So now that we should be getting a bit more comfortable reading and maybe even talking about sex, let’s move on to another important aspect of an intimate relationship; Trust. It’s obvious that “casual” relationships are much more common now than they were even 10-20 years ago. So what does that mean for a meaningful, intimate relationship? It means we have to work That Much Harder at it, and that meaningful, intimate relationship of yours will require much more trust.
For the most part, we’re all familiar with the basics of trust in a relationship, right? Don’t cheat, don’t lie, show support for one another, be emotionally open, be honest, etc. Well I’m going to go a bit deeper (no pun intended) by explaining how/why trust is important as it pertains to sex and intimacy.
The act of sex itself is first and foremost dependent upon trust. When we engage in sex with a partner, we trust them with our body and even our mind. We trust that they will embrace our body and not criticize what we personally notice and criticize ourselves. We trust that our partner will be genuine and not malevolent. We trust that our partner will treat us with respect before, during, and after sex. We trust that our partner will be open and honest about anything of importance we may need to know before hand (I’m referring to STI’s and contraceptives here). Personally, I feel that if my partner deceived me, the trust I had in him would be broken.
Now, back to the relationship itself; I mentioned above most of the basic areas for your partner hold your trust, but I recently came across something that I feel everyone should hear. This involves EVERY area of trust imaginable. Disclaimer: ladies, a man wrote this; but it’s so true! You just have to actually hear/read it for it to sink in. Are you ready for this? Well here it is: “I tell men that if they mess with a woman’s sense of trust, she’ll never get wet” (Dr. Robert Glover, ‘Women, Trust, and Sexual Desire’). How much more straightforward and to the point can you get!? With that though, I’m not saying that men are the only ones to break trust; women are completely capable of that as well!
Infidelity is the number one reason that trust is broken in a relationship. About 70 percent of married men admitted to cheating on their wives! Another study found that 2/3 of women are not aware of their husband's affair. But as I said, it’s not all the men being unfaithful: Most statistics found that about 50 to 60 percent of women admitted to having an affair (Foxnews.com).
Depending on the person, there are different scenarios that can play out after the affair:
- The partner who discovers the affair may want to have nothing to do with their partner sexually, and may not even want to be touched by their partner in general. This may be disgust by what the partner has done with another man or woman, or the wronged partner may feel like this is a good form of revenge for the affair.
- The partner who discovers the affair may want to resume the sexual life as normal, but once into it, they may begin having “flashbacks” to what they think may have gone one between their partner and the other person. This can cause emotional pain, fights, tears, and unwanted words between the couple.
- The partner who discovers the affair may want to continue the sexual life as before, but amped up. By this, I mean they want to have sex as much as possible, but this sex is different than what it was before. This sex is vengeful and intense, almost to the point of trying to hurt the other; I personally (among others, I’m sure) call this ‘hate sex’. (Susan Berger, MFT)
Despite what some people may say, infidelity is one of the hardest things to come back from when you’re trust is broken with your partner. When you lose trust, you lose that connection with your partner, and you lose the sex life you previously had. For some, that’s it, it’s over - there’s no coming back from the broken trust. For others, through therapy and hard work (individually and together), there’s a chance you can get that trust back with your partner, and have the spectacular sex life you once shared.