Exclaimer: This article does not focus on emotional or mental recovery after infidelity. Furthermore, before you choose to have sex with a partner who has been unfaithful, make sure that you have regained back trust and are comfortable with it emotionally and mentally.
A majority of people find it difficult to have sex with their partner after they have been cheated on. This is absolutely normal. It could be because of the broken trust or because they keep imagining their partner with another person. It could even be that they start doubting their ability to satisfy their partner in bed. However, one fact is certain. You are aware your partner has been unfaithful and you have made the DECISION to remain in the relationship. Therefore, you have to tackle each aspect of having a fulfilling relationship including engaging in sexual contact. There are three stages that might aid the road to sexual recovery in a relationship.
Stage One: Start With Your Mind
As I mentioned before, you have a made a decision. Now you have to prepare your mind to follow through. You have to understand that it is not going to be easy and you might find it very challenging. Before you even attempt to have sexual contact, make sure that you are in the process of fixing the emotional and mental aspects that the infidelity caused you. If your mind is not ready, it will not even be bearable let alone enjoyable. If you’re struggling with this, remember you’re your partner is a human being. It is very important to fully understand that no one is perfect. You can also try relationship counselling or therapy. If you don’t have access to a therapist/psychologist/counsellor, a third party like a pastor or trusted impartial friend.
You also need to think of sex as a way of getting closer to your partner. It is not a duty or ploy to keep them. It is a way to be completely open with each other and lose yourselves in each other. It is a way to remember fun times and relive pleasurable moments. It might be hard for both parties to get aroused after one has been unfaithful. The person who cheated might also be feeling scared and nervous. Therefore, doing things to get aroused might be necessary. Some people find that repeated foreplay helps with this. By repeated foreplay, I mean foreplay that does not necessarily lead to sex. Weeks of just massages, kissing etc can lead to good sex eventually. Another useful tip to regain your sexual confidence is by understanding that the fault is not on you or your lack of “bedroom skills”.
Finally, don’t put pressure on yourself or partner. You have all the time in the world.
Stage Two: Communication
Arguably, the most important thing to remember is to communicate. Explain to your partner that you are struggling with the idea of intimacy because of what happened. DO NOT re-open accusations if you are trying to move on and make your relationship work. And also remember that your partner is trying to change and only wants to be with you. If your partner instigates sex and you don’t feel up to it yet even after communicating this previously, a good phrase to say is: “I’m sorry babe. I just need a bit more time.”
You can also add “I would love a cuddle though” but that is if you want one.
A good thing to do is to have physical contact while saying this. Hold your partner’s hand or kiss them wherever you feel comfortable. Men who have been cheated on can find this communication aspect more difficult than women. If you have a problem saying how you are feeling, it is a good idea to write it. A note or letter can be a way of getting it out without feeling more vulnerable.
When communicating, remember that abuse is not acceptable at this stage. When you found out they cheated, you can scream all the abuse under the sun. But at this stage, no more. Refer to your partner by terms of endearment especially in the bedroom.
Stage Three: Action
The first time you have sex with your partner after they cheated, you mind will most likely be on the other person they slept with. You have to remember not to compare yourself to the other person/people. Remain in the moment. Try to enjoy being with your partner and whatever you might be doing. Some people might try to overcompensate by doing all the tricks in the world. Others might be the opposite and be so conscious of the situation, that they may do nothing at all. Just try to take things slowly. You might find that you don’t go through with it, burst out crying or even start shouting. If you experience any of these or similar, just stop and communicate as explained in the Communication stage. Gradually, it will happen. Remember to take it easy and one day at a time.
Some might be reading this thinking that they have been unfaithful. Below are just a few points to help you get through this difficult time as well.
If You Were the Unfaithful Partner
It is very important that you do all you can to show that you care. BE PATIENT as it might take a long time for them to want to reconnect sexually. However, communicate more to your partner, plan romantic escapades and make your partner happy. Remind your partner of who they fell in love with. If you can, book a holiday away together. This is the perfect time to reconnect especially away from children and stressful lives.
When you do reconnect sexually again, be very sensitive. It is very likely that your partner would be thinking about your infidelity during sex. Therefore give positive affirmations. Don’t just keep saying random things like “you’re beautiful” or “this feels nice”. Say how much you are enjoying it, say how much you LOVE your partner (if you do), say how much you appreciate that they are with you and are willing to share their body with you. This has to come from the heart, therefore you will have to think of ways to say these yourself. To sum this up, remember to go slow, be gentle and be considerate.
In conclusion, sex after infidelity is hard. However, if you are willing to make your relationship work, it is something that you will most likely have to do as a couple. Therefore, put time and effort into it like you are with all the other aspects of your relationship.
Photo Credit: tonyatko.com
Ola Fakoya is a senior clinical Advisor and CEO of Powerrus. She is interested in the globalisation of healthcare, and is an advocate for healthy living. Powerrus is a healthcare advisory service that offers worldwide healthcare service comparison for international clients. You can follow her on Twitter @Powerrus2 or at www.powerrus.co.uk