now (4 years ago). He never gave me privacy. My room door was supposed to be always open and he will walk in on me during dressing or bath times, although I hated it. He walked naked in front of us, always, and once inappropriately spends time with me and my school friend while we watch a movie, in his underpants. I told my mom but she said there was nothing she could do.
He also starts calling me a “ whore” , once boys started to take interest in me. He called me “ filthy”  for using tampons and on my wedding continuously made suggestions and jokes about me and my husband that are going to have sex. I was unable to have sex on my honeymoon because of his voice in my head.
Anyway, I never told this to anyone except my husband and I feel tired of not enjoying my femininity and intimacy. I feel guilty and can just enjoy sex after a glass of wine. Otherwise it takes hours of discussions before I can actually relax...
My husband sort of accepted it and does not initiate sex anymore. I think he is tired to work so hard. I don' t know how to become free from this negative perception I have off sex. No man has ever treated me with such disrespect and calls me such names except my father. Men always had tons of respect for me. I am (so I am told) a beautiful person inside out, yet I feel like a fraud. I see my beauty, yet I hear my father and saw the disgust he had for me and it is difficult to know what is the truth. But then, in front of other he always bragged about me and enjoyed compliments and showed me off to his male friends. I don’ t know. Was I sexually abuse, do I need help? If so, where do I go…  Is it possible to enjoy sex and not feel so guilty and cheap for having it as a need.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

OK, Sam, recognizing that one may well have a problem is always the first step towards fixing it. And the next step would be to see a good local shrink for a proper in-depth assessment to see if any diagnosis is appropriate. Be cautious about making your own diagnosis and deciding on your own prescription of treatment.
The emotionally abusive background you decribe can indeed lead to one forming unhelpful assumptiosn about life --- and CBT style counselling can really help one to undo that damage and form more fruitful and helpful assumptions and habits of life. You can defiitely remove all those recollections of your father that have been interfering with your normal life.
Sadly, you had a father who was a bad person, but who now needs to be left way behind you. He had lousy taste ; but just because he didn't recognize how marvellous you are, is no reason for you not to do so. You absolutely CAN enjoy being yourself, appreciate your many good points and recognize the respect you deserve ; and to enjoy sex without any sense of guilt or cheapness

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