Spouse not wanting to be touched?

    I understand we are having glitches right now but couldn’t help asking…

    I feel like the roles are reversed in my relationship, generalizing. We have a lot to unpack as far as things to work through, and we are both motivated to improve so that is a positive. I think (&DH would agree) most of the problems stem from DH’s GAD, PTSD, LD prob due to ED, performance anxiety. We are beginning to talk about them which is a huge step. DH does say he feels intimidated by my drive(which I think isn’t extremely high to be honest, it’s just that his is so low).

    This question is about non-foreplay fondling. We hug daily as frequently as we are able, and sometimes he reaches for my breasts and rear which I encourage, but his parts are off limits. If I gently reach down for a quick “hi there” during a hug my hand gets pulled away, or he stiffens up and turns away. His package is only available to me when he has an erection, and so it’s been for our 16 years of marriage.
    I understand that the issues that I mentioned above are probably causing this specific problem and I am trying to get past my own feelings of “not fair!” to try and build trust, work through this, etc. 
    It seems like not a very big deal compared to the big picture problems, though we spoke a little bit about it last night and I told him that it hurt me, but I do understand he isn’t trying to hurt me. 

    Have any of you worked through something like this with your spouse? Have any of you had to just accept it?

    I’m guessing GAD = Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

    on August 14, 2020.

    Yes ✅

    on August 14, 2020.
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    9 Answer(s)

      Clearly I’m a dude, so the roles are reversed, but I think it is common for both genders to be a little touchy about having their non-aroused genitals spontaneously touched.

      You mention your breasts and butt, but how you would you feel if he did that with your vulva, or more specifically, your clitoris? Even as a HD male who loves having his flaccid genitals touched by his DW most of the time, an uninvited/unexpected visit can be rather shocking.

      Likewise, how does your DH respond to you grabbing his butt? That is much less intrusive, and starting there may yield better results. If he doesn’t even want that, then I’d start your conversation there, especially considering that he is grabbing yours. Also, it seems that LD individuals (or who knows, maybe all drives) tend to touch their partner the way they want to be touched.

      -Scott

      Under the stars Answered on August 14, 2020.

      I don’t mind him touching me there when not aroused, and he has at times, but he doesn’t appreciate me touching his butt either. I do get it that this may be relative, different in each relationship.

      on August 14, 2020.

      Ha, I can’t edit comments.
      Anyway.
      I guess I don’t feel I was being shocking or forward, just reciprocating.

      on August 14, 2020.

      Thanks for the quick response MrsNerd. I have a few other thoughts on this, particularly about the performance anxiety, but I’m short on time PLUS don’t want to get too many answers in this thread until the site bug is fixed, as you’ll be limited to “easily viewing” only 10 answers until then.

      -Scott

      on August 14, 2020.

      Thanks @Scott+Zelda, I will look forward to that.

      on August 14, 2020.
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        I wonder if he equates touching his penis with some expectation of it getting aroused and hard. He may take that as pressure because of his ED? I would maybe communicate that your touch comes with no expectations and it’s just an expression of the love of his body/parts. I’m a dude, so that’s a total shot in the dark answer. Lol

        King bed Answered on August 14, 2020.

        I guess I’m suspecting that, that it is tied into those issues. Good suggestion thanks.

        on August 14, 2020.
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          I don’t have any great solutions but I will gently disagree that “it’s not a very big deal compared to the big picture problems.” It’s one aspect of the bigger problems. My wife and I have a variation of this problem. It is painful and feels like rejection from your spouse every time. I’m sorry it is happening to you.

          A question (well, series of questions): You say you hug frequently. Does he initiate that? Is he generally comfortable with touch otherwise? Is it a love language for him at all? Does he spontaneously touch you (and your kids if you have them) and/or receive spontaneous touch easily? If he isn’t really that comfortable with touch overall, he will be even less amenable to casual intimate touching.

