3 of 4 LOVE Posts!
When You Don’t Want to be Touched
By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
So if touch is such an important part of connecting, and living, why do some of us not want to be touched and what can we do about it?
If we survey 100 moms of babies and toddlers, the top answers given for not wanting to be touched would probably be something like;
· I’ve been big and pregnant for 4 years (says the mother of 3 children under 5).
· I’m nursing.
· I’m working on like…., no sleep.
· I’M TIRED!
All very valid reasons!
The guys are thinking, well, I guess she’s right. All these things are true. They may feel very generous, having “sacrificed” their needs and desires because of these very valid reasons. They cope and try to be patient.
The woman, often trying to stay in her comfort zone, shuts down her passionate side, partly just naturally, because of those very valid reasons, but partly because she doesn’t want to send any messages to the man that there may be an open door.
Then we have a classic conflict emerging of, the woman feeling like the man doesn’t support her by just loving her, rubbing her shoulders, holding her hand, talking, etc. and feeling like any touch, flattery or nice gesture by him is an attempt to get his way for sex. The man feels like he is being totally rejected, can’t do anything right, and his needs must just be stuffed elsewhere until another phase of life.
The children are intermingled in everything. Daily life is centered around their needs, on the odd chance that the couple get a chance for a date, there are calls to check in, or the conversation just continually gravitates to the child issues. The baby and often even toddlers are wedged between mom and dad in the “family bed.”
These are all classic dynamics of an emotional/physical split between man and woman. But more on that in the final post next week.
Let’s explore some other reasons for not wanting to be touched or intimate.
1. One of the top reasons for not wanting to be touched and not wanting to be intimate is a history of sexual abuse as a child or sexual misuse or assault as a teenager. While it is true that some people who have these experiences respond by being hypersexual and developing sexual addictions, the first scenario is more prevalent.
a. You CAN overcome this issue! The perpetrator TOOK your innocence, your voice, your body, for a time. With work, self-love and love from others, you can take it back. The perpetrator does not have to have the power to take your pleasure, passion and enjoyment for your own body OR your intimate relationship with your spouse. Your body has so much to offer you. Take it back!
b. Seek support from a qualified psychotherapist. Look for a therapist who is interested in you becoming a complete person, individual, wife, mother…rather than one who wants to support you as a stuck victim. You will remain stuck if this is the type of therapist you choose. The therapist should also be qualified in working with sexual intimacy issues. If they are not, you may need to look for a different therapist or two therapists who compliment each other. A therapist who believes that a marriage should be a sexless marriage while you work on yourself for the next 6 months to 6 years should be able to recommend a good divorce lawyer as well. If the therapist is telling you that your husband has no right to expect anything of you during your “healing,” you are with the wrong therapist. A good husband, with a little guidance and support, can be the best part of your healing.
Ok. So that’s the big one, right off the top.
2. Second big one, you are married to a narcissist or someone who is abusive. Most women I know don’t like violent, aggressive, or demanded sex. If you are in this type of relationship, please reach out for help with a professional. You are at risk and your children are at risk as well.
Ok. That’s #2 biggie. Now let’s bring it down to every-day humdrum.
3. You’re body is not what it was in high school. It’s a reality that women go through body changes with age, pregnancy and birth, nursing, etc. It’s a myth that you are destined to a life of being 20 pounds over your pre-pregnancy weight, and adding 10 every year after. It’s hard to feel good in your body when you aren’t treating your body right. If you are self-conscious about how your body looks (of course, I’m not talking about someone with a body distortion disorder), it’s likely that you won’t feel like showing it bare naked to even your spouse. Best course of action…Get walking! Buy a $10 pedometer and challenge yourself to 10,000 steps a day. Walking has tons of physical and mental health benefits and it will spur you on to do other good things for yourself.
4. Your husband’s body is, well….not what it used to be. He might not care, but if you do, you are allowed to invite him walking. :)
5. Too many “i” things. If everyone is in front of a screen, you’ve drifted apart. Get out the cards. He’d be into strip poker. Sorry. Just sayin’, there are options. If you aren’t doing much in the way of intimate non-sexual things, don’t expect that your intimate sexual relationship is going to be soaring.
6. Too touchy or not touchy enough. Maybe you or he haven’t been vocal enough about what you both like. Devote a couple of dates to talking about intimacy. Be a very good listener. It’s ok to be specific.
7. Depression is a very big arousal and touch buster. Try to work to find the root and get professional support if you feel stuck in it.
8. Anger and unforgiveness is also a wall that comes between a couple. It will inevitably kill the passion that could be between the two of you. Who wants to touch someone they are mad at?
9. Other outlets like pornography and affairs are obvious barriers to intimacy.
10. Medications can be a cause of not wanting to be touched, and they can also be the cause of inhibited arousal. Check on any medications that you are taking if this is an issue.
1 of 4 – Parents and Valentine’s Day
2 of 4 – The Importance of Touch
2 of 4 – Removing Barriers to Open Ourselves to Love
4 of 4 – Couples Love
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