Sex After Infidelity Reconnecting sexually after an affair can be extremely difficult, but it is possible. Use these tips to help rekindle what was once there. BY DENISE J CHARLES M. ED
Reconnecting sexually after one spouse has had an affair will take time and a lot of effort.
“ There is no greater disservice you can do to your marriage then to attempt to trivialize the impact of an affair or to down-play it.”
The experience of infidelity in marriage has got to be one of the most devastating occurrences that any individual can face. We know instinctively, even before the fanfare of wedding vows, that the hallmark of a committed intimate relationship is sexual exclusivity. In any real life scenario, we also know that we can’t be with our spouse in every waking moment. We trust him or her to honor the commitment made through both formal vows and the love-drenched promises of devotion. We expect our spouse to exercise self-control and only have eyes for us. But life often interrupts those idealistic expectations and somehow things become changed.
In a moment of vulnerability, carelessness, heated lust or relationship neglect, one partner gives in to the temporary excitement of a sexual affair. How does this impact the relationship? While the guilt of an affair can be an exceedingly heavy weight to carry, exposure carries its own set of complications. One of the primary places where the effects of such a confession are felt is the bedroom. Yes, affairs in marriage are always complicated. Whether it was cyber sex, phone sex, physical sex, a one-night stand or an out and out love affair, sexual infidelity has a telling impact on the sex life of the couple who decide to keep their marriage together.
The man or woman guilty of infidelity, but still wants the marriage to work, is likely to experience some after-confession discomfort in the bedroom. This says nothing for the gut-wrenching, drive-you-insane torment the victim of infidelity is likely to feel. After a confession of sexual impropriety, knowing what to expect emotionally and sexually is perhaps the first step towards understanding and choosing the right response for your individual scenario. In addition to the tips below, professional counseling is also recommended.
Tips on Reconnecting if You Have Been an Unfaithful Spouse
So you’ve done the unthinkable in being unfaithful, but to your credit you have bitten the bullet and confessed. How do you pursue your partner sexually after such a major and life-altering foul up? There is obviously no carte blanche response and it is likely that behaviors may vary between men and women. Nonetheless, these general principles should guide both sexes with respect to their attempts to salvage their marriage and by extension their sex lives.
Waiting it out: If you’re the guilty party, it may be important to communicate that while you still want to connect sexually, you are willing to wait for as long as your partner needs to feel emotionally ready to resume intimacy. This communicates genuine remorse and a willingness to be selfless; something that was clearly not shown during your acts of indiscretion.
Talking it over: Understand that the period of waiting is likely to be punctuated by long questioning sessions which delve for sexual details. It is likely that the victim of infidelity will be consumed by a need to know incidents and details of time and place. Curiosity may also be extended to the nature of sex acts participated in. This time can be made easier by not erecting further barriers but by answering questions as honestly as possible.
Sensitivity in the sack: Most likely, your partner will be consumed with thoughts of the other man or woman. It is imperative that you go slow, when the time for lovemaking comes or at least take the lead or cue from your partner who has been hurt. This sensitivity should include lots of verbal affirmations which are personal, intimate and loving. Be sure to let your partner know why you married them, how much they are loved and how much you appreciate their staying in the relationship. Affirm your partner’s beauty or brawn and use loads of eye contact which confirm how truly sorry you are. Avoiding this sensitive time by acting as though the affair never took place will be counter-productive and shows that you have not yet come to terms with your own personal failing.
Maximising the moments: Sex with your spouse after confessing an affair is likely to be more about emotional and spiritual re-bonding than about the quality of an orgasm. Use this time, nonetheless, to cement your reconnection by focusing on your spouse’s pleasure. The vulnerability that occurs, because everything is out in the open, can actually increase the intensity of passion. Most infidels, after confession, cannot believe how they "messed up" and almost ruined it all; this awareness and sensitivity to what was almost completely lost can actually strengthen the emotional bond between the couple, which can then result in a dynamic sexual connection.
Tips on Reconnecting if Your Spouse Has Cheated
So you’ve been cheated on and it’s finally in the open. You have not, however, walked out on the marriage or sought revenge in the arms of another. You’ve decided to make your marriage work. How can you navigate this ultra-vulnerable time? You may be wondering whether you will ever enjoy sex again with the person who has caused you so much pain. The following ideas might help you through this difficult time.
Admit your pain: There is no greater disservice you can do to your marriage then to attempt to trivialize the impact of an affair or to down-play it. It is imperative that you articulate your disappointment and hurt. This may involve screaming, crying, throwing things, journaling, talking to a counselor or even moving out of the bedroom for a while. (Yes, this also applies to husbands). Admittedly, because men are often socialized to hide emotion, this can be particularly challenging for a man who may just choose to clam up. If you are to experience great sex again without feeling victimized, sharing the depth of your pain with your spouse is critical.
Focus on you: There is a huge temptation after being cheated on to blame yourself—your lack of attractiveness, lack of sexiness and the like. This is particularly true of women. It will take a Herculean effort at this time to reach inside yourself to find the worthwhile, sensual woman who deserves to be loved despite your spouse’s act of indiscretion. For husbands, as well, images of your wife making love to another man can be disconcerting to say the least. It is critical, therefore, to disassociate yourself sexually from what your spouse did and to refuse to accept blame. It is not your fault that your partner was or is weak and lacked discipline. This will mean deliberately not dwelling on the images that will come to your mind.
Resist the temptation to compare: Wondering if you are better in bed than your spouse’s lover is likely to be an obsessive thought, but it is actually counter-productive. Studies consistently show that many have affairs while still having great or adequate sex at home. The motivation for an affair usually has little to do with dissatisfaction with married sex and tends more to be linked to life challenges, transitions, depression, a weak moment or feelings of inadequacy. When these thoughts come, as they will, focus on how you can make your love life even better. Dwell on the fact that since you and your spouse have decided to stay together, this must mean something in terms of how you feel about one another.
Redefine to reconnect: The emotions experienced after your spouse has confessed an affair can be described in terms of grief and loss. You are likely to feel an overwhelming sadness because your relationship is not what you thought it was. There is admittedly a sense in which your relationship can never be the same again. This is expected and must be embraced as inevitable. If you, your marriage and your sex life are to survive this juncture, it is critical that you seek to redefine your marriage. This involves acceptance of the affair (not approval) as an event of the past which cannot be altered. This process is, of course, a lot easier if your spouse cooperates in these efforts. Your spouse’s cooperation should involve total openness and honesty as well as accountability with respect to whereabouts and friendships. There must now be no more secrets, no lies and absolutely no attempts at deceit. When these conditions are met, the process of charting a new course for your relationship will be a whole lot easier. These factors are also necessary for the process of healing and mutual forgiveness to begin. The result is likely to be improved communication and greater levels of intimacy, which are often precursors to greater sexual passion and intensity.