improving your sex life after the affairThere’s been some lively discussions lately from one of our posts, and I felt compelled to comment, but as usual, I got a little long-winded, and decided to turn this into a post instead.

The discussion pertains to a person who is comparing his affair relationship with the one he has with his wife and is struggling with the choice between staying with his wife or with the OP. 

One of the issues is that there is a serious lack of intimacy (sex) within his marriage—predominantly due to his wife’s lack of sexual desire.

Honestly Doug could have written many of the same things that this person has and it breaks my heart knowing that I was the same kind of wife at one point. It is something that is very difficult to think about, but I want you to know that it has a lot more to do with how I was feeling at the time rather than not being a sexually adventurous woman.

I have learned so much these last two years about how women and men view sex.  I feel that I was  uneducated about Doug’s needs as far what he needed from me physically, just as Doug was unaware what I needed in order to feel loved and cared for.

This created a situation that began to spiral out of control, where we both began to feel unloved and undesired and began to blame each other for our unhappiness. Obviously, all of this doesn’t work well for a relationship.

I don’t want to use this as an excuse, but I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to be sexual.  Doug had been my one and only sexual partner. 

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I was a Catholic school girl (you know how the song goes) and in the beginning of our relationship our sex was more about quantity rather than quality – usually after consuming too much alcohol!  I didn’t have much confidence even after we got married to do anything out of the norm, as I was afraid that I would look stupid.

Being a mom twenty-four hours a day wasn’t the best aphrodisiac either.  Gaining a few pounds here and there didn’t help, and always keeping one eye on the bedroom door to see which kid might wander in really hindered the passion.

I know that Doug would say I was beautiful, he found me attractive etc., but I would often wonder if he was just saying that to get sex because his actions outside the bedroom reflected a different opinion. I felt that he didn’t care for me and would rather spend his time doing other things than be with me.  Just as he felt I didn’t care for him any longer, I believed I was at the end of his list.

After I found out about the emotional affair and I began to read books and explore why I felt this way, I began to understand that I didn’t hate sex and I wasn’t frigid.  There was a lot more to it. This knowledge set me free and I gained more confidence in myself sexually.

I adapted a “what the hell” attitude and focused on the pleasure that I was receiving.  I also felt closer to Doug than I had in years because of everything we were going through during and after the affair.  We were talking, spending time together, and we were feeling a lot of intensity as we were trying to decide what to do.  All of this was very good for our sex life.

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As someone had mentioned before in the beginning of our recovery, our physical relationship went over the top. Almost like two people wondering if each time would be our last. (similar to how you feel when you are in an affair)  Now sex has become something very exciting and special.

My words of advice…Don’t let a lousy sex life necessarily be a reason for an affair – or a divorce.  There had to be some sexual spark there at some point in your relationship.  Discuss the situation with your spouse and find out where the disconnect is and what each of your romantic and sexual needs are  and try to bring that spark back.  It may take some work but it can be well worth it for obvious reasons.


    15 replies to "Improving Your Sex Life After the Affair"

    • Ann

      OMG!!! This article is so me! I went thru and have experience the same thing. Thanks for putting this out there. It’s comforting to know there is someone in my similar situation and I was not being paranoid ( my dh words)

    • michael

      That is mostly the only thing a man needs to hear. Yes.

      I know there are more women that turn to this blog then men. But as a betrayed husband I thought I would share. After all, most betraying husbands will focus on what they aren’t getting from their wife and not what they are.

      During my wife’s affair, I had mentioned my physical needs one day. Her response was “well I took care of you last weekend, sorry it can’t be more.” What does a man do with that?

      As a betrayed wife, you can connect with him on a physical level to win him back over, that is if he isn’t physical with someone else.

      As a man how to I connect with someone emotionally when their emotions are focused elsewhere?

