It is very hard for many couples wanting to heal after infidelity to be intimate without having mixed feelings or without feeling frustrated sad and angry. Most feel that it can never be the same as something very intimate and personal was shared by one spouse with someone outside the marriage.
When couples have these thoughts and feelings, they are correct. The marriage will never be the way it was before the affairs(s). Things have permanently changed and as the authors of many resources on infidelity point out, healing can happen with a lot of work, but some scars will remain. See for instance the following website which has excellent information for the betrayed as well as the betrayer http://www.healingafteraffairs-bloomington.info/infidelity/trauma-of-infidelity.html
Betrayed spouses often have unwanted visions of the spouse who betrayed them with the OP and of course that is an immediate turn-off. To “zone-out” might be perceived as a solution, but it is not a good one on the long-term if the couple wants to re-connect on all levels, emotionally as well as physically.
In many cases immediately after D-day, couples have more sex, followed by a time during which intimacy has dropped to be nearly or totally non-existent. In other cases, couples temporarily separate and gradually on seek a re-connection with better communication. That couples have initially more physical intimacy might be the result of having intense emotions which are feelings and sensations leading to a strong physical reaction and physiological changes (dictionary.com).
There are many reasons why people have sexual intimacy (sex)
1. Physical reasons: being bored and wanting excitement, stress relieve, exercise, being curious about the experience.
2. Goal based; wanting to conceive, increasing social status (wanting a promotion), wanting to become popular and wanting to hurt: revenge
3. Emotional reasons: wanting to feel connected, expression of love and commitment, wanting to give so the other feels good about themselves.
4. Insecurity: self-esteem: wanting attention, giving in to pressure, keeping a partner from straying
(Based on the studies by David Buss and Cindy Meston. All motivational factors could be summarised by the four mentioned above. Printed in Sciencedaily.com: University of Texas, 2007).
Although most of those in relationships would feel that #3 is the most beautiful reason to be physically intimate, the other reasons are provided as well during studies. (NB: more studies are needed to investigate this further).
That infidelity and in particular adultery affects negatively sexual intimacy in the marital relationship comes to no surprise. What can couples who want to heal do to increase the physical connection?
- being patient and caring by not placing pressure on each other
- communicating when intimate about feelings, wishes, desires and fears but keeping the communication positive.
- keeping a light on and looking at each other
- starting slowly with touching, massaging arms, legs, back and neck and experiencing the feelings (Massage: use massage oils you both like). (looking up “Sensate Focus” on the Internet which is about gradually increasing physical intimacy)
- Focusing on #3 to be intimate, not focusing on orgasm, but on connecting and feeling and pleasing
- for the betrayed spouse to focus on how the touching feels, by not allowing negative visions to intrude (staying in the present) and by talking to your spouse about what you like and responding to their questions on how you feel
I am searching for more relevant resources and will update this post,
in the meantime, take care,