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Friday, November 30, 2012

Arguing with Your Spouse About His Sexual History

Are you and your spouse arguing about your sexual histories with other people that you knew before you met each other?  Unfortunately, arguments about spouses' sexual histories aren't unusual.  It often begins with one or both people in the relationship asking questions about the other's sexual history and, before you know it, one or both people get jealous or insecure and arguments ensue.

Arguing With Your Spouse About His Sexual History

While it's important to know whether your partner, soon-to-be spouse or spouse practiced safe sex before he or she met you, it's often a mistake to get into the details of who, want, where, and how often.

Talking about these kinds of details can degenerate into bitter arguments.  Unless you suspect that your partner is a sex addict and you're concerned about the future, once you've both determined that there have been no sexually transmitted diseases, it's better to let the past be the past--no matter how tempting it might be to seek more information.

The following fictionalized scenario, whch is a composite of many different cases with all identifying information changed, illustrates how easily arguments can begin while talking about each other's sexual history with other people:

Dan and Betty:
After Dan and Betty were married for several months, Betty asked Dan about his sexual activities with other people.  She already knew about the two prior relationships that he had been in before he met her.  They also each had tests for sexually transmtted diseases (STDs) early on when they began dating to ensure that neither of them had STDs.

Dan was hesitant to talk to Betty about his sexual history, but she told him that she felt that they should be able to talk about anything and she urged him to tell her.  After Dan revealed that he had slept around quite a bit in college and in his early to mid-20s, Betty became upset.  And the more upset she became, the more specific questions she asked him, and his answers only made her more upset.

Even though Betty didn't know any of the women that Dan slept with and he wasn't in touch with any of them, she imagined that he enjoyed being with these women sexually more than he enjoyed being with her.  No matter how much he assured her that he loved her and he enjoyed their sex life together, Betty couldn't stop thinking about all the women that Dan slept with.

Over time, Betty's obsessive jealousy about Dan's former sexual partners began to get in the way of their lovemaking.  Whenever Dan touched her, Betty wondered if he touched the other women in the same way.  When it got to the point where they couldn't enjoy each other sexually any more, both Dan and Betty agreed that they needed to see a couples counselor.

In couples counseling, Dan and Betty learned that they had to let the past be the past.   Betty realized that she needed to let go of her obsessive thoughts about Dan's prior sex life or she would ruin their relationship.  She also realized that the problem was that she was feeling insecure about herself.  Since she trusted Dan and she wasn't concerned that he would cheat on her, she realized that she needed to work on her own self esteem rather than argue with Dan about the past.

Once they stopped arguing about the past, they were able to rekindle their relationship.

Many couples feel that they must "tell all" about their prior sexual experiences, but unless you know for sure that you can handle this, it's best not to delve too deeply into your prior histories.

Getting Help
If you and your spouse are arguing abut your prior sexual histories, you could benefit from seeing a licensed mental health professional who sees couples for couples counseling to help you salvage your relationship.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Exeperiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:

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