I'm just a gal who caint say "No" - I'm in a terribul fix
January 26, 2013 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Sex and social life is all screwy. FWB, hookups, extreme libido - need help!

I will bold my particular issues.

So 2 years out of my sexless and loyal marriage, I have an excessive libido. I want sex all the time, even after I've just had it. As an example, my FWB was determined to break all records with me, and even after a mad 36 hours of sex, I wanted more. And as a truly unbelievable twist, despite years of trying (really, I have) I rarely achieve orgasm through masturbation. I just end up more frustrated. Yes, I have a toy. Yes, I have practiced with a number of different techniques. I really don't think masturbation is going to be the solution to my problem.

And this brings me to problem 2. I know my FWB is not good for me. Oh, he's a lovely guy, and extremely awesome in bed, but he's very open and honest about his agenda which is twofold: to have sex with as many women as he can while he's single, and to find a permanent partner /wife (which I don't rate as). While I'm okay with the first, mostly, I really don't like the competition and the possibility that any one of the women he sleeps with may mean the end of my relationship with him. I've tried to end it twice but - sex!

So thirdly, get another sex partner right? But in two years of internet dating, I've mostly experienced crappy dates, or one-night stands (icky - not good for me emotionally - but because I want sex I do it anyway), and oh, nice things like dates who I did have sex with but who turned into platonic friends instead and who do not want to go back there. I have no idea how people get married within 12 months of their spouse dying - the logistics of it blow my mind.

Okay, about me? I'm mid 40s. I have a pleasant face (according to one of my plato-guys), and my FWB assures me I'm incredibly sexy even tho overweight (and losing consistently last 3 months). I'm self employed, sense of humour, independent, live alone, have multiple interests, can converse about just about anything, kind, smart - I wouldn't say I'm a catch, but neither am I terrible.

Added difficulty? Depression & social anxiety (mostly controlled by medication but aggravated by loneliness and upset with dating situation) and ADHD.

So I need to stop seeing FWB, I know I do. I need to stop picking up randoms on the internet and having sex with them. Yep. These are things I stop doing. Tell me what I need to start doing.

Throwaway email: m0j012358@gmail.com

PS Yes, I have recently had an STI test.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might consider talking to a therapist, as this sounds more like addictive behavior than "only" a strong libido.
posted by ellF at 8:22 AM on January 26, 2013

I don't think this sounds like addictive behavior at all! I think you may think your libido is excessive because you spent much of your life in a sexually unfulfilling relationship, but it doesn't really sound like it, to me. I know you'll hate me for saying this, but as a fellow high-libido-having lady... you just need to keep trying to date.

Do you dislike the fwb thing because you know it will end, because you resent him for not choosing you, or because you're falling for him?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:40 AM on January 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm seconding talking to a therapist. I assume that you have a psychiatrist that is monitoring your meds? If not, you need a psychiatrist to monitor your meds first and a therapist second. Therapists can spend more time with you talking about your goals, outlooks, solutions etc... Many meds have compulsive behavior as a side-effect.

There's nothing wrong with a vigorous sex life with the occasional ultra-marathon session. Nevertheless, you are of the opinion that it's causing trouble in your day-to-day life from what I read here and that's why talking to a therapist could help you figure things out. Whether or not this is sex addiction, which seems to be the unspoken question here, isn't a question of how many hours you went at it once. It's a matter of 1) how much of your life is getting neglected while you have sex and 2) whether or not you can stop when you see that things are going wrong.
posted by Skwirl at 8:58 AM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think you could entertain the idea that it is addictive behavior. It may or may not be, but I would not think that it would hurt to at least examine things through that lens and see if that helps. There are a couple of "anonymous" programs that are focused around this, "Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous" and "Sexaholics Anonymous". I believe that sex is one way that people ameliorate anxiety which is perfectly fine. If you find your current sexual patterns obstructive to your well being there are certainly lots of things to do about it. Therapy and/or anonymous programs seem like a good place to begin. Good luck to you.
posted by jcworth at 9:28 AM on January 26, 2013

I have a high libido and I don't have sex with people I consider "icky", or who leave me in worse condition emotionally. I think your focus on how you have to repeat those behaviours because you "need" sex is a bit of a red herring. This goes beyond just wanting to get laid. You're engaging in self destructive behaviour and it's important for you to understand why in order to stop. If it's not something you can uncover on your own, that's what therapy is for.
posted by Dynex at 9:35 AM on January 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

There's lots of different psychiatric things that could be going on here, FWIW. Skwirl mentions that some psych meds have compulsive behavior as a side effect, which is true. Also: antidepressants can cause mania in some people, and hypersexuality is a really common symptom of mania. Also also: for some people with depression, sex is a sort of self-medication. ("This feels good when everything else feels shitty.") And so on.