          Regardless, remember he is not rejecting you, even though it hurts.

           

          King bed Answered on August 14, 2020.

          Thank you, I agree that I think it’s probably an aspect of the other, bigger problems.
          He and I equally initiate hugs, he does like to be touched on his back or feet. I’m not sure about it being a love language, I think he’s more quality time. He isn’t a touchy-feely guy and his interaction with our kids reflects that.

          on August 15, 2020.

          Thanks for answering. It’s almost certainly tied to bigger problems, but if he’s not a touchy-feely guy generally, that’s probably also a contributing factor.  I hope for the best for you guys.

          on August 17, 2020.

          Thanks @Bill

          on August 20, 2020.
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            My initial thoughts….. is there a chance he was sexually abused?

            Also, ED can greatly affect men, and they can become refusers out of trying to save their pride…. could that be going on?

            Under the stars Answered on August 14, 2020.

            Yes, and yes. He/we have had counseling/therapy in the past which was helpful then but he isn’t open to counseling/therapy at this time.
            It could certainly be the ED.

            on August 15, 2020.

            I am not sure if the “yes” to sexual abuse is “yes he was”, or “yes it’s a possibility.”

            If it is “yes he was”, working through this is going to be mainly on him, definitely with him in the lead. If this was a woman who couldn’t perform OS, or have her husband restrain her hands, or do/receive any specific sexual act, because it caused flashbacks and triggers, I believe we would be advising for the husband to be loving, understanding, and potentially learn to live with it. I could see why this could be triggering to him if abuse happened. It might be more of a help to read around SA survivors and healing, than we can be here.

            Keep communication open. Keep praying over him, he definitely has strongholds and bondages, and those are spiritual issues that can only be broken through the spiritual, through the power of the Spirit. I absolutely believe that in Christ Jesus healing and wholeness is possible, or He isn’t who He says He is, it won’t necessarily be fast or easy, but it’s worth the fight.

            on August 15, 2020.

            Yes he had SA and while I’m not sure I trigger him(his triggers seem to be external pressures—job, relatives’ health etc), I do think it has hard-wired him for anxiety so I’m hoping to get past the anxious response.

            on August 16, 2020.
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              Does he pull back when you initiate or become too aggressive? Sometimes a man can get intimidated and it causes him to ‘clutch-up.’ If you have a HD than he does, it may take more equal footing for him to be ready for action. Just another thought!

              Under the stars Answered on August 15, 2020.

              I think he perceives any initiation by me that way. Says he begins to feel anxious and “you’re intimidating,” “I can’t please you” are the thought.

              on August 15, 2020.

              Has he verbalized those feelings? You wrote ‘says he’ and ended with ‘are the thought.’ Talk with him about how he responds. If may be awkward, yet it’s important for deep understanding, appreciation, and acceptance (it’s ok – maybe it will change, maybe not – that’s ok, too) of his angst when you initiate. It may enable you and he to feel good and comfortable if during the heat of sexual intimacy you are able to take the lead – his state of arousal will match your aggressiveness.

              on August 16, 2020.

              Yes sorry he has verbalized that.
              Thanks. I’ll be bringing it into our conversations.

              on August 16, 2020.
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                @MrsNerd, I understand, to a certain extent, what you are talking about. Is your DH a quieter, more reserved person? Mine is. We will hug and kiss during the day, but it’s always initiated by me. He is so on edge that someone will see, if I try and touch his package. I’ve also hugged him many times, where it wasn’t reciprocated. When I finally asked him how he could keep his hands stiffly by his sides, or crossed over his chest, while his wife hugged him, he didn’t know. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He also takes his job of making a living, very seriously and if things aren’t going quite right, it stresses him greatly and he becomes preoccupied. I have gotten to the point, that I tell him he can gladly put his arms around me when I am hugging him. It has improved, though.

