Here’s a letter from Beth with my answer – and it’s all around sex and how sex works in our brains, our hearts – and how it can illuminate our lives or shut us down…
A couple of things you have sent in the past couple of days have been exactly what I was used to doing with my first husband. One is what you describe in this email. It’s like you are looking into my past. The other was the one about trying to fill the quiet. I had extreme anxiety over the quiet and always tried to find something to say to fill it.
Needless to say, it was a strained and unhappy marriage that I stayed in miserably for 13 years before I moved out. I think that relationship was so toxic and so damaging to my self-esteem that it set the stage for the years to come. I left him in 1987 and have never had a successful relationship since, although I did get married two more times since then. To build up my self esteem I got into the habit of jumping in bed with every man that looked at me twice.
I shudder to think of my past and the habits I fell into. I was a virgin when I got married at 18 and was raised to protect my virtue, so the fact that I have slept with many men (I lost count but pretty sure it is over 50) is pretty horrific to me, and I still don’t trust myself. ( I also know I am very, very lucky not to have contracted an STD from any of these men because I also didn’t not practice safe sex. I know better but didn’t want to do anything to “ruin” what I hoped for every time I slept with someone) I just got out of a 6 month friends with benefits “relationship” that ended up breaking my heart once again.
I’d like to think if I had been educated in the way to communicate with a man that I wouldn’t have suffered so much all these years. I’m 56 now and still afraid I’ll never have a man that will love me the way I want to be loved. I have your “How to have the relationship…” book. I copied it off the internet after purchasing it last year and started to get into it and then once again got into a series of one nighters and a couple of heartbreaks while the book set in my bag untouched.
I am hoping this is the beginning of the end of my disastrous love life. There is a man that I have seen on the average of about once a month since meeting him in January. He calls every week to two weeks, sends the very occasional text message and when we are together treats me like a queen. I enjoy him very much and I COULD fall in love with him if the circumstances lend themselves to it. I am going to assume, being the expert that you are, that you are aware of the chemical changes in the body associated with sex and why that causes us women to fall into toxic relationships with men that don’t love us.
I have recently learned this for myself and decided that if I were to protect my heart and play my cards right, so to speak, that I needed to not fall into that trap again with this man. I know from my history that if I have sex with him that the dopamine and pitocin is going to take over and I will fall in love with him which could lead to another broken heart. I just don’t want to go there again. He is the nicest man I have ever met in my life. I could give you a couple of dozen examples of that but suffice it to say, I really have never known anyone like him, which I think is one of several reasons I have been able to say no to him. He seems to really like me, and he did try to sleep with me and I was very proud of myself to refuse. I told him point blank, “If you don’t want me to fall in love with you, then don’t have sex with me.”
I wouldn’t have said that to just any man. This one is really special. I’m in “like” with him at this point. If I never saw him again, I’d be a little sad but not devastated. Anyway, when I said that to him, he said, “It’s not that, we just need more time.” He has agreed with my no sex rule for now although he is clearly still wanting to and finds me very desirable. He is a very practical man and apparently has more self control than most men.
The big obstacle to overcome if anything ever comes of this is, he is 60 years old (a very young 60), never been married, never had children, I think has had little experience with women, just from the awkward way in which he talked to me in the beginning when he was still uncomfortable with me and from the obvious lack of experience in even the simplest of intimacy like kissing. That actually makes it easier to not sleep with him because I think if that ever happens, he will require a great deal of “teaching,” and I think he would be willing to learn but I am not going there until there is more promise of something to come. He is very happy and comfortable in his own skin and in the life he has carved out for himself.
He told me once, “if I ever complain about anything, kick me in the butt because I have nothing to complain about.” So for our friendship to progress to anything more, there is going to have to be something about me that he finds he can’t live without. I’d like to think maybe I’m the woman he’s waited for all of his life and that he’s just never known anyone he was that interested in since he was in his 20’s and had his heart broken by the woman he was supposed to marry that ditched him. I think it set him up to be a bachelor for all these many years.
I’m hoping that I’m going to learn to be the kind of woman that a man this nice would want to spend the rest of his life with because I really don’t want to die without having experienced true and satisfying love. I’m not sure how I first found you but I keep all of your emails. I just need to buckle down and study the tools you have given me.
In the meantime, I am still fighting the old me that would hop back in bed with my recent toxic relationship if he gave me any indication that he wanted me other than for sex. Even that is hard. I know he would sleep with me again. That is clear. The sex was great, at least for him, and he said I was “a lot of fun in bed.” (I’ve made having sex an artform which drives men crazy, but I rarely ever get comfortable enough to get much more out of it than just the momentary enjoyment of having someone hold me and touch me and want me.)
I have an open invitation to sleep at his house, with no pressure but I put the pressure on myself. I know him well enough to know that if I didn’t initiate it, it wouldn’t happen. He has always left it up to me. I realize now that the sex was a means to and end, with the end being, I got the snuggling and comfort of feeling cared about afterwards. At least he wasn’t the type that rolled over and turned his back on me, but he clearly doesn’t love me, at least not romantic love.
He cares about me as a friend. I had a verbal argument with myself tonight because I’m still tempted to go back. I could easily have gone there tonight and he would have welcomed me and shown me a lot of affection, but, with the understanding he still doesn’t want to be in love with me and never will.