So yes, talk to your psychiatrist about this stuff. (And if your antidepressant prescription comes from a general practitioner, start seeing a psychiatrist about it instead. GPs tend not to be up to speed on all the complications and side effects and so on that these things can have.)
posted by and so but then, we at 9:39 AM on January 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

I think you are grieving change. Sex and intimacy are important! That fwb guy isn't going to get you what you need.

I doubt this is an addiction, so much as you are catching up on lots of lost time, re-discovering yourself, and filling the space that must be left by the end of your marriage (did your spouse pass away? loss of a marriage leaves a lot of space to fill, either way...)

You're an adult. You can have sex.

If you address your emotional needs (or just acknowledge and embrace them, sometimes we deny we're grieving and processing things) I predict you'll be able to exercise better boundaries and ditch that fwb guy if he's making you feel badly (and he sure seems to be.)

I'm not against lots of sex, even with "randoms" if you are an adult and you're not being exploited. Sorry, I can't speak directly to that, other than to say I bet the activity will naturally die down when you are done grieving and you feel OK emotionally.

I don't know how long your marriage was, but I got divorced after bring with someone less than a decade, and I spent at least a few years getting out there afterwards. Unless you've had a different partner every night or they are high risk assignations, ah, I'm not sure I see the problem with hook-ups. Maybe you can explain if/how they are a problem, or if it is just too many partners overall than you feel comfortable being with?

It also could be hormonal. Maybe see a doctor and get your levels checked?

In the meantime, address your grieving process and emotional needs. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to dump fwb guy in no time.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 9:42 AM on January 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I didn't immediately jump to THIS LADY IS A SEX ADDICT when I read your post. That said, it sounds like your sex and romantic life are in a bad place. The answer to this is usually not to dive in further. I'd recommend taking a step back from dating and casual sex until you feel a little stronger and more centered. It doesn't have to be some long step back, but it should be long enough for you to feel less crazed. Your frustration and impatience will read right now and come off as desperate and negative to some, meaning you probably won't attract the type of person you are looking for. Instead you will find equally emotionally scattered people and perpetuate this bad cycle.

Further, in regards to your sex drive, if it's really as high as you say it's going to be hard for most people to keep up. You mentioned you've tried masturbating and been unsuccessful, but I feel like you should double down in that area if possible. If you're consistently orgasmic during sex, I'm SURE you can figure out how to duplicate that alone. Is it the same as partner sex? Definitely not, but it will give you an outlet that doesn't leave you dependent on other people to quell your urges. Your current arrangement leaves you in a weak position. If you require a partner to address your sexual needs and your sexual needs are super high, you will always be willing to second guess obvious red flags if the sex is good...probably not good for the long term.
posted by amycup at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

One thing you should start doing is figuring out what it is that you really want. If you want a FWB then you have to accept that those kinds of relationship, by nature, are usually unstable or at the very least, not particularly long lasting. You may be able to find a long-term FWB that is monogamous and platonic, but sexual, but those are rare.

If you want to have a romantic relationship, you need to keep going on more dates. Internet dating is not easier than real life, although many people expect it to be -- there are gonna be a ton of duds before you potentially meet someone you like enough to go on a second or third date with.

You are going to want to stop having sex with "first date only" guys if it bothers you emotionally, which means you need to figure out what it is about masturbation that you don't find satisfying. Is it penetration versus vibration? Is it dirty talk versus silence? Is it two bodies instead of one? You could look into sex therapy or a class.

You also need to figure out why you feel badly after your one-night stands. You can have (safe!) sex with as many people as you want to, in my opinion, and I certainly had a lot of meaningless sex after the breakdown of my long-term, serious relationship. That's normal for some people. But it sounds like there's an emotional component here that needs addressing, not just a physical one.

Which brings me to: What are you doing in terms of your social (non sexual) life? I know that when I was self-employed I spent a lot of time at home, alone, and not getting out meeting people.
posted by sm1tten at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, I'm not going to agree with you that your libido is "excessive" because I don't think that's useful.

What I will suggest is that you look at different ways to use your libido as a positive force in your life. Having sex with people you think are "icky" doesn't seem to be making you happy, so maybe change that. Stressing about whether your FWB relationship is going to end might be keeping you from enjoying it in the moment.