      • Shaun

        You can’t. This is the most damaging and hurtful aspect of a wife’s infidelity in my opinion. It’s a complete and utter rejection of you as a man on every level and often times you’re the leader in the bedroom. So how do you lead when everything they’ve done has destroyed your faith in yourself as a leader and their faith in you as a leader? I wish more women truly appreciated this.

    • karen

      Right there with you, Linda, word for word. For me, the book Love and Respect helped me immensely to understand what my husband needed and to define what I needed as far as love from him. I’m sure there are many other books – this should be required reading for all couples!!!!

    • Bella

      It’s been 4 months and I feel like hell. It’s a daily occurence. I felt unhappy for a long time before my husband was unfaithful. I was ignored and shut out emotionally. I tried so many different things to bring him out and connect with me, but none worked and I slowly lost interest in sex. Why is it that no one talks about why women lose interest in sex? Then my mom died and I don’t remember much else for a long time. I know from years before, my husband’s focus was work and it’s accompanying travel. He engaged in our married life together and the life of our kids if I planned it, communicated it and nagged him. It just didn’t seem like it was a priority to him. I always planned everything and he joined when he was in town or felt up to it. …and no, his preferences were not my concern after a while – I just gave up. I seldom planned what he liked or wanted. I resigned myself to the fact that marriages change and that’s just the way it is. Should I have had an affair? I’ve read 3 books by Dr. Harley, ordered several others and endless articles and posts online – but my thoughts torment me every day!!! When will I ever feel good again? I see from some posts that spouses still struggle after two years…two years!!! When does it ever get better? I’m paranoid, sad, disappointed, frustrated and am so tired or this rollercoaster. When does it get better?

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Wow Linda, you were able to summarize paragraphs of my rambling in one succinct paragraph. Nice job 🙂

      Michael – my wife hadn’t said it quite that bluntly, but the same intent was there. Not using that as an excuse for my own actions, but you’re right, “What does a man do with that?”.

      I COMPLETELY agree with that downward spiral – I imagine that is a rather common occurrence in troubled marriages.

      Your post gives me hope Linda – that you seemed to have had some of the same issues and was able to learn how to overcome them is a source of hope to me. Like I said in one of my posts, I haven’t been terribly optimistic that that can or will change. But it certainly seems like I need to give it that chance and then make a decision – or hopefully, the decision will be made for me (in a good way)

      How did adopt that “what the hell” attitude? Is there a specific book that helped you gain more confidence sexually? How were you able to communicate to Doug what you needed to feel more sexual and adventurous?

      • Doug

        inthemiddleofit. to be honest I can’t say that one thing or book helped to turn around our intimacy and in the beginning Doug did not handle my turn around very well. His thinking was all of this was a little too late and that was very difficult for me to handle, as a result I took a lot of blame for his affair.
        Here is the most important advice I can give you when or if you do decide to tell your wife and that is to look at your situation very carefully and be educated and aware how your behaviors contributed to the loss of intimacy in your relationship. Doug was in the middle of an affair fog and it was difficult for him to acknowledge how his actions contributed to our downfall. It took him a long time to admit he was equally responsible for all the problems in our marriage. Our healing would have been much easier if I would have not felt totally at fault and guilty about the kind of wife I was.

        As I said I am not really sure how and why the turn around happened. One reason I felt closer to Doug than I had felt for a long time. He really talked and listened to me and that made me feel that he cared about me. (even though he was involved in an affair, which was strange) I also let go of all the old resentments, I realized that I couldn’t really love him until I let it go. Another, I had lost a few pounds, bought sexy underwear, exercised a lot, began taking care of myself and began going out with friends. All of these things gave me a new confidence. For the first time since the children had been born I truly put myself first and it felt amazing. From there it spiraled into a very good thing. As my confidence and our relationship grew so did our sex life. I started reading books about how to be a better lover, not only for Doug but for myself, I planned “special” evenings for us. It was strange because my self esteem as a wife took a big hit but my confidence as a lover soared. I figured there was no where for me to go but up. lol
        I am sure that you have learned as easy our assumptions and misconceptions can ruin a marriage and wonder why we didn’t just communicate about all of these things. I believe it is a difficult subject, uncomfortable to discuss with your spouse. The one thing we have learned is we constantly talk about these issues. Everything is out in the open. Linda

    • Jeffrey Murrah

      It is imperative that sex resume after an affair. This is not just about physical intimacy. The sexual act is a sign that the two of you are emotionally intimate as well. It signals that the two of you are on the ‘same wavelength’.