So you can see, I am in a daily struggle with myself over what I could easily have that would end up going nowhere, and what MIGHT turn into the love that I have always hoped for. What makes it doubly hard is that I live a very difficult life with a seriously ill adult daughter, and poverty level income. Every day of my life is an emotional and financial struggle. That only makes me want to seek that momentary comfort of my friend even though I know it’s not what I really want or need.
Another very attractive part of this man who is my friend and might end up being my lover is that he is also financially secure, as well as the nicest man on the planet. I have never had a relationship with a man that was financially secure. I have ended up being the one doling out the money in most of these instances. This man wouldn’t dream of allowing me to take a dollar out of my pocket for anything. That has never happened to me.
So you see Rori, I am probably pretty typical specimen of how to do it all the wrong way, although with my sexual history I probably am on the extreme end of the spectrum. I truly want this downward spiral to end. I am hoping, with your help, and God’s, that I can turn my life around, stay out of the wrong bed, (my friend) and hopefully end up in the right one, whether that is this very nice man or not.
Oh yes, I’m not out looking anymore, just as you taught me not to do and so far have been able to not chase after this man but let him come to me when he is ready. I never call him and rarely text him, unless it’s in answer to something he texted and asked me about. So I’m already ahead of my old game. I know patience is a virtue and it will take a lot of that as well as a lot of self control to stay out of my old habits and form new ones.
I know this was long, but I wanted to tell you the beginning of my story. Hopefully one day I will be able to write you with the “end” of my story, being one of the princess who lived happily ever after. I just glad that I actually take the time to read your emails and keep them. I just have to buckle down and study so I can continue to change my ways.
Thanks for what I’ve learned from you so far!!
Here was my answer:
Beth – here’s the key for you in what you wrote:
I’ve made having sex an art form which drives men crazy, but I rarely ever get comfortable enough to get much more out of it than just the momentary enjoyment of having someone hold me and touch me and want me.
Men only care about how they’re affecting YOU – in other words, if you could work on your art form in a way that involves YOU relaxing into and experiencing pleasure, pleasuring yourself, using him and his body to get pleasure – this would all turn around.
I used sex much the same way as you for most of my life – and it wasn’t until I practiced doing NOTHING but breathing and experiencing orgasms and letting myself receive that I was able to transfer that feeling into everyday life.
Just practicing alone is terrifically helpful – and if you can handle practicing with a man (or woman) that would be even MORE helpful! Just look at it like that, and not as a WAY to get to anything.
Sex is a Tool, too – see the Sensual Meditation in my ebook….
Beth – can I post your letter and my answer on my blog (anonymously of course – give me a name if you like so you’ll recognize the post when it shows up…)
I think it’s so great that you actually take the time to answer me. It just wraps up the whole package very nicely.
I would be happy for you to share my letter. If anyone can learn from me and avoid some of the terrible mistakes I’ve made or even just recognize they are making them, by reading about what I’ve done, then it’s worth having made the mistakes if it helps even one other person.
I don’t care if you use the name Beth. It’s pretty generic and could be anyone anywhere. So I’m not worried about it.
The one time I had a really great sex life with someone, I was completely uninhibited with him and of course, he turned me on like no other ever had. I don’t think I ever failed to orgasm with him. My problem has been, with most men I never really got close enough to someone emotionally to tell him what I want or need.
Always afraid if I was selfish I would turn him off. Afraid if I was that open that I would embarrass myself. I actually have some new insight into that thinking. My “friend” I just cut it off with, told me to play with myself explaining that the more I enjoyed myself the more he enjoyed me. Still I was afraid to tell him what he needed to do to make me orgasm because he, like most men I’ve been with, think they know what to do.
Us women are different and we don’t all react to the same things but I guess I was afraid to bruise his ego by telling him I wanted him to do something different. Also, I had a very hard time relaxing enough to do things that embarrassed me, which strangely enough only had to do with MY pleasure.
I did most anything for him, as I did will all the men I slept with. The last 2 or 3 times I slept with him, I started to guide him. The last time we had sex, he gave me the best orgasm of my life by doing what I’ve begged men to do to me in the past.
He finally listened. What I had always said was I wanted a man to make me beg, but I’ve never had a man that really wrapped his head around that and I never really pushed it or explained in detail what I wanted. My friend finally got it and drove me to a place I have never been before.
When it was over, I sobbed like a baby, partly because it was such an intense orgasm, the thing I had begged for and because, I knew it was the last time I would sleep with him, because he didn’t love me and I loved him.
So I learned more from this “relationship” as it was, about what to do in bed. He actually taught me things about myself I didn’t know and I learned to ask for what I wanted. Now I have to learn to translate that to a real relationship with someone I really love and trust. I don’t have someone like that YET but the man who I have been dating casually could end up to be the one. Whatever happens.
I know that to get what I want I have to do things differently. You are helping me learn to do that. I just heard the quote this morning,
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, and you’ll always feel what you always felt”
Well, I intend to change what I’ve always done because I want something different than I always have had and I want to feel differently than I have always felt! It’s time for a new me.
As for practicing, I do practice by myself some. I don’t think I can handle practicing with someone else unless it’s someone I want to give my heart to. I get attached when the hormones kick in and I don’t need another heart break. I know myself well enough to know that is what would happen.
Feel free to use me as an example.
I thank you for your guidance.