Antonio consulted with me because of problems he was having in his marriage. He was very distressed that his wife, Cynthia, never wanted to have sex with him.
In the course of our work, it became apparent that Antonio was very judgmental of himself. Throughout a day he was constantly telling himself how inadequate he was. "You certainly messed that up." "You are such a jerk." "You never do anything right." "What's the matter with you?" "You're a loser." His wounded self was totally in charge, trying to have control over getting Antonio to do everything right in order to get others' approval.
The ubiquitous self-judgment meant that his inner child felt constantly abandoned, which created intense aloneness and emptiness within Antonio. This made Antonio dependent upon others to fill him up and make him feel good.
He was especially dependent on his wife. In his belief system, if Cynthia wanted to have sex with him, it meant he was okay — not a loser. Having sex with Cynthia filled Antonio for the moment. In his mind, it was Cynthia's job to make him feel good with sex.
Because Antonio wanted to use Cynthia as an addictive way of taking away the pain of the aloneness and emptiness that he was creating with his self-judgment, he could not see her as a person. She was an object to be used, not a woman to be loved. He could not love her when he was not loving himself, because when he needed her to fill him up, he just wanted to control her, and would get angry when she didn't want to have sex with him.
As long as Antonio was treating himself so badly, he could not help but treat Cynthia badly. As long as he was abandoning himself with his self-judgments, he could not help but treat Cynthia as an object to make him feel better.
Is it any wonder that Cynthia was not turned on to him?
When we first started working together, Antonio believed that there was something wrong with Cynthia's sexuality. And whenever he reverted to his self-judgment, he would again think that the problem was with Cynthia's sexuality. But over and over, whenever he was loving to himself and sharing his love with Cynthia, he found her to be far more open sexually.
Many people, both men and women, do not feel turned on to a person when they feel objectified and used. Take a look at your own experience. Is it a turn-on for you when someone just wants to use you for their own gratification? Do you find it erotic when you feel pulled on to fill up the other's emptiness?
It was not easy for Antonio to connect his own self-judgment/self-abandonment with his meager sex life. It took time for him to notice that the moment he judged himself, he wanted to have sex to take away the aloneness and emptiness that he created with his self-judgment. He could have used another addiction to fill up and avoid the pain of his self-abandonment — food, drugs, alcohol, spending, work, TV, gambling, and so on. But since, in his experience, it was sex that made him feel the best, this became his primary addiction. Second to sex was approval, which he constantly pulled for with others. In his belief system, someone had to take away the emptiness that he didn't want to know he was causing.
With much Inner Bonding work, Antonio finally became aware that he was capable of loving himself and sharing his love with others. He was delighted to discover that Cynthia now enjoyed being physically intimate with him. And surprised to discover that sex was not nearly as important to him as it used to be!
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: "Loving Relationships: A 30-Day at-Home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul —
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To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" — the first two weeks are free! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
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