Let me with all respect suggest that for most people who can have orgasms with partnered sex but not with masturbation, the issue is primarily psychological, not physiological. You might want to think about doing some work with a sex therapist to see if you can get to a place where masturbation would be more enjoyable for you.

The goal here would be to feel like you were more in charge of your own sexuality, that it was something you could choose to enjoy alone, or choose to enjoy with others.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you on Wellbutrin? That can increase your sex drive. I mention b/c you said you're taking medications.
posted by kellybird at 11:17 AM on January 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm not saying you're a "sex addict" because it could easily be the "catching up with lost time" thing, but I've heard Women, Sex, and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power is a really good book.
posted by salvia at 12:06 PM on January 26, 2013

You also asked what to do instead. I guess I'd look at what you're getting out of it. Physicality? Companionship? Avoiding anxiety or grief? Maybe improv, a sports team, Habitat for Humanity? Those would combine physicality and companionship, and the sports team at least might exhaust the anxiety away (my own best approach to anxiety). If it's grief you're avoiding, I'd try just sitting quietly for 20 minutes to 30 minutes each day, taking more long walks, or seeing a therapist.
posted by salvia at 12:13 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know someone who, after years of struggling with a similar problem found SLAA a very helpful resource.

Your body might just be having a romp after years of not much fun, but it seems you are at least beginning to feel troubled by this--else you wouldn't have written. In the spirit of another twelve-step program, "Whatever causes trouble, is trouble." Approached with an open mind, honesty and willingness, twelve step programs can be both a useful learning experience and group therapy. The individual one-on-one 'sponsor' relationship with someone who has traveled the same road can also be invaluable.

I would encourage you to ask your doctor or therapist about any medications that you are taking which might be exacerbating this. Ask also about the treatment of your ADHD or other conditions for which you take medication and whether adjustments might be helpful. I have a great deal of fellow feeling for a woman who has had a difficult time of it with sexual matters and I wish you balance for your future, full of both joy and peace.
posted by Anitanola at 6:52 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think you need therapy - you need sex! Have as much sex as you want - do it, enjoy! Notice there are still people who believe a highly sexual woman has 'issues'.

Sexual energy is the best. Let it happen. I hope you're letting some of that wonderful energy spill over into other areas too, like creativity, physical exercise, doing things for the community, cooking great food and sharing it with people. Sprinkle it around!
posted by inkypinky at 3:44 AM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think your sex drive is an issue at all, it sounds like you're very lonely and sex is as close as you're getting with people. One-night stands are just a release of tension, probably mixed in with hope that a connection will result from it. Wanting more & more sex with your FWB is probably because you know it could end at any time. It's like gorging when you don't know when you'll eat again.

You don't say anything about friends. Do you have real emotional connections with other people? I'm also mid-40s and it's really, really hard to make those intimate connections at this stage of life. You live alone, are self-employed, recently out of a crummy marriage ... you (and I) need to be focusing on broadening your social life, deepening your platonic relationships, establishing emotional connections with people without sex being part of it.
posted by headnsouth at 7:30 AM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Notice there are still people who believe a highly sexual woman has 'issues'.

The OP identifies compulsive behavior that is self-reported as "not good", and a feeling of anxiety in the face of not doing those things. This is not a gender issue.
posted by ellF at 3:32 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing the "you don't sound like a sex addict". In fact, you sound more like the stage I went through after a 5-year, very dysfunctional relationship I was in crashed and burned - a few months out of that, I began a year-long sowing of wild oats period. I'd just been very loyal and very well-behaved, and the pendulum just needed to swing the other way before it found equilibrium again.

I had my headaches and issues with it too, and I did dumb things and I slept with the wrong guys too, but I rode it out as just a phase I was going through - and when it started getting too crazy I started scaling back and finally calmed down. I ultimately learned a lot about myself.

I think everyone is entitled to this kind of wild-oats, lost-weekend kind of thing at least once in their lives. You've tried being sexless for a long time, and now you've boomaranged all the way the other way and at some point you'll probably get to a point of "okay, I think I'm gonna cool it a little" and calm down. You're also learning that FWB isn't suiting you in some ways - but that doesn't mean you need to break off with him right now unless you're unhappy with him.

As for how to meet other guys to hook up with - honey, if you figure that out you let me know because I'm right there with ya.

But what you need to do is something that unfortunately you may need to figure out yourself; and what you are doing right now is figuring out what works for you, and what doesn't, and it is okay to be making that up as you go along. And there's nothing wrong with going through a crazy phase on the way to do that.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:05 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

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