Betrayal in a relationship brings a whole host of emotions to the fore. There’s anger, grief, sadness, loss, anxiety, and a loss of self-confidence. An affair shakes the very foundation on which a marriage has been painstakingly built, and trust in the unfaithful partner is completely eroded.
At this juncture, it often seems like there’s little of the marriage to save, never mind navigating the murky waters of becoming sexually intimate with your partner again. Moving forward, however, you have to re-establish the sexual nature of your marriage, or it simply isn’t going to work.
Here are some of the important steps to take to restore sexual intimacy in your relationship after infidelity.
Before either party in the relationship starts to work on the sexual nature of the marriage after a betrayal, there first needs to be a clear commitment to working on the marriage itself. The affair happened for a reason, even if it was a bad one, and while you don’t have to have tackled all of the issues, it’s important that there’s been a commitment made to do it. This could include couples therapy or a coaching program like Naked Infidelity. Whatever you choose, it will be a lot more effective if you use an experienced professional to help navigate and heal the underlying issues.
There is absolutely no quick fix when it comes to rediscovering eroticism after an affair. Moving too fast could simply cause more problems down the line. Every couple is different, and some might have incredible sex soon after discovering the affair, but this is often driven by hurt and a comparison to the third party in the affair.
There are a lot of emotions to work through before initiating intimacy. The partner who had the affair must show remorse and take responsibility for their actions, be willing to go over small details again and again if their spouse asks for them and verify that the affair is indeed over. Then, there are the feelings of doubt and inadequacy that can creep in on behalf of the betrayed partner.
It’s natural at this stage to feel uncomfortable about intimacy and sex at this stage. It’s important not to sweep your feelings under the rug and have sex just because your partner is pressuring you or you feel like it will make the other person feel better.
Every relationship has a shared story, whether that’s between spouses, friends, or family. These are a collection of memories, beliefs, and values that you have built up with another person with whom you have a relationship of some kind.
An affair completely destroys the shared meaning that you have with your partner. The story you have written together, and your shared beliefs and values are no longer. Before you return to what’s happening in the bedroom, you both must dedicate time to co-writing a new chapter of your book. You need to reaffirm what beliefs and values that you will share in your marriage in the future.
Most couples have rituals of connection, such as cooking dinner together at the end of the day, reading to each other, going for a walk and so on. Affairs can complicate these previous rituals, so it’s important that you create new ones. They represent opportunities for connection that are non-sexual, and they help to rebuild trust and understanding in a relationship before sex is reintroduced.
Consensual sex should always be encouraged in a marriage. The more sex, the better in almost all cases. However, as mentioned above, some couples overcompensate on the sexual front after an affair to compensate for their perceived lack of something.
The partner who had the affair is making up for their infidelity and guilt, while the betrayed partner usually tries to give their partner what they thought they were getting from the affair partner. This type of sex needs to move on from this comparison to feeling truly loved and attractive to your partner for who you are and because you are competing with the other person. Using comparison as a tool to spur on your sexual lives is not a strong foundation, and if it doesn’t evolve, then it’s bound to crumble in time.
Of course, more often than not, sex will go the other way after an affair. Betrayed partners have their self-esteem completely shattered, and they aren’t having sex because they are worried that they are not as good-looking, sexy, or adventurous as the affair partner. This is equally destructive and needs to be stopped in order for a sex life to be restored to a marriage.
Open communication is critical for every marriage, and partners must feel like they can discuss things together. Sex after infidelity is no different. You need to be open to talking about sex in an honest and non-judgmental way. This is the easiest way to gauge whether you’re ready for sex and what’s holding you back, and it helps both partners understand where the other needs support or why they are struggling with a certain aspect of being sexual.
It also gives you both the opportunity to discuss what you need from the other person to become intimate again and is another form of connection between the two of you.
There are many different sexual styles, but the two most “common” are lovemaking and more adventurous, wild erotica. When you are rekindling sexual intimacy after an affair, you are trying to rebuild love and trust in your relationship, and this means that you should try to focus on lovemaking in the affair-recovery phase. Wild, erotic sex is encouraged in every healthy marriage, but it’s important that you don’t rush into it when you are still rebuilding bonds.
It’s also important to remember that just because you’re having sex again, your marriage isn’t suddenly sunshine and roses. True healing and reconciliation after an affair takes time, commitment, and hard work; while sex can certainly help you on that journey, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left to work on.
Sexual intimacy can be complicated, especially after an affair. At Naked Recovery, we specialize in trauma and how to heal from traumatic experiences, and we have specific programs, such as the Naked Marriage Spark Program, that have been designed to help couples get their marriage back on track.
Our programs are created to address specific traumas and help people move on to a healthy and happy future. Contact us to find out more.