Will I Ever Enjoy Sex Again After My Husband’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: This is an extremely common question.   Many couples feel pressured or rushed to resume their sex life  after one of them cheats or has an affair.   Many see having sex again as one way to signify their commitment to making the marriage work and restoring the passion and chemistry within their marriage so that no one ever comes between them again.  But, the experiences that the spouses have while the sex is happening can vary dramatically.   Some couples will tell you that, for whatever strange and unknown reason, the sex is actually better after the affair.  And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, one of the spouse’s can have the complete opposite experience.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: ” I have no sexual enjoyment any more after my husband’s affair.  I want to have sex with him because I want to save my marriage and I want to know that he desires me because it allows for me to feel in control again.  But, when it is actually happening, I just can’t help but thinking about him having sex with her.  And it’s almost like I’m experiencing this outside of my own body so that I’m certainly not enjoying the sex while it is happening.  I feel numb.  And I feel emotional pain.  And I feel resentment toward my husband because he’s just continuing on enjoying himself and not even noticing what I’m feeling or struggling with.  And then I start to think that my husband could have sex and enjoy it no matter what circumstances surround him and I wonder what kind of person he really is while my mind continues churning. This is devastating to me.  I want to enjoy sex with my husband again.  I want to be both emotionally and physically present.  But neither of these things look to be in my immediate future.  Is there any hope for this to ever happen?”

There is always hope.  And there are often very fixable reasons that the faithful spouse isn’t enjoying sex after the affair.  I will discuss them (and offer some tips of fixing them) below.

If You’re Not Healing Emotionally, You’re Likely Not Healing Sexually: There is no doubt in my mind that the sexual health of a relationship is directly affected by the emotional health of it.  And, when you are struggling to move past a spouse’s cheating or affair within your marriage, then that same marriage is going to suffer a large and unavoidable blow.

Many people attempt to use sex as a way to move past that blow (or at least to make the first attempts toward healing it.)  And when the sex isn’t all that great or enjoyable, some just don’t put 2 and 2 together and understand that they can’t truly connect physically until they are connecting emotionally.  There are often many issues to work through.  Trust, respect, and honesty are just a few examples.  If you are still struggling with understanding or coping with your spouse’s betrayal, it can be extremely hard to feel true desire for them(or from them.) You can also have trouble filling  comfortable expressing or carrying out any desire that you do feel because you are afraid of being hurt or betrayed again.

And, it’s very common for the faithful spouse to think about sex with the other person during the act.  You begin to wonder if he enjoyed it more with her, if they did the same things that you do (or are doing right this minute,) and if he is thinking about her while he is experiencing this with you.  These thoughts are extremely common.  Feeling them doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you.  But, it’s important to acknowledge and challenge them as you are ready, because it’s not fair for you to constantly have to pay for someone else’s mistakes.  It’s not fair for your enjoyment and experiences to be negatively affected by something that is in no way your fault.  And you shouldn’t have to be punished and hurt over and over again.

My suggestion would be not force yourself to do anything until you are ready to do it.  Many wives worry that if they deny their husband’s sex after the affair, then he is going to be more likely to go back to or attempt to get it from the other woman.  While I do understand this, responding to these worries by forcing yourself to do something that you don’t enjoy is just as risky as holding off, in my opinion. I believe that it’s better to wait until there’s no question that you can’t keep your hands off of each other.  You will know that he was willing to wait because you are worth it and he will know that your feelings are not forced or fake.

While many wives think that their husband’s have no idea that they aren’t enjoying themselves during sex, I suspect that he knows more than you might think, but sometimes he is hoping that if you continue on, that this will work itself out.

Regaining Your Emotional And Sexual Confidence: Many people know and understand that your sexual confidence takes a blow after your spouse has an affair, but few acknowledge or address their emotional confidence.  It’s very likely that you have some self doubt as to where you may have contributed to his affair or fallen short as a wife.  You may be struggling with your own self doubt as well as doubting how he truly feels about you.  All of these things can create the perfect storm to negatively affect any interactions that you might be having (and this includes sex.)

Sometimes, you are at a place where you can’t or just don’t trust what he’s telling you.  He might be saying that you are still beautiful to him and that he would do anything to regain your trust.  He may be coming right home after work and he may seem willing to give you what you’ve asked for.  And, yet those nagging doubts and insecurities are still there because you wonder if it is all for show or to catch you off guard when he cheats again.   Needless to say, it’s almost going to be impossible to enjoy the give and take that goes hand in hand with sex when you are having these conflicting feelings. So where does that leave you?

It leaves you with both emotional and physical issues to fix.  You have to understand that one is intimately tied to the other and that, when one suffers, so does the other.  You can’t have a fulling sexual relationship with your spouse if you don’t trust or aren’t connected to them emotionally.  Does this mean that you should or have to swear off sex until you repair your marriage after infidelity? Not necessarily.

But I would suggest not being shy about any thing that is still bothering you.  Remaining silent and continuing to be hurt and robbed of enjoyment isn’t really fair to either of you.  It is absolutely possible to enjoy sex again after your husband’s affair, but sometimes, time alone is not enough to make this happen.  You often need to be very proactive about reclaiming what is yours – and that includes your husband, your own self esteem, and your own marriage.

I can’t deny that sex was an issue for us after my husband’s affair.  At first, I just went through the motions and pretended like nothing was wrong, but I eventually realized that this wasn’t helping matters.  Eventually, I became very proactive about my restoring my sexual confidence and this made all the difference. If it helps, you can read more about how I did this, on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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