                DH also had some sexual trauma in his teen years. However, he never talked about it much, nor thought it affected him. But, I can sure see it now, once it was explained to me, how much damage was done, and how it has affected his perception of some sexual things, and of course, our whole marriage bed. Things that are normal for other males, that he simply doesn’t/can’t enjoy like they can. I believe some healing has happened and I like to believe more will happen, yet.

                DH doesn’t like it if I initiate too much. I believe it makes him pull back. He says thats not my job, since my sexual desire is mostly responsive. I am also careful not to spring any sexual surprises on him. It just doesn’t go over well. He doesn’t even like it if I touch his package while he is sitting in the living room. Too on edge that someone might see! I tell him I have my eye on the doorway and I will notice, but that isn’t good enough for him!

                I could write a lot more, but I will stop there. I hope everything works out for you and know that I am praying!

                Under the stars Answered on August 15, 2020.

                Thank you for the prayers and I appreciate your perspective!

                on August 16, 2020.
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                  No, I haven’t experienced anything like that. In fact, I love to touch and be touched by DW.

                  Like SC, I wondered if SA was part of his history and a concern over not being able to perform well enough for you.

                  How does it go when you guys try to talk about these things?  How about counseling?

                  It seems he is on guard. (a bit like Brynna’s DH seems to be) Have there been times where he has let his guard down? or when your exuberance or sexiness helped him get carried away?

                  Have there been times in your 16 years – like in the early years – where he was more open to your touching? Or certain times? Like when he was getting horny?

                   

                  Under the stars Answered on August 15, 2020.

                  Yes, the SA I think contributed to his being hard-wired for anxiety. We/he has had counseling and therapy for his anxiety and he is in a much healthier place the last few years, but he’s unwilling to have more counseling/therapy at this time. I’ve felt like his prickly non-sexual responses to me physically are just SPD probably, anxiety and performance anxiety. Thankfully we have good conversations. He’s a loving husband, wants to please me and consider my perspective so I suspect and hope that with time I can retrain his responses to have little to no anxiety or at least communicate appropriately(which is hard to do in fight or flight) at those times.
                  He is certainly open to being touched when horny, and I think there have been times when he’s been more open to touching, when he’s randomly not feeling anxious. I’m generalizing of course.

                  on August 16, 2020.

                  He’s a loving husband, wants to please me and consider my perspective so I suspect and hope that with time I can retrain his responses to have little to no anxiety or at least communicate appropriately(which is hard to do in fight or flight) at those times.

                  That is an encouraging statement! He seems to have his issues – which likely are not his own fault. So, continue to work at getting into his heart. That may open him up emotionally sexually for you!

                  on August 22, 2020.
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                    As a man, I get that this sort of response is much more common from wives than husbands, but then again, when you have the higher drive, most of the conventional wisdom is reversed. All that said, in addition to not being super crazy about me fondling her, my DW used to be super reserved about any touch that could be perceived by me as sexual except when she was pursuing sex. A boyfriend in high school (the guy before me) had told her that it’s not nice to start something you don’t intend to finish. This came out in conversation between us last year, and we really spent time processing its impact on her. I’ve made clear that I enjoy some sexual touch even when it’s not leading anywhere right now—it keeps the fires burning (and builds tension leading to our next sexual interaction). It’s taken her some time, but she’s become more willing to engage me in that way (and let me touch her that way too).

                    That may or may not help, but I do believe that talking it through, in a safe time and place without judgement or criticism of you DH could be helpful. However, sexual conversations are far more effective when you have regular intimate (deep/vulnerable, not specifically sexual) conversations in your marriage. Keep working the communication angle, even if you pursue other approaches.

                    Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on August 16, 2020.

                    Thank you, lots to implement and think about.

                    on August 16, 2020.
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                      Update:
                      We’ve had such good conversations and I would say things are optimistic right now.

                      Hammock Answered on August 20, 2020.

                      Good to hear!

                      on August 20, 2020.
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