What’s it Like Having Sex After Divorce, As a Man?
Article from Between Our Thighs by Sarrah Rose.
Navigating sex after divorce can be an emotional experience for men. For years I’ve coached men as they’ve faced their insecurities. I’ve seen man after man show up with the same crushing self-doubt that is killing their possibilities of having an epic sex life. The way we have sex begins long before we get into bed for sex.
“I never fail at anything, how did I fail at this?”
This is the question that haunts men. Once the mediation and court hearings are over, the settlement and custody agreements are complete and the final orders have been signed…once the adrenaline from it all subsides…the newness wears off and it’s just them, alone, in their too quiet home.
“I succeed at everything. How did I mess this up so badly?” And there’s no good answer.
There’s the constant questioning: Maybe I should have paid more attention to her. Maybe I shouldn’t have worked so much but I was doing it for us. If only her mother hadn’t interfered so much. I wish she would have just agreed to get a nanny so we could have gone out more. I shouldn’t have agreed to the third child. It was too much stress on us. The pandemic put us both on edge. I should have been more patient. Why did I walk out like that? Why did I have the affair? She deserves to hate me.
The self-loathing: I failed at the most important thing. I failed at my marriage. I’m so embarrassed. I meant for this to work but I left when things got tough. What does that say about me as a man that I can’t even stay when things get tough? I walked out on my wife and kids. I’m worse than a failure. I’m worthless.
The rationalizing: It’s no big deal. Everyone gets divorced these days. Relationships aren’t meant to last forever. Everyone deserves a starter marriage. Monogamy doesn’t work. Kids adjust. My ex and I are still friends and co-parents. She’s a great mom. I’m happier on my own. We weren’t good together anymore. This is best for everyone.
For all men, there’s always one common theme. It’s lonely after divorce. No matter how full their life is with work and friends, it’s nothing without a woman to share it with. For many men, that’s the one thing that’s missing. A woman to make love to at night. Someone to share their life with.
But, men get caught up thinking: “I messed up once and I’m so afraid to mess up again.” That’s why it’s so important for them to stop the running and start working on the problems that got them there.
Too many men try to numb the pain by burying themselves in work and drowning themselves in alcohol. They have to quit running and deal with their problems so they can have what they want more than anything. Some men are just excited to be with someone new after all of these years but it’s rarely that easy. Women aren’t often throwing themselves at men and it can be harder than they think it will be.
For a lot of guys, their wife was the only woman they had been with ever, or for a really long time. While there’s are some men that want sex with a lot of women, there are a lot of men that really just want good sex with the one woman that they love and they would stay in that relationship forever if they could just figure out how to make it work.
For these men, the emotional toll of sex after divorce is huge. They’re struggling with regret and self doubt and a sense of failure. Their confidence has taken a big hit and they can be hesitant to move forward and be intimate with another woman. One of the main reasons that marriages end is because of sexual dissatisfaction and this causes men to be concerned that the same situation will occur in their next relationship. They’re wise to consider this because they’re most likely right about that. Unless they are proactive about making the changes necessary to have a sexually satisfying relationship for the long term, it will happen again.
We are the source of our own problems and we are the source of our own happiness. When we take personal responsibility for our lives, that’s when we finally begin to build the life that we want to have. Most sexual struggles have deep roots in a man’s psychology. They are often playing out patterns of failure, unworthiness and abuse that started in childhood. Men will replay this in various ways over and over until they heal.
I see a lot of men struggle with performance anxiety after divorce. Maybe things were said or done during their marriage that caused sexual insecurities to form. If a man was shamed for ejaculating too quickly, losing his erection or not being able to ejaculate at all, that can cause a downward spiral of shame and insecurity that will only exacerbate these problems.
After a divorce, it’s important for men to take time to heal. Many men have the conditioning that it is weak to spend time healing but the reality is that it is irresponsible for them to not. And, they will never have the sex or relationship that deeply satisfies them if they don’t.
For men to have the best sex of their life, it requires investing in this area of their life. Learning a few techniques to try in the bedroom won’t cut it. Everything in life that is worth having, requires putting time and effort into getting it. Good sex is no different. And it’s incredibly worth it.