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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Can what turns a person on and what causes one to change? My

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Can what turns a person on and what causes one to orgasm change? My husband is disturbed by my past sex life and worries that I will seek after "porn star sex" when I get bored with him. I love our sex life and I am very satisfied. I recently went through therapy and have taken a good hard look at myself as I have made changes to better my life. The thought of my past experiences makes my stomach turn but my husabnd does not believe me. I feel that what leads one to an orgasm can change because physiological responses can be connected to ones psychological and emotional state. Am I wrong?

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring wife and it sounds as though your husband is a loving and caring husband. And the past is being dragged way too much into the present. That's not good or healthy. And it's not necessary.

I'd like you to share my answer with your husband so that the two of you can help each other even more let the past go back where it belongs: in the past. Okay?

First, yes, you are correct: what leads one to an orgasm can change because physiological responses can be connected to ones psychological and emotional state. In fact, your statement is not as focused and strong as how we are actually built. Let me explain.

Human sexuality is almost all emotional and psychological. Without getting too technical, we have in our brain something called the pleasure center. So sexual desire as well as pleasure is actually activated there, thus, not only orgasms. Let me give an example that everyone has experienced:

Let's say you or he are really looking forward to having sex. That means that your brain is visualizing, thinking. Your emotions are aroused as well. The pleasure center is activated. It sends messages to your genitalia and they begin to get "warmed up". So you're feeling "hot", right?

But then, the sink plugs up and the microwave blows a fuse and you or he goes, oh no! (Or some other phrase...). Instantly, you're not "hot" any more, agreed? What happened?

Actually, the body responses in the genitalia are not the first to stop. They're still "warmed up". But the adrenalin going to the brain has overridden the pleasure center as the parts of the brain processing the emotion of anxiety and concern that adrenalin produces go into action. Right? In other words, once your pleasure center is not primary, there goes the hot feeling.

So back to our discussion, what activates our pleasure center does indeed change. When we're young and bombarded with lots of different cultural messages based on our environment, our pleasure center responds accordingly. We then settle down and have different emotional connections in our lives, and we learn different thought patterns of understanding, and that changes our emotional responses as well. And so our pleasure center responds to those changes too.

Thus, the past was the past and the present is the present. You are the person who grew from the person you were; you're not the person you were. The same for him. And so he needs to honor that in you: that you've grown and learned and have changed. And you chose him to be the one your pleasure center focuses on and responds to. That's beautiful. And it doesn't revert back to anything automatically or by default. In fact let me address him right now:

I want you to use to reorient your view of what is actually happening. You think of your wife's past and you focus on one very narrow moment in time: your wife's youth. You look at her past and you see yourself being diminished in the present.


I want you to reorient your view: when you think of her past you need to focus on THE PRESENT: she chose YOU. She has affirmed her love for YOU. She saw through all her past experiences and they in fact led her to see how VALUABLE you are.



I'm not talking about pretense. What I wrote above is NOT a pretense! It is the truth when you look at the present: she loves you even more now. Your marriage is better than many people's because she has affirmed her love for you. Do the same.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

With the additional background information would you still say what i want out of our physical/sexual relationship can change and i can be satisfied?

should have explained further that while we were dating I cheated on my now husband by returning to the boyfriend I had been with previous to him. My husband and I have a lot of emotion connected to our sex life. That was not the case with my previous boyfriend. Our sex life was simply sex. I would use the "F" word during sex with him. A word I deplore now and hate hearing. My husband knew that I cheated on him with this individual prior to our getting married. It wasn't until after our marriage that he asked about the details of our sex life. I have since discovered how much better sex is with emotion and can put the two together. But this took time due to my sexual abuse history I was very good at seperating the two. And it took a while for me to be comfortable and even want putting emotion into sex. I have tried to explain this to my husband but he does not feel that I can truly be happy with our sex life that I will eventually get bored and want "just sex."

I can say that in my experience I would still write to you and your husband what I've written.

I've worked with cases of both women and men who have been sexually abused when younger. This is of course more common with women, but not as rare as you might think with males. And their sexual history when young adults is very different than as they learn to deal with their emotional distress as they get older. When younger, they think it's about the sex. As they get more mature, they realize it was about the emotional hurt. And that's when they have change in their lives. And this change is not a temporary change. It's an internal growth and development. Often, it requires counseling/serious therapy. Sometimes some can do this on their own. But this is the reality of survivors of abuse.

And that's why I would write the same thing I wrote above: you've been dealing with the emotion of the abuse and that's the key to why I would confirm what I wrote. That's so important and valuable and I applaud you for that.

I wish you both the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

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