• If you are in an intimate sexual relationship with a male survivor, there are likely to be many issues that surface. Your partner may avoid sex altogether; he may only want to engage in sex if he's in total control; he may believe sex is dirty and something you do with strangers; he may have no ability to combine sex with loving feelings; he may question his sexual orientation; he may struggle with the ability to become erect, stay erect or have orgasms; he may get triggered by certain sex acts or certain smells or sweat or body sensations during sex.

    If your partner suddenly withdraws or you sense him going away, stop the sex act immediately—he may or may not be able to tell you what he experienced, at least not right away. Be as patient as you can. All of these behaviors are common problems that a survivor experiences when he risks being sexual with another person.

    It's important to know that a survivor can learn how to combine sexual and emotional intimacy. Too many significant others or spouses spend years being neglected sexually because they are afraid to challenge their survivor partner. You have a right to get your needs met, and although you may think you are protecting your partner, in reality you are prolonging his recovery when you don't address sexual problems that arise. If you can, address them by saying: "I would like to feel closer to you, and at times, I feel blocked. I need your help to talk about my experiences with you." it's very different than, "You need to address that problem of yours."


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