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Hi Dr. Matt,
My name is Alex and I am from San Francisco, California. I would really appreciate it if you could help and offer some advice. I am helping a friend who is going through a series of problems. This topic is about his love AND sex addiction. Before I get to the questions in the end, I think it would be necessary to briefly explain to you about my friend.
My friend Brady is a 19 year old male who is just an average college student. He is very friendly, humorous, and talented. It is surprisingly to know that this great guy has problems that is affecting him and creating a path of destruction in his life.
Ten years ago, he was raped as a child. While the case has been settled, it still effects him until this day. Whenever he engages in a relationship, he loses the "spark" and is continuously on the search for a new partner (love addiction). After engaging in sexual acts with his partner and reaching climax, he says he loses feelings for his partner, and often feels shameful or even "dirty". I am convinced this is because of being raped in the past.
He has values and morals but they seem to be forgotten when he has a built up sexual desire and an opportunity to engage in sex with someone at the heat of the moment; he acts impulsively and is usually left feeling regretful, and thus, this unhealthy cycle continues.
1) I would like to know if there is any way he can have a healthy relationship that fulfills him both sexually and romantically.
2) I understand that after ejaculation, and the male undergoes the refractory period, feelings of desire are gone. Usually this is gained back after the refractory stage is over. But for Brady, he permanently loses attraction and feelings for his partner after sex, no matter how great the partner was. Is there a way to fix this? Thank you so much for your time and help!
God bless you,
Yes, there is a way to "fix this." You write that Brady "permanently loses attraction and feelings for his partner after sex, no matter how great the partner was."
This statement implies that when sex is "great" this should enhance "attraction and feelings." Unless a mature sense of Lasting Love is in place, the only attraction that great sex enhances is . . . the attraction to have more great sex -- an enticing attraction that goes up when sexual urges build up, and goes down when urges are released. This fits with what you have written:
"After engaging in sexual acts with his partner and reaching climax,
Because Brady is acting impulsively based upon built-up sexual urges, feelings for his partners are released whenever his built-up urges are released. This cyclical pattern points to the difference between sex versus love.
There are two types of LOVE that people can express through sexual intimacy: 1) The Love that Stands versus 2) the Love that Falls. The contrast between these Two Types of Love is explained in Dr Matt's Changing Your Stripes Manual. Elements of Attraction are also include in Dr Matt's Manual.
Human beings were created with sexual urges for a purpose: sexual intimacy was Divinely designed to be a Celebration between two people who have previously developed Committed and Lasting Love. When Lasting Love and Complete Commitment are in place BEFORE sexual relations commence, it is then that euphoric feelings of physical intimacy become most beautiful and bonding.
After sexual climax, you describe Brady's feelings as shameful, regretful and dirty — this is primarily because Lasting Love is not in place prior his impulsive decision to seek sexual relations. Brady is barking up the wrong tree to find fulfillment. Sex is not the tree that bears the fruit of fulfillment — it is Lasting Love that bears this precious fruit, with sexual intimacy being the Celebration of Lasting Love. Hence, having sex and making love are two different experiences.
The Commitment called Lasting Love is NOT planted, nurtured, or harvested by having sex; instead, it is planted by being friends first, then nurtured through mutual attraction based upon great communication and sharing core values, and harvested by knowing one another in non-sexual ways.
When partners harvest a mature sense of Lasting Love in its time and season, then when sexual celebration commences and climax occurs, committed partners bask in a comfortable afterglow directly because of their Lasting Love — great sex alone cannot create this afterglow.
Because Brady is NOT experiencing an afterglow, this suggests that Lasting Love is not in place. As for the connection between how Brady is behaving today and what happened to him yesterday, there are three principles that apply:
1) The impact of Past Trauma occurs meaningfully and NOT mechanically. Past Trauma does not mechanically "cause" Today's Behavior, overriding meaningful perception and choice in the Present. The impact of Past Traumas is manifest in the Present by the way we make meaning of the past Today.
2) Because Past Trauma does not mechanically "cause" Today's Behavior but impacts it by the way we perceive the past in the Present, this means the Past always exist in the Present -- by the way the Past is Re-Membered Today.
3) The Past impacts Today's Behavior as it is remembered (recalled) Today; and the Past impacts Today's Behavior by the specific way it is Re-Membered (perceptually put back together/interpreted) Today.
While the abuse Brady experienced 10 years ago does play a part in how Brady is making meaning of sex and love, Yesterday's abuse is not the primary source for Today's regretful, shameful, and dirty feelings. The fruit of love, joy, and peace grow on the same tree for everybody, and that fruit is consistently harvested by everyone sows the right seeds today — regardless of past abuses.
In my book Changing Your Stripes, I take 25 pages to explain how the Past impacts the Present, beginning with a section called "The Myth of Emotional Scars" (page 222), then "Re-Membering the Past" (page 228), and ending with a paradigm-shattering section called "Changing the Past" (p. 244)
The extent to which Brady's 10-year-old trauma impacts today's perceptions is better understood by exploring how Charles is making meaning of the past in the present. If you (or Brady) buy Changing Your Stripes for this particular webpage, you will receive a complimentary telephone or email consultation. I am happy to help!
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