I am engaged to a man whom I refer to as a ‘sexual camel’. We are both in our late 30’s and have both been married before. He works 3rd shift and I 1st. We have kids on the weekends and rarely any quality time alone.I wish we could have more intimate moments but it just isn’t happening. He is very attentive and loves to cuddle, but says that sex isn’t that important to him anymore and that being with someone that he loves and trusts is most important to him. He has been hurt a lot in the past and I can see the insecurities that he has. I need more sexual contact from him.What can I do to achieve a happy medium?
Sexual Camel is a cute expression. I’ll have to remember that one. I think that you are not going to achieve a resolution to your problem by focusing on ‘behavioral’solutions. When I speak of behavioral solutions, I am referring to the types of contracts that couples engage in in which they work at finding behavioral compromises. The problem with focusing on behavioral changes for a problem like yours is two-fold: First, it doesn’t address the underlying feelings and issues that are causing his sexual reluctance; and second, when you try to force a behavioral change on someone who hasn’t resolved the underlying issues, the person will feel threatened to give up a behavior that is seen as protective of the self; the result is that the unconscious mind will set up even stronger barriers or resistances, meaning that the problem will actually get worse! So, what can you do? Don’t try to force him to have more sex. Instead, get him talking about how his reluctance connects to his hurtful past, his fear of getting close, etc. . Help him to understand that the mind has all kinds of protective mechanisms at its disposal. If a person is afraid to get too close, the mind can actually turn off the sex drive. Then a distance is created, which gives that person a sense of space and safety. Once he starts talking with you about why he’s afraid, and what he thinks could happen to his heart if he let himself go sexually, you are on the path to healing. The more he talks, the more he will work the issue through. And, by the way. He will be less motivated to do the changing once he has you hooked. So, be very careful about marrying unless and until you have solved this issue. Which leads me to a point that you didn’t mention, but really needs to be addressed. You need to look at this: if you are marrying a sexual camel, that means you will be living in the desert. Why would you want to marry someone who keeps you thirsting for sex? There are many possible reasons: You could be familiar with deprivation, and choosing what you know; You could be playing out a pattern from childhood, hoping to get it right (see the Archives under unfinished business, repetition compulsion and happy ending); you could be scared of closeness yourself, and by choosing a man who holds back, he protects you from getting too close. Be aware that a problem like this is rarely just one person’s issue. It often satisfies the unconscious needs of both partners. So, in order to achieve a resolution, you will be wise to address both your issues, and study how this pattern may be serving each of you. When you both identify and resolve the real issues that are causing this problem, the problem will resolve by itself. Let me know how you do.