      Avoiding it does not improve the situation, but instead creates further problems. After the affair, assuming the couple decided to restore their marriage, they will need to learn how to deal with ‘increased’ intimacy. This ‘increased’ intimacy will inevitably lead to more sex.

    • Donna

      I find what Jeff had to say interesting. My husband says he is “in love” with the OW, loves me, but not as it should be. Yet, we have the most amazing intimacy going on. My husband made the comment aboutit that it is weird that we connect so well like this, you would think it would be one of the first things to go. In our case, it has been the complete opposite. We were good before, but now… WOW!

    • Anne

      Wow, Linda, you did describe a lot of what went on in my marriage as well! Funny how sometimes things are considered stereotypes because they’re TRUE, huh?

      We had the same gradual decline, no kids, but very stressful jobs, and a big turning point in the wrong direction was having opposite work shifts for several months. During that time we never saw each other, not really even on the weekends because he was asleep when I was awake, then when he woke up I was ready for sleep. Needless to say, the arousal schedule did not match up then either. It became normal to spend time apart, and it became normal to not have that physical connection. That just kept getting worse.

      I also did eventually give up on improving the physical intimacy in our marriage after a long time of trying and being rebuffed at every turn. For a while there leading up to D-day, he would even turn me down when I initiated! Sounds nuts, but he’s since admitted that didn’t work well with the “poor me” game he was playing in his head, and of course it didn’t work with the “poor baby” game the OW was playing.

      For us, we never stopped wanting to spend time together though, and we remained best friends. We were both missing that other connection, and it did cause problems more and more over time.

      For me, a huge factor in the turnaround in wanting to make love more often was a deep and overwhelming relief! Odd, again, but stay with me. For months, years really, I’d known something was going wrong, but no matter what I said or did or yelled or begged or screamed, I couldn’t change it and I couldn’t figure it out. He didn’t hesitate to bring it up, say it was my fault, and use it against me either, which kept the poison circulating within me. I’m no saint here, I did sometimes turn that pain against him and refuse sex even when I would have enjoyed it. On top of that, my husband was secretive about a lot of other things during that time, and I was frequently waiting to find out what he was hiding next. I never truly expected an affair. Yes, when we’re in love, we can be that trusting.

      Once it all came out and I took some time to really recover within myself and get my bearings, I was so relieved to know that I was NOT crazy, that I hadn’t been imagining the whole thing, and that there was actually something we could do to stop the horrible drift between us. That relief, combined with him finally opening up and talking and being honest, and the intense closeness from all of that talking, did revive my libido. At first it was the super-woman thing, but after that passed and we’ve really reconnected, it’s been much more fulfilling and steady, and yes, damned hot!

      One other thing is for years I felt like we had sex not nearly enough, but that we hardly ever made love at all. Once in a while it would break back through somehow, just often enough to make me even more heartbroken that it was gone. Now, even the quickies are intense and so satisfying, I never would have believed it.

      It is a LOT of hard work, and I would NEVER recommend an affair to liven things up. It’s far too painful, and the risk of ending your marriage forever is too high. Since it did happen though, we’ve both learned (and are still learning every day) how to make the best of the whole thing and move forward together.

      inthemiddleofit, if you don’t give yourself, your wife, and your marriage that chance, and give yourself that chance clear of the affair fog, you may very well regret it once real life comes in to the affair relationship with mortgages and jobs and bills and kids and blended families and stress and guilt. Many people who end up with their affair partner do.


    • Lee

      Jeffrey Murrah
      It is imperative that sex resume after an affair. This is not just about physical intimacy. The sexual act is a sign that the two of you are emotionally intimate as well. It signals that the two of you are on the ‘same wavelength’.
      Avoiding it does not improve the situation, but instead creates further problems. After the affair, assuming the couple decided to restore their marriage, they will need to learn how to deal with ‘increased’ intimacy. This ‘increased’ intimacy will inevitably lead to more sex.

      To Jeffrey and Donna…

      What does sex a week after learning of a 3+ emotional affair communicate to my H? He has been beggining me. We have been separated over three months yet having sex when dating with attempt to repair marriage, which he was talking with OW all this time, even AFTER our counseling sessions and same day as sex with me. So, needless to say I feel extremely BETRAYED since he has been blatantly lieing to me all these months. His “excuse” or reasoning is that he didn’t know if he wanted the marriage. SO WHAT?! If you haven’t made a decision which way to turn, don’t move.

      Ok… the point. He has surgery today, and I am caring for him this weekend. Yes, I want to be with him intimately though am scared spitless! Yes, I will play it by ear, though I want to know my thoughts PRIOR to being placed in that situation. QUESTION: Does sex at this point communicate: 1) I love you and appreciate your honesty and willingness to commit to us, OR 2) It’s not that bad since I’m still having sex with my wife.

      When I ask why he wants sex, he says because he loves me, though he cannot tell me why he loves me and gets annoyed with the “feeling” questions and changes the subject. I told him to go the hand route. Well, he broke his dominant hand, which is quite funny to me at this point.

      Please HELP!!

    • TLC

      OK I just don’t understand any of this emotional affair stuff. My husband was somewhat obsessed with his OW. This OW knew us both well and was good friends with us both. So of course I lost not only my husband but also a dear friend. 3.5 months have gone by and have been through so much emotion that I gave up. I wished them both well and accepted the situation and decided to move on raring my two boys. Now he is interested in me. Wanting to know what I am doing, who I am with etc. Visited me tonight to drop son off and we were sexually attracted to each other hence a little fun but no serious love making. I didn’t bring her up as I felt it just wasn’t her time. Now I am not sure what I want as I was just starting to get use to the idea of a new life and happiness. How should I handle this situation as I never want to go through the hurt again yet I am still his wife so why am I the one that feels guilty. Is this a control thing from him or is he seriously liking me again. How do I tell and how should I handle the contact with him now? so confused.

    • workingonmyself

      Have fun with while it lasts. But I wouldn’t invest my heart back into it. He will be interested until he’s not again. If you commit yourself to him he will become less interested again. Just my opinion.

    • Sarah

      TLC, I went thro’ the exactly same emotions as you…my advice: be selfish, think of yourself, please yourself, it’s your right to have sex with him, please yourself, it will help you emotionally, koz you might go unstable without it, some people do! 😉 But keep up your life, please yourself, build your self esteem, renew contact with friends and family, take this affair as an opportunity to concentrate yourself on other things, including career, maybe… my husband also wanted to reconnect with me when I did that, but still it is not enough for him to stop his affair, if you can connect back, it’s better for your marriage, but in your mind, protect yourself so that you can never be hurt again and don’t compromise, NEVER DO THAT, on your personal fulfilment and happiness… Only YOU can make YOURSELF happy, so remember, do and don’t let other people control you or manipulate you… they’ve decided to do wrong, it’s their fault..

    • LJK

      I wonder if anyone has experienced this…initially when my husband ended his EA (about 6 weeks ago) our sex life was great! (mind you, we had not had sex for over a year). A week ago we had an amazing night (I’d say one of the best ever), but since that night, three times he has been unable to “complete the act” shall we say. Of course this makes me extremely nervous…does he not find me desirable? Let me add that when we stopped having sex a year ago, it was because he was having some difficulties then. I know we need to talk about it, but I’m wondering if anyone has gone through this